It is a cliché that food in London is bad, it is actually the contrary as it is true that you can find everything and at a great quality if you just take a bit of time to search around. Hopefully, this is exactly how you got to our website and we will help you spotting the gem that will bring back memories of an unforgettable travel.
Just get ready to travel across the city and probably to invest a certain amount of your budget as good food does not always come cheap in London. If you are not too fussy for location, you can easily save some quids by going for street food, that in London is a big thing!
Discover now our 10 tips and learn where to find good food in London!
London – where to find good food
1. Gastro Pubs
Speaking of a cliché, well the central role of the pub in the British society is nothing you can argue about.
I could not find any useful online source telling me how many pubs there are in London but, believe me, they are loads.
Public Houses are such a part of the neighbourhoods that everyone living in London will find themselves forever bound to their local’s, where same people and friends will be a vital part of the experience and the guys behind the bar will know what your favourite pint is.
Same happens for the local pub of the office. If you happen to work in London and have many British colleagues you will know where to find them on Thursday and Friday nights, Friday lunch discretionary.
Just remember that pubs are made for drinking while standing, so that you can easily move around in conversations, and as much as you can expect to get a pint offered, you will have to pay the next round. And oh, do not be surprised if nobody is eating, a pint here is considered a meal on its own!
If you can’t take it that far and are in need of some food, ideally select those pubs that are called “Gastro Pubs” and you will find hearthy traditional cuisine for an affordable price.
Pimm’s is every English bar’s tradition in spring and summer and it is the fresh seasonal alternative to beer or a gin and tonic, especially for a female audience (as it is sweeter than G&T).
Pimm’s is, first of all, a spirit that gets mixed with lemonade, loads of ice and fresh fruit (that includes cucumber’s slices!) to freshen up your London afternoons and nights with friends, however it is also the way that Londoners declare that summer and good weather (if any) is on the way.
Be sure to mingle with people holding a Pimm’s while you drink your day away in one of the many rooftop terraces or open markets in London, those are some of the moments when you’ll mix with the locals and will become part of your memories.
3. Tea & cake
English people are serious about tea, as much as they are about their cakes. They also have the say ‘have your cake and eat it’ in the attempt to demonstrate what cannot be possible… and it is fun to note the contrast to Italy (our country) where Italians are more concerned about wine and drunk wives (we say: “you can’t have your jug full and your wife drunk..”).
Who would have thought that the Brits would have revealed their sweet tooth, in this instance!
If you want to move away from traditional tea and scones and have had enough of carrot and cheesecakes, there are many places in London where you can find your own perfect sweet afternoon refuelling break.
For those who have a passion for cinnamon buns (a big thing in Stockholm!) we recommend a stop at Fabrique .
Or, for a true continental European flavour, the historic Maison Berteaux will make your mind travel quickly to Paris.
Merit mention to another amazing French patisserie, definitively less traditional and iconic but featuring a mouth-watering selection of beautiful and delicious treats is Belle Epoque .
And no, for those of you asking, even if London has everything, we still have not found something that can compare to a traditional Italian pasticceria to recommend. Maybe a good opportunity for someone?
4. Afternoon Tea at Sanderson
There are afternoon sweet breaks designed to re-charge your energies after a long walk or shopping tour, and then there are afternoon teas perfectly tailored for a posh catch up with the girls.
And definitively the Mad Hatter Tea at Sanderson’s is one of them.
Everything from pottery to the menu is inspired by the magic world of Alice in wonderland and, together with the most incredible selection of teas I have ever seen in my life, real lush comes with a glass of champagne (pink of course!).
Let the gossip flow.
5. Street food
One of the things I loved most about London when I moved from Milan in 2012 was the large amount of street food markets open on weekends in almost every corner of the city.
That was before Milan dressed up for Expo and a reality like Mercato Metropolitano (now open in London!) hit the city.
So for me, that was just paradise. All kind of food. Often amazingly cooked food. At a cheap price. What else could I have wished for whilst searching for a job and with an almost empty wallet?
And no, we will not talk about Portobello, Brick Lane or the Borough Market that are the famous spots almost everyone knows. We will point you to the smaller and far more local (still) Maltby Street stalls in Bermondsey (in the picture). This market is located in South London below some rail arches, you can find some permanent restaurants and a lot of stalls available on weekends.
For cheese lovers just look for the sandwiches as well as the French tartiflette. For a drink before and after your food visit Jensen’s .
They have their distillery and a couple of tables outside where you can try a couple of cocktails and of course buy your own bottle of gin.
If you like the vibe of it, then head to Pop Brixton for a similar local experience but with more stalls and more space.
There you’ll find our favourite Sicilian Restaurant in London, Trattoria Franzina. They are Sicilians and they source all their food from Sicily, you are in for a treat!
Where was the concept of brunch actually born?
Even if I bet the Americans can arrogate the maternity of it, this easy formula for chilled out food and drinks at weekends is almost as popular in London as the Sunday roast and pint(s) at the pub.
Trying all the places and keeping pace with new openings and trends is hard work. But I would say a sweet fatigue after all.
Among my favourite places, I would mention Caravan, the cosy Modern Pantry in very central Clerkenwell, the modern Indian style at Dishoom and, for those really loving the vibes of central London, Balthazar.
7. Michelin-starred Chinese food at Hakkasan
London has everything. For everyone. And definitively a lot for those with a decent wallet to afford it.
No doubt that the English capital is expensive and yes, a lot of the pricey things are not really worth the cost.
But… there are exceptions and one of these for me is Hakkasan.
Michelin-starred Cantonese cuisine, it does mesmerise for the food and drinks as much as for the ambient.
A bit dark and perfect for a lush romantic night out, it can also reserve sparkling joy at lunch thanks to its incredible dim sum offer.
With such a great experience, expect a premium price tag attached to it, but it is totally worth it.
8. Fry Up (or.. British breakfast!)
A British friend of ours, Nick, once told me with solid pride that the traditional English breakfast we were just about to tuck into, could possibly be considered the best meal in the world.
And aside from what people might say, I tend to agree that a well done ‘fry-up’ (yes, it is ALL fried apart from the beans) is the best choice to start a weekend day and cure the previous night’s hangover.
Made of two eggs, crispy bacon and sausages, hash brown, mushrooms tomato and saucy beans, it does represent a full load of proteins that can energise even the hopeless.
And believe me, London Sundays do need special means sometimes.
There is really no place I feel I can recommend best, sometimes the greasier the better.
Man up folks!
Again this is another American legacy but there are really great burgers you can find in London.
You can start from the high end at Hawksmoor or go for a cheaper option like the juicy patties at Byron (in the picture).
But if you really want to go hard core do try street markets’ options like Cheeky Burger (Best Street Food Burger in 2016).
They are at Portobello on Saturdays, just make sure you pay them a visit!
10. Dine with a view
London is iconic and simply magic to see from above.
For those coming from continental Europe and lucky enough to sit on the right side of their plane approaching Heathrow in a clear day, well that’s just pure perfection.
You can experience stunning views from the London Eye and the Shard, even if really not for a cheap price.
However, if you wish to couple your view with a nice brunch or drinks we do recommend a brunch at Duck and Waffle in the Salesforce (o Heron) Tower.
Not as expensive and trendy as the Sushi Samba, it does grant an incredible couple of hours and the food is really good (try the duck of course!).