Where to Eat Dinner in London
This Friday night my wife and I will be in London, Ontario. Please recommend a restaurant for dinner. We like all types of food. Thanks.
For Greek, I'd recommend Mythic Grill on Albert St. It serves the freshest tasting Greek food in London right now, in my opinion.
For good contemporary/continental food in a relaxed yet upscale setting, I'd go to Blackfriar's Cafe on Blackfriars. Last night, I had a very tender turkey schnitzel with herb spaetzle and red cabbage, followed by a huge serving of pear spice cake served with caramel sauce at Blackfriars.
For more formal fine dining, I'd recommend Volker's on Hyde Park, or Aroma on Picadilly. The courtyard setting is particularly nice at Aroma. There are several Portuguese selections at Aroma, as well as Continental.
Volker's is located inside a Victorian house in the country, about a 10 minute drive from downtown. It feels much like a formal dining room. Many of his dishes have a contemporary twist. He spent some time as a chef in the Caribbean, so a few of his dishes reflect this, like the Shrimp and Scallop Curry.
For Japanese, I'd recommend Shiki on Wellington.
For Indian, I'd recommend Massey's on King.
A new restaurant that I haven't tried yet is the new Auberge du Petit Prince, serving French food. Chris Squire owned and operated a French restaurant with the same name in the same space which very throughout the 80s and early 90s.
I was not overly impressed with Crave, which opened recently on Fanshawe Park Road.
London is not known for great restaurants, but it is a large diverse city and gems can be found.
For authentic portugeuse, go to the bottom of Wellington at 401 where there is a Churassco which was written up in the TO star as one of the most authentic in Canada, best for lunch experience.
For quality/trendy you might try Tru, which is downtown.
For old school/fine dining the Idlewyld Inn is good.
Try Crave, portions are large, menu larger, but if you compare to Toronto "cool resto" quality, it is average.
Why not head out of town and go to Bayfield? They have the Little Inn and Black Dog bistro which are quite good. About an hours drive.
Black Trumpet on Richmond (which is like Yonge Street in TO) has a good reputation and downtown.
If you like Thai, try Try Thaiphoon, downtown. Quite authentic and upscale.
London has a number of great restaurants, don't listen to this other person.
One of the finest is Murano on Waterloo St., owner and chef Bryan Lavery has gotten into the slow food stuff recently, so ingredients all market fresh, high quality. Very creative and talented chef.
Jambalaya on Richmond Street is a great little Caribean restaurant -- delicious rotis and jerk chicken, a little Thai in there also.
Waldo's in the Covent Garden market downtown is also a good casual spot.
Ben Thanh on York St. is excellent for traditional Thai, pretty busy though.
Garlic's on Richmond St., is a decent spot in the mid-priced range, steer clear of the house wine, but make sure you try the garlic soup.
Home restaurant on King Street if its still there is excellent, reservations though, it's small.
Village Cafe on Richmond Street also very good.
Under the Volcano for Mexican.
Fellini Koolinis on Albert Street is an amazingly fun spot for Italian, a blast, and good food to boot. Great date spot.
I lived in London from 1990 - 95, and some of those were there then. We LOVED Under the Volcano!! and Fellini Koolini! Also is the Indian place on Richmond still there? It was where I really learned to eat Indian food, and it will always stand out in my memory. And there was a place, was it Oscar Taylor? On Richmond, great breakfasts too. As was Blackfriars.
re: Wench Foraday
There are two Indian restaurants on Richmond. Personally, i think Jewel of India is the best.
As for Sebastians, rumour has it, they expanded really quickly and got themselves locked into a lease that they couldn't get out of. Shortly thereafter they had a timely bankruptcy declaration, a month later, they opened up in all but a couple of locations as Sebatini's and then sometime last year changed the name back to Sebastians....
Shady business dealings and as a result, I choose not to go back there.
To the OP, I second Volkers, probably my favourite place to eat in London. After that, check out Blackfriars or Blue Oyster.
I live in London right now - but I am counting the days until I return to TO... as great as this city is... there is something about our food choices in Toronto.
I would recommend Ben Thanh - very casual - my favorite place right now.
Taste of India on richmond is pretty good for dinner (not buffet lunch) & La Casa on King(?)& Talbot is pretty decent. I ate there last week.
For a step above all of these places- I would recommend Volkers.
From most expensive to least, my recommendations are: The Black Trumpet, Blackfriars's Bistro/Village Cafe/Willy's, and... If you wouldn't mind going off the beaten path - you can head east of Adelaide, on Dundas (near the Kellog's factory) there are two of our favourites from our 2 years in London, Africa Restaurant (for Ethiopian), and Vietnam. It's been a few years, but we still think the two latter places top many we've been to of both cuisine's in Toronto.
I was pretty surprised by On The Fork, which is located in the museum. I had never been until earlier this fall, and left thoroughly impressed. For London, this could be the tops right now. La Casa was a favourite of mine a few years back, and my next visit will require a reservation at Black Friars.
Here is the website:
Viet Nam (on Dundas near the Kelloggs factory)
Ben Thahn is a second for vietnamese fare, but their service always leaves to be desired
On The Forks (lunch is more affordable)
The Only on King
I must admit I really don't like Crave (very overpriced and the food is not that great) and Garlics is hit-or-miss.
There is another vietnamese restaurant on 2nd and huron. Much better(and cheaper) than Ben Thahn.
Don't forget Prince Albert if you just want some sandwiches/burgers. Cheap and tasty.
I guess I'm just really picky but I find the restaurants in London to be severely lacking. I think Under the Volcano is horrible( but I did live in Cali before moving here).
Calipoutine, you just have to know where to go & what to order;)
The problem in London is often consistency. What's good one year might not be good the next.
These are my current faves:
1.JJ's Bistro in Byron for upscale French/bistro
2.Massey's Indian Cuisine on King
3.Si Senor on Waterloo for Mexican
Other places I like:
Noa Lisboa for Portuguese
Mythic Grill on Albert for Greek
Rocoto for Peruvian
Ken's for dim sum
Shiki for Japanese- the other Japanese restaurants don't come close
Barakat on Richmond is shawarma & lentil soup
Viet Nam restaurant on Dundas across from Kellogg's
the Vietnamese place in the mall on the nw corner of Highbury and Huron
Joe Kool's for nachos, etc.
Nova Era- the Portuguese bakery from TO opened a location in East London- delicious custard tarts & corn bread.
The Bosnian burek place in the Market.
Tasty Coast for Chinese take-out
Good/safe bets for European/continental:
Volker's in Hyde Park - upscale continental, special seafood night on Tue.
Aroma- high end continental & Portuguese- their first courses are very good, great service
Katana for upscale continental
The Tasting Room for continental and small plates- my favourite pick for pre-theatre.
Auberge du Petit Prince- for French and continental. I wish the chef would add more types of savoury crepes (esp. vegetarian) to the menu.
Places that are generally ok, but I wouldn't tend to choose if I was paying:
Amici- I wanted to like this place more, but my pesto was way too salty. Might give it another chance.
Kind of boring food but great service
Michael's on the Thames
New places I've been meaning to try:
The Only on King (local Ingredients)
Dragonfly Bistro on Richmond
El Ranchito on Wellington- pupusas, arepas, etc.
Ate at Si Senor last night with a friend( took me long enough to try it eh?). It was good, but the portions were small. I was a bit dissapointed that I couldnt get an order of rice/beans. I had the chicken tostada, the veggie quesadia( weird, never had a quesadia like that) and a pork taco( good, but small). That being said, my bill was 11.39 w/ tax.
I am the friend and I agree. Good but small. Although the Guacamole was good value lots of nice chunky dip at a reasonable price. And tasty too!! I also had a chicken tostada and a queadilla, as well as an apple Jarritos. My bill was 18$ including tax. I would go again and maybe try some of the more "Main dish" type things they offer.
My MIL took us to dinner this past Friday. I would have loved to try Si Senor again, but I knew she wouldnt go for it. Guess where we went? Bertoldi of course. I had a good salad( yellow and red beets, arugula and goat cheese). We all had a chicken dish for our mains( milanese, marsala and parmesean). All our chicken was completely overcooked. Like chewing gum overcooked. My MIL and I got veg and potato and the veg wasnt cooked right either. It was swiss chard and the stems were hard and the leaves werent cooked enough either. I thought it was a weird veg to serve in the summer. There was some roasted carrot as well. I was very dissapointed with the chicken. If you eat there, stick to the pasta/pizza.
Amici Trattoria is another option for Italian downtown, but unlike Bertholdi, it's small, and quaint, and seems to pay attention to the details. I found my pasta with pesto to be too salty, but everything else I tried off my companions' plates was tasty and I'd definitely go back to try other things on the menu.
There's also a new Italian place on Commissioners Road in Byron, owned by the people that own JJ's bistro. It's on my "next to try" list.
Glad you got a chance to try Si Senor. I've noticed that all the Mexican restaurants in London/Toronto serving Mexican food serve consistantly small portions compared to what a Mexican/Mexicali/Tex Mex restaurant serves in California, or compared to what the Tex Mex chains in Ontario tend to serve. I just order more, since I know the portions are small. I actually was happy that the portions were small yet economical, because I like to try a few things, and I didn't end up feeling stuffed to the gills at the end of my meal.
The quesadillas at the Mexican restaurants that have owners who are from Mexico rather than the States (like Si Senor, El Amanecer, El Trompo in Kensington Mkt in TO, Milagro on Mercer in TO) also tend to use a dry white cheese like cotija (or feta if they can't find it) rather than using Monterey Jack or Cheddar which you'd find in most Tex Mex/Mexicali quesadillas. They also tend to just sprinkle a little cheese, rather than smothering the quesadilla in cheese.
Cause cheese is expensive in Canada!! I'm so craving Mexican food after having some wonderful Mexican food in Chicago last week. I've pulled out my Rick Bayless Mexican Kitchen Cookbook. Tonight is chicken enchilada's with simple red mole. I brought back some wonderful handmade corn tortillas from Chi-town.
I loved El Ranchito too, and they've now moved to a new location on Richmond Row and renamed their restaurant Picante (691 Richmond).
The service and food was always excellent, but the new location ambience is awesome and right in the heart of the action in London.
Latino food favourites from South America include the jalapeno soup, lime margaritas, empanadas, and great desserts.
Picante is an authentic Latino restaurant with healthy food that tastes home made.
I second Viet Nam restaurant for Vietnamese food. Their pho and spring rolls are great. I also enjoyed Barakat Restaurant for Middle Eastern food, 551 Richmond St. They have great shwarma, falafal and kebab dinners.
My wife and I recently ate at On the Forks. What a great experience! We kept comparing it to what you might get in Toronto, and the value at OTF was incomparable.
Our server showed us the menu, which included no category divisions (i.e., appetizers, mains). She said we should each order approximately three dishes, and that the dishes near the top were generally smaller than those at the bottom. We followed obediently and ended up with 6 main-sized dishes! My root vegetable salad was one of the best salads I've ever had! None of the dishes disappointed. I ate so much that night, I hurt afterwards. And if I remember correctly, it was barely over $100 with tax, tip, dessert and a glass of wine. Highly recommended.
What else did you order? The green curry chicken and the mixed seafood dish I ordered were awful when I ate there in March. Tasted like they were cutting corners- cheap frozen seafood overcooked, no heat and not much flavour to the green curry. Although I have to say, the golden curry at Ben Thanh was even worse than the green curry at Bangkok Phad Thai (I realize I'm comparing a Vietnamese resto to a Thai resto, but they both serve slop billed as curry). I was really disappointed.
No one has mentioned the Thai restaurant Lemongrass on Wellington. We have eaten Thai in many cities and this restaurant by far is one of the best. Everything cooked while you wait. Nothing precooked and waiting. The pad thai is by far the best. The surrounding are clean and unpretentious. It is located in the strip mall across from the Radisson and you wouldnt think to look that it would be as amazing as it is. We travel from Windsor to London just to eat there.
Vietnam Taste on Wonderland is also decent. Even though it's called "vietnam taste," their thai stuff is great. Much better than Thaifoon and Bangkok Pad Thai
I give double thumbs up to The Only on King.
Cello Supper Club is another great place. Extensive martini list AND their chefs know how to cook. Also, great atmosphere - modern chic, reminds me of Toronto.
The new Asian Gourmet at Oxford and Wharncliffe is pretty good - if you order from their Chinese menu. Avoid the thai stuff and stick to traditional Chinese dishes like Cantonese Chow Mein and Ma Po Tofu.
Recently had a very nice dinner at La Casa on King. Best dinner I've had there in years, back on top of their game.
Mykonos has improved considerably over the last year. Mykonos used to be very good, then went through a mediocre rut for a couple years, which now seems to be over. Seems to be a cycle that happens in most London restaurants if they've been around for a while. I like the giouvetsi and the vegetarian platter at Mykonos.
La Casa and JJ's Bistro in Byron are my favourite restaurants in London right now.
Finally tried The Only on King, and have to say, the meal was the best dinner I have eaten in London in a very long time.
Interesting & innovative dishes for London, Ontario. The menu reminds me the locally focused dishes found at Mildred's Temple Kitchen, JKWB and the Globe Bistro in Toronto, and Domus in Ottawa.
I enjoyed the chicken leg confit on fennel salad, potato ravioli with arugula and basil pesto, and the housemade trio of cinnamon, chocolate and nutella ice cream. We ordered some wild leeks sauteed in white wine for the table, which were delicious. Fresh & tasty breads and breadsticks in the bread basket, too.
I hope the Only (as well as the locally focused restaurants in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario) will consider adding some fresh pressed and/or local juices to the drink menu- maybe grape juice from Niagara, or apple juice/ciders from some of the local orchards. Or freshly brewed iced tea, or fresh squeezed lemonade, that would involve imported ingredients, but at least it would be prepared locally. Seems like a lot of locally focused restaurants rely on the standard pop and cranberry juice instead of local or freshly produced soft drinks. It would be nice to see the theme carried through to the soft drinks on the menu.
Have a feeling The Only on King will become my favourite restaurant for contemporary/continental/locally focused cuisine in London.
The food at the Only was much better than a recent dinner at Mildred's Temple Kitchen, and I thought the quality level was similar to recent meals at JKWB, Forte, Nota Bene and the Globe. This type of quality is quite rare in London.
The atmosphere is casual and lively. The old framed black and white photos on the walls give the place some character.
Looking forward to my next visit.
The Only on King
172 King St, London, ON N6A, CA