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Where should a foodie wander in London?

I have exactly one evening in London, and a pretty decent but not wildly extravagant food budget. I'd like to spend the evening wandering around by foot in a neighborhood where I am likely to run into appealing restaurants. I am Canadian and this is my first trip to London - I want to just soak up a part of the city, and find myself somewhere where I can have a good meal and then maybe somewhere else where I can get a good glass of wine. Any suggestions? What neighborhood/streets should I target? Particular restaurant suggestions are also welcome. Thanks!

Rebecca

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  1. it all depends upon what sort of neighborhood you want to wander in.

    there are the beautiful, village in a city neighborhoods of kensington, the messier touristy ones of soho, the funkier wish-it-was-new-york grunge of east london or the non-existent neighborhoods of the city.

    truth be told, hackneys attempt at industrial chic is a bit pathetic, but it IS where the cool young things are since its semi-affordable.

    1. Clerkenwell - and in particular Exmouth Market is good for restaurants (Moro, Chop House and even the mini pasta chain Porchetta), gastro pubs (the Eagle and maybe The Green) and food shops (Brindisa for expensive Spanish and Terroni and Sons for less expensive Italian).

      I don't know about eating and drinking, but Camden Lock is a lovely area to wander around on a summer's evening, and probably has some decent bars and restaurants.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Theresa

        Ooooh - the Clerkenwell option is looking really good! It's clearly good for eating - is it good for walking around too, or is it more the kind of place where you already need to know where you are headed? Thanks!

        Rebecca

        1. re: rebecca.kukla

          It's not particularly scenic round there, although it can feel quite continental on Exmouth Market when everyone is out eating and drinking on a summer evening. The Green pub is between Exmouth Market and Clerkenwell Rd and the streets behind it are nice enough - lots of georgian houses and there are plenty more bars and restaurants on Clerkenwell Rd (which is where the Italian Deli is).

          One other good restaurant is Sofia (again, Exmouth Market). It's one of a Turkish mini chain. I've had a couple of meals there and it is very good.

          1. re: Theresa

            theresa - you should try the lebanese places in central london - maroush, randa, noura. i thought sofia a little tired when i was last there (at the one on regents street).

            also, wouldn't you agree that clerkenwells not where someone with just a single evening should tramp around in? marylebone high street and regents park or hyde park and knightsbridge are soooo lovely.

            1. re: howler

              Yes - that's why I said it wasn't particularly scenic - I mentioned it only because the area has so many options for food buying/eating. I'm sure that there are prettier areas with lots of restaurant options, but I don't know London well enough I'm afraid.

      2. DONT FORGET TO WANDER THROUGH THE FOOD FLOOR OF HARRODS. WORTH YOUR TIME. :)kq

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kitchen Queen

          I agree with the Harrod's rec, if you have only one evening. The food hall is to die for and reasonable to boot. And you are close to Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and other scenic areas.

          BTW, I'm a Canuck too, living in London currently. Welcome, and enjoy your stay!

        2. UPDATE: For those who were following this thread ... I am now back from London. I stayed in Bloomsbury and first walked over to Clerkenwell and Exmouth Market, and then back and through the Soho, West End, and Convent Garden areas. Exmouth Market was very lively and felt much more like a neighborhood and less touristy, so I was very glad for the tip from this board.

          I had decided in advance to eat at the bar at Moro. I had a nice meal there - they have a fabulous list of Sherries by the glass and a decent but limited Spanish-dominated wine list otherwise. Sitting at the bar was very pleasant and a good option for someone dining alone. The food was good, though a bit on the greasy side. Overall, though, it was quite comparable to the kind of nice Tapas restaurant you find in every decent-sized city and I am not sure why so much fuss has been made about the place.

          After walking for ages I wanted to stop again even though I had already eaten, so on a whim I stopped at 32 Great Queen St., in Convent Garden. This was a real find. Apparently it is new and run by people who started one of the major gastropubs (Anchor and something?), but I didn't know that when I stopped - it just looked appealing and homey and like a likely place to get a good glass of wine and some late-night snack. They had a lovely by-the-glass wine list which was very affordable, and a fun-looking Franco-British menu with plenty of terrines and offal and other rustic gourmet stuff. I had a glass of Montbazillac with some good sharp cheese and housemade apple butter, and wished that I had eaten dinner there instead of at Moro, or that I had another night to give the place a real try.

          Thanks for all the recommendations, which made my trip much more organized and pleasant.

          Rebecca

          1 Reply
          1. re: rebecca.kukla

            I'm glad you enjoyed your night's wandering. It's a shame you were underwhelmed by Moro - the only time I had a full meal there, as opposed to tapas, I thought the food was faultless (which is more than I could say for the staff, who are off-hand to put it politely). I think the tapas are good, but there isn't a massive selection, so I normally go for the jamon iberico (to die for) and the pimientos de padron (I love these so much and they are so hard to find that I can forgive almost anything).