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Jun 11, 2007 07:26 AM

Coming to London in August from NYC

Hello there. This is Jason from NYC. I am coming to London and need some guidance:)
What I desire. I am staying in the Kensington area- I am willing to travel of course, but it would be great to know spots that are close by. I have been to many of NY's great restaurants, but I am not a snob. Although i am critical about food, I do not love stuffy places. Maybe one fancy place while I am in there, but that is not a must. I truly enjoy serious chefs, doing seriously fresh, inventive or simple food in an accessible environment. NY is filled with that and I have become accustomed. Please ask questions if you need clarification on my dining hopes.....

Breakfasts-local cuisine , hearty, fun... non-touristy
Lunch-street foods, dives, hidden ethnic gems or must tries
Dinners-sampling of many ethnic cuisines
modern european food
great pub food- traditional and modern
the best indian(creative, "fusioney" indian is ok)
1 trendy place with killer food (any cuisine)
1 good date place

and of course other suggestions that you all think i must try! I look forward to your responses....

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  1. fwiw, i think you'll have better luck if you scroll through the many thousands of posts, select what you like and then come ask back.

    there are SO many posts like yours with the identical question thay you'll be much better served if do a bit of homework first.

    here's a list which i got by putting the words 'london' and 'nyc' in the search engine:


    1 Reply
    1. re: howler

      ok i will do so.. maybe some other folks want to chime in anyway

    2. Jason, I've read and enjoyed some of your posts on the Manhattan board. I haven't been living in London full time for a couple of years but I've kept my eye in so to speak with regular visits back and through food loving friends/relatives in the city. If you give me your Manhattan/Outer Boroughs top 10 from the last year, I will get a good sense of your tastes and can then suggest accordingly.

      6 Replies
      1. re: oonth

        here goes

        jean georges
        a voce
        tasting room(the old tasting room) have not been to the new
        casa mono
        (that's 11) :)

        those come to mind.. diverse list yes.. but memorable food

        1. re: jsmitty

          OK I've eaten at 7 of those places and have a sense of the others so I get the gist. I will consult + contemplate and come back to you with suggestions, like I say I'm out of the loop a little.

          FWIW, Degustation is one of the very few Manhattan places that I have found to be exceptional and displaying WOW factor.

          1. re: oonth

            great whatever you can do... i respect howlers view on cross referencing, but this will also be helpful....

            1. re: jsmitty

              howdy jsmitty,

              mass transit in london is pretty good. next to the holborn tube station is asadal, a wonderfully decent korean establishment. river cafe is pricey and smacks of "yesterday's news" but my guess is you'll enjoy your meal based on your nyc favorites. we did.



              1. re: steve h.

                thanks. how bout more from others :)

              2. re: jsmitty

                OK here are a few thoughts, there may be downhill alerts attaching to some of those places I haven't frequented since 2004-2005 so hopefully others will highlight or your own research will shed light. I will asterisk those places I have eaten at in the last 1 year as the quality control is more current:

                [So Called] Fine Dining - dominated by Ramsay and his proteges and it will cost you plenty. I enjoyed lunches at Maze and The Capital back in 2005 but you can now do the former in NYC (London Hotel) so probably not worth the effort. Club Gascon was another high end place I always enjoyed, food from the Gascony region of SW France and a standalone foie gras menu plus a tasting menu that changes from month to month. They also have two less formal places: Cellar Gascon, a winebar next to the restaurant and Comptoir Gascon*, a deli/cafe with a shortish menu. I would also recommend a place called The Chancery in legal land, you can check out the High Court/Inns of Court nearby and you can also get 50% if you book with top table. Giorgio Locatelli is the Batali equivalent in London, Locanda Locatelli is his flagship, good the one time I went but expensive.

                Gastropubs - you should definitely sample as gastropub development in NYC is embryonic. Others have mentioned various places including Magdalen, Great Queen Street, Anchor & Hope, I'll suggest a couple of places from yesteryear and all away from the centre - The Salusbury (Queens Park), The House (Canonbury), The Hill (Belsize Park), each with a fashionable locals scene going on if that's of any interest. There's a new gastropub in my hood (Hampstead) called The Horseshoe which looks and sounds the part and which could be combined with a visit to a charmimgly located pub like the Holly Bush or the Wells and/or a walk around Hampstead Village/on Hampstead Heath. There's a gastroplace called Bacchus in Hoxton which I want to check out, some resonance with Degustation.

                Indian - take your pick from Eriki* (Swiss Cottage), Moti Mahal* (Covent Garden, more inventive), Tayyabs* (Whitechapel) or Gaylord (Oxford Circus). If you want some South Indian, hike up to NW London and check out Saravanas*, Vijays or Geetas, all cheap and cheerful.

                Trendy - seems to be dominated by upscale Japanese these days like Roka, Zuma and Umu*. I did lunch at Umu recently and it is very good food in stylish surroundings but it is way expensive especially in the evenings. Hakkasan is another option but I would suggest Yauatcha before this place (the guy behind these places is opening his first NY restaurant in the Gramercy Park Hotel at some point this summer). There's also Crazy Bear which I have heard mixed things about foodwise but it is very hip.

                Middle Eastern - one of London's strengths, I used to enjoy Cafe du Liban for Lebanese and Alounak for Iranian.

                Chinese new wave - you could try one out of Pearl Liang*, Bar Shu, Snazz Sichuan, Dragon Castle.

                Japanese/Sushi - not at NYC's level but some good options nevertheless which I have been exploring these last few weeks. Umu* I have mentioned but I would also give a special mention for Edokko* and Sakana tei* (sushi counter) and Soho Japan* (izakaya in a converted Irish pub, mainly Japanese clientele). There's also Abeno for okonomi-yaki which used to be a favourite.

                Deli/Picnics etc - a good suggestion from loisstella to take advantage of London's parks/greenspaces and maybe do some picnics. I would recommend strolling from Camden Town to Primrose Hill along the canal (Sardo Canale is a good Italian/Sardinian on the canal) and then up Gloucester Avenue (couple of gastros on this street = The Engineer and the Lansdowne), along Regents Park Road and into the park for the views. Hampstead Village I have already mentioned, Highgate is another option. A Gold (Spitalfields) and Melrose & Morgan (Primrose Hill) are good delis with a local produce slant.

                Market Streets - Whitecross Street, Broadway Market and Portobello Road all have good food stalls and worthwhile eateries nearby, you may need to check opening days. Columbia Road and Brick Lane have Sunday markets (morning only in the case of Columbia Road flower market) plenty of eating options around both.

                Smithfield - near my London office so a couple of recs namely Vinoteca* (winebar with excellent Mediterrean food and wines by the glass), Saki* (Japanese sushi+sake bar/izakaya), Kurz & Lang* (German wurst house), Piada* (Italian piadinas), both of the latter places do better than average coffee. Also De Santis, the London outpost of a Milanese panini place and the pan-Asian soup place next door (used to be called Soupacific, has now changed names).

                Let me know if you have follow up questions.

        2. You should definitely eat at one pub place with good, traditional food. Everyone seems to love the Anchor and Hope near Waterloo. We had a good lunch at 32 Great Queen St. the other week and being an ex-NYorker, I seem to still enjoy an interesting ambiance from time to time and like The Cinnamon Club for its atmosphere - and its food although not all agree with me on that. Eat what you can't find in NYC - that's the most fun of all.

          3 Replies
          1. re: zuriga1

            "Eat what you can't find in NYC - that's the most fun of all."


            zuriga - you really have to go try the bombay brasserie for lunch to get a sense of what real indian restaurant food is. or if you want to be in the cinn club area, go try quilon.

            1. re: howler

              Howler, I used to stay a block from the Bombay Brasserie before I finally moved here. A good friend took me to lunch there, but it was about 7 years ago, so I'm definitely due a return visit. This time, I will know what the different dishes are! We'll try to get to Quilon, too. I wish the train into London wasn't as expensive for two as it is. It adds a lot to the cost of an evening out!!

              zuriga (whinging as usual)

              1. re: howler

                I second Bombay Brasserie too and would not miss a dinner at Randa either.

            2. Some grerat British restaurants (continuing on the "Eat what you can't find in NYC - that's the most fun of all."theme, I guess you can find British food in NYC, but I guess it's more authentic here...)
              The Ambassador - Exmouth Market
              Lindsay house - Park Lane
              St John - St John Street (or St John bread & wine at spitalfields)

              If you're here in August, you should also have some lovely weather so I thought I'd give you some outside dining ideas too:
              Inn the park - St James park (not the best restuarant, but fabulous setting)
              Orrery - Marylebone - in this area is also a fantastic cheese shop called the Fromagerie, worth a vist, especially on a Sunday when ther's a lovely little farmers market.
              Daphne's in Camden is a really low key but nice enough Greek restaurant. It has a fabulously hidden little roof garden. I'd recommend going there.

              Breakfast: I'd recommend at Jamie Oliver's 15 restaurant. I wouldn't bother with another meal there but brekkie is not expensive and very good. My husband loves the fry up, I adore the muesli with fresh fruit.
              Lunch - ethnic - try Song que - Vietnamese on Kingsland road

              Great pub food - try
              The Pig's ear (also on your side of town)
              The Gun in the Docklands is becoming more and more popular, but for good reason I think.

              I am not an expert on trendy - but allthough Hakkasan has been aorund for a while, it's still looking pretty trendy to me, plus the food is great. Cocktails also very good and impressive champagne list.

              5 Replies
                1. re: jsmitty

                  We are in London from Toronto for 3 nights in August. We are very interested in this post - are staying in the Keningston Olympia area and are very interested in recommendations from all who have responded. Are particularly interested in any Turkish or Indian venues in the area. However, we are interested in any type of cuisine as we just like to eat well!! More suggestions??

                  1. re: jmlh

                    perhaps we can all get a drink:)

                    1. re: jsmitty

                      I'm on for the drinks!
                      I'm not great on the Indian front but know some people on this board that are...
                      Have a look at recent UK posts on the board, I started one on Southern Indian cooking and got some very good tips.
                      Good Turkish places are mostly found in the North and East parts of town (because it makes up a good part of the population there), but West-ish I think worth mentioning are:
                      Ishtar in the Marylebone area
                      Best Mangal on the North End Road (near Earls court)

                    2. re: jmlh

                      If your staying in Kensington Olympia; make sure you eat at The Havelock Tavern in Brook Green. It is one of the top gastropubs in London. Accept only cash, no credit cards. Wonderful menu whch changes daily

                2. not to pat myself on the back but my recent post may help you figure out whats good from a nyer's perspective...with real prices to boot.


                  1 Reply