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Six days in London

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Looking ofr really good food that will not tatally break the bank. We like places such as Chez Panisse Cafe, and Union Square Cafe and Casa Mono in New York.

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  1. London is massive, where are you staying?

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    1. re: smartie

      Park Lane Marriott, east end of Hyde Park.

    2. With the Pound in excess of $2 I limit myself to eating on the cheap most of the time, especially since I travel alone.
      My top recommendation is a place called Maoz, whose specialty is the Middle Eastern dish falafel. They make it into an outstanding pita sandwich or salad. Multiple locations-my favorite on Old Compton Street. You order your food at the counter, garnish it yourself at the lusious condiment bar, then find a seat and enjoy.
      Another goody is Nando's. It is a grilled chicken joint where you order your meat according to the desired spiceyness. Their Peri-Peri sauce is sooo good. Again, multiple locations. At this place you are seated, then you go to the counter and order, then get your own drinks (they have an ICE machine!!), silverware, and select a sauce or two to slather on your order. The food is brought to your table. I usually order my chicken "hot". Tried "extra hot", but that was a pinch too much heat for me.
      Lastly, almost any Indian restaurant. I love curry and these place tend to be pretty reasonably priced. Since there are so many variations of Indian food, many times I go to buffetts so I can sample.

      1. I would say to stay with ethnic as much as you can. The best meals I ate in London last summer were Indian, Moroccan, and Italian. As I was on a business trip, I had a limit of 25 pounds per dinner and easily came in under that number. The WORST meals were fish and chips in a pub and a nicer restaurant--the fish was very obviously frozen prebattered product. Get recommendations for f&c from a local or from the board if you need to have the experience.

        For a really cheap lunch fast food type experience, Pret a Manger is quite decent.

        Last, remember that ice apparently forms at a different temperature in England than in the US :) That which is advertised as "ice cold", i.e. water, pop, will almost inevitably be only somewhat cool.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coney with everything

          lol, as a brit living 20 miles from london that raised a smile, so very true.

        2. Best general advice I can offer is to order yourself (from Amazon) a copy of the "Good Food Guide". Published by the not-for-profit Consumers Association - it's been THE guide for good British restaurants for many years. Based entirely on readers reviews, followed up by professional inspections. It'll give you a good overview of many places in the London area (and the rest of the country), including price guidelines and help you to plan where you might eat.

          If you can't get one from Amazon on your side of the pond, buy one from any decent bookshop once you arrive over here.

          Don't confuse this with another publication the "Good Pub Guide" which is commercially published.

          When you're looking at costs, bear in mind that many restaurants will add a service charge of between 10 - 15% on to the bill. A further tip is NOT required. If no service charge, then a 10% tip is perfectly fine in the UK.

          1. I enjoyed J Sheeky's in covent garden for good fish and chips in cozy surroundings - Approx. 60 dollars with bottle of water and beer.
            Tamarind - in Mayfair for lunch was a very good deal - I think 3 courses for 20 pounds. (okay, so it's expensive but a nice (michelin starred) restaurant with good creative Indian food.
            Heard great things about Anchor and Hope gastropub - but I didn't make it there. It looked cute though, when I passed by.

            Sorry those aren't exactly equivalents of what you listed, but I still think you'd enjoy them.
            I'd stick with the more expensive (Michelin type) options for lunch - prix fixe are always better deals than dinner. I recall them being in the neighborhood of $40-50 generally. I remember noticing that when researching my restaurants. Stick with more ethnic eats or gastropubs for dinner and avoid "Chinatown"!

            3 Replies
            1. re: kayonyc

              you have Hard Rock Cafe pretty close - it's the original and still ok.

              any Indian restaurant you find should be good, they are not usually expensive although London is all round as it feels like double the price for the dollar.

              I agree Pret A manger make great sandwiches for lunch on the fly.

              you have Langan's very close - it's kinda pricey but worth one visit.

              walk into soho (not chinatown) there you will find plenty of Italian coffee shops and restaurants.

              also Lancaster Gate and Queensway area is full of good greek restaurants and Indians. I havent been to Kahns in a few years as I now live in the US but it's a national institution if you like curry.

              1. re: smartie

                This is a really common question... check the Board going back a few weeks and you'll pick up loads of tips.

                Don't buy the Good Food Guide, Hardens is much better and Time Out's Cheap Eats guide is also pretty good... Lunch or early evening prix fixe menus really are the best way to sample the best restaurants at a reasonable price.

                Near to you are Galvins for very traditional very well cooked French bistro cooking, and Royal China (some of the best dim sum in London) - both on Baker St. Orrery isn't far from you either, on Marylebone High St, for a more upmarket (and very good food) experience. If you're interested in food generally, drop into La Fromagerie and Ginger Pig (just off the High St). Anchor and Hope is indeed excellent - but it's closed Monday and there's no booking. Burgers should be avoided - especially Hard Rock Cafe - although the Gourmet Burger King chain ain't bad. Otherwise Indian and Chinese are your best bet for value for money. Happy grazing...

                1. re: SpikeyD

                  I only visit London as a tourist and haven't heard of the Harden Guide.

                  But, if folk who are London based say it's better than the GFG, then it will be.

                  John