Dining around S. Kensington - no fish & chips
We'll be in London next week, and need some restaurant recommendations - breakfast, lunch, &/or dinner. We're fairly adventurous, but don't need 5 star or name restaurants. I'm somewhat calorie conscious, and trying to avoid heavy/fried food.
First of all, avoid the Thai place that's right across from the Copthorne Tara; it's pretty nasty. You're right next to Kensington High street, which has a few decent options amidst all the chain places. Have some good Lebanese at Al-Dar, and be sure to drop by the new Whole Foods flagship (right near the tube station). The closest gastropub worth a visit is probably the Scarsdale, just south of the Odeon theater - good sandwiches, seafood, and salads. (It's about a 10 minute walk north of my place, though usually I prefer the Atlas, which is 10 minutes south... some of my friends like the Builders Arms not far from your hotel but I have no idea why)
These are all within 1km of your hotel; if you give yourself 2km you have additional options in Notting Hill, South Ken and Earls Court areas.
In Marylebone, on Lisson Grove, slightly northwest of Marylebone station (where they shot the opening of A Hard Day's Night), there is a fine fish restaurant called The Seashell: http://www.seashellrestaurant.co.uk/
For Tea, I recommend, Claridges: http://www.claridges.co.uk/restaurant...
For Kensington, Babylon at the Roof Gardens: http://www.roofgardens.com/restaurant...
For the best traditional British , Rules: http://www.rules.co.uk/
For History, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in the old city of London off Fleet Street.
And, chocolate, just in case - Charbonnel et Walker on Bond Street: http://www.charbonnel.co.uk/
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree re: Rules. It's good retro-fun, but there are far better traditional British meals in this town. I've been there 3 times and have yet to eat anything really memorable. (Plus, I think the OP was trying to avoid heavy food...)
Babylon and Claridges are probably more notable for the experience and views than for the food, too (especially on a value-for-£ basis). I've had tea at The Capital that was at least the equal of Claridge's for a somewhat less shocking price tag.
I'll agree with you on the other picks, though for a bit of history in the City, you shouldn't miss a seafood lunch at Sweetings...
Where in S. Ken will you be. Old Brompton Rd. is wealthy with some wonderful places to dine and many ethnicities. We love Cambio de Tercio, Lundum's a beautiful and romantic Danish restaurant, La Bouchee, Al Bustan, we have had some mighty tasty dining at Cafe Lazeeze it is not traditional Indian but evolved. Around the corner and up Bropmton Rd a bit is Patisserie Valerie great for a croissant and a big bowl of coffee. A little further up is Braserie St. Quentin.
You might pick up a copy of Harden's restaurant guide. It comes out every year and is pretty reliable. A good feature is the maps in the back showing which restaurants are in which neighborhoods.
Do try to get to Bombay Brasserie for their Sunday brunch. It is across the street from the Gloucester tube station. As you exit the station look to your right and it will be just across the street. It starts at 11:30 AM.
I second The Scarsdale for good pub food.
I also like Locando Ottomezzo for Italian.
The Churchill Arms for atmosphere; there's a Thai restaurant in the back--you will definitely need a reservation so have your hotel make you one a day or so in advance.
I third the Scarsdale. We used to go when we lived in the neighborhood. It also helps that I grew up in Scarsdale.