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Sep 16, 2007 05:26 AM

London Eats (moved from International)

I'm traveling to London in February with my 14 year old son. He's a vegetarian. We'll be on a budget of sorts. Any recommendations? I believe we are staying in the Kensington area but will also be hitting all the tourist sites during the day. Also - dumb question since i have yet to start my homework - are they using the EURO in the U.K.?

Many thanks,


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  1. It's not a dumb question - the UK is part of the EU, but...thank goodness - no Euros in the UK. We use the ££££. I think you'll find lots of restaurant suggestions (vegetarian included) if you use the search box above. It shouldn't be difficult keeping your son happy and you, too. There's a small, good vegetarian place near Covent Garden - it's called Food for Thought. Does your son eat fish?

    1. London turns out to be much more conscious of vegetarian diets than any American city. Most places will clearly market with "V" dishes suitable for vegetarians and offer at least one, often more, such options in each section. As far as I"m concerned (and I'm a vegetarian) no particular effort need be made to find good vegetarian options per se (with the exception of avoiding French restaurants). You should just concern yourself with what kind of dining you would like to do while in London and the vegetarian bit will sort itself out. These posts or any food guide will point you to reasonable choices at different price ranges and in different locations. BB

      10 Replies
      1. re: bombaybeauty

        arre, tu kidhar hai?

        hey bb - have you tried the foul muqqala in ishbilya or beiteddine? broad beans, coriander, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic .... rivals any maharastrian/gujju dish for simplicity and utter depth.

        1. re: howler

          Must admit I've been lagging -- these have been atop my list of for the last several weeks, but the pile keeps getting taller and taller and the things being heaped on top tend to be of the stay-at-your-station variety. A call to arms that can't be ignored! Today or tomorrow. Will report back Friday at the latest! BB

          1. re: bombaybeauty

            It wasn't a promising start I have to tell you, as I was walking along Sloane Street, I momentarily thought you were sending me to my doom! First I tried Isbhilia, which I know you've recommended before. There they turned me down ("fully booked" while the house was empty -- didn't want do deal with a solo diner I suppose). But then i dropped in at Beiteddine, where they were much nicer. The muqqala was as advertised amazing. Indeed, just as you say, beans, lemon, oil, garlic. I took a little squeeze of fresh lemon on top -- fantastic. I also tried their Beiruty humos. In some ways this shows the quality of the place -- tried something that has been beaten to death and see how well they make it -- brilliantly! Such simplicity and subtlety of favors -- beguiling and deceptively simple. So thanks for the recommendation -- I've noticed you also recommend Green Valley as a place to shop -- will try that at some point as well. Do you have any Lebanese recommendations closer to Marylebone, which I pass through on my way back from work? Cheers, BB

            1. re: bombaybeauty

              at last! a desi who actually tries stuff out! good to have you around.

              and whats so gloom and doom about sloane street? its a pretty street, no?

              its worth it to go back to ishbilia - they do get fully booked in the sense that someone will block off tables for the night and then take their time showing up. you can always sit downstairs - its a bit gloomy, but theres usually always room. yb the way, the foul muqqala is even better at ishbilya. try the muhamarrah next time at either beiteddine or ishbilya - crushed nuts with olive oil, red peppers and chili - amazing!

              i think you'll get a blast out out of green valley for its ice creams and sweets (you've got to try the clotted cream fried sandwiched with fried a sev sorta thing called osmallieh, the large date and large walnut maamouls, mmm). also, the olives, the fresh halloumi cheese pizza or the zatar pizza, the good and cheap olive oil, the artichoke hearts, the rahib (its like our baingan bhartha, but mashed with olive oil, pepers, onion, garlic - are you hungry already).

              there is sadly very little good lebanese around marylebone station. or do you mean marylebone high street? there is actually a tiny place just south of wigmore street (no, not the levant) that is actually very, very good - i'll get back to you once i remember its name.

              1. re: howler

                Sloane is pretty, but I was anxious for my wallet - not being mugged but paying the price for being seduced by all the beautiful shops. Shop windows of this kind are so much more beautiful in London than NY. Glad to hear that Ishbilya can in fact get booked up. I'm not the paranoid type, but one does wonder sometimes. In any case, I'll make a return trip and pursue the muhamarrah.

                I've actually become addicted to halloumi since coming to London - the idea of fresh halloumi is very appealing. On the road now for a few weeks, but will follow up when I'm back.

                And indeed, something south of Wigmore would be optimal -- I pass that way twice daily.



                1. re: bombaybeauty

                  "Shop windows of this kind are so much more beautiful in London than NY"

                  indeed they are. as napoleon said, its a nation of shop keepers.

                  "And indeed, something south of Wigmore would be optimal -- I pass that way twice daily."

                  its called massis, and its on

                  28 James Street, London, W1U 1EW

                  small, but still excellent.

                  1. re: howler

                    Excellent -- thanks -- will report back in a couple of weeks when I'm back in town -- Cheers, BB

                    1. re: howler

                      Massis is certainly a good place as an alternative to the rubbish places around it in Oxford St, but I've found it can be variable quality - the last couple of times, I've had chips tasting of less than fresh oil...

                      1. re: SpikeyD

                        never had the chips there - but their taouk and toom is excellent. good motabel and hummus too.

                        in general, i've never found the chips in restaurants that great. they're easy to cook at home, and once you've made twice cooked fries at home you aint going back. top those with fried eggs and bacon ..... arrrrgh.

                        1. re: howler

                          I agree completely, but when you have a calorie conscious partner breathing down your neck, chip making becomes much more difficult. But my disappointment at Massis chips was the greater, because when they first opened, a few years ago now, they were some of the best I'd eaten, at least in London...

        2. There's a Hummus "bar" in Soho that's pretty good, but the name of it escapes me. Hummus Bros maybe?


          1 Reply
          1. re: TexasToast

            Yes, Hummus Bros is the place - tasty and very cheap too (David Schwimmer's favourite London restaurant apparently!).

          2. If you're in Soho try Mildred's in Lexington Street, which is an entirely veggie cafe, reasonably priced and very good ( ). It's tiny and crowded and fun, and both you and your son should have a great meal there.

            1. Thanks SO much to all who replied - I'm really looking forward to my trip now! And yes, my son eats fish...

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodie08

                If your son eats fish, then a better description for his diet (in the UK at least) is "pescetarian". The UK vegetarian society explicitly excludes fish from its definition of vegetarian, and our Trading Standards body also excludes it (informally at the moment, but it may become more formalised in the future).

                I'm not pointing this out in order to snark (my mum is a "vegetarian" who eats fish), but because if you ask for vegetarian food over here and then say fish is OK, it might cause confusion and possible unpleasantness. Note that not every place will understand "pescetarian", so it might just be better to say "no meat".

                1. re: foodie08

                  My husband and I tried Mildred's today as we were in the neighborhood. It's probably reasonably priced for London, but a bowl of soup (large one) and a small carmelised onion tart with two drinks cost us £14. I would have keeled over paying that much for same in the States. The food was tasty and the place *was* crowded and noisy as advertised but not offensively so. I did notice an eat all you can Thai place next door. The cost was £5.