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Comfortable but really delicious London restaurants?

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My family (Mom, Dad, and 2 early-20s daughters) will be in London from Dec 27 to Jan 4. We realize that, unfortunately, it'll be hard to find somewhere to eat for New Years, but I'm hoping that our fellow Chowhounders might be able to give us some tips for other Days!

We're a family of huge foodies, willing to try almost anything. However, some of us would prefer restaurants that aren't super-duper fancy. In other words, those great, sometimes-hidden gems which have delicious food but which aren't overly pretentious--which knocks out many of the trendier places. They can be nice, of course, but we don't want to have to get completely gussied up every night just to eat. We're up for both lunch and dinner suggestions.

So: any great, not-*too*-fancy London gems?

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  1. I'm not sure what type of cuisine you're after, as you don't specify this. So I'll throw this into the pot to see if it's something you might be interested in. I like going to a large Greek restaurant called Vrisaki in north London, where you can have a six course meze for a really reasonable price - lots of seafood and meat after the initial numerous little dishes. It's down to earth and you don't have to dress up, but you'll have great food. The only thing is that it's not in central London. But I think it's worth the trip. Don't forget to book though.

    Vrisaki
    73 Myddleton Road
    London N22 8LZ
    Tel: 020 8889 8760

    Helen Yuet Ling Pang
    http://worldfoodieguide.wordpress.com

    9 Replies
    1. re: foodie guide

      can you recommend a great italian restaurant by chance? staying in Mayfair area. Don't want to spend over 125 for 2ppl.

      1. re: mmuch

        Sorry I can't really be of much help here. I haven't eaten at many Italian restaurants in London, and the last one I went to I certainly wouldn't recommend! But a couple of years ago, I went to Sardo on Grafton Way near Warren Street - great Sardinian food. There is a new branch - Sardo Canale in Camden, which I've not been to, but hear it's nice too.

        Helen Yuet Ling Pang
        http://worldfoodieguide.wordpress.com

        1. re: foodie guide

          Id second the rec for Sardo. Excellent food and very relaxed place.

        2. re: mmuch

          People seem to like the restaurants run by the Caldesi family. I'd definitely book a table in advance. Their London spot isn't far from Mayfair. Mr. Caldesi and his wife had a cooking program on TV here in the UK.

          If you want 'great,' then Locando Locatelli is superb but pricey.

          www.caldesi.com

          1. re: mmuch

            I think the pizza at Spaccanapoli is probably the best in the West End. It's on Dean St, near Oxford St. Great antipasto as well. Ask for the special menu -- they serve pizzas by the 1/4 m -- so for 4 you can order 1m of pizza, which is a good way to share different types of pies.

            1. re: mmuch

              Great Italian?

              Passione on Charlotte Street.

              http://www.passione.co.uk/home.php3

              For me, a 400 mile round trip by train and a hotel overnight. The second furthest I've ever travelled specifically for a meal. Worth every penny.

              John

            2. re: foodie guide

              Guisto's on Blandford St. Newly re-openend Italian. Food is great - the staff are attentive and complete foodie's too. Great prices.
              Try Tom's Kitchen in Chelsea too.

              1. re: fifi

                I have to disagree about Tom's Kitchen

                I had one of the worst meals I can remember there yesterday. Just awful, lazy food at nosebleed inducing prices.

                http://majbros.blogspot.com/2007/12/t...

                One place I have enjoyed while being back in London for a while was MARKET on Camden Parkway as sort of Hix Meets Henderson approach.

                http://majbros.blogspot.com/2007/12/m...

                S

                1. re: Simon Majumdar

                  Sorry to be trite, but... a picture tells a thousand words. Yikes... even I make food that looks better than what you were served. Did you complain to the management? I hope everyone reads your blogs and peeks at the pics.

            3. I just remembered Galvin Brothers - Baker St. I don't think you can go wrong eating there. French food - well prepared.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zuriga1

                Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with the Galvin Bistrot de Luxe recommendation - comforting and relaxing, great service, and most importantly, delicious simple food. I was really happy when I went there (as opposed to being stressed about something or other). I could have stayed there all evening...

                Helen Yuet Ling Pang
                http://worldfoodieguide.wordpress.com

              2. I've only been once, but I really liked the Rivington Grill - it's not formal and does delicious food - it's traditional English food, fabulous bread and the best lamb chops I've ever tasted.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Theresa

                  go to barrafina in soho and have the suckling pig. (see seperate thread). Yum. And don't forget to head to the east end for a curry..Tayyab's seems to be the place to go.

                  1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

                    Steak Pie, The Guinea, Bruton Place