[London] Picadilly Circus/Leicester Square area?
I'm staying in the Picadilly Circus/Leicester Square for the next month while I look for permanent housing and would love some recommendations.
Am looking for the following:
--any great restaurants, I like all kinds of cuisines
--places I'd feel comfortable eating alone
--somewhere nearby that I can do a little grocery shopping
I just moved here this week and would appreciate any suggestions.
For a glass of wine and a bite to eat, I'd go to the Cork and Bottle, which is practically on Leicester Square but tucked away in a basement. My other favourite bar in that area is Le Beaujolais, off Charing Cross Road on Litchfield Street.
For food you're spoilt for choice in that area really. In Chinatown I really rate Haozhan, and lots of people on these boards have had good things to say about Leong's Legend.
If you head up Charing Cross Road towards Tottenham Court Road, you'll find a great little bistro on Denmark Street called The Giaconda Dining Rooms. It's pretty new but I really liked the meal I had there.
For Indian, Chowki isn't bad. It's on Denman Street, just off Shaftesbury Avenue.
For groceries, head up to Berwick Street market or visit the Italian delis on Old Compton Street in Soho (Camisa) and Brewer Street (Lina Stores). There's a Japanese supermarket on Brewer Street as well, and a branch of Fresh and Wild. I'm not sure about supermarkets in that area, but there's a small one on Berwick Street. And there's Chinatown as well, obviously.
If you walk towards Covent Garden from Leicester Square (not far at all), you'll come to an area full of good places. On Great Queen St. is another board favorite, 32 Great Queen St. (modern British) or Moti Mahal for Indian. There's a nice vegetarian spot, Food For Thought and I like Belgo (on Endell, I think) for good roast chicken, moules, frites etc. but go early as it gets very crowded for dinner. It's also a bit frenetic and noisy but nice with a group or for lunch, too. I wish I lived as close as you do to Chinatown!!
That's a great place to stay - you can walk to Marylebone, Covent Garden, Holborn, etc, so you're spoiled for choice. I'm not sure what your budget is like but you might consider some of these:
Tierra Brindisa - the new sister to the original Tapas Brindisa in Borough Market. It's pretty new but reports so far are good. http://www.london-eating.co.uk/35048.htm
For lunch / snacks / breakfast, you could try Fernandez & Wells. (The cafe is on Lexington St and the coffee bar is on Beak St).
I like Patara on Greek St for Thai food. Not cheap but a lovely tranquil place. Quite quiet at lunch and early evening. http://www.london-eating.co.uk/5931.htm
Head to See Woo on Lisle St for South East Asian food and reasonably priced woks, cleavers, steamers, etc. Also try New Loon Moon Supermarket on Gerrard St - they have a good selection of Asian veg and specialities like kaffir limes, pandan leaves, and Malaysian and Indonesian ingredients. There are larger regular supermarkets on Tottenham Court Road.
There are so many good eats within walking distance of where you're staying - I'll post again when I think of them!
Welcome to London :)
I second Abeno Too! (Japanese pancakes/okonomikayi.) Love it there. You'd definitely feel comfortable alone because it's mostly a sit-at-the-counter kind of place.
I did a post re: "Where to eat around Leicester Square" last year...there are some GREAT comments on the post that you might find useful
(I tried Cork & Bottle and thought it was pretty average. And dirty.)