London - with kids, reccos?
We're travelling to London in a few weeks, with an 8 and almost 4 yo in tow. Staying in Knightsbridge area, although will be touring during the day. Would love reccos for places OK to take kids for:
dinner (staying close to home, I think, and on the earlier side)
Any cuisine welcome, they tend to rise to the occasion and we like good food. We know we want to eat fish and chips, would love some good picnic- and kitchen-stocking suggestions (we have a flat), would also be pleased to know about typically Brit, dim sum, Indian, and/or fun atmosphere. Another way to put it: we'd love to know about any you-can't-get-it-here-in-Boston spots.
I sent this website to my son about a year ago when they were going to be staying in London for a week. It might give you some ideas or places to ask us about. All the kids I've ever taken to Belgo Centraal (on that list) have enjoyed it. If you go early, it's a real bargain, and I think kids may even eat for free if they're under 12. The food is quite decent, especially the moules and the frites.
re: Splendid Spatula
I'm originally from the NYC area, and a year ago took some sophisticated cousins and 12 year old son to Belgo. The entire family seemed happy. The waiters dress as monks... hardly common in Boston or NYC. :-) It's a fun place. Some of the chains in London are surprisingly worthwhile and consistent. I liked Tas, which has a Turkish menu and I think there are a few that are geared for children. Chnatown is always fun, too.
Belgo is nice and a good place for lunch as they have a good offer on - £7.50 for a main and a drink.
Might try Ottolenghi, they have lovely salads and always interesting food on offer.
You might find that with kids in tow, that Fortnum and Mason would be a good for afternoon tea. I don't know of any of the hotels that do a special "children's menu", and F&M would be quite a lot less formal.
Not a comprehensive list, but some things that are way better here than Boston:
Lebanese - Ishbilla or Alwaha
Persian - Mohsen for mixed grill, mezze e.g. kookoo sabzi, daily specials
Cantonese - Gold Mine for the roast meat trinity: cha siu, roast duck and roast pork belly
Modern Cantonese - Haozhan in Chinatown (nothing like that at all in Boston)
Singaporean/Malaysian - Sedap for outstanding Peranakan curries, any dish with sambal, the main courses meant to be eaten with rice are excellent and more satisfying than the hawker dishes, although the cha kuay teow is good. Be sure to gert the nyonah kueh for dessert (never saw that in the US).
Cheese - some places with good cheese plates, go for raw milk stuff that's illegal in the US, British Cheeses are underrated and worth getting if you see something you never saw at Whole Foods (which sells Neals Yard Cheese): National Dining Rooms at the National Gallery (all Brit cheese selection, extensive and well conditions, also very good and inexpensive British cooking); La Fromagerie; Vivat Bacchus (I can only speak to the London Bridge branch that has a dedicated cheese room, not sure about the Clerkenwell branch).
Tea - if you want a classic tea time with excellent renditions of the standards, I really like Brumus.
Japanese - Tosa is a serious yakitori-ya, great if limited selection of grilled skewers of various chicken parts and other meats and veg. Shiso maki (pork and shiso) is totally worth the trip. Asakusa is an amazing and amazingly inexpensive izakaya, with particularly good korroke.
Indian - Sadya (Keralan, in Balham); Ragam (also Keralan, good dosa).
To rest your feet around Picadilly, I'd consider La Maison du Chocolat or the neighbouring Minamoto Kichoan. The latter is a wagashi (Japanese sweets) store. Sells pretty imported stuff, that is good not great, but not a bad deal when you can get some mochi and a tea for £2 in a very pleasant environment (skp the matcha upgrade, as the matcha is a little clumpy and not dispersed properly).
Crepes - Breton style buckwheat crepes at Marylebone Creperie; there's a Kensington branch too. Don't know if the crepe stall at Exmouth market is still there on Fridays at lunch, but worth going if it is.
I have two kids as well, and I have taken them to all of the below places with good results.
Ottolenghi is wonderful. Your kids will delight with the pastry selection. They also do takeaway, so you could get a meal from here for a picnic or dinner at your flat.
Royal China at #11 Baker Street is wonderful for Dim Sum.
Tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace. The setting is what makes this place so special, especially on a sunny day. You can tie this in with a visit to Kensington Gardens and The Princess Diana Memorial playground if you like.
I like the Golden Hind for fish & chips. Has a bit more space inside than your standard chippie, so it is a good place to rest your feet if you are at Regent's Park. The proprietor is very friendly and welcoming towards the little ones.
For dinner, Boxwood Cafe is a Gordon Ramsay restaurant at the Berkley hotel that is kid friendly (if you go for lunch or an early dinner, of course).
Waitrose is a good grocery store to stock up on supplies for your flat.
I definitely recommend you seek out some Turkish places as well. All the ones I am familiar with are not in your neck of the woods, so I'll defer to the others.
Also, do be sure to seek out some cheese. La Fromagerie on Marleybone High Street (just down from the Golden Hind) is excellent, as is Neal's Yard at Covent Garden.
Go wander around Borough Market. It is amazing.
Have a wonderful trip!
re: Splendid Spatula
You're very welcome. BTW, if you're willing to travel far, go to Chez Liline, on Stroud Green Road near Finsbury Park tube. Seafood cooked with impeccable classical French technique with Mauritian, Indian, Chinese and SE Asian influences (not all in one dish :) ). It's very fusiony, but their strong fundamentals makes the dishes taste like they have been around for ages.