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Central London must eats

Hi everyone,

My husband and I will be spending a weekend in London in May. It's been a while since I've been there (I went to LSE for a year back in 2001) so I don't remember a lot of places to go to for good eats -- plus I was a poor college student. Are there some must eat places in London that are uniquely "London"? I say this because we've lived in NY for seven years and we live in Chicago now and we eat out a lot.... We basically work to eat and drink and we travel to... well... eat!

No dietary restrictions. Just want to know some of your favorites. We'll be staying with friends in Kensington, but we're mobile.

Thanks!

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  1. There's many other threads on the board along these lines, but a quick overview of my favourites:
    St John (either in Smithfields or Bread and Wine in Spitalfields) - great British 'nose to tail' dining
    Moro - fantastic Spanish/North African (consistently voted one of London's favourite restaurants, in Exmouth Market
    Giaconda Dining Room - great food for very reasonable prices in Covent Garden
    Trinity (in Clapham) - I think this is very underated (which is actaully a good thing maybe as it wont be too difficult to get a table) - really good cooking, great service
    Over West way you could check out Hereford Road in Notting Hill

    10 Replies
    1. re: pj26

      Second for the Giaconda, I had a great lunch there a couple weeks ago. The cod was very nice and fresh. It also very well priced.

      I know I recently suggested Ottolenghi, but it deserves another mention. I work nearby one branch and have been getting lunch there a couple times a week and am always really impressed, the salads are really tasty and imaginative. You can't do much better for a quick lunch on the go, or for a picnic in the nearby park. There is a branch in Kensington on Holland Street.

      Konstam is also worth considering - almost all of their food is sourced within the confines of the London Underground. Now, that is distinctly London.

      1. re: nanette

        That is very cool. Thank you for all your recommendations! Another question for you guys is do you know of a great place to get "street food"? For instance, there is an infamous Halal cart in NYC that has amazing food. Do you guys have any favorite "street meat" places? The other thing... I don't want to seem like a total tourist (but hey! I am!), but are there some really good fish and chip spots you particularly like?

        1. re: scout1

          Our street food is not so good, you'll be more likely to find stalls at a farmers market or a general market. Brick Lane on a Sunday in particular has a few stalls worth seeking out. I think Limster did a mega-post about pretty much all of the places there. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/522684 there.
          I like the Hammersmith farmers market on Thursday, but that's because it's local to me and easy to get to. I wouldn't go out of the way to go there, especially when you could visit Borough Market on a Thursday, but if you're in West London and fancy a nice roasted meat sandwich, it's the place to go.

          Fish and chips wise, the Golden Hind and Masters Super Fish are my top two. The latter is better though, in my opinion, because of the lunch deal (fish and chips and a drink for 7 pounds, with complimentary pickles, prawns and bread). Plus the chips are a lot better than at Golden Hind. Other places to think about depending on area are 'The Chippy', which has been getting good reviews lately and is in Soho (Poland St), Fryer's Delight in Holborn, Sea Shell on Lisson Grove in Marylebone.

          1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

            Just realised that you'll be in Kensington, so not far from Hammersmith, but I still wouldn't go there over Borough, unless you were doing something else in Hammersmith.

            1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

              don't bother with seashell fish and chips, it's very touristy now and not good

            2. re: scout1

              The place to go is definitely Borough Market. They have a website... and keep in mind that Friday and Saturday are their best days (limited opening on Thursdays). I'd suggest going as early as possible to avoid the crunch. You can have a terrific tapas lunch by getting to Brindisi about noon or a bit before or the different stalls have lots to choose from.

              1. re: zuriga1

                Limster has done a lot of write ups about the food at the Borough Market. I know there are more posts, but the search function seems to be broken this morning.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/463487

                I think there are two stalls that most people seem to go back to again and again - the melted cheese/raclette stall and the Brindisa stall.

                I also rather like the Burnt Sugar stall. They sell what the British consider to be fudge. It is tasty, and makes for a good gift to take back to people for only a couple £'s and you can't find it yet in America.

                1. re: nanette

                  I enjoyed the melted cheese sandwich but found it a bit too salty - but that's just me. I also enjoyed the salt beef sandwich at Borough... not exactly NY style but tasty. I like Burnt Sugar, too... will take some of their stuff back to the States in May for sure. I've decided I just enjoy eating. :-)

                2. re: zuriga1

                  Also, from 9-11 on Friday-Sunday (I believe), you can get an excellent Spanish breakfast at Brindisa.

                  There's a patisserie stall at Borough Market that has some excellent cannelles.

                  A meal not to be missed (thanks, Howler) is the prix-fixe lunch at Quilon, at Buckingham Gate, a fabulous Keralan restaurant run by the Taj Group. One of the best Indian meals I've ever had, and that includes 3 trips to India, at least 4 visits to London, and living in New York.

                  http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                  Ah, I now see this is a revived thread, too late for the OP.

              2. re: nanette

                I understand Ottolenghi now has four locations. Any thoughts on the one in Belgravia? It seems like a much smaller outpost than the other ones.

            3. I'll do my usual and recommend Maze. I don't remember anything quite like it in NYC. Lots of us also enjoy Ishbilia, which has very fine Lebanese food - it's near Harrods. London cuisine is truly multi-ethnic, including modern British. Corrigan's is very popular right now (he's a top chef). I like the interesting ambiance of The Cinnamon Club, plus their food is a different take on 'Indian.'

              I will be going to NYC next month. If you want to send me a few of your faves, I'd appreciate it. My email is at the personal page.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zuriga1

                These all sound great! I was especially intrigued by the recommendation to go to St. John. I love London and can't wait to re-visit it.