Montreal chowhounders in Bloomsbury for a month-a few recs? [London]
Hiya, we're two chowhounders in London for the month. Last year we were in Finsbury Parc and you all were so generous with your advice and recommendations. Was hoping for the same this year...we are staying more centrally, on Bloomsbury street near New Oxford Road--already know good places in Soho but if there are some options in Bloomsbury itself i'd like to explore the area. Looking for A) great espresso, B) nice sandwich/lunchy type places, C) some 10 pound dinner options, D) a place to take the parents when they come to visit. Any other advice would also be much appreciated and reciprocated should you happen to be in Montreal. Thanks!
Bloomsbury itself doesn't have a huge range of great places to eat but is a short walk to Covent Garden where you could head to Great Queen St (head west along New Oxford St towards Oxford St and left down Charing Cross Road). Also in that area is Giaconda Dining Room which would be good for lunch or a relatively cheap dinner option (but more than £10). There's a great Korean place (I forget its name) just of New Oxford St which has been mentioned elsewhere on the board which could be another cheap dinner option.
And try to get to the Princess Louise pub on High Holborn - a beautiful pub full of history, good for a pint.
It's a lovely area (I used to live on New Oxford St) but food-wise I always used to head into Soho or Holborn. However, for breakfast or lunch you *must* try Bea's of Bloomsbury on Theobald's Road. Everything is fresh and homemade - wonderful coffee, cakes, soups, huge sourdough sandwiches, etc.
On Museum St, Abeno does good okonomiyaki. Quite reasonable too.
You can get very good coffee at Wild & Wood on New Oxford St.
You can eat well at Tsunami on Goodge St (Japanese).
It's worth crossing Tottenham Court Road to explore Fitzrovia, especially Goodge St, Charlotte St, Cleveland St (especially Ragam - http://www.london-eating.co.uk/5420.htm). For more South Indian, there's a new branch of Sagar on Percy St.
I'm sure there must be more in Bloomsbury - I'll have a think and report back!
For lunch (B) - get the Lanzhou-style hand pulled noodles at Noodle Bar on Cranbourne Street in Covent Garden.
For dinner with parents (D) - Kikuchi for refined izakaya food.
On B, you might try Kennards on Lamb's Conduit Street--a lovely delicatessen. I'm guessing that you don't happen to have a child with you (?!), but if you do you should also try the Austrian Kipferl cafe in Coram Fields. http://www.kipferl.co.uk
V. good tarts, small open sandwiches, etc. Good but very mliky coffee--I usually ask for an extra shot. I haven't tried the cafe in the Foundling Museum for food, but the cakes are homemade and look excellent.
If you like tapas/ Spanish, there are two good options in the area. The Norfolk Arms is a beautiful, gussied-up old pub on Leigh Street. The cooking can be a bit variable, but the quality of ingredients is high--keep it simple with big plates of cheese, ham etc. Opposite is the very popular North Sea fish restaurant, which would be a good choice for a traditional fish and chip supper in a sit-down restaurant.
Cigala, also on Lamb's Conduit St, is an old favorite. Have recently enjoyed sweet chicken livers with sherry and a lovely rich black pudding with a fried egg. They also have excellent hard-crusted slightly sour bread--very moreish dipped in good house olive oil. Portions are fairly small, so you might want to fill up on this, or make it a special occasion meal. Ciao Bella on the same street (worth a walk, anyway) is a very popular, traditional, Italian/pizzeria. Stick to the pizzas and Calzones, or the simpler pasta dishes, and you'll be happily fed for less than 10 pounds.
I live in Bloomsbury and here are our local favorites - many mentioned already:
A) Wild and Wood on New Oxford St. for best espresso in the area. Also worth mentioning:
The LRB Cakeshop
Fleet River Bakery behind Holborn station
The Espresso Room on Great Ormond st which just opened a couple weeks ago
B) LRB Cakeshop is our top choice although its often crowded. Bea's isnt bad. Not much else really. Wild and Wood has some sandwiches and pastries as well.
C) Not sure there's anything I would recommend for less than 10. Some good value places include Abeno on Museum St. as well as a French restaurant - Savoir Faire. A decent pub meal can be had at either the Lamb or the Perseverance on Lamb's Conduit.
D) I'd head into nice places in Covent Garden and Soho or Fitzrovia nearby as we do. Otherwise, maybe Konstam in the north or Hakkasan just past Tottenham court rd in the West.
For £10 (or less) meals try the row of Korean restaurants in St Giles High Street, just behind Centrepoint, or Busaba Eathai for decent mostly-Thai food in Store Street.
Hakkasan is expensive but spectacular - but you can do dim sum and cocktails for lunch for about £20 a head. A lovely place for a parent-impressing meal. Or cross Tottenham Court Road and go for the set meal at Latium: really good Italian, set meal under £30.
I second the vote for the LRB cafe: good coffee and cakes, plus an interesting range of teas. And the bookshop is fantastic.