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Aug 18, 2009 11:49 AM

London Dining Itinerary

My wife and I will be visiting London for 8 nights and I wanted to solicit some feedback on what I've put together for our major meals. We'll plan out all of our dinners and some of our lunches, but we'll have some open days to eat whatever is convenient. Lunch will also probably consist primarily of something quick or different ethnic foods. We will be staying near Victoria Station so we'll have easy tube access and we're usually willing to travel to eat well.

Day 1- Arrive at 8am, plan to have lunch at Wild Honey, dinner at Giaconda Dining Room

Day 2- lunch is open, dinner at Arbutus (we'll be taking advantage of their pre-theater dinner before we catch a show). I know of the similarities between Wild Honey and Arbutus, but we enjoyed our meal at Arbutus in May and we like this style of food- it also works well as far as location goes for making it to the theater.

Day 3- maybe lunch at New Tayyabs, dinner is included in our lodging so for better or worse we'll be dining at The Library restaurant.

Day 4- lunch at L'Autre Pied, early dinner/snacks and wine at Terroirs before heading to the Theater. We've discussed going to Kettner's Champagne Bar after the show to enjoy a bottle of Champagne (I've read only poor reports on the food here so it will only be drinks).

Day 5- open lunch, dinner at Harwood Arms (probably the meal I'm looking forward to the most)

Day 6- Day trip to Paris- I love Paris and cannot be this close without spending some time there as I have no idea when my next chance will be to make to Europe.

Day 7 and Day 8 happen to be Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I'm not expecting to eat well and we'll probably seek out whatever is convenient (i.e. open) or dine in out hotel. Hopefully, we can find a comfortable pub to have a few pints and adequate food.

So, am I missing that cannot be missed (The Sportsman is out- my wife is a vegetarian and with the day trip to Paris we already have one trip)? I'm still debating having a high end meal (if I go this route, I'm leaning towards The Ledbury or The Greenhouse), but right now, I'm leaning against it. I'm also intrigued by Morgan M, but the restaurant's location and reports of it being in a relatively unsafe location make me (actually my wife) nervous. I'd appreciate any feedback as to my choices.

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  1. michaelstl ,

    Wild Honey and Arbutus, good solid choices.
    I can't say enough good things about the Harwood arms, almost faultless and I'm a picky so and so -just ask the GF.
    Can't really comment on the rest. There was a lot of buzz about Morgan M about 6 years ago, not so sure now. As for the location it is what some may consider the wrong part of Islington but I wouldn't let it put you off.
    I would recommend Medcalf, St John and Rules, but given your wife is a vegetarian perhaps not the best choice. Moro might be worth a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      Moro is very good and down to earth, but I'd also consider El Piratas de Tapas for a bit more finesse. I like the Ambassador more than Metcalf.

      For a vegetarian (or even a meat lover), a selection of mezze at Ishbilla should not be missed. I would also consider Quilon (upscale Keralan) or Ragam (downscale Keralan) for lunch, as there are ample vegetarian options that omnivores might choose over the meat options anyway.

      Seeing as you'd have your fill of French food in Paris, I would consider L'Anima for the high end meal, very elegant Italian cooking, and the pasta dishes ensure good vegetarian options. An alternative would be Kikuchi -- a highly refined izakaya -- the freshly made tofu is something I would definitely go back for.

    2. If you're doing the tourist thing, there's a new cafe/restaurant opened in St Paul's Cathedral which is getting good reviews. And if modern art is your bag, the Saatchi Gallery on the King's Road in Chelsea is worth a vist and also has a new café which is highly rated by Time Out. I haven't been to either of them though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        Michaelstl - your restaurant list sounds great and I am sure you will have a brilliant trip - you have clearly done your research. The Ledbury actually offers excellent value set price lunches which as a tourist who is not at work during the day you will be able to take advantage of.

        I would recommend Barrafina over El Pirata de Tapas if you want a more casual tapas style meal.

        For your day trip to Paris you should eat at Le Chateaubriand - amazing and very reasonably priced.

        1. re: Gourmet Chick

          Le Chateaubriand is actually on my list of possible places for lunch in Paris. I've read very good things about the cooking there and I undersand that the chef is very talented.

          I'll keep in mind The Ledbury for lunch. I had thought about this, but was leaning against it as I'd be afraid that we'd end up spending all day there (I have a hard time not ordering the largest tasting menu possible when going to places like the Ledbury). The lunch menu there is a steal though so I may have to make an exception.

      2. on xmas eve the options will be limited but there are often a few decent places open for lunch. last year i ate at galvins at windows and it was wonderful. we asked for a window seat when we arrived, had a few drinks in the bar and were called when a window table was free which was great.

        in previous years i have eaten at galvins in the evening (demob-happy service and quite a few missing dishes - lunch might be better) and the savoy (absolutely superb but currently closed for a refurb).

        i'd also be trying to sneak a barrafina meal in - you can't book so arrive as they open for lunch or an early supper.

        2 Replies
        1. re: abby d

          That is pretty much what I was expecting on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, we've already planned something during the day that will make it hard to have time to go out for a proper lunch.

          Barrafina is a place I'd read about and am keeping it in mind if we get tired of eating French and British cooking.

          1. re: michaelstl

            Morgan M is not located in one of the more chichi parts of Islington, but the area is perfectly safe in my experience (lived and worked round there for years). If you're really worried, take the tube to Highbury and Islington and it's no more than a five minute cab journey from there. They have a very good vegetarian tasting menu, so might be a good option for your wife.

        2. We've split off a Paris recommendation to the France Board -- It's here:

          1. actually, jamie oliver's restaurant , fifteen is open on christmas day with a christmas menu...give a call, maybe they will accept parties of 2....