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Restaurant Recommendations - Edinburgh & London

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I am traveling to the UK with my parents in September and would love to get some great restaurant recommendations (favorites, best new, must-tries). I lived in London in 2002 but I wasn't as much of a food person back then.

I am especially interested in restaurants in Edinburgh and the Kensington area of London. This is where I lived and where we will be staying and I only remember Da Mario's and a pub called Angels Arms (I think). And...the Pizza Hut on high street.

I'd love to hear about...

- Best pubs (both with traditional and non traditional fare).
- Best Indian.
- Best desserts.
- Best COFFEE, especially in the Kensington area.
- Best bars for an afternoon drink.
- Favorite new restaurants.
- Must-visit restaurants.
- Restaurants that do fish really, really well (including sushi).
- Spanish (tapas).
- Traditional English.

Also, any super popular places that should be avoided either because they are over-hyped, not worth the money or tourist traps (basically the equivalent of Magnolia in NYC).

I do know of the River Cafe and would be curious to hear of people's experiences. I begged my parents to try The Fat Duck (we're traveling down from Scotland to London) but it's quite a ways out of their budget (and mine, really).

I am really open to any cuisine, although I am far more of a food person than my parents, both in terms of experimentation and cost. On that note, recommendations for grocery stores and food shops would also be appreciated as we're renting an apartment and will have a kitchen.

Thanks!

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  1. Folks here could write a treatise or book answering all the questions you're asking. :-) As for food shopping, there is a huge Whole Foods on Kensington High St. Locals will know of other good spots. Instead of going to The Fat Duck, head for The Hinds Head pub - owned by Blumenthal and offering very good pub fare that's probably affordable.

    In Kensington/Notting Hill... Launceston Place, The Ledbury and Min Jiang for excellent Chinese food, including dim sum.

    Tapas... Brindisa at the Borough Market - go early to get a table (noon or a bit before).

    1. Try the White Horse in Parson's Green -- great selection of beers (including some aged Belgians), and well made but unfussy food.

      1. Good gastropubs that I've been to recently are The Harwood Arms in Fulham (so near Kensington) - beautifully executed modern British food using top quality ingredients. Highly recommended and it was full on a cold Monday night in January so reserve ahead. I also really enjoyed the Bull and Last in Kentish Town/Highgate - close to Hampstead Heath if you fancy checking out one of London's great open spaces.

        1. Definitely go to The Dogs in Edinburgh - I had such a great lunch there I tried to go back for dinner the very same night but unfortunately it was all booked. It's the upstairs restaurant that you want. http://www.thedogsonline.co.uk - you can see a sample day and evening menu. very reasonable - British/Scottish - extremely good

          1. Pubs - echo the Harwood Arms (near you) and Bull and Last (not). They'd like the Grenadier too in Knightsbridge tucked away on a mews, and the Nag's Head too, google'em. Both olde worlde, but not too theme parky, the former actually serves decent food and their Sunday morning Bloody Marys are a thing of beauty, not to mention 'sausage on a stick', which does what it says on the tin.

            Posh but affordable fare - Ledbury and Launceston Place as mentioned elsewhere, especially if you lunch rather than dine. Cambio del Tercio has a big fan base for west London tapas, though I am quite content with Barrafina and Saltyard in town.

            My current favourite is Terroirs by Charing Cross (so an easy skip for you on the Tube) - lovely French wine bar come small plates joint. Or Bocca di Lupo which is the same but Italian. Would really work if you're with your parents and can share a few plates between the three of you.