Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Mar 24, 2010 12:19 PM

London - 5 days. Single. Near Tower Bridge but willing to explore.

Hi everyone,

First time posting on chowhound even though I've read a lot of posts.

I will be going to London for the 2nd time for a conference. Unfortunately, this time, my partner won't be coming with me, so I feel like I won't have fun going to the places I went the last time. For 3 days I will need to be around the Tower Bridge area, but the other 2 days I am free to wander.

I'm looking for places to eat that's good for someone who is dining alone, and at reasonable budgets, 5-15 pounds. I'm definately looking for a "London experience," like the best fish and chips within a 30 min radius, afternoon tea, pub food, etc, but I'm rather naive and willing to schooled about other foods.

I'm reluctant to try Indian, Thai, or Chinese, since I get good options on those where I live. If it's really good and "you can only get this in London," however, I'd definately like to hear.

Thanks in advance for advice!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)

    Amazing Sunday roast - may be slightly out of budget, but does an amazing chicken. I'm new to London but if I've found a 'London experience' it is Sunday pub lunch (they call it Sunday dinner). of all I've tried this is the best.

    Also - there's a guy who does Casoulet at Borough Market - London Bridge Tube, won't miss it. Really awesome and a nice way to spend a food morning.

    Also the street food at Camden Lock in Camden Town is really fun.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

      I can second the above recommendation re the cassoulet from Borough Market. I work near the market and this cassoulet has become my regular Friday lunch.

      1. re: souljacker

        Can you tell me exactly where to find the cassoulet people? My son's in town and probably headed to Borough Market tomorrow. It would really help to know the location as he won't have a clue. :-)

        1. re: zuriga1

          Sure, they are close to the entrance off Stoney St. The name of the stall is Le Marché du Quartier, opposite the Ginger Pig. They are there selling the cassoulet every Thursday and Friday, so I assume they are selling it on Saturdays as well.

          1. re: souljacker

            Thanks very much. I know that place but must have ignored the cassoulet!

    2. Easy to eat (I can't use the word 'dine') at Master's Superfish near Waterloo for excellent Fish and Chips within your budget. I've eaten there alone and never minded it at all... no ambiance but delicious London experience. Just hop on the Tube to Waterloo and find your way in 5-10 minute walk.

      2 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        I second Masters superfish
        it is 10/10 in my opinion
        I have recommended it to many and all have loved it

        1. re: scranchav

          Yes, I think it's a 'real' restaurant and worth a trip from anywhere. Which reminds me that I haven't been there in a long time and friends are coming to London this week that I haven't seen in years. Maybe we should make a pilgrimage.

      2. If you're from North America, you really should try Indian food while you're in London as it really is part of the British culinary experience, and probably quite different to what you're used to. In East London, there's Tayyabs (which gets mixed reviews but is renowned for its lamb chops), Needoo Grill and Lahore Kebab House. The Tayyab's thread currently running is worth a look for differing opinions on these options.

        The Eagle is the original gastropub, but there are loads of other options. Limster really liked the Princess Victoria in Shepherd's Bush, which is a bit of a trek for you. I like the Bull and Last in Hampstead/Highgate, which has the advantage of being near one of London's great green spaces. £5-15 won't buy you that much in a gastropub in London though, I'm afraid to say.

        6 Replies
        1. re: greedygirl

          I agree with greedygirl. There is a huge range of South Asian food here, so no matter where you are coming from I think it'd be a mistake to eliminate it completely (I suppose the exception might be if you live or frequently travel to South Asia).

          Where are you visiting from? Sometimes it is helpful to know that in order to make suggestions?

          1. re: Dave MP

            I'm from San Francisco. I will definately follow your suggestion and try Indian food there. 5 days is a lot of meals so I can try a bit of everything. Also the £5-15 budget is a target more than a limit (just trying to illustrate that I'd mostly like good, everyday food rather than fancy dining places), so I have no problem going significantly higher. I certainly want to hit a gastropub, a couple of fish & chip places, other beer vendors, and I'm open to any other ideas.

            I think San Francisco does well with Asian/Indian food, but not so well with having other European options. There's lots of Med/French/Italian/Spanish, but as an example, compared to the East Coast, there's less German, not many Belgian waffles, or such. So that was the reason for my initial reluctance, but really I'm willing to try anything.

            The last time I went to London, I ate at a lot of sit-down/fine-dining restaurants, and did a lot of neighboorhood walking. This time I suppose I'll put more time into the museums, so that might anchor me to a certain location (British Museum).

            1. re: krickett

              I recently moved here from SF. If you're here on Sunday, check out the Sunday Upmarket in Shoreditch. You'll be surrounded by the same twee hipsters from back home, but the food options on the eastern side of the market are superb. If you can find them, the stall with caribbean food is worth the trip. Also good are the ethiopian, malaysian and tibetan options.

              On that note, I never was able to find good, cheap malaysian food in SF, but if you're in the Portobello Road area, Makan (under the bridge) is worth a visit.

              1. re: souhaite

                Just out of curiosity, do you find the Indian (what we here have been taught by howler to call 'sub-continent) is much better than what you experienced in San Fran?

                1. re: zuriga1

                  krickett, just south of the river near tower bridge is borough market, which is essential imo. i'd recommend brindisa, the tapas joint there. if you avoid the luxury ingredients (and the upper end of the wine list) you can easily eat there within your budget. note they don't take bookings though, so get there at the earlier end of service, stick your name down on the wait list (if needs be) and have a good potter round the market in the interim.

                  if you then stay on the thames path, heading west, yet still walkable, you'll come to the swan theatre and its associated restaurant. mark sargeant, ex gordon ramsey, has recently become executive chef there and the heavily accented british food in both the brasserie and bar are now excellent. the venue offers a cracking view of the thames as well as boasting rather lovely decor, the brasserie in particular.

                  finally, the anchor & hope further along at waterloo also offer a very good british gastro-pub experience, but note, they too don't take bookings, it's first come, first served.

                  happy eating!

                  1. re: marcus james

                    I went to Anchor & Hope (it seemed less troublesome to get to than the Eagle from where I was), and it was great! The main course, (gloucester ham ?) was too salty, and the greens were old, but the ales and appetizer (cod roe on toast with creme fraiche) were *amazing*. The people were very friendly too, I ended up chatting quite a bit with the neighbors.

                    Tomorrow will be Borough Market in the morning (the people at Anchor & Hope suggested I get there early) and I'll shoot for Fish & Chips or Indian in the evening. I have the suggestions scribbled down.

        2. no visit to london is complete without trying
          Pie & Mash & Liquor
          the real cockney food alongside whitebait and stewd eelsand in the old days oysters!
          the best Pie & Mash in my opinion is Maureens in chrisp st market down east india dock rd very near to all saints station
          don't be put off by the licquor, it is simply parsley sauce
          the stewed eels are delicious too