Maida Vale [London]
I will be teaching in London this summer and will be living in Maida Vale. Not much on the board about the area--I'm wondering if anyone has some suggestions. I'm interested in good breakfast places (particularly with good coffee, which I know is difficult to find outside central London) and in inexpensive dinner spots (Italian and Indian cuisines would be great). Thanks for your help.
There are a few cafes and restaurants in Maida Vale, but it's really more a residential area. It really depends how far you want to travel. Do you know if you're on the north side of Maida Vale (around Kilburn or Queens Park) or the south (Warwick Avenue)? On the Warwick Avenue side, there are some Lebanese cafe suggestions and some other good ideas here:
Also check out reviews for the nearby areas Edgware Road, Paddington, (and slightly further afield) Westbourne Grove. There is quite a lot of stuff here. (Though keep in mind some of it may be fairly pricey as it's a pretty affluent area.)
If you're more on the Kilburn side things will tend to be much cheaper, but I'm not sure where the best eating is to be had. Angeles Sichuan restaurant used to be quite okay, but haven't been there in a while and I believe they have a new chef.
amoul in formosa st near warwick ave station is outstanding.
they have started doing dinner
church st market next to edgeware road station is brilliant as well, especially the felafel and breads at #16
queens park has a good farmers market
I am a New Yorker, been living in Maida Vale for about 8 months and before that in Notting Hill - so I hope this is helpful.
The best coffee in the area is at Raoul's Deli or at Baker & Spice on Clifton Road close to the Warwick Avenue tube station. Raoul's also has a restaurant across the street for breakfast/brunch etc.; Baker & Spice has limited seating and is more expensive, but does have exceptional pastries. Closer to Maida Vale tube station, there is Roma's Cafe on Elgin Avenue, which also promises decent coffee.
For dinner, Red Pepper on Formosa Street, close to Amoul, has great Italian food, and is comparatively affordable. The Waterway pub further along Formosa Street where it meets the Regent's Canal, has great burgers, although it tends to be a bit busy in good-weather days. If you cross over the foot bridge next to the Waterway pub, you will basically be in the northern reaches of Notting Hill: on Westbourne Park Road, there are a few popular pubs, and one of the better Mexicans in London, called Crazy Homies, and its sister diner Lucky Seven, which serves delicious burgers and milkshakes :-)
Back to Warwick Avenue area, in terms of gastro pubs, The Warrington pub has a Gordon Ramsay restaurant upstairs and the Prince Alfred pub has the Formosa Dining Room attached to it -- have yet to try either of those.
I also agree with the other responses to explore the Edgware Road area for inexpensive middle eastern fare.
syalcink has some great suggestions below. I would emphasise the Red Pepper on Formosa St. The breakfast at Raoul's (ptic eggs) and Baker & Spice (ptic pastries) is good but the coffee is a bit average in my view.
For Indian, there is a branch of the famous (and unbelievably good and cheap) Lahore Kebab House on Church St, which is just round the corner.
Edgware Road is a mecca (literally) for Iraqi, Lebanese, Persian and a few other Middle Eastern foods but is best explored yourself. It is about the experience of finding the good ones!
There is a newish Japanese called Maguro, just off Clifton Road, which is good for rolls. Their more exotic rolls like dragon roll are excellent also.
There is a fantastic neighbourhood Italian called Ida on Kilburn Lane, not too far from Maida Vale, which does homemade pasta which is out of this world. Prices are very good also.
Bonda Cafe on Sussex Gardens is a dingy Malay restaurant where the food is cheap as chips and amazing. Not everyone's taste though. Satay House on Sale Place is a bit more genial (though I don't think the food is as good).
I can't vouch for Noorjahan2 on Sussex Place but the original in Kensington is one of my favourite curry houses around.
As for good coffee, I don't know anywhere out of Central London to get good coffee, but TimeOut does http://www.timeout.com/london/restaur... (actually I can vouch for Ginger and White in Hampstead). My best coffee in London is Antipodean at Lantana on Charlotte Place.
LondonKnowledge -- I just went to the Church Street market for the first time last Saturday and came upon Lahore Kebab House and wondered if it's related to the Whitechapel one. Based on this feedback, I will be sure to give it a try. Thanks for all the other suggestions too. Especially Ida, which is a bit out of the way, but sounds like worth it.
Nii -- Thanks for reminding me of Idlewild -- totally forgot about it since the first time I went there about 8 months ago! Also, I've passed by Street Hawker, but I was a bit put off by the decor, but will now give it a try. Has anyone tried the Thai place across the street -- can't remember what it's called, but have been looking for a good Thai place in the neighborhood. Any other Thai food suggestions also welcome.
One other cute place I've come across since my last post is La Piccola Dely on Lauderdale Road (corner of Elgin Avenue). I think this place has other branches as well. A good place to pick up good Italian deli essentials, sandwiches, coffee, etc.
You have to try Ida. Make sure you ask for the homemade pasta there. It is incredible.
Another new place around Maida Vale - The Summerhouse (owned by the Waterway guys and just down the road). Right on the canal, very summery, very fresh, simple seafood heavy menu. Trying it out on Friday night but it LOOKS lovely.
I wonder if La Piccola Dely is open now... I might go and check it out!
I used to live in Maida Vale and often went to Ben's Thai on Clifton Gardens. It's a really good and super-reasonable thai restaurant right above a pub called the Robert Browning. The pub setting is fun and in the summer with the windows open on the 2nd floor it's good for people watching as well.
For Indian I'd recommend Akash which is actually on Maida Vale (where Edgeware Rd turns into Maida Vale.) It's sort of a traditional neighborhood curry spot with slightly nicer decor and the food is great.
For Edgeware Road cheap and delicious awesomeness I really like Mandalay, for amazing Malaysian food, or Kandoo for Persian food. Kandoo has a lovely garden and is BYOB. Fun and cheap in the summer.
I wanted to thank everyone for the replies below. I've been here for a week now, and just thought I'd provide some updates.
Our favorite place so far is Red Pepper on Formosa St--a relatively inexpensive Italian restaurant with some of the best pasta we've had since Italy. Delicious cod as well. And terrific desserts.
Found a fabulous coffee spot--a young guy who runs a coffee cart Tuesday-Sat at the Church St. Market (he's outside no. 50 T-F then moves further east on Saturdays). He uses Square Mile beans and makes extraordinarily good lattes, fully the equal of the legendary Gwilym's cart at the Columbia Road Flower Market on Sundays.
The Lahore Restaurant at 2-4 Gateforth Street claims to be related to the Original Lahore Kebab House on 2 Umberston St (it's listed as a branch on their menu) but based on a meal there, I find it somewhat hard to believe. Food was average at best, without any of the distinctive qualities I've read about concerning the original Kebab House.
Also been to Amoul's, which is a wonderful place for distinctive home cooking. They do make fresh croissants first thing in the morning when they open. I wish I could join in the chorus of praise regarding these, but I found them way too dense (congealed almost, instead of flaky). The chocolate croissant still had the same consistency, but did use a wonderful chocolate interior.
I was very disappointed by Ida, especially as it's right up the road from me. The place is really cute, but we had awful service.. 2 starters turned up, 2 didn't, then when they arrived my boyfriend's wasn't what he ordered. When asked, the waitress seemed to think he should just eat it anyway. He probably would have done but had the temerity to ask what it was he had been given... the waitress didn't know, went to the kitchen to ask and then came back and told us it was a pork soup (pork soup sounds weird but it was some kind of soup with pork!)... we don't eat pork so obviously this was a no go. i had pasta and found it unremarkable, there was however a very good chocolate dessert! maybe we caught them on an off night but i'd be reluctant to go back.
what is good round here... there is a new atari ya (sushi) on fairfax road (Southhampstead). the food is pretty good, the service hit and miss, but they do a fantastic £10 set lunch. you should totally walk up to queens park farmers market on a sunday.. its a v gd one. there is a very yummy, reasonable, if bizarrely decorated, indian on willsden lane called vijays.. lots of veggie options. dont be put off by the exterior! all of these recs are kilburn/queens park though sorry, but not too far away if you feel like venturing north!