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Jul 18, 2010 05:28 PM

First time in London for 5 days in August

I will be in London for 5 days for the first time, from August 19-24. I was wondering if anyone could help me with lunch and dinner recommendations. I am staying in Kensington, but will be willing to travel around for good food.

I want to basically experience modern British dining, gastropubs and also maybe some more traditional fare. I am travelling across the rest of Europe following London, so would rather try other European cuisines when I'm in that particular country (Italy, France, etc.) unless the particular London restaurant is spectacular.

As for budget, I'm not sure how expensive food is exactly in London, but hopefully, around 20-30 pounds per person for dinner, and less for lunch? Not looking for Michelin stars, just delicious up-and-coming restaurants.

Thanks for all your help!

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  1. The Ebury Wine Bar is reliable and pleasant. It's a ten minute stroll from Buckingham Palace, or a couple of stops on the tube from South Kensington which is where three large museums are grouped.

    For a very nice pub The Star Tavern is a good bet. The food is basic, not gastro, but good quality, and it's a great refuge from the madness of Harrods half a mile away.

    Thirdly Motcombs is a bit of a fave of mine. Wine Bar/Restaurant near The Star with some pavement tables:

    1. Be sure to take 15-20 minutes to scroll back thru the prior threads & discussions on this board over the past 3-6 months. There have been many, many posts on dining in London and I am sure you will find some helpful suggestions already here for you to review.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT

        I have already had a look at the previous discussions - there are a lot of posts about non-British food, but really not that many British restaurants, especially not in the Kensington area.

      2. Texture Restaurant is doing a fantastic set lunch menu at the minute, 3 courses for £22.50 from memory. It's roughly a 1 minute walk from Marble Arch tube station, not too far from Kensington. While not 'British', it does 1 star Icelandic influenced cuisine very well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve_K

          I had an excellent dinner at Texture in March. Lovely service and delicious food. My favorites in London are The Ledbury, The Square and, for the gastropub meal, The Harwood Arms (especially fun for the Tuesday quiz night).

        2. I have booked two dinners now:
          St John - because that's probably one of the most talked about restaurants in London that is not totally fine dining
          Simpson's in the Strand - traditional Brit meal - roast beef sounds delicious

          6 Replies
          1. re: yvonnez

            check out the lunch options at launceston place and clarke's - both excellent and kensington local favourites. also, as you're probably not going to poland, check out daquise in south ken
            (limster has a post on it). le cafe anglais on queensway is not to be missed either, you'll do very well for dinner there.

            1. re: howler

              One of these years, I'm going to get to Clarke's. My desire to go there dates back a goodly number of years when Sally Clarke was a minor celeb. chef (not too many woman doing really good things 20+ years ago). Somewhere else always seems to pop up and knock it off our "to do" list.

            2. re: yvonnez

              If you really want British, with both barrels, go to Wiltons:


              1. re: Robin Joy


                I'd been going to suggest Rules as well for traditional British but hadnt when I saw the OP's price guide. Wouldnt Wiltons be ruled out on similar grounds - good as it is?


                1. re: Harters

                  It did occur to me, yes, but unless it's one course and no drink, then Y's picks of St John & Simpson's for dinner have already blown their budget!

                  Always nice to have a keen new visitor, so hopefully they will enjoy London and report back.

                  1. re: Robin Joy

                    Haha, yes. I was never that good at budgeting when it comes to food...

                    But the Simpson's pre-theatre three courses is 30 pounds. So that fits into the budget.

                    St John will probably be a bit of a blow-out.

            3. Since you are staying in Kensington, what about Maggie Jones's - Maggie Jones's, 6 Old Court Place, London, W8 4PL (off Kensington Church St near Kensington High Street.

              At lunch it's very cheap. At dinner it costs more. However, get ready for wholesome and large portions. And it's BRITISH.

              Simpsons is a nice but very expensive experience. Be prepared for the stuffy, shabby interior but the service is top notch. I don't know if I'd bother going back, though. I've had just as good elsewhere for half the price. Shrug.

              Also take a look at - this one is cheap You can't come to the UK without having at least one tea. My favourite has been The Cavendish.

              My two pence.I'll think about more though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Calam1ty

                sorry to say, maggie jones is actively awful. there are MUCH better choices in the area - for example, launceston place for lunch. and there are no chippies in kensington.

                1. re: Calam1ty

                  Thanks for the link - The Cavendish has a 2 for 1 offer that sounds good.