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Nov 17, 2010 12:34 PM

Moving to London

I am moving for work from Manhattan (NYC) to London next month. I am a bit of a foodie, and take advantage of a great deal of take out/delivery food and gourmet supermarket (preapred foods) options in NYC. Are there any specific good "foodie" neighborhoods you can recommend? Are there some neighborhoods with more carry out/delivery options? Are there gourmet markets that stay open late in the evenings?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. You'll have a blast (food wise and otherwise) London is a big city, your options will depend on where you're staying, food preferences and how far you're willing to travel.

    I'll start by saying if you want prepared foods then M&S is your best bet - they are a British institution, known the world over for their prepared foods; the choice at M&S is vast. I would also recommend Waitrose, which is bit more niche, but becoming less so. These stores can be found in most areas of London.

    1. I lived for a while without access to kitchen facilities in London so am well versed in this topic.

      There are good foodie options in most parts of London, if i had to say plump for a best area it would probably be Marylebone.

      Specific foodie markets or delis tend to be open 9am-5pm or only on certain days.

      Supermarkets like M + S/Waitrose tend to open until 10 or 11pm. Personally i think they are a definite last resort for ready prepared food, although they are improving all the time e.g. a 3 star Michelin chef has recently started selling products at Waitrose:

      Gusto and Relish near Barnes bridge station had easily the the best meals to be reheated at home. They also have excellent cheese, cakes and charcuterie. They make small batches in a kitchen on the premises. The owners can be conservative in their approach to customers but they have excellent quality food.
      Only open 9-6 so would have to stock up, but worth it if intent on having food prepared for you.

      Ottolonghi have several branches across London and are also an excellent choice for freshly grilled meat/fish/salads to bring home or have for lunch.
      open til 8pm in Kensington.

      Kensington wholefoods have some passable ready meals and are open until 10pm except on Sundays til 6pm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: damien76

        Holborn is a generally overlooked option too (and there are some beautiful Georgian flats). In one direction, walking, you have Clerkenwell, Exmouth Market etc. In the other, you're 5 minutes from Covent Garden and 10/15 from Soho and Charlotte St.

      2. Depends where your office is. London is a big place and transport to work is a vital factor. There are lots of good areas for food but they may be dire for you to get to and from work. Where will you be based?

        5 Replies
        1. re: PhilD

          Thanks everyone for the info. I will be working in Canary Wharf- and am hoping to move somewhere within easy commuting distance...

          1. re: Mike M

            In that case I'd think about:

            (a) London Bridge or (cheaper) Bermondsey. London Bridge has the oh so famous Borough Market which by the sounds of it would be right up your street. There's also a plenty of nice restaurants close, as well as easy access to places like Spitalfields for some more good eateries (read St John Bread and Wine and Hawksmoor).

            (b) Greenwich - not a hell of a lot of great stuff in Greenwich, but a few gems. Greenwich market is a really nice place for food stalls (the best is the Nigerian). There's also some good pubs, especially The Old Brewery. Blackheath is near with some very good places too.

            I'd say Greenwich is all-round a better place to live, London Bridge the true Mecca for a foodie.

            1. re: chief1284

              I work by London Bridge and have lived in Greenwich (and I'm from NYC). I would second the recommendation of London Bridge/Bermondsey Street. Once you get to know the stalls at Borough Market, you can stock up on your "prepared" food items. There are also many options to walk to in the evening (or hop on the tube or train). One can get to Charing Cross/Chinatown, Smithfields, Spitalfields, Islington etc very easily. Jubilee line takes minutes to Canary Wharf.

              We found Greenwich to be nice living (parks etc), but food options were quite limited. The Greenwich market stalls are only available market days. In the evening there is very little good takeaway or dining out. Couple of good restaurants, but most places cater to tourists (ie., no quality control). Ethnic food was really not good. There is a nice cheese shop, butcher, bakery, but these are only open during housewife hours. Very annoying. On Saturdays, one has to fight pram pushers to get into the gourmet stores. Very good supermarkets (Sainsbury and east Asian), but out in the middle of nowhere so most people drive...urgh

              1. re: MonkeyC

                Yep, I do agree with these criticisms of Greenwich for the most part. There are only a few gems in amongst rafts of rubbish food-wise. BUT, it is a very nice area with good access to Canary Wharf and indeed London Bridge!! Also, head into Blackheath and you have Home Made Food (good pre-prepared foods), Boulangerie Jade (very good patisserie), Chapters (excellent Bib Gourmand restaurant), and a Sunday farmers market. I think a foodie can live a good life living in Greenwich.

                Nevertheless, 100% agree, London Bridge/Bermondsey is the place to be if food is your only factor. I don't want to be presumptuous about your income, but seeing as you'll be working in Canary Wharf I'm sure its not meagre. In which case, having money in Central London you can quite literally eat like a King.

                1. re: chief1284

                  All true! We didn't quite live in the "posh" part of Greenwich, so all of those annoyances just kind of added up. There are indeed many good things about Greenwich, great wine stores (Theatre of Wine, Davy & co etc)...

                  Also, Greenwich Council seems to be much better than some of the others (email me if you want more details on those bits of local living).

        2. At Canary Wharf you will have a Waitrose to shop in. They have lots of prepared food to microwave or put in oven, also have a good selection of rotisserie chickens. The Deptford Bridge area, on the Docklands Light Railway, has some good Vietnamese places to eat. If you do a search you will find them on other threads. It is one stop from Greenwich. There is also a very good butcher there called Wellbeloved, and they have delicious and famous home made meat pies. There are quite a few bloggers, food and otherwise, writing about the area, including Hollowlegs and Deptford Dame. There is also a thriving arts scene in Deptford.

          1. There's lots to eat and lots to explore everywhere -- live somewhere with as good transport links as you can afford.