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Dec 20, 2010 11:08 AM

London - Casual and Local - Hyde Park vicinity.

We're staying near Hyde Park and are looking for "neighborhood" places to eat. We live in NYC and when we go out we tend to frequent the local "dives". We're not limited to the Hyde Park area, but within short travel distance is preferred.

Recommendations for friendly pubs, an Indian restaurant, a place to get fish and chips, etc. are all welcome.

Also taking suggestions for a family Christmas and/or Boxing Day meal.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Asking for local in Hyde Park is a touch like asking for local next to the Statue of Liberty.

    Still.... If you are a particularly rich local and lived in Mayfair you would go to:

    1. Wolseley (you should anyway - beautiful room. Good brunch)

    2. The Grenadier (fantastic pub) - even comes with a guard box for visiting royalty. You will need a map as it is down a back street.

    3. Claridges for a glam drink in the bar

    4. Palm Court for cream tea

    For Christmas... most locals eat at home (the country) but big hotels - Claridges/ Savoy/ Connaught will do it. As may places like Wild Honey/ Gavroche etc.

    Proper fish and chips needs to be eaten in a working class area... I would suggest a quick journey down to Master's in Waterloo or the Fryer's Delight in Holborn.



    1 Reply
    1. re: TomEatsHK

      Thanks for the suggestions. Master's will be on our list. We aren't particularly rich, but we are splurging a bit on this holiday - especially on football tickets. Our hotel has a rather posh holiday menu, but we were hoping to venture out.
      As for the Statue of Liberty, next time you're in NYC, I'll show you plenty of yummy cheap eats place in that area. The working masses on Wall st. do little besides thinking of lunch or post-work drinks.

    2. I second the idea of fish and chips at Master's Superfish near Waterloo. London is very easy to get around (most of the time) and you'll be surprised how fast you'll be in a totally different area.

      Not far from Hyde Park is Ishbilia for lovely Lebanese, middle-eastern food or seek out some of the interesting spots on Marylebone High St.

      1. By near Hyde Park, do you mean the North or South side?

        2 Replies
        1. re: cathodetube

          We'll be next to Marble Arch. But, we have no problem with walking a couple of miles. We walk everywhere in NYC

          1. re: nicely2x

            Check out the Edgeware Rd. area near Marble Arch... tons of middle-eastern and perhaps not so expensive restaurants. They might even be open on Christmas... same for Chinatown. Haozhan is one of my favorites there and good value for the money.

            I miss Christmas in NY... Chinese food and a movie. :-)

        2. There is a decent dimsum by Marble Arch called Princess Garden. It's not all all greasy. It's not the best, but good enough. I guess Chinatown is nearish.

          If you get on the train, you can take it one or two stops (or walk the whole length of the park) and go for great tacos at Taqueria near Notting Hill. Cheap by London standards, hideous service but great food.

          I second the notion that there is good Lebanese in the area as well.

          You can also hit Goodman steakhouse for a BURGER. The burger comes with fries and allll the fixings (cheddar, bacon and onions) and is only like 12 or 13 quid. (they have great sides and a good lunch prix fixe as well.) The do use American beef for their steaks, so I obviously don't recommend them for that.

          There is also a destination Chinese called Yauatcha nearish. It's excellent, but really overpriced. It's right by Carnaby street and Liberty.

          I highly recommend Borough Market on a Fri or Sat. Great. Absolutely fantastic. Nothing in NYC like it.

          7 Replies
          1. re: ambra

            Apologies to the previous poster but don't come to London for tacos or a burger!

            1. re: themags

              Especially if one is from NYC. :-)

              1. re: themags

                It's ok. But they really are good!

                1. re: ambra

                  One of the problems for budget-conscious travellers to London from the U.S. is that a place like Goodman's is charging what would be almost $20 for a hamburger. Not too many Americans would ever pay that for a hamburger, and luckily they don't have to!

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Unless it's this one. It's called a 'Black Label' burger at the Minetta tavern in NYC. $26 and worth every penny, IMO.


                    1. re: osho

                      Well, sure... there are a few NYC places like the Minetta that are way above the norm. I still maintain that most people don't spend that for a hamburger, but 'most' people don't live in NYC where most things cost more than the average. I lived nearby so I was used to the costs most of my life.

                      We know the best of everything is to be found in NY. :-)

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        I'm originally a transplant from NW1 so even after 15 years away, I still think that the best of the best can be found in London. :-)

                        I agree that most people would not spend that kind of money on a burger stateside. Not when I can get a nice porterhouse for that amount !

            2. I haven't posted in years but the responses on this thread have made me come out of hiding. I live in the area and would recommend the following:

              1. Duke of Wellington pub on Crawford Street (our go-to local pub with great food. Eat in the bar downstairs as it has more atmosphere than the dining room upstairs)
              2. Vinoteca on Seymour Place - would describe as wine bar with great food (newly opened and a firm favourite of mine. I always loved the branch in Clerkenwell and so happy they have opened a branch in my 'hood.) I almost hesitate to tell people about it because I don't want it to get impossible to get a table for dinner as they don't take bookings
              3. Bombay Palace in Connaught Village for Indian. Their food, although not the best, is perfectably acceptable Indian food and more importantly, they are open throughout the Christmas period)
              4. Providores on Marylebone High Street for a fantastic brunch downstairs. Order the pancakes with bacon for a twist on a firm American favourite, or the turkish eggs are yummy too
              5. The Golden Hind off Marylebone HIgh Street is also perfectly acceptable for fish and chips without the trek

              Good luck!

              7 Replies
              1. re: mia5859

                Agree with Providores. There is also Pain Quotidien on Marylebone High Street for some yummy bread and open faced sandwiches. The one thing I don't like in there is the fact that the servers don't get all of the tip added onto the bill, so I tip them cash separately. You could also try Mandalay, a Burmese restaurant on Edgware Road, away from the congested Marble Arch end. It's very basic but worth a punt.

                I also recommend Amoul in Formosa Street, Maida Vale, W9 which would be a good hike from where you are or you could get the bus. I have no idea if they are open or not over Christmas but they do have a website. Lovely salads, wraps and breakfasts on the weekend.

                1. re: mia5859

                  Thank you. With no disrespect to other posters, this is very, very useful. "perfectly acceptable food" is more our speed. We are not the fine dining types except when I cook but my presentation leaves much to be desired :)

                  Also..any opinions on a place called Oliveto on Elizabeth St. Apparently, a friend of a friend owns it?

                  1. re: nicely2x

                    I used to go to Oliveto quite a bit when I worked in the area but it was a long time ago. Better than average pizzas. And a good place for celeb spotting - saw Ralph Fiennes in there once, and Joan Collins!

                    1. re: nicely2x

                      Oliveto has more than acceptable food. I have had lunch there one weekday afternoon. It was packed out. Not cheap, but not hugely expensive. I had a soup and a salad. Most people were ordering the pizzas. I would certainly go back.

                      If you crave a burger then try any Byrons. I have eaten several times in the Kings Road branch and like their cheeseburgers. Buns slightly soft but overall a happy experience.

                      Sophie's Steakhouse in the Fulham Road has some good lunchtime deals. They also do brunch at weekends. The service was also charming. They have their own homemade brands of sauce and salad dressings and they let me try each and every one of them! I fully intend to go back there. You could walk through the park to Brompton Road and get to Fulham Road that way. Very attractive area to visit.

                    2. re: mia5859

                      I far prefer golden hinde to masters or fryers delight - the batter is so crunchy and the surroundings arent depressing! Masters is very bleak, and the other patrons put me off eating (on the two times I've been there were extremely overweight eyesores at the other tables -- i hate to be mean, but certainly made eating a huge plate of deep fried food less appetising).

                      1. re: mia5859

                        Just returned from Christmas dinner at Bombay Palace. Overall, a pleasant dinner. We had a wide assortment of starters and main courses - Chicken fritters, sauteed mushrooms, onion bhajee, Lamb curry, aubergine curry, small intersting leg of lamb meat thats stewed, and chicken with a black pepper sauce. All was fine, the flavors of the main dishes were distinct with the black pepper sauce the most interesting. However, the clear winner was the dessert - carrot fudge.

                        We had lunch at Ishtar Turkish restaurant on Crawford St. Like Bombay Palace, nothing was spectactular, but each dish had its own flavor. The Kofte, typical in texture, had a lovely grilled flavor. Again, like the dessert in Bombay Palace, the standout at Ishtar was the warm bread they served for the table throughout the meal. I could live off that bread.

                        Will report back if we try other recommendations.

                        1. re: nicely2x

                          To follow up on the much appreciated recommendations from the group.

                          We went to Princess Garden on Audley St and, like our previous meals, had a pleasant enough meal. We didn't have a reservation and had to wait a few minutes. Surprisingly, even though the waiting area is right next to the bar, they didn't ask if we wanted a drink.

                          The place was very crowded, it was Boxing Day. Outside of an incredibly annoying man at the next table, it wasn't as noisy as one might expect from that space.

                          We had one standout dish - Beef with Lemon Grass. The preparation itself wasn't spectacular, but the flavor was bright and wonderful. I can't recall having a dish that tasted so true to the lemongrass. It was memorable. My family loved the Spareribs starter. I was less enthusiastic about the fried texture, and the indistinct flavor, but they were licking their fingers with joy.

                          Our favorite meal, and the least expensive, was an afternoon snack in Al-Dar Lebanese on Edgeware Road. If you enjoy Shawarma, this was excellent quality and very flavorful. Make sure you ask for the Harissa.