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1st time in London, please Help!

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Planning on coming in April for my first trip ever to London (3 nights) and Paris (4 nights). We will be staying at the JW Marriott Grosvenor Square. Looking for reasonably priced good restaurants. Also, any suggestions on things not to be missed would be great too. Thanks in advance.

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  1. It would probably help those here if you said what 'reasonably priced' means to you. The definition varies a lot! You'll be in a great part of London to eat just about anywhere... very easy to get around here. Check out Maze for a start - right across the street from your hotel. It's a bit 'novel,' and fun.

    1. I can recommend Gordon Ramsay in Claridges Hotel, very close to where you are staying. The excellent £30 set lunch is easily the best value way of experiencing London grand hotel dining. Drinks and service will add to the cost though, and the cheapest bottle of wine is about £38.

      http://www.gordonramsay.com/claridges/

      Do not miss Harrods Food Halls, which incorporate a number of sit-at-bar type eating places.

      1. I would say Gordon Ramsay Hospital Road and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. At both restaurants you can get a lunch deal for 45 pound, it's an excellent way to discover this restaurants! Also the Ledbury is very exciting right now.

        1. As stated 'reasonably priced' needs further definition. But, although all those restaurants so far listed do have good lunch deals, they wouldn't be the first names that jump to mind when thinking of 'reasonably priced'. I mean RHR and Dorcehster are possibly the two most expensive restaurants in London!

          That said, both Maze and Claridges aren't eye-watering for lunch especially. But how Wild Honey? I'm pretty sure they do a £15 or £16 set lunch near to your hotel. Very nice place it is too.

          1. Not exactly close to your hotel, but not inconvenient with public transportation and compared to the chow in London and Paris, certainly not to be missed:
            Sedap (Old Street) for Nyona
            Golden Day (Chinatown) for Hunan
            Indian Zing (Hammersmith) for Maharastrian
            Quilon (Westminster) for Keralan (lunch recommended)
            Bull & Last (Highgate/Kentish Town) - gastropub
            Brixton Village Market (Brixton) for grazing on various kinds of chow

            3 Replies
            1. re: limster

              I did not see prices for Quilon on their menu, what are the dinner prices and is there a reason you recommend their lunch? I feel way overwhelmed trying to plan where to eat but starting to focus in on the following:

              Golden Hind for fish and chips
              Bull & Last
              Quilon (lunch or dinner?)
              Indian Zing
              Sedap

              What do you think?

              1. re: bakerboyz

                I think you need to think about what other things you want to do on your first time in London and plan your meals around that. Presumably you want to see all the sights and museums etc that London has to offer? You are in danger of spending all your time travelling to various parts of London if you're not careful.

                1. re: bakerboyz

                  Lunch at Quilon is £20 for 3 courses which is a great deal; not sure about dinner, but apparently more expensive.

              2. I'd probably give Maze a miss post Atherton.

                Lunch at Ducasse or Ramsay would be fun but I'd probably recommend the former as their lunch deal is much better (you get wine, coffee, water, petit fours are included - our bill was less than £100 recently.)

                As I'm sure you know lunch deals are often the best way to eat at top restaurants. I'd really recommend Arbutus which isn't far from you.

                For something a bit different Barrafina in Soho is probably the best tapas in London.

                8 Replies
                1. re: ManInTransit

                  If they're going to Paris, wouldn't it better to go to Ducasse there?

                  re:Tapas, was thinking that Moro and El Piratas de Tapas would also be good choices.

                  1. re: limster

                    Moro main restaurant is not really tapas but very enjoyable. Or they could book Morito next door which is a new tapas place which has had good reports.

                    Take your point on Ducasse but there's the small matter of the Plaza Athenee menu being 260EUR before wine as opposed to around £45 inc wine for lunch at the Dorchester. They wanted reasonably-priced and I don't think Ducasse Paris qualifies!

                    The point stands though I guess and moving away from French, authentic British cuisine could be found at the new Brawn, St John etc or there is a new wave of excellent value Italians opened in London including Trullo and Zucca.

                    1. re: ManInTransit

                      Doesn't the bar at Moro still serve tapas, or has that shifted to Morito?

                      1. re: limster

                        I've not actually been to the main Moro since Morito opened but I'd guess it still serves tapas-style bites but it's quite informal at the bar - I'd probably say dine there properly or go to Morito/Barrafina for the tapas side of things.

                        1. re: ManInTransit

                          Cool - I always thought the bar at Moro more flexible, since the main course requirement was waived and one could go through their tapas menu without restriction. But I do prefer El Piratas de Tapas for the tight execution and more refined technique; their tortilla was simply perfect, just the right level of moisture and softness, whereas Barrafina's was too liquid.

                      2. re: ManInTransit

                        I should also add wright bros (Borough Market, not Soho) for the crab!

                      3. re: limster

                        The menu at El Piratas de Tapas looks like something we would enjoy! Thanks.

                        1. re: limster

                          Except that lunch at the Plaza Athenee will cost at least GBP120 pp (the soup alone is GBP50) so not really on the same scale of value.

                          But I agree that if one is combing a trip to Paris and London, might be good to veer away from French places in London on the whole. But the value lunch deals at the top London restaurants will provide much better fine French dining than anything at equivalent cost in Paris.

                          tb

                      4. Here is the breakdown:

                        High End (for lunch):
                        - Marcus Wareing
                        - Bar Boulud
                        - Launceston Place
                        - Pied a Terre and/or L'Autre Pied.

                        The last two are particular favourites. Simple but incredible execution and flavours. Amazing value. Skip Ducasse - the three star rating is purely political and the food is decidedly uninspired given the steep prices.

                        High/Mid:
                        - St John
                        - Hawksmoor
                        - Wild Honey
                        - Hix Soho
                        - Yauatcha - or any place in Chinatown on a weekend morning. The "dim sum" at Ping Pong is, frankly, an insult to real dim sum.

                        There is an amazing new Italian place in Kings Cross, but the name eludes me right now.

                        Mid Range/Low casual eats:
                        - Koya (even the sides here are unctuous and delicious)
                        - Rasa Sayang
                        - Lahore/Tayyabs
                        - any of the Korean places at Centre Point.
                        - Four Seasons for Duck and braised pork, Leong's for crab.

                        And breakfast at the Wolseley is quintessentially London. If you're into a younger scene, the Breakfast Club also do great breakfasts in a fun and informal atmosphere.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: HypedUp

                          Hix soho is great as is Koya! But Yauatcha is overpriced for the quality. Gold Mine is superior to Four Seasons (Bayswater) for Cantonese roast meats. In Chinatown, the xlb at Dumplings Legends is worth a detour.

                          1. re: limster

                            damn. i spent 2 weeks in shanghai living off xiao long bao. thanks for the info, i'll definitely be hauling ass there to get my fix!

                            yauatcha is expensive... but to have a civilised chinese meal for the majority of people who might not want the typical charms of chinatown service it's a good option.

                            1. re: HypedUp

                              I believe the prices at Yauatcha are rediculously high for dim sum. i spent 100 GBP for two adults and one toddler (who loves dimsum!) We definitely ordered too much, but had dessert, drinks and coffee as well. HOWEVER, it's absolutely delicious. Service beyond excellent. Not at all greasy either. (I hate greasy Chinese food.) Nice fish tank downstairs too.

                              1. re: ambra

                                yeppers... the extra cost really shows in the service, ambience and, well, the food.

                              2. re: HypedUp

                                Try Min Jiang or Pearl Liang instead. (The former, incidentally, had not only excellent xlb, but also Shnaghai styled shumai; it's been a while though, and I'm overdue for a revisit.)

                                1. re: limster

                                  <3 Pearl Liang.

                                2. re: HypedUp

                                  The taste of Yauatcha menu from 3-6pm is £28.88 for two people and is excellent value. You get a decent range of dim sum and you can continue to order ALC if you're still hungry but we were pretty full.

                              3. re: HypedUp

                                This is a good list from Hyped Up.

                                Ducasse's three stars at the Dorchester have been used as a stick to beat him with since last year. I do think their lunch deal is one of the best at the high-end restaurants though. If the original poster is on a budget then the way the Ducasse deal operates is very attractive cf Wareing where the water/wine/coffee is going to mean the bill is a lot higher unless you're very disciplined.

                                Can I throw out an alternative to the usual Lahore/Tayyabs axis. The Delhi Grill in Angel is producing absolutely stellar food. Fundamentally along the same lines as the Pakistani cuisine at Tayyabs (dried meats to start, karahi/gosht etc for mains) the quality is just as good if not better in my opinion and it's lively but not quite as hectic as tayyabs. I know that's part of the attraction but the staff are a lot friendlier and you aren't going to have your main course thrust under your nose 39 seconds after being given your starter! It's also quite a lot more convenient for a lot of visitors I would imagine.

                                1. re: ManInTransit

                                  Cool; do they have haleem and chappali kebabs at the Dehli Grill?

                                  BTW, a friend mentioned that there were some staff changes at Yauatcha not so long ago, including a new pastry person. Any changes in the quality/type of offerings of the dim sum? I heard that they stopped doing the macarons on the patisserie side; any confirmations?

                                  1. re: limster

                                    I can't help on Yauatcha I'm afraid as I've only been the once. I do recall thinking it was £28.88 a head when we asked for the bill and didn't feel that was bad value for what we'd eaten - when it turned out to be for 2 I was pleasantly very surprised!

                                    Delhi Grill menu very similar to Tayyabs, they don't have the haleem or chappali kebabs but they do have the standard seekh, lamb chops, the most incredible chicken tikki I've ever eaten and a few other starters and decent mains including a chana to rival the one at lahore and an excellent dhal.
                                    See http://www.delhigrill.com/images/menu...

                                    They also usually have a fish pakora special and they make all the roti in a little area within the restaurant itself which is quite good.

                                    Can't recommend it highly enough.

                                    1. re: ManInTransit

                                      Thanks! My Yauatcha experience is quite dated, and am glad to hear of more recent and relevant experiences.

                                      Sounds like Delhi Grill deserves a full thread on its own. Hope to check it out soon.

                                      1. re: limster

                                        I might as well do that while I'm evangelising!

                              4. Thank you all very much for all the replies! I will report back when I return in early May.