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Feb 19, 2011 02:50 AM

London-how to eat lunch around sightseeing?

Hi, we're here for another week, staying near the eye, and would love a guide to lunch places near the big attractions.

For other visiters, I can offer the following: Don't eat at the Science Museum. (They must know something's not working, because they had survey cards out. Would have taken a chainsaw to get through the steak sandwich.) Also, very near the Eye, there's a great place called Troia, which bills itself as Mediterranean Cuisine. The address is 3 Belvedere Road, SE1 7GQ. It's on the opposite side of County Hall from the river, if you're at the Eye, head south and take your first right. Lunch specials start at 7 pounds. Some general comments, everyone here has been really welcoming. Also, it's easy to get around the city, there are maps posted everywhere, and food has been more affordable here than we expected, even with the currency exchange hit to the american dollar. It's very easy to relax in London.

For those who can advise, we'd like to stay within about a 5-10 minute walk for lunches, priced around 8-10 pounds, a little more or less is fine. No reservations, and prefer table service to take a break from sightseeing. Also open to dinner suggestions, we're staying near the Eye. Open to all types of food. We plan to visit:

Natural History Museum
Tower Bridge
Theatre District-Soho
London Zoo
Buckingham Palace

Would love to hear about good eateries in the museums, as we like to spend money to help support the institutions.

Also, recommendations of any kind near Westminster, or within a fifteen minute walk of the Eye, would be appreciated.

And, we will make a special trip for the best cheese and tea shops. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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  1. I take it that by eating for £8-10, you mean for the price of a main course? Or do you mean complete with drinks and service? It's pretty hard to get away with less than £10 complete in central London for anything other than sandwiches or kebabs.

    At Tower Bridge I recommend the Maltings Cafe <> for an inexpensive and well-prepared and presented lunch. The chalkboard menu changes daily and features a handful of rustic Italian/Mediterranean-style dishes, usually in the £8-9 range. For what you get, it is a terrific value.

    Near the London Zoo, the Primrose Hill neighbourhood is close by. Regent's Park Road is a small high street lined with shops and restaurants. You can a satisfying and reasonably-priced lunch of salt beef, borscht, and latkes at Trojka, a Russian tea room. Or wander a bit further into Camden for other budget-priced options. <>

    In the Theatre District/Soho, I'd suggest Koya, who make their own udon noodles. The udon dishes/soups are £9-10, and you might have to go a bit over budget to order a starter or side, but it really is excellent quality. I suggest going early or late for lunch, as they don't take reservations and are typically swamped around 1pm. I think other Chowhounders have recommended Mooli's next door to Koya for Indian-styled wraps (I haven't been there). Also, you're not that far from Leicester Square, where you can choose from many chinese lunch specials in Chinatown.

    Near the History Museum, I'm actually an advocate for the somewhat touristy experience of shopping Harrod's Food Halls for picnic ingredients. Depending on where you're from, this can be a really wonderful experience. They have an extensive selection of breads, cheeses, charcuterie, pies and pasties, and other prepared items that make a great picnic to take over to Hyde Park.

    Also, check for other suggestions here <> and <>.

    1. If you're at the zoo, it's a very nice walk down the Regent's Canal to the Camden Lock Market. I don't know if they have food there every day, but we found some interesting stalls one day and it was good weather which always helps.

      4 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        A word of warning: don't eat at the Natural History Museum. It's probably on a par with the Science Museum. The V&A on the other hand has a good and very beautiful restaurant and is not over-priced. There are also a lot of excellent cafes and restaurants near South Kensington. My favourite is Brindisa, for tapas, but there are also Carluccio andLe Pain Qotidien - bth chains but good ones. And a very cheap Chinese cafe opposite Brindisa - I don't know its name.
        Around Buckingham Palace is a pretty dead area for eating. Probably best to walk through the park to Soho or explore Pimlico. On Saturday there is a good market in Tachbrook Street.

        Castle St, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1, GB

        1. re: Jenny Sheridan

          I quite like the Kensington Creperie which is also across from Brindisa and next to the Chinese cafe.

          Around Buckingham Palace, the ICA cafe feels like a quiet retreat and serves decent food and drinks.

          ICA Cafe
          The Mall, London, England WC2N 5, GB

        2. re: zuriga1

          Thanks for the recommendations, gemuse and zuriga1! We went to the zoo before these posts appeared. Between the Camden tube stop and the zoo, we came across Yumchaa ( Wonderful teas, they keep out a sample of each out in a small cup, so you can see and sniff before ordering. A green tea mix called Regent Park smelled great, but I went for the stronger midnight grey. Will have to go back. Also coffees and treats, we spent nine pounds for three beverages and a slice of lemon cake.

          Also, we checked out the same day we went to the Tate Modern. We can't get much raw milk cheese in the states, so we had some stilton. Also ate lunch at , my entree was perfectly cooked.

          As for our price point, I did mean the main. On days when the museum/outing is free or low cost, splurging for lunch is ok. Any more thoughts?

          Tate Modern
          Bankside, London SE1 9TG, GB

          1. re: MCFAC

            A very nice cheese shop is La Fromagerie. It's just off Marylebone High St. not far from Oxford St. You can also sit there and have a coffee, bite to eat. If you happen to be in that area, it's probably a good choice.