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2 (fish eating) vegetarian foodies in London - where MUST we eat?

e
earthmomma Dec 24, 2011 04:20 PM

Coming to London at the end of January. Last time we were there we had a couple good meals but mostly bad ones. Please give us advice on where we MUST eat while we're there. We don't mind a couple of splurges, but affordable options are also great.

We eat fish, but otherwise are vegetarian. We don't have to eat at strictly vegetarian restaurants -- only places where we can have a good meal. We love all kinds of food.

Also, a recommendation for a really good indian meal would be appreciated to. Last time we went we didn't have the best luck where we tried, yet we hear London has great Indian food.

Thanks!

  1. greedygirl Jan 6, 2012 10:10 PM

    My veggie friend rates Morgan M, which has a vegetarian tasting menu. I see he's just opened a new restaurant opposite Smithfield so it might be worth checking that out.

    You might also enjoy Rasa Samudra, a Keralan restaurant specialising in seafood, on Charlotte Street.

    1. greedygirl Jan 5, 2012 04:46 PM

      Ottolenghi, for lovely cakes and creative salads.

      5 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl
        e
        earthmomma Jan 5, 2012 05:12 PM

        Ah, I was wondering whether to go there! I have his cookbook :) Any location the best?

        1. re: earthmomma
          PhilD Jan 6, 2012 03:04 PM

          We ate at the Notting Hill branch last Saturday and really enjoyed it. Very good soup followed by a selection of salads (you can have main courses as well) and coffee. It is very small with only ten seats at the back so you may need to wait. The servers are really nice and looked after us, even giving us glasses of water as we queued.

          The shop seems to mainly do take-away so a long line for that. If you want to eat in, skip this line and head down to the cash register to ask for a seat.

          On our London visit we ate at The Ledbury, Meat Liquor, Pollen Street Social, The Bull & Last, Brindisa, Moti Mahal and Pollen Street Social - Ottolenghi was the most enjoyable food!

          1. re: PhilD
            greedygirl Jan 6, 2012 10:12 PM

            High praise indeed! I haven't been, but I think the Islington branch is more of a restaurant. There's also a more upmarket (and expensive) place by the same people in Soho called Nopi.

            1. re: greedygirl
              PhilD Jan 6, 2012 11:37 PM

              .You should try it - it is quite expensive but the salad combination are quite inspired. It clearly wasn't the "best food" we had but it is highly enjoyable and very moreish. It would be interesting to hear about Nopi.

              1. re: greedygirl
                LulusMom Jan 7, 2012 02:42 AM

                I'd also like to hear more about Nopi. Have you been? We're on our way in June ... set your belly and calendar.

        2. m
          musicinstinct Jan 5, 2012 07:17 AM

          I'd recommend Applebee's in Borough, my favourite fish restaurant in London. And Saf (nr Old Street) for interesting take on Vegan / Raw food. There's an amazing Indian place nr Ravenscourt park called Indian Zing, I'm not sure how much of it is veggie.

          2 Replies
          1. re: musicinstinct
            e
            earthmomma Jan 5, 2012 12:48 PM

            Saf and Indian Zing both look terrific. Will add them to my list. Thank you!

            It isn't that I want italian food from a chain, just curious if Jamie Oliver's name on a restaurant meant it would be as good as you would hope. It sounds like it isn't, so we'll go elsewhere.

            1. re: earthmomma
              PhilD Jan 5, 2012 01:09 PM

              Ref Jamie. I think he now has four restaurant brands in the UK ranging from expensive to mass market - Fifteen, Barbecoa, Jamie's Italian and Union Jacks (an English version of pizza).

              I have tried his Italian a few times and I admire how he has raised the bar in the UK high street (from a very low base) and I have friends who love it. But, for my tastes I thought it was average at best and tend not to recommend it because I don't think it is that good especially for people searching for the best cooking not just OK food.

          2. Robin Joy Dec 30, 2011 12:51 AM

            I'd recommend Swithin's for fish at lunchtime:

            http://www.swithinsrestaurant.co.uk/i...

            It's about half way on the 20 minute walk between the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Robin Joy
              e
              earthmomma Jan 4, 2012 09:53 PM

              Thanks for all the suggestions. Can anyone also report on the Rasa restaurants, as well as Jamie Oliver's italian chain.... either worth checking out?

              1. re: earthmomma
                zuriga1 Jan 4, 2012 10:48 PM

                I've always gotten the feeling that Jamie's name rather than the quality of the food is the draw for his Italian chain. There are better places if you want Italian food from a chain. I recently read that the ASK people have renovated all of their restaurants, but I've never been to one. Carluccio has restaurants all over the area - not bad either.

                1. re: earthmomma
                  h
                  Harters Jan 5, 2012 02:06 AM

                  I'm a fan of Carluccio's, as well. Reliable chain Italian.

                  Never eaten at a Jamie's Italian although my partner has. She reckoned it was better than she expected from a chain. But playing on the celeb chef's name and expensive for what it was - perhaps not necessarily expensive for London pricing, but certainly pricey for the rest of the country. Perhaps, in due course, they'll have to address pricing at places away from the capital, as steak chain Gaucho Grill appears to have done (discounts and freebie inclusions of sides were readily available last time we were at the Manchester branch)

              2. babybat Dec 29, 2011 01:01 PM

                Trishna in Marylebone's definitely worth a look - they specialise in Indian seafood. I've only eaten there at lunchtime, so can't speak for the a la carte, but the lunch set menu is very good value; there's usually a meat, fish or veggie option to choose from, plus sides and a drink for £10. Good value for London, and great value for Marylebone. Plus, you'll be in the right neighbourhood to check out La Fromagerie, Divertimenti, and the cookery books section of Oxfam Books afterward!

                www.trishnalondon.com/menus.html

                1. limster Dec 28, 2011 04:42 PM

                  Another one for your list: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/808252

                  Had another excellent dinner at Itadaki Zen - beautiful, multifaceted food.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: limster
                    e
                    earthmomma Dec 28, 2011 10:14 PM

                    Wonderful! Thank you for all the fabulous suggestions. Itadaki Zen looks lovely, and I love the Lebanese & Brixton suggestions! Will check all of those out. We will actually be staying in the east end at Leytonstone, so East Ham isn't a trek for us. Any particular restaurant there the best?

                    We're willing to travel wherever, especially if an area is worth exploring.

                    Also, the Korean restaurant Asadal looks great. You can't normally find Korean food in Toronto that offers good vegetarian options, so that might be exciting to check out. Thanks!

                    1. re: earthmomma
                      zuriga1 Dec 28, 2011 11:19 PM

                      I've been to Asadal fairly recently. It's a good place with a large menu and nice service. The best of Korean food (but I haven't tried the recent suggestions by limster a few days ago) is in New Malden - not a long train ride south of London if you want to bother with that. Very near the station are a number of terrific restaurants - small and cosy.

                      1. re: earthmomma
                        limster Jan 5, 2012 12:59 PM

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826302 is a good recent source of little stalls in East Ham for chaat.

                        Thattukada is the other obvious East Ham chowhound favourite, but there's a host of Keralan, Tamil/Sri Lankan and Udipi places which I've yet to eat at. Although a recent meal with a few chowhounds at Suvai Chettinad (I hope I got the name right) was good, with the idli in sambhar probably being my favourite (uppadams that one of the other tables ordered was very aromatic with onion, as I caught a whiff when it went past, but we didn't get to try that first hand).

                    2. j
                      JFores Dec 27, 2011 01:00 PM

                      Where are you staying and where are you willing to travel to?

                      1. limster Dec 27, 2011 09:31 AM

                        Having a selection of mezze at a Lebanese place definitely is a MUST. It's been a while since I've been to Ishbilla and Al-waha, but those are probably the board favourites. I've also enjoyed Hiba, but not sure about the quality since they moved to Holborn (anyone chime in?).

                        The (Syrian I believe) falafels at Flafel House in Shoreditch is also excellent.

                        Been a fan of the vegetarian Japanese place near King's Cross - Itadaki Zen.

                        I like Wright Bros too (only been to the original Borough Market branch), but my favourite there is the cornish crab.

                        I'd also recommend a trip to Brixton Market -- Thai food at Khaosan, superb buñuelos (Colombian cheese bread - ) at Las Americas etc.... See the Brixton Market thread.

                        Speaking of Thai, the soft shell crab at Khaosarn in Westbourne Grove (unrelated to the Brixton Market place) is also great.

                        If you're willing to travel a bit on the tube, East Ham is probably one of the best areas for Indian food. Better than most in Central London for the varieties of Indian cooking, and inexpensive as well.

                        1. b
                          brokentelephone Dec 25, 2011 06:50 AM

                          Some of the best fish I've had in London was at Wright Brothers in Soho -- its a great room, excellent service, and really good food.

                          1. LulusMom Dec 25, 2011 03:46 AM

                            I don't eat any red meat and I've never had a problem in London finding good meals. A particular favorite was Great Queen Street. It isn't vegetarian, but I remember having a great meal there, with fish as my main (and I believe a veg starter). Indian or Middle Eastern are great ways to go.
                            Good luck and have a great trip.

                            1. h
                              Harters Dec 25, 2011 02:17 AM

                              You'll find that almost all restaurants in the UK will offer fish in a style appropriate for their cuisine - we're a small island with no-one living more than 75 miles from the coast. Good vegetarian options may be a bit more of a struggle at the bottom end but should be fine mid-range and up.

                              1. zuriga1 Dec 24, 2011 10:44 PM

                                If you look down the list of topics here (or do a search above in the box), there are quite a few threads that mention vegetarian options, even good tasting menus at top restaurants. Fish is also recently mentioned with good suggestions on where to find the best in London.

                                When it comes to Indian food (and there *is* wonderful Indian in London), lots of places you can research.... Quilon, Moti Mahal, Amaya, Woodlands (all vegetarian), the Cinnamon Club and Trishna. You might also enjoy Asadal for Korean food - lots of veggie options or seafood.

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