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Need Restaurant Recommendations for London, Please

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I'm looking for recommendations of restaurants that will satisfy two somewhat different people. My husband, who is a foodie with rather sophisticated tastes and is a wine geek, will be meeting our son, a 20-year old college student who is doing his junior semester abroad in London. They'll be together there for four evenings, and so I'm looking for up to four good restaurants to make both my husband and son happy, that is good restaurants that are not very formal (my son won't have a jacket or tie) and not too precious or sophisticated. If it were Paris, I would pick any number of typical Parisian bistros, but what about London? Any ideas?

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  1. terroirs by charing cross would be worth a visit - they have some really interesting wines and the food is a mix of things which should keep both your husband and son happy.

    in the city (chancery lane is the nearest tube), 28:50 on fetter lane is another place with the combination of interesting wines and enjoyable food.

    no jackets or ties required.

    1 Reply
    1. re: abby d

      Thank you. We will check them out.

    2. I'm guessing you are looking for some form of variety so it might be worth looking for something under different headings. It'd also be good to know where your husband and son will be staying as London is pretty large and sometimes it's worth making choices based on location.

      Personally I'd go for one modern British place: Wild Honey, Arbutus, Great Queen Street.
      One wine bar/charcuterie: Terroirs, 28:50 or the small plates at Polpetto or tapas at Barrafina.
      Maybe one fine dining if they like that sort of thing, perhaps one of the unashamedly casual places like Pollen Street Social or Roganic.
      Then depending on taste perhaps some Indian or Pakistani food. Go safe with Moti Mahal or venture out to the east end and try New Tayyabs or Needoo Grill.
      If they like the idea of a Gastropub and don't mind a bit of travelling then maybe the Hope and Anchor, Harwood Arms, Bull and Last, Draper's Arms (depending on where they are staying).

      7 Replies
      1. re: ManInTransit

        Thanks! My husband will be staying at a hotel in Kensington. Are any of those places close to there?

        1. re: poland221

          It's easy to get around London regardless of the hotel's location. Don't let that stop them from choosing a good restaurant. The most your husband would have to travel is probably 30 minutes by Tube. I was also going to suggest Pollen Street (not like anything most would find at home) or Great Queen St. The choices are endless.

          1. re: poland221

            None of those are outlandish distances from Kensington other than the east end curry places or the Bull and Last. Anywhere in Mayfair, Soho, Regent Street is very easily accessible.

            As Zuriga says you don't choose totally on location but sometimes it is useful as a guide. E.g. on the gastropub front the Harwood Arms and Bull and Last are both exceptional but one (THA) will take 10 mins from Kensington and the other 45.

            If they did Harwood Arms, Moti Mahal, Polpetto and Pollen Street social none would take more than 30 mins from Kensington.

            1. re: ManInTransit

              Thanks! So far I made the following reservations for them:

              Harwood Arms
              Moro
              Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis
              Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

              1. re: poland221

                Very good choices - I think Moro is fantastic although my first visit was a victim of sky high expectations.

                The only question I would have is whether perhaps one of the Bistros might be substituted - particularly if they are on successive nights as within the range of cuisine you can eat in London they are fairly similar.

                1. re: poland221

                  is your husband working and only free for dinners? then i would highly recommend he stay within kensington - and there are some truly stellar meals to be had here. if it were me on a business trip, thats what i'd want - a chance to get out and walk to dinner, see how the locals live etc.

                  assuming that is the case, here's where i'd go for dinner:

                  a) launceston place
                  b) sally clarkes
                  c) le cafe anglais
                  d) either racine/cheyne walk brasserie/min jiang/gessler at daquise

                  also as a word of warning, i'd give moro/chabrot/galvin a huge miss.

                  1. re: howler

                    One of these trips, I really will get to Launceston Place & Clarkes. Honest! Yes, I know Clarke's has been on my "to try" list for 20+ years but I will get there one day. Really I will.

          2. For mid-high end wines, Trinity in Clapham is one of the best values I've encountered (they claim to add corkage but not markups). Superb food too. Not necessarily close to Kensington but savings on wines are potentially worth the trip.

            In Kensington, the Bombay Brasserie's weekend (sunday?) buffet is excellent.

            I haven't been particularly impressed with the various Galvin restaurants (Bistrot de Luxe or La Chapelle).

            6 Replies
            1. re: limster

              "that is good restaurants that are not very formal (my son won't have a jacket or tie) and not too precious or sophisticated."

              Just a heads up...most men were wearing jackets when I was at Trinity in January and the service was a bit "stiff." Great restaurant though.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                I've been there in much less formal attire (polo shirt, jeans and trainers on one occasion), and never had any problems.

                1. re: limster

                  OK. Good to know for the OP. I was just stating what I experienced that night. Maybe the cold January weather "dictated" sport coats for us guys.

                  1. re: limster

                    According to Open Table, Trinity's dress code is "casual" which, in my book, means polo & jeans would be fine.

                    1. re: Harters

                      Went to Trinity about a year or so ago and seem to recall it was reasonably casual. Service wasn't fantastic - very busy Friday night which they didn't seem to deal with terribly well...

                2. re: limster

                  Limster - you should give Galvin at Windows a try. Been a couple of times and really liked it (amazing views over London as well!)