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Marble Arch questions (also Cambridge and Salisbury)

  • g

I'll be visiting London (from New York City) in a couple of weeks, and staying in the Marble Arch area (Seymour Place). I'm looking for ideas of places in the general area for inexpensive and casual (yet interesting) dinner and maybe breakfast. Also, good markets etc. for food shopping, as we will have a kitchen and enjoy cooking. I will be traveling with my husband and our 14-year-old son, who likes food.

Also, we will be in Cambridge, just touring around seeing the university, and Salisbury just for the day. Ideas for interesting lunch in both those places would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, everyone.

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  1. First place to start is the very good search engine at the top of the page. There are recent threads about Cambridge and perhaps Marble Arch will also pop up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zuriga1

      Thanks! I did do that. Looking for some further info, if any is on offer.

    2. You could do a lot worse than struggling all the way to Donostia at number 10 Seymour Place! If that kindles your enthusiasm for exploring more of London, then the next night you might even venture as far as the Lockhart at number 24 Seymour place....

      12 Replies
        1. re: gnosh

          As I learned soon after moving to England, the English language and humor doesn't always translate well into America-speak. :-)

          1. re: zuriga1

            I just didn't understand the reply. Perhaps someone will enlighten me. I'm going to err on the side of charity and assume that no insult was intended; I've never understood those who patronize boards like this one then disparage people who attempt to use said boards for their intended purpose. Hard to imagine that a person couldn't come up with a better way of passing the time, particularly if one had the rare privilege of living in a thriving metropolis such as London.

            1. re: gnosh

              Think you may have got the wrong end of the stick gnosh- Gareth was being helpful, not insulting. Check out Donostia and Lockhart as suggested.

              1. re: mjgauer

                Great. I will do. They do sound great.

              2. re: gnosh

                I read absolutely nothing insulting or rude in Gareth UK's reply. (And I'm American!) I read it as light-heartedly humorous and helpful.

                You could do a lot worse than = what I'm going to suggest is a good option compared to most

                struggling all the way...= this place is quite close

                If that kindles your enthusiasm for exploring more of London = it's so close that you'll barely see any of London between there and your hotel

                you might even venture as far as...= this next place is basically next door

                1. re: Palladium

                  Helpful how? Because it's help I'm looking for!

                2. re: gnosh

                  The British sometimes have a sense of humor that we Americans just don't get. Don't worry about it... Gareth was just trying to be a bit funny with his reply.

                  It took me awhile to figure out my husband's use of the same words I'd known in different contexts. I asked what he wanted for dinner, and he replied, 'I'm not bothered.' I didn't have a clue that he meant he didn't have a preference. :-)

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Thank you, to all those who tried to translate. And, yes, it was intended to be nothing more than a lighthearted way of saying that you have lucked out and you are staying virtually on top of two very decent places to eat, either one of which would make for a good night out.

                    Bon appétit*


                    *hoping that French may be more of a common language than my particuar brand of English....

                    1. re: Gareth_UK

                      Hi, Gareth. I guess I was having a bad day. Sorry (in French) for misinterpreting, and many thanks for the advice!

                  2. re: gnosh

                    I've never understood those that presume animosity when confused, and then judge the source of the alleged animosity for wasting their own time making allegedly disparaging comments because, as resident of a thriving metropolis (such as London, as a random example), they should be immersed in other more noble pursuits than trying to help people online (especially with the unintended risk you may confound the recipient of your good-will).

                    Also, Coco Maya is great for a quick sandwich and breakfast pastries or tea.

                    There are a few Persian places nearby as well which were highly recommended by the owner of Coco Maya, though I haven't tried them personally.

                    1. re: brokentelephone

                      Sad to see that the OP will have been and gone already and get still no report of where they ate and what was good. It's always disappointing not to get feedback and hear about what a visitor enjoyed and didn't enjoy.

                      Hopefully Gnosh had a good trip (and did not come across Giles Coren who likes his nosh).

            2. I used to work very near were you're staying. It's just off Edgware Road. There's loads of Lebanese places. However my favourites were Abu Zaad, a Syrian Restaurant. Further up away from Marble Arch towards Paddington is Melur, a Malaysian place, a bit hit and miss but good when they get it right. Just off Edgware Road on Crawford Place is Patogh. a ruff an ready Persian place, great breads and grilled meats.
              Also theres the Heron for good Norther Thai food.
              All these are fairly inexpensive.
              Very near were you're staying is Donastia a Basque pintxos place. I wouldn't say it was cheap but it's not unreasonable and the food is very good indeed.

              There have been numerous posts on these places.

              If you have your own kitchen then I suggest you go to Green Valley with loads of interesting Lebanese stuff, this is just off Edgware Road on Upper Berkeley. You may also want to go to Selfridges food hall or the Waitrose food hall at John Lewis, both on Oxford Street and not very far.

              11 Replies
                1. re: gnosh

                  Just to let you know re Donostia (which I incorrectly spelt Donastia) and has had a few recommends on this thread. I've just had an email and they are closed from 20th to 22nd April for their staff trip.

                  1. re: Paprikaboy

                    Thanks. Luckily, we'll be there just before that!

                2. re: Paprikaboy

                  Just to put the supermarkets in context. Waitrose is probably the best general supermarket, its a popular British chain with slightly upmarket food but good for day to day. They rival Marks & Spencer (also a national chain) who also have a large food hall in the Marble Arch store, I find M&S a little more rarefied than Waitrose but both good for a broad range of foods. Sefridges has a one off food hall not certain it will be as good for routine stuff as the other two but it does have a good butchers counter.

                  A short walk away you will find Marylebone High Street which is like a little village with good food shops and a few restaurants - again good butcher, cheesemonger etc.

                  I wouldn't limit your restaurants to the Marble Arch area (which I think is Gareth's point), in NYC terms you have said you are staying in Times Sq and want restaurant recommendations in Times Sq. You are a short trip away from the Soho area which is full of restaurants and within very easy reach of all the central London places discussed on the board and Central London or the West End isn't that large with good public transport options around Marble arch.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    Thank you. That is really helpful. I was just trying to get a sense of the neighborhood, and where people who live there like food tend to shop/eat—since we'll be staying there. But definitely do not intend to limit our eating to that area! Cannot wait to explore. Thanks again.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Also if you're there on a Sunday, there's a good, upscale (meaning expensive) farmers market just off the marylebone high street. Well worth checking out.

                      1. re: katnat

                        That sounds great. Is it obvious where it is once you're on Marylebone High Street? Thanks.

                        1. re: gnosh

                          Its not a long street - shops start at the Marylebone Lane junction and go up to about Paddington Street.

                          1. re: gnosh

                            From what I remember from a few years ago, the market was on a small street off Marylebone High St... maybe near the Waitrose. To be honest, I didn't think it was such a great market at all, but maybe it was the time of year. I can't remember. It would be convenient for you. Here's a link and it has a map.


                            1. re: zuriga1

                              There's also a second smaller market on the grounds of one of the churches on Marylebone High Street.


                            2. re: gnosh

                              The market is right in the back of waitrose. Fairly large one too.

                      2. Here's a lunch suggestion that isn't quite what you expected. Salisbury holds its market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Along with lots of raw ingredients for sale, you'll find enough wonderful prepared items or products that you can graze your way to a delicious lunch.

                        When we were in Salisbury last August, there wasn't any space dedicated to tables and chairs, but we found a low retaining wall and coped quite well. The market was/is being renovated so there may be a dining area by now.

                        Here's a link to the market site: http://www.salisburymarket.com/

                        I specifically remember enjoying mini-quiche from Alre Watercress Products and cheese from Spa Farm. (Cheddar cheese produced in Cheddar England really is light years better than anything I've eaten even among the artisanal producers in the US.) The display of olives at Simply Olives and Nuts was quite seductive and we enjoyed our purchases.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Indy 67

                          Thanks. That sounds great. Even if it isn't warm enough to eat outside, we can buy some things to bring back. The cheddar sounds especially fabulous.

                        2. There's also a Vinoteca on Seymour Place which is quite good. On Crawford St, you have the Duke of Wellington gastropub.

                          1. This past October, we stayed in the same area and really enjoyed dinner nearby at the Grazing Goat. Here's our comments and their website:



                            Also at the corner of Seymour Place and Seymour Street is a great little coffee shop - the Borough Barista.


                            1. As you research Salisbury, you will inevitably be pointed towards the lunchtime buffet at Anokaa. It is, pretty much, the only place in the city that ever gets any mention.

                              Ignore all entreaties to eat there.

                              This is what I wrote for another board a year or so back(and for Hardens, in whose guide I had found it):

                              Salisbury seems short on good food opportunities. The Good Food Guide has no listing and Hardens only includes Anokaa, making particular mention of the lunchtime buffet. So I went and tried it. And it affirmed my relief that I live in Cheshire and only had to endure this below-average boring food once. Short on choice; short on flavour; very short on enjoyment.

                              There were pappadums and the usual curryhouse accompaniements – onions, red and tasteless, orange gloop that may have been mango but tasted of orange gloop, a decent mint raita. There were a couple of salads and a funny coloured gloop that seemed as though it was a bland form of guacamole. I was a bit intrigued – avocado in an Indian restaurant? So I asked what it was – yep, a bland version of guacamole.

                              The hot starters comprised what I assume was supposed to be aloo tikki (but was actually just spiceless fried mashed potato), similarly bland veggie samosa and some small chunks of dried-up, wizened chicken. No second helpings, thanks very much.

                              Only two options for main course. Chicken, which came with mangetout and a had vaguely sweet taste reminiscent of Vesta boil-in-the-bag, circa 1975. The veggie option was even worse. It looked like the leftovers from a Sunday roast. It tasted like the leftovers from a Sunday roast. There was a decent enough dhal makhani, which managed to add some taste and interest to the plate.

                              Of the carbs, rice was claggy but bread was a somewhat redeeming tandoori roti, rather than the more usual naan. "


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Harters

                                Maybe sensible to ask if you are going to Salisbury for Stonehenge or for another reason?

                                If just going to Stonehenge there is a great food pub not far away called "The Red Lion Freehouse" in East Chisenbury (near Pewsey) - the chef/owners are both ex-Per Se. It's quite a short drive from the stones - back along the A303 then up past Larkhill.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  That sounds wonderful. We're going for Stonehenge, but figured we'd also see the cathedral and other Salisbury sights. Unfortunately, we're taking the train, not driving, so I don't think we'll be able to go anywhere in between. But thanks for the idea.

                                2. re: Harters

                                  Wow. That sounds remarkably terrible (albeit amusing to read about). I will definitely avoid it!

                                3. In Salisbury La Mollina is an unexpectedly nice tapas place in a dull looking pedestrianised shopping street:- http://www.lamollina.co.uk/

                                  1. Roti Chai is pretty close to Marble Arch, I've had a pleasant couple of meals there.

                                    1. Relais de Venise on Marylebone is always my favorite and great value for London. It is 15 minutes from your location. It is the sister restaurant of the one in NY and Paris. Do expect at least 40 mn waiting in line. I was there in February and will be back there in 2 weeks, then on to the one in Paris

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Trungtr

                                        Relais de Venise opened in Manchester in 2012. It lasted about a year before closing. I'm not at all surprised - we had a poor meal there - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8797...