For those who haven’t visited London before, whether you are coming from elsewhere in the UK or overseas, there are some eateries which you simply must have on your itinerary. From the traditional to the bizarre, London is full of restaurants, cafes and street food markets to suit all palettes and budgets. Get your hands on an Oyster or snap up a travelcard and prepare for your stomach to rumble as we unveil some of London’s best places to eat.
Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street
Having opened in 1974, Beigel Bake is a pillar of the East London community. The deli-style bakery is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with 7,000 fresh bagels being churned out every day. Many wonder, why beigel? Bagel is actually an Americanisation and was adopted from the Yiddish language many moons ago, with many claiming it derived from the German word, buegel. Whether you say bagel or beigel, you’ll want to get your hands
The beauty of this London institution, however, is its timeless Jewish bagel fillings. From smoked salmon and cream cheese, to hot slabs of salted beef served with gherkins, Time Out London awarded Beigel Bake four stars online. The late Kray Twins frequently visited Beigel Bake back in their heyday and, today, Beigel Bake is as famous as ever.
Beach Blanket Babylon, 45 Ledbury Road, W11 2AA
Nearest station: Bayswater
Set in a beautiful white Georgian mansion, BBB (as it is known to regulars), is one of London’s quirkiest dining opportunities. Established in 1990, the extravagant Rococo and Baroque interior styles make Beach Blanket Babylon a magical place to dine.
Serving the finest in European cuisine, the menus not only change seasonally, but also reflect on the building’s colonial British heritage. If you need something to wet the palette, their cocktails and wine list is infamous too!
Baiwei, 8 Little Newport Street, WC2H 7JJ
Nearest station: Leicester Square
When visiting London, Chinatown is easy to navigate, but choosing which restaurant to eat in is not. Chinatown is part of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. Many tourists flock to Chinatown to experience the Chinese culture and indulge in some delicious food.
Our favourite restaurant is Baiwie, just off of the Charing Cross Road. Not only is a meal at Baiwei affordable, but the menu is a love letter to punchy Sichuan cuisine so expect fragrant garlic, dried chillies and Sichuan pepper. Much of the menu was curated by Sichaun food expert Fuchsia Dunlop, who is an author and part of a Chinese restaurant group which Baiwei falls under.
Order the Gong Bao chicken, you won’t be disappointed.
KERB Camden, NW1
Nearest station: Camden Town
Okay, we cheated a bit with KERB. It is Camden’s iconic street food market and was created by a crew of talented traders who wanted to bring something different to the city. It is renowned as the place to sample cuisine from all over the world.
Nestled next to Regent’s Canal you can practically do an around-the-world culinary tour in one location. Kimchinary is serving a hybrid between Korean and Mexican cuisine and you can get your hands on traditional Latino hot pockets from Petare. Grab a pizza to go from Fundi or indulge in some buttermilk-soaked fried chicken from Mother Clucker. With around 40 traders cooking up a storm it’s the perfect place to share a variety of dishes from different vendors.
Frank’s Canteen, 86 Highbury Park, N5 2XE
Nearest station: Arsenal
If you painted the town red the night before, head off to Frank’s Canteen in Highbury East. Featured two years on the trot in Time Out London’s Best 100 Cheap East Restraunts, Frank’s is a cosy café perfect for breakfast or brunch.
Breakfast and brunch is served all day, perfect for any late risers. Although the menu may be small, pretty much everything is customisable and you can add extra toast, extra eggs, beans, bacon, sausage and salmon to anything you fancy. We cannot lie, the toasted English muffins with Bury black pudding, poached eggs and truffle and gruyere cheese sauce has us salivating!
Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
Nearest station: Bond Street
Having long-standing connections with royalty, Claridge’s is undoubtedly one of London’s most prestigious 5-star hotels. However, many head to the landmark to indulge in a British tradition; afternoon tea. Having been serving this part of the country’s heritage for over 150 years, Claridge’s even have a tea connoisseur who scours the world to bring the finest teas from the furthest corners of the globe.
With prices varying between £60 and £90 per person, afternoon tea at Claridge’s is a very special treat for many. After picking from a choice of 24 teas, you can enjoy perfectly formed fingers sandwiches filled with the likes of duck egg or Scottish salmon. After scones served with Cornish clotted cream and Marco Polo gelee, nibble on hand-made pastries such as passion fruit tartlet or strawberry macaron. Champagne wouldn’t go a miss either.
Dishoom, Various Locations
With restaurants in King’s Cross, Carnaby, Shoreditch and Covent Garden, Dishoom is one of London’s coveted Indian eateries. Each restaurant is a homage to the Irani cafes which were a huge part of the community in Bombay. Sadly, the number of cafes in Bombay has dwindled from the four hundred of the 1960s, to around 30 today. Luckily, Dishroom are keeping the tradition alive.
Dishoom serve breakfast between 8 am and 11:45 am. The menu is rich with vibrant dishes to help get your day started. Just be warned, the majority contains chilli. Kejriwal is a very popular choice with visitors; two fried eggs on top of chilli cheese toast.
As of 12 pm the all-day menu is available which has countless dishes, from recognisable favourites to Dishoom exclusives. With dairy-free and gluten-free options, as well as a takeaway service, Dishoom is a fantastic place where all the family can sample some delicious Indian delights.