I was in London over the summer for my friend Melissa’s wedding and the 2-week celebration was just one big girlie food trip. I hadn’t found the time to write about my food discoveries until my cousin Audrey reminded me that she is dashing off to London with her husband Richard for the first time this week. I hastily drooled over my photos from the trip, reminisced about the wonderful meals we shared, the endless laughter, and the million and one jumping shots all over the city, to put together this list for her 5-day trip.
There is no city more multicultural than London and it would be impossible for a visitor to truly discover the breadth of delicious eats the city has to offer. This list, however, consists of my new discoveries and favourite haunts. Enough to whet your appetite on a 5-day day visit and to make you want to come back for more.
I’ve always been wary of Indian food until my meal at Dishoom. It was such a fantastic dining experience that in the dimly lit restaurant, I devoured everything I normally would have stopped to investigate curiously and selectively before eating. This old Irani Cafe in Bombay inspired concept introduced me to flavours that were explosive, exotic, and absolutely delicious. This was my most favourite new discovery in London this year.
Favourites: Chilli Cheese Toast, Chicken Ruby, Pau Bhaji, Okra Fries, Prawn Koliwada
Tip: Book a show (we watched Matilda at the Cambridge Theater and it was absolutely entertaining and heartwarming) then head over to Dishoom across the street for dinner.
This came highly recommended from my brother Mark. It was the perfect restaurant for our large gathering before the wedding festivities began. We pre-ordered the Smoked Whole Rack of Short Rib from the group menu and although it says it feeds 6-8 we still couldn’t finish all of the ridiculously fall off the bone, delicious, short rib.
Tip: They don’t take reservations unless you are a large group. They are located in the ultra hipster Shoreditch area which is a must to explore all the indie shops and street art (do a free street art tour!) in this hip East London neighbourhood.
This is a fun chain with many locations serving casual Lebanese fare. Great, yummy lunch spot.
Favourites: Lebanese Hommos, Baba Ghanuj, Roasted Chicken Moussakhan
Tip: This branch is on the 4th floor of the John Lewis on Oxford Street. Go shopping on Oxford Street and Regent Street, make sure to hit up Liberty of London (my favourite department store in London!), the pedestrian-only Carnaby Street, Selfridges, and check out the cute boutiques in one of my favourite London neighbourhoods, Marylebone.
This is Ottolenghi’s sit down restaurant, a dreamy space of brass and white with all the lovely mezzes he’s known for, as well as comforting, delicious entrées.
Favourites: Everything! Order family style and share.
Tip: In case you have to wait for your table like we did on our last visit, walk down to the Green Bar for a drink. Fortnum and Mason is also close by. If you do go, pick up my favourite Black Cow Vintage Cheddar and Sea Salted Caramel Truffles (get as much as you can take back!).
This one Michelin star dapper restaurant is one of our all-time favourite haunts in London. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday there over the summer and the Sicilian food and service were as superb as the very first time we ate here.
Tip: Reservations are a must.
A tiny restaurant in Borough Market serving the most delightful fresh pasta dishes. They don’t take reservations so expect a long line. But don’t worry, it moves quickly. Try to get their right before it opens for dinner.
Favourites: Tagliarini with Dorset Crab, Chili and Lemon, Gnocchi with Sage and Butter, Ravioli of Squash & Neal’s Yard Ricotta with Sage Butter, Pici Cacio e Pepe (must get this!).
Brindisa doesn’t take reservations and it’s almost impossible to get a table but you can always get something to go and walk around while you food hop the many stalls at Borough Market.
Favourites: They are famous for their chorizo rolls! Pick one up while you explore Borough Market.
Tip: Tate Modern is about a 10 minute walk away, if you’re planing a trip to Borough Market make some time to check it out!
Thanks to my friend Nat, I discovered this tiny place serving up delicious local British fare when we had dinner together in London after not seeing each other for a million years. Their seasonal menu changes daily but everything we had was fantastic!
Tip: This is a tiny restaurant and they don’t take reservations so try to get their early so you can leave your name and then walk around while you wait. A pub or bar is always within reach in London so there are a lot of places close by to have a drink while you wait for your table.
Ottolenghi is a must visit every time I’m in London. And I don’t just mean a one time visit. Lucky for me, I stayed at an Airbnb in Notting Hill where there is an Ottolenghi conveniently located nearby. So it was more like a DAILY must visit for their irresistible sweet treats and mind-blowing salads and spreads.
Favourites: EVERYTHING. But please make sure you get Baked Chocolate Tart with Peanut Brittle and have at least one for me!
Tip: Ottolenghi is primarily a take-out restaurant with just a few seats for dining in But that’s okay because parks can be found all over the city in every neighbourhood. Grab some food to go and have a picnic at one of London’s many grassy spots.
Whenever I travel, it’s just a matter of time before I start to crave Asian food. We really lucked out with this place because it was authentic and delicious. It’s located in the historic neighbourhood of Hampstead which I visited for the first time over the summer.
Favourites: Get there early if you want to try the chicken skin skewers, they sell out fast!
Tip: Explore the quaint, historical area of Hampstead where you can find heritage homes to visit, charming little streets, the Hampstead Heath with the most spectacular views of the city, and many pubs that have stood the test of time.
Yummy Portuguese food! We had dinner here before Meliss and Tim jetted off to Santorini for their honeymoon and we had a great time talking about how amazing the celebration and how we hope to hear some good news soon (wink wink!).
Favourites: Their menu changes frequently but I believe this is a permanent item on their menu, Pão de Ló. It’s sort of like a really eggy chiffon cake and it’s sooooo good!
An old favourite haunt in London, this restaurant specializes in Sicilian food with a seafood only menu. But it’s not just the food that I love about this place. Their modern and minimalist interiors are beautiful.
Please let me know your favourite London haunts, I’d love to hear them for my next trip back!
P.S. Whether it’s your first time to London or not, Sandemans Tours came highly recommended for their highly informative and entertaining walking tours (including a free tour of London).