The London eating and drinking scene is known to be one of the world’s best, and it’s one of the main aspects I look forward to on my many London trips.
As a Manchester food blogger, I’m used to the city life and exploring everything from premium reservation-only places, hipster no-reservation spots, independent quirky coffee and cake cafes, street food joints and all that in between.
Plus, due to the sheer size of the city, new places open faster than you can keep track of. It should come as little surprise that innovative and impressive chefs from all over the world are keen for a place at the (dinner) table here.
No matter if you’re a Thai fan, a martini drinker, a sushi picker or a vegan diner, you won’t struggle for satisfaction in London. But London is huuuuge, right? So it can be stressful knowing where to start. Luckily, there is copious amounts of online help.
Take squaremeal for example. SquareMeal has been at the core of London’s restaurant scene, creating carefully curated content to help diners find the latest and greatest London restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant based on cuisine, price, atmosphere or how pretty its private dining room is, they have everything covered.
And in case you want some of my own opinions, here are a few dining and drinking establishments in London I personally love…
I visit Borough Market on most occasions that I go to London’s, as in my opinion, its the best food market for street food of all cuisines. Plus, it is a bustling, beloved dining destination that creates a fab eating and drinking experience.
This historic food market is a sprawling foodie heaven delivering everything from British, Thai, Indian, Italian, Ephiopian, Spanish, Chinese and so much more. Other gourmet goodies include specialitiy bread, cured meats, cheese, olives, wines and pastries. Not to mention incredible coffee stalls!
My favourite is a mac and cheese stall which offers lashings of pulled pork on top, the Ethiopian stir-friend stews, the Tuscan porchetta-inspired spit roast and a stall where you can wine taste to your hearts content!
Just be warned: it gets ridiculously busy!
Good Indian food is to Londoners what good Mexican food is to Texans. It’s a privilege but also a birthright. Within the last few years, Dishoom changed the game by creating an Indian restaurant that looks and feels modern, yet also serves food of the same quality that you might conceivably eat in the subcontinent. There are several Dishooms located around town, and there will always be a queue regardless of which one you visit, though the Soho and Shoreditch restaurants are the ones we’d hedge our bets on. Either way, make sure the chicken ruby curry and lamb chops are on your table.
I first went to Sketch in London when I won the Cosmopolotan Blog Awards back in 2010, and fell in love with it’s dreamy decor. Since then, it’s only grown more popular for its afternoon tea offering – it’s like having scones and clotted cream in a story book setting.
This massive space is made up of several rooms, each with somewhat different themes, and each slightly insane – in a good way. There’s lots of pale pink, and do go here if you appreciate sandwiches, tea, coffee and cake.
And don’t forget to take a mirror selfie in the toilets! You’re really here because there isn’t anywhere like it in the world. The bathroom is the best room in the building.
Elan Cafe (Now EL&N Cafe)
If you’re looking for one of the most instagram worthy places to drink and dine in London, then head to EL&N cafe, formerly Elan Cafe. Stepping inside this iconic cafe is more than just an experience, it’s a journey. A journey of prettiness, girly vibes and perfect surroundings.
As soon as you arrive, you breathe in the vast fields of South America through their unique blend of coffee beans. Menu wise, it is made up of fresh ingredients from their stunning Mediterranean-inspired menu. Nice for a Shakshuka and coffee! Followed by a handcrafted cake, of course.
You’ll find various EL&N cafes around London, and some have the most extensive array of unique coffees. I’m talking Lucky Charms Lattes, Saffron Lattes, Velvet Lattes…. you get my drift! The most incredibly different coffee variations.
Duck and Waffle
Now this is a place with a view! Duck and Waffle is a fab place to go primarily so you can look out the windows. The view from the top of the Heron Tower is spectacular, but unlike most tall building restaurants, the food’s actually pretty good too.
Think posh British cuisine with a twist, like Aberdeen Angus beef tartare or smoked eel with creme fraiche. Brunch here is a good decision (though book ahead), and it’s open 24 hours if you need something late night.
I came here for a brekafast meeting with a PR agency, and it was super fancy! The atmosphere was buzzing, and in general, it was just a fantastic place to kickstart the day.
Housed in a majestic six-floor Art Deco building in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia, Mortimer House provides a new experience for those who wish to create, work and unwind in equal measure.
Known as Mortimer House Kitchen, this places serves exceptional Mediterranean cuisine. I came here for their avocado, eggs and sourdogh specialiality breakfast, and couldn’t believe how busy it was at 9am on a week morning. Make sure you book!
Dining at the counter is a thing in London now, and nowhere is this done better than at The Palomar. An evening here might be the most fun you can have in a restaurant in London, mostly due to the nearly explainable energy that you’ll feel the second you walk in the door.
The Israeli small plates are excellent, but you’ll really remember the banging tunes, the bartenders who’ll tell you what to eat and offer you shots, and stumbling out at midnight feeling like you own this town.
Situated in the heart of Soho, splat band in Theatreland, you’ll find all the food of modern day Jerusalem. A menu influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. A real taste of culture.
At the front of the restaurant is their 16 seat zinc kitchen bar that overlooks the chefs, a mosaic marble floor leads to the dining room at the back. The intimate, 40 cover space has a reclaimed parquet floor, dark oak panelled walls, banquette seating in royal blue leather, and features a skylight allowing natural light to flood in.
I hope this article helps narrow down some real foodie finds in London!