A London Food Guide – The Best Places To Eat!

A London Food Guide – The Best Places To Eat!

London is one of the top ranked cities in the world for fine dining, holding over 70 Michelin stars, so it comes as no surprise that the standard of food in this wonderful city is outstanding. But you don’t have to sell a lung to afford the best grub in London, there are plenty of great restaurants, cafés and markets to get you salivating.

We recently took a trip to the nation’s capital with the intention of loosening our belts and settling in for a weekend of top-nosh, after doing our research and feeling overwhelmed by the choice. It’s hard to know what type of cuisine you will actually fancy a few weeks from now, or even which district of London you’ll find yourself in when your belly rumbles, so we just wrote them all down for future reference. And then forgot the list! Still, imprinted on my canny cerebellum were enough facts and keys words to re-find the food data required and we proceeded to eat our way around London.

Brunch in London

Situated just around the corner from our hotel in Clerkenwell was the botanical paradise of the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings Restaurant (the B&H to locals). Hallelujah to Pinterest for this amazing find – a holiday for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Like some wealthy old country estate which has gone to seed you can take your tea in the garden room amongst the flora or find a comfy low arm-chair with worn blooming prints in the cosy restaurant area. Such a beautiful restaurant and bustling with cheeriness from the attentive staff and happy punters alike.

The menu for brunch is fairly substantial and all impecably prepared. Booking is essential, this kind of high quality food in beautiful surroundings is always going to be a winner with locals and visitors alike. Find more information on their website. So, how do you like your eggs?

The Restaurant at the The Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell, London. All laid out for the best brunch you will ever experience.

The menu at the The Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings Restaurant, Clerkenwell, London. All laid out for brunch.

Huevos Benedictos at the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings Restaurant, Clerkenwell, London

Rustic but beautiful decor at the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings Restaurant, Clerkenwell, London

Food Markets of London

Street food in London wonderfully represents the enormous diversity of cultures you find yourself rubbing shoulders with in this liquorice allsorts of a metropolis. Cuisines from countries I’ve never even heard of (and I have a map wall I devote hours of day-dreaming to!) and dishes that I can’t even pronounce. That said – you don’t need to speak Uzbekistanian to eat Uzbekistanian.

Most people have heard of Greenwich, Cambden or Borough Markets, in fact, most people have been, but don’t forget the little guys. Leather Lane has been around 400 years and has a royal history – the wager of a bad debt made by destitute King Charles II. Enveloped by Little Italy and once a place for artists and instrument makers, these days you will be spoilt for choice when you come for lunch. Or Broadway Market, rumoured to have inspired the set of Eastenders, is a foodie-heaven frequented by local hipsters and fashionista’s. Or Berwick Street Market – just around the corner from Oxford Circus, you’re bound to be passing at some point so take a left turn and pick up some tasty morsels.

Fish at a food market - London

Park your bottom and eat lunch at Camden Market, London
Some funky seating at Camden Market, London

Street food at a London food market

Dinner In London

In the Muir household we love a good Indian. Nottingham spoils us for choice with its Asian supermarkets and curry-houses, home to some of the best in the country with many food-awards to their names, so when it comes to our Masalas and Daal’s we’re a bit fussy. We were once of the notion that the best curry-houses in London must surely be of the ‘small family business’ kind, where little attention is paid to the decor and more to the ingredients, where the greasy haired waiters must surely be an indication of the quality of ghee used in-house, yes? Well, I’m sure they’re out there, and I’m not averse to a formica table or shared-loo once in a while, but I think for the time being we shall be sticking with Dishoom when it comes to scratching that Balti-itch. It really doesn’t get much better. From the minute you enter their establishment in Shoreditch your nose sends out party invites to various other body members seducing you with scents of cardamom and clove, cassia and cumin. Once upon a time the old Irani cafes of Bombay welcomed business men and sweaty tuk-tuk drivers alike and Dishoom replicates this unassumed era with its classically simplistic decor and quality ‘without fuss’ food. I dare say there are better curries out there but in this instance the sum is greater than its parts and all that Dishoom offer add up to a perfectly pleasing affair.

The calamari small plate and the Chicken Ruby, mopped up with a Roomali Roti won’t disappoint. Wash it down with a mango and fennel seed lassi and jobs a good’un.

Reservations are taken for breakfast and lunch, but if there are less than 6 of you at Dinner you can’t book and may have to wait a short while. Get their opening times on their website.

Dishooms delicious calimari
Dishooms Delectable Calamari

Posh Picnics in London

If you’re hankering for a picnic but feel like cheese and ham sandwiches just don’t make the grain then find yourselves an Ottolenghi Delhi and pick up some of their amazing salads and even more amazing cakes and pastries. As if they didn’t look good enough anyway, they’re even healthy too, it’s pure clean eating – although maybe not all the cakes. There are 6 establishments across London to purchase your posh picnic. These pictures are going to sell it to you…

The cake selection at the wonderful Ottolenghi deli in London

La Piece De Resistance – Dinner by Heston

So, I’ve shared some London food gems with you my friends, and all places I wouldn’t hesitate to take my most critical of foodie-friends (who shall remain nameless, but you know the type – never compliment your cooking, always name-drop their latest extravagant nosh-up, call the chefs by their Christian names). Well, if you need a retort then book yourselves a table at Heston’s (see what I did there) at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. ‘Dinner‘ ranks number 7 in the Worlds Best Restaurants this year and it’s really easy to see why. The menu is inspired by the History of British cuisine – contemporary takes on old recipes which show that our obsession with food is not just a modern marvel. Every mouthful will leave you humming with delight and wonderment at how something can taste so good, and that’s just the bread they bring you to nibble on as you wait on the ultimate dining experience! You may well be surrounded by rich Chinese business men and their bag-laiden teenage daughters, only here to pick up their new horse-hair Manolos, but Dinner doesn’t request that you own half a football club. Of course it’s high-end and you probably want to dress up but the staff are gracious and don’t differentiate, there are still many diners there for special occasions who wouldn’t ordinarily be so lavish and this is much respected.

A 3 course lunch from their set lunch menu costs £40 (available Monday – Friday) and the á la carte considerably more, but I promise you it’s worth every penny. This is the seventh best restaurant in the world! 

Chicken at Dinner - Heston Blumenthal's restaurant in Knightsbridge, London

Chocolate Desert at Dinner, Heston Blumenthal's Restaurant in Knightsbrigde, London

Desert at 'Dinner' by Heston Blumenthal - Knightsbridge, London

So go on, book your London foodie break and don’t forget to drop me a comment, have you eaten anywhere great in London? Got a favourite London food market? I’d love to know!

We stayed at The Zetter hotel in Clerkenwell. For more of the best deals on hotels click here

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Pin For Later…The Best London Food Guide - all the best places to eat and drink in London. Get the low down on which food markets are the greatest, what deli's you should try, the best Indian restaurant, and also where you can go for a 2 star michelin meal. Oh and I mustn't forget brunch!

54 Comments Add yours

  1. Off to book a meal at ‘Dinner’ the food looks amazing! Some fabulous places – will definitely check out some of these options for my next London visit!

    1. Alex says:

      It WAS amazing! You should!

  2. I’m definitely pinning this post for later reference – we’re starting to plan a weekend in London and your post left my mouth watering, Alex. I really enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks Jurga. If you need any help planning I’d be happy to basque in your planning excitement! (That’s half the fun I think!)

  3. Flo says:

    I love all the options in London! I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the great restaurants and places to eat – bookmarking this for our future trips back!

  4. Ruth says:

    My mouth is watering after reading this post (not fair, I am about to go to bed). I am attracted to cities with good food. Sadly, my experience with food in London wasn’t great when I visited for the first time. But, that was long time ago and seems like things have changed. I can spend days exploring the markets (that is one of my favorite things to do on my travels).

    1. Alex says:

      London has some great markets so I hope you have a better experience next time!

  5. Kat says:

    Love this post! I need to check some of these out. I have heard so much about Dishoom and never made it there but it looks SO good in your photos I’m going to have to rectify that soon!

    Pinned this for later, I’m sure I’ll reference it next time I’m looking for food in London.

    #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Alex says:

      Dishonest was cool – smelled like they’d ground every single spice the moment you walked in.

  6. Anna says:

    I´ve even pinned your post not to forget the names and places: I´m such a foodie! And in cities like London, where you have so many restaurants and food options, it could take time to find the best spots!Thanks for sharing #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Alex says:

      Aw thanks for the pin!! X

  7. Kana says:

    Oh my goodness now I’m starving and I just ate! Haha! I’m visiting London next year so I’m definitely saving this! Thank you so much for joining #FlyAwayFriday, see you in 2 weeks!

    1. Alex says:

      I know – I was salivating writing it! Enjoy London!

  8. Jane Taylor says:

    Amazing options and a fabulous feast of a review, as always…’From the minute you enter their establishment in Shoreditch your nose sends out party invites to various other body members seducing you with scents of cardamom and clove, cassia and cumin’ Is my favourite line. Have Pinned and shared!

  9. I didn’t used to be a foodie person but maybe with age I am appreciating good nosh far more. £40 for a set lunch at Dinner (that’s an oxymoron if ever there was!) sounds excellent value.
    Love a good curry too so will make a note.

    1. Alex says:

      Thats what I thought, and for 2 star Michelin food too! Definitely worth it!

  10. Mandy says:

    Yum! I’ve lived in (or near) London since 2007 and you had me salivating at your choices. I will definitely be checking some of these out in the near future.

    1. Alex says:

      Lucky you – having all that London-ness on your doorstep!

  11. YUMM, I have never been to London but it is on my list for sure, I will remember these places when I finally see it in person 🙂

    1. Alex says:

      wow – I don’t meet many who say they have never been to London, it certainly is a wonderful city!

  12. Chloe says:

    Ugh this looks so amazing!! Esp the brunch and dessert dishes haha!! They look deiicious! Thank you for sharing on FlyAwayFriday!

    1. Alex says:

      That brunch was to die for!

  13. Great choices. I’ve not done them all so will put on the list for next time we are home. Glad you had a good time at “Dinner” unfortunately we had a bad experience but there were some standout dishes and your pics look amazing #citytripping

    1. Alex says:

      Aw that’s a shame, yes we couldn’t fault it. You’re very lucky having all that awesome food on your doorstep!

  14. Those desserts look incredible – I really shouldn’t have just read this while hungry! Great round-up of foods in London, will save it for our next trip:). #citytripping

    1. Alex says:

      The lemon & polenta drizzle cake I had was amazing!!

  15. Lolo says:

    Mmm looks yummy! Thanks for the tips! We go to London at least once every other year to visit some family! Hopefully next year we can make it out again! #CityTripping

    1. Alex says:

      Hope so – its such a great city!

  16. I am suddenly ravenous – these all sound wonderful. I have been to Dishoom (a long time ago) and snacked at some of the markets, but lots of new suggestions even for an (adopted) Londoner. As you say, there’s just so much choice and so many different cuisines, plus it’s always changing and evolving so you could never get bored of the variety on offer. Love that fishy photo too. #citytripping

    1. Alex says:

      I’m hungry thinking about it!

  17. melbtravel says:

    What a great post and thanks for the ideas, as I live in London. I will definitely be trying a few of these out sooner rather than later. Beautiful pictures too.

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks Mel. The markets are great!

  18. You got me at Ottolenghi Delhi.. Those cakes look amazing! #CityTripping

    1. Alex says:

      Oh the lemon and polenta drizzle!!!

  19. You’ve made me very hungry reading all this. Some really good places you’ve detailed – a couple I have yet to try but you are right, Dinner is worth it – so delicious. We went for lunch on a weekday which was pretty good value for the quality. I used to live up the road from Ottolenghi. It was a bit pricey to go there loads but his cook book is very good so can do it at home! His new restaurant NOPI is excellent too. Thanks for linking to #citytripping I need to book a date night!

    1. Alex says:

      Didn’t know you liked me that much ? #datenight! The guy who told me about Ottolenghi also told me about his recipe book – I must get it. Quite envious if you living in London.

  20. Looks nice! Bookmarked for my next London trip 🙂

  21. Marge says:

    Thanks for putting together such a great guide! I’ll definitely be visiting the restaurants and markets you’ve mentioned for our trip across the pond next summer. I can’t wait to try the Indian food there which everyone says is great.

    1. Alex says:

      It is but some Indian restaurants are also awful too so make sure you go with a recommendation!

  22. Ahila says:

    Lovely list of places to eat from in London! I have enjoyed trying out some of the food streets and markets in London and the three that I frequented the most was the one on Leather Lane, Exmouth market and of course, Borough market. Warung Tempeh’s stall at Leather Lane is a place I recommend for Indonesian food in the city. #FarawayFiles

    1. Alex says:

      Oo I shall try that next time I’m there!

  23. Katy Clarke says:

    Delicious! I am so looking forward to trying Dishoom. I have heard so many great things. I will seek out Leather Lane too. Have you tried Mercato Metropolitano near Elephant and Castle? I can assure you that it’s worth the trek to a less obvious part of town. An incredible array of Italian treats. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. Alex says:

      Oo really, no we haven’t. I’ve always wanted a good recommendation for Italian! Thanks!

  24. What a fab post – I’d also print this off and take on my next trip to London! I tend to always end up at the same markets (Spitalfields, Borough) and I love to hear about lesser-known ones. Some glorious food on here, I love your pics. Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Alex says:

      Ar thanks – glad you enjoyed!

  25. Oh Alex I’m not sure I should thank you for sharing this – I’m feeling both starving and desperate to go and eat out in London. What a foodie few days you had! Every one of the places you mention sounds well worth a trip. I love the old-style look and sofas in the brunch restaurant and it’s always great to read about new food markets. Thanks so much for linking up to #FarawayFiles

    1. Alex says:

      You must have brunch in the Bourne & Hollingsworth buildings – it’s amazing!

  26. YUM. What a fabulous list and seriously #swoonworthy images! You have me salivating. Definitely wonderful suggestions. We adore seeking out markets when we visit a place – I love the pics from Camden Market – my kids would adore the scooter seats! Cheers from Copenhagen and thanks for linking with #FarawayFiles – we can’t wait to see where you take us this week! Erin

    1. Alex says:

      Kids DO love Camden – there’s just so much eye candy!! Thanks for the retweet too 😉 x

  27. Oh wow… Your photographs are simply stunning. Everything looks so scrumptious!

  28. Lisa T says:

    My husband and I will be meeting a tax colleague in London in April and I just never thought much about food choices. I will need to brush up on the delicacies London has to offer. I usually take some snacks along with me when we go to a new place, just in case. Thanks for sharing your choices with all of us on pinterest.

    1. Alex says:

      Ar, hope you have lots of fun in April. And thanks!

  29. jane cook says:

    I’m off to London for a weekend this month, definitely need to check some of these out! 🙂 xx

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