Hi folks, welcome to my series on London, United Kingdom! Having lived as a student in London from 2011-12 and visited it multiple times, I’m sharing my knowledge of this wonderful city. I plan to post content every week. The content will largely focus on my recent trip there in June-July 2018, but there’ll also be some gems from the past. If you’d like to know more, please follow my blog.
This post focuses on restaurants that I’ve returned to time and again. They are mostly budget-friendly options ideal for tourists or families on vacation. So here’s my round-up of the tried and tested! My next food-related post will be mini-reviews of the places I ate at on my recent trip.
What’s a trip to London without enjoying some typical English grub?
Most localities and neighborhoods have pubs, but some iconic ones really stand out. Try bangers & mash, fish & chips and good ol’ beer on tap. My favorite ones include The Globe in Moorgate, The Knights Templar in Chancery Lane, The Churchill Arms and The Windsor Castle in Kensington.
Picture courtesy: http://www.tripadvisor.co.nz
KENNEDY’S OF LONDON:
Though delicious fish & chips are available almost everywhere in London, Kennedy’s is known to serve some of the tastiest.
Picture courtesy: http://www.streatham.london.com
You’ll get the quintessential London experience at its various street markets. Check out my dedicated blog post here:
This food market located along the River Thames is a charming place to catch up with friends and enjoy some British hospitality.
Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com
With a focus on sustainability, this chain produces high quality organic food. The delectable food is worthy of the high price tag. Reservations must be made beforehand.
Picture courtesy: http://www.londontown.com
This is another chain that serves deliciously fresh organic food from its own gardens, and is a must-visit.
Picture courtesy: http://www.goingglobaltv.com
Afternoon tea is an essential British experience. Most genteel hotels and restaurants offer deals on afternoon tea, but I highly recommend one of the oldest ones, at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.
Picture courtesy: http://www.afternoontea.co.uk
If you’re missing home food, you’ll be spoilt for choice, as Indian cuisine is extremely popular in London. Chicken Tikka Masala is considered the national dish! Here are my favorite Indian food joints:
They get the butter chicken and desi ambiance right! Check out Punjab in Covent Garden for some North Indian delights.
Picture courtesy: http://www.in.pinterest.com
This chain offers authentic Parsi food inspired by Irani cafes in Bombay. With its quirky Bollywood-y décor and delicious food, you’ll definitely enjoy your experience.
Picture courtesy: http://www.standard.co.uk
Visit this chain of restaurants for a wide range of authentic Indian cuisine. You can sample everything from street food to thalis.
Picture courtesy: http://www.masalazone.com
This restaurant in Bloomsbury offers fantastic South Indian cuisine.
Picture courtesy: http://www.thelondonfoodie.co.uk
BRICK LANE/ SOUTHALL:
These areas of London are mostly inhabited by South Asians and one can find delicious Indian food in almost every nook and cranny.
Picture courtesy: http://www.youtube.com
I loved exploring Asian food options when I lived in London, because the food suits my taste palate and is easily available everywhere. Here’s a pick of my favorites.
Eat authentic and lip-smackingly delicious Thai food in a swanky new-age restaurant. There are many branches of this chain scattered across London, but they don’t take reservations, so plan your visit accordingly!
Picture courtesy: http://www.bookatable.ch
This canteen style eatery, located all over London, offers filling and delicious Asian food served super fast, so you can get on with your tourist-ing!
Picture courtesy: http://www.bighospitality.co.uk
This chain of restaurants offers scrumptious Indo-Chinese food. The large helpings will energize you for all the walking you’ll be doing!
Picture courtesy: http://www.eetapp.com
Wasabi outlets are conveniently located in most busy shopping areas and large tube stations. They offer Japanese food on the go. You have many options to choose from but I love their sushi boxes.
Picture courtesy: http://www.bizdiruk.com
This chain of restaurants serves fantastic dimsum! It hits the right spot after a day of shopping at the Westfield Mall.
Picture courtesy: http://www.livemint.com
With tasty and affordable sushi on the go, you’ll find this chain on almost every street corner.
Picture courtesy: http://www.london-se1.co.uk
Me Love Sushi, Noodles & More, is heavier on the pocket than the aforementioned options, but it serves fantastic food!
If you want to sample authentic Chinese cuisine, with fried duck legs and a super-crowded ambiance, China Town has many places worth visiting. Do try the refreshing Bubble Tea.
If you’re just looking for a variety of bubble tea (tea/coffee beverage with flavored tapioca balls), this is the place to visit.
ITALIAN/ EUROPEAN FOOD:
If you’re looking for a quick and tasty meal, Italian or European deli food is your best bet. Here are my favorites.
This child-friendly chain is very popular for family visits. Fortunately, the food is good too!
This French cuisine chain of restaurants is quite fancy but easy on the pocket too!
This chain is popular in India too, but its firmly entrenched in the London food scene. It’s a good place to visit with children.
I love the innovative and delicious Italian food served in this chain of restaurants.
If you’re on the hunt for American diners and juicy hamburgers, here are my top picks.
This chain of diners is open late into the night and offers the perfect meal after a night of partying.
This chain has arguably some of the best burgers in town.
BLACK & BLUE:
More chic than casual, this chain has some delicious steaks and burgers on their menu.
This chain is one of the popular fast food burger chains in USA, and is now making serious inroads in London too. Their burgers and fries are satisfyingly delish.
Here are some other eating options I’ve frequented in the past that don’t fit in the above categories.
If you’re in a hurry but want to eat healthy, Whole Foods is your best bet. I particularly love their burritos and sushi.
SAINSBURY’S/ TESCO/ WAITROSE:
These supermarkets usually carry cold food options which are great on the go. Some of the larger Sainsbury’s also have a decent salad bar. Though Waitrose is the most expensive of the three, it has a nice variety of health food options.
This kitschy restaurant chain offers fantastic Lebanese food. Their baklavas are a must-try!
Visit this restaurant chain for fantastic Mexican food.
GOING OUT (CLUBS AND PARTYING):
London has a vibrant nightlife where the party never ends! I’ve done my fair share of clubbing in the past. The Soho/ Picadilly Circus area abounds with fashionable bars and happening clubs. Gaining entry is difficult and you may have to wait in line unless you’re on a guest list! China White, Café de Paris and The Box are some good places. If you’re lucky, you may find yourself rubbing shoulders with celebs, like I did with Snoop Dogg one crazy night at The Box!
TIPS TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD & DRINK:
- Sign up for a free trial of the Taste Card, which gives you fantastic discounts and deals on many restaurants across London. Access here: https://www.tastecard.co.uk/
- Similarly, you can scour through hundreds of food-related deals on the Groupon Website. Access here: https://www.groupon.co.uk/browse/london?category=food-and-drink
- Search for deals on the individual social media pages of restaurants you like. They often post about ongoing events, festivals and discounted menus on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Instagram is a fantastic way of getting on a club’s guest list.
- Always be careful about your belongings. Carry only cards if possible. Always carry your ID card for proof of age.
- Supermarkets always have discounted racks for fruits, vegetables, sandwiches and the like.
- If you’re living in London for a long period of time, it’s worth getting membership cards of supermarkets as well as coffee shops. You accumulate points with every purchase which lead to free future purchases.
- If you’re planning on a heavy partying night, its best to pre-game! Drink with your friends at home or at the local pub which is a lot cheaper than buying drinks in clubs.
Thanks for getting this far folks! Stay tuned for my next post 🙂
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