Eating London
August 02nd, 2007 32 Comments

Eating London

Eating London
Eating London pictures (4 of 8)

I just came back from London and can’t wait to share with you the foods I devoured. This is my second trip to London (the first trip was in 2000) and all I can say is London rules.

Who says London has no great restaurants and don’t have much to offer in the food department? I disagree. If you are a Londoner, I envy you because I think you live in a food mecca (grass is always greener?!) where great restaurants are within walking distance, much to the contrary to, say, Los Angeles, where I have to drive an average of an hour or more just to get some decent chow…

Anyway, here are just a fraction of the great food I enjoyed. I recommend the following restaurants–nothing too frou-frou or pretentious so anyone can just pop in and have a great meal without costing an arm and a leg.

London Restaurant Recommendations

  • Belgo – Belgo serves the best mussels and best Belgian beer. Period. Don’t miss out the steamed mussel pot (I love the traditional flavor and the baked mussels with cheese and spinach). For beer, I luuuuurve the fruity beer, especially the one with mango. Now, when can we get those booze in the US?!
  • La Tasca – La Tasca offers great Spanish tapas in a casual environment. Sit by the stools facing St. Martin’s Lane for some people-watching while taking in some exceptional small plates of Spanish delicacy.
  • Le Palais Du Jardin – French food with impeccable service (the manager came twice to check on me!). The seafood platter with lobster, crab, tiger prawns, oysters, almandes, mussels, cockles and langoustines swept me off my feet…so much so that I totally forgot about taking pictures!
  • Crab noodles at a Chinese restaurant which I forgot the name!

A special note to an old friend C, with whom I had lost touch with. Thanks for introducing me to Belgo and other fun places years ago. London remains a very special place in my heart.

If you live in London, do leave me comments and tell me your favorite restaurants!


32 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Lyrical Lemongrass says:

    Will be going there next month. Will try to check out your recommendations. Thanks!!

  2. christine says:

    Oh I wholeheartedly agree. I lived in London for two years and found there was never a dearth of interesting and wonderful restaurants around the city. Since the city is predominantly a melting pot of other culture (I swear it seems there are more non-brits then brits in London), there’s such an extensive selection. I even ate at my first Ethiopian restaurant there!

    And Belgo, I loved Belgo. I loved going down to the “dungeon” and being served by men dressed as monks and then inhaling the aroma wafting from the pot of moulles before plunging in. Did they serve you the shooters while you were there?

  3. Mike Lai says:

    Malaysian living in Manchester. Been down LondON a few times so far. I do confess London does have its many culinary delights. I do recommend Japan centre in Picadilly Circus. Authentic, good and well-priced Japanese food for a quick bite or a sit in dinner. Been hearding good reviews of Belgo and its famous Mango beer. Yum, looking forward to my next trip there. La Tasca is a good place for spanish food in the UK. But as one of the Spanish waitress there put it “spanish food for english ppl” Authentic spanish food is hard to come by as those i’ve savoured in Barca. Keep up the good work. Your blog is in my must read daily list.

  4. Oppss says:

    hey, you are constantly flying! I envy so you much.. bring me along next time when you go. =)

  5. Loralee Choate says:

    This post was really helpful. I’m traveling to London next month for the first time and have been stressing about finding good restaurants. Thanks!

  6. Tunku Halim says:

    I hear the roast duck rice in Kam Tong in Queensway is very good. There’a also the famous Khan’s in Westbourne Grove. Haven’t visited London in awhile though!

  7. tigerfish says:

    I remember having one of the best originated from UK food -Chicken Tikka Masala (forgot the restaurant name) and also one of da best lobster noodles (also forgot the restaurant name). But both restaurants were in Bayswater/Queensway, I think :)

    Glad that you had an enjoyable and satisfied “Eating London” trip.

  8. WokandSpoon says:

    Indian food! London has great Indian food as well! And I love Belgos – haven’t been there for ages and ages! Do the waiters still dress like monks?
    Sounds like you had a great trip!

  9. pablopabla says:

    Where oh where are the kebabs??? I miss kebabs so much :(

  10. Su-Lin says:

    tigerfish: I’m guessing the chicken tikka masala was at Khan’s (student favourite!) and the lobster noodles at Mandarin Kitchen?

    Love St John’s Bread and Wine. Tapas at Cafe Garcia. Gelato from Oddono’s. Duck rice at Four Seasons. Dim sum at Royal China. I could go on for a while…

  11. Kok says:

    rasa malaysia,
    See previous post’s comment for my email address. Send me an email and I’ll try to help you with the “photo-saving”. It’s a length but easy process.;)

  12. Shobee says:

    i agree with London being the food mecca bit. A malaysian living in the South West of England, and been up to London a few times, absolutely love the food.

  13. (under construction) says:

    Of course if you compare to the US London is a great place food wise !! I disagree with the term “mecca” as it’s a strong word that London does not deserve! OK London has a lot of different “cuisine” to offer but it doesn’t mean good/tasty/authentic. London is not a cheap place to eat and the very good restaurant are rare, but as a tourist i understand you can enjoy it.

  14. Lemongrass says:

    I do agree to an extend that London has a few good restaurants to offer. However, for the same kind of budget or less, you could get better value for money and quality of meals, just next door by Eurostar (Paris/France rather).

    My recommendations of restaurants:

    1. Fancy Chinese? Dim Sum? YauAtCha, Royal China.

    2. Fancy French?
    Fine Dinning:
    Pied a Terre, Savoy Grill, Le Gavroche.
    Venture a bit of out London :: Bray, Berkshire-
    Fat Duck, The Waterside Inn.

    Best view of Tower Bridge:
    Le Pont de la Tour

    3. Fancy Japanese?
    For environment: Matsuri High Holborn
    Value for money: Sakura

    Pictures on demand.

  15. rokh says:

    wow feasting in london! i’m green with envy :)

  16. persis says:

    Crab noodles at Mandarin Kitchen, Queensway/Bayswater?

    Glad you had lotsa foodie fun. Come again!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Interesting entry… i’m a Malaysian living in London, so I guess there’s more reason to eat out more now!

    Some of my personal favourites: Babylon at the Roof Gardens (really nice atmosphere), Lotus Floating Restaurant (cheap and good dim sum), bakeries from Paul, Maroush for Lebanese food, etc etc… don’t miss out the traditional pub food too!

    A good site to visit is – a lot of discounted offers on good restaurants, i’m sure no one minds paying less for good food?

  18. team bsg says:

    our fave dish in London is English girls , coz they do have rose smell

  19. sean says:

    Love the site Rasa and have sent you an e-mail about a food and wine pairing that does every Friday. We’d love to pair one of your dishes.

    As an American that’s lived in London for the past 11 years, I have to say that I do find London an excellent place for food (if not always price or service). There is a great variety to suit almost all budgets.

    Here are some of my favourites:

    Fish in the Tie (Clapham Junction) – it’s ridiculously affordable and always fresh

    Chowki (Piccadilly Circus) – this is another cheaper option that has an Asian Indian menu that changes every month to highlight regional dishes

    Mar i Terra (Piccadilly Circus & Southwark) – this is a Spanish tapas-style restaurant, but you won’t find the simple fare here.

    Bam Boo (Charlotte Street) – this is a great Vietnamese, French Fusion restaurant. Try the chocolate spring rolls.

    Chez Bruce (Wandsworth Common) – it’s not on the tourist map, but by far and away it is often hailed as London’s best eatery, beating all the big names again and again.

    Café Emm (Soho) – this is where you go when you can agree what to eat. It’s super cheap, always packed, and serves something for everyone.

    Ping Pong (chain mostly around Oxford Street) – this dim sum place is always fun to take visitors.

    Anyone that says that London restaurants aren’t very good or aren’t in abundance isn’t trying very hard. The list above is 7 of 100s of great places.

  20. SteamyKitchen says:

    Can I go with you next time????

  21. Jun says:

    grass is always greener? well, come to adelaide!!! *grin*

  22. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Lyrical Lemongrass – cool…I hope you will like it.

    Christine – no, I didn’t get the shooters at Belgo. Will have to try it next time.

    Mike Lai – thanks for your nice comment and all the food recommendations. I will have to go back!

    Oppss – sure, we should all go together! ;)

    Lorelee – cool. Check out the comments from the readers…you will have lots of choices! :)

    Tunku Halim – Roast duck, I like. Thanks for the information.

    Tiga – I am sure we had the same lobster noodles because my friend took me there and said it’s the best. But I didn’t pay attention to the place or the name of the restaurant, just busy eating.

    Wok and Spoon – hmmm, I didn’t pay attention to the uniform of the waiters at Belgo, I was too busy with the food and beer. LOL!

    Pablo – too many things to eat, too little time. :P

    Su-Lin – thanks for the reco’s.

    Kok – thanks for your comment, don’t worry about it. I have “moved on” from my deleted pictures. Hehe.

    Shobee – agreed.

    Famed London – grass is greener. US has a lot of great food too, but it’s different. In LA, you have to drive, but NYC is similar to London, everything is walking distance and great.

    Lemongrass – that’s true about Paris. The last time I was in Paris (2000), the food was fantastic, better than London, of course, and I didn’t even have to do any research. Simply walk in to any restaurants and you get the best foods. Amazing!

    Rokh – hehe, when are you going?

    Persis – I think so, I think the restaurant is one a street next to Hyde Park.

    Anonymous – thanks for the information. :)

    Team BSG – this is to tell you that I am ignoring your comment. Girls are not food.

    Sean – thanks for the recommendations. I really appreciate your list. Thanks so much!

    Steamy – sure I will let you know when I go the next time. :)

    Jun – I haven’t been to AU, but I am sure I will get there sooner or later. ;)

  23. Yothemans says:

    I love Belgo and La tasca man…

    miss the food in UK:(

  24. autumnmist says:

    Great timing! I’m going there in 6 days! Do you have any particular recs for families (grown-up kids but 4 people = need a budget)

  25. Tsu Lin says:

    1) Belgo

    2) Japanese Restaurant – Sushi Bar Tomo, used to be near Bond St, now not in operation due to expiry of lease. :( The best sushi!

    3) Lotus Floating Restaurant for their ala carte menu.

  26. msiagirl says:

    Oh too bad I missed your visit! Glad you had a nice time eating in London – I’m always in such a hurry when I go there, I never get a time to eat properly! Hope you come out again, and venture out further!

  27. melayudilondon says:

    Why oh why didn’t you post that you are coming??? Would love to play food guide + trip to Borough Market. My favourites :

    Belgo’s for their mussels

    Khans at Westbourne Grove for their butter chicken and lamb briyani

    Totos at Knightsbridge for italian

    C&R at Westbourne Grove for their Wat Tan Hor

    Bugis Restaurant (Gloucester Tube station) for Hainanese Chicken Rice

    Hakkasan (very expensive though)

    Four Seasons (for HK style duck rice)

    Oddono’s for gelato

    but if it is teh tarik and nasi goreng kampung with sambal belacan, it has to be Nahar at Spring Street near Paddington.

  28. Keropok Man says:

    No one mention the infamous Wong Kei? hehe…

    Dragged my sis who lives in London to bring us there, and she was so reluctant to step in. But mum and i think the service’s not that bad. LOL…

    Where are you going next?

  29. Jon says:

    The food is great here in London, but La Tasca isn’t part of that. Spanish Cuisine is great, but La Tasca microwave all of their dishes, nothing is cooked fresh. If you want authentic tapas there are plenty of places around London that are light years better than La Tasca.

  30. luke lee says:

    well, i am actually here in london for holiday since my girlfriend happens to study law here. been staying here for almost 4 weeks already, and i discovered that there’s a restaurant in china town called four season (famous for their roast duck). 2 thumbs up for their roast duck, it’s being served with their house’s specialty sauce. totally awesome!

    oh yeah, another good food to be recommended is a stall set up on weekend in portobello road. if i m not mistaken, the food that’s being served are their authentic stew food,cooked by few africans( one and only) so you won’t go wrong. i would say it’s the best stew food i have eaten in my life :D. it’s actually located in a market that sells antique and foods stretched along the whole road(mayb 500m long). you can actually stop at notting hill gate by taking a underground tube.

  31. Lucy L says:

    Agree with Luke Lee, four seasons does the best roast duck ever, and the best thing is, we get it it for free =) As a londoner, there are many good restaurants, if you ever come to london, you should try borough market at london bridge. The market stalls offer things like wild boar sausages in a bun, veal burgers, and amazing seafood.

    *Kaslik in soho does great lebanese food
    *Jamie oliver’s restaurant in canaty wharf for excellent italian
    *Strada (chain resto) does a delicious seafood stew
    *Gilgamesh – if you ever come london make this THE restaurant you visit. it’s in camden town and the decor and atmosphere is amazing. The food obviously is excellent. I am not a fan of fushion food ever, but the chefs here really have got it spot on. you will not be disappointed!

    There are so many good places to eat in london, if you ever come london again, make a post and i’ll be sure to name some excellent restaurants for you to try!

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