London Trip 2010: Our Trip to London In Food – London Restaurant Reviews

We ate at quite a few restaurants while we were in London and rather than review all of them individually, here’s a quick summary review of everywhere we ate in London, how the food was and where it was located.

Garfunkel’s

Location: All Over Central London

I usually get a lot of flak for even mentioning this restaurant – mostly because it’s a chain and a touristy chain at that. But this place has two things going for it: the food is familiar to an American palette and you don’t have to ask for ketchup. The food is what you would expect from your local TGI Fridays. It’s a little pricey. But it’s good. It’s really good if you’re starving after a 7 hour transatlantic flight. A small bonus is that there is one in all the tourist spots – so grab a table outside and watch the world walk by you.

Ye Olde Chesire Cheese

Location: 145 Fleet Street

The sign outside this pub proudly states that it was rebuilt in 1647. This place is old and is a warren of interesting subterranean rooms. You can’t replicate this kind of authenticity. I mean the place is older than the first colonies in America! It survived the great fire of London! And the food is all right as well. There’s an assortment of pub grub as well as fancier sit down dining. Well worth a stop if anything for the ambience.

Strada

Location: 2 More London Place

Apparently, this is a chain as well. It specializes in Italian cuisine. The food was very good and the service was decent. You couldn’t beat the view – we ate at the one in Southwark that has a view of the HMS Belfast, Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Can’t beat that. I recommend the spaghetti and garlic bread. Delicious!

The Horniman’s Pub

Location: Hay’s Galleria

Located in Hay’s Galleria in Southwark (I spent a lot of time in this area), this pub is your standard British pub. The grub is good – I had a burger and it was one of the best I had on the trip. You can’t beat the views of the Thames while you’re eating. It’s a little on the pricey side – but what else can you expect from something in a tourist hotspot?

If you go there and are confused as to why there is no waitservice, you have to order at the bar with your table number and they bring your food to you.

The Larder Restaurant

Location: More London Development

This restaurant is located in Southwark in the Tower Bridge Hilton and is quite a fancy establishment. Not normally a place where we would eat – but we were eating with friends. The dining is Fine – with an interesting menu. The type of menu where you’re expected to order a starter, main and desert. The service was top notch and the food was pretty awesome. If you ask for chips, though, they bring you 4. Yes 4 chunky chips. They were good and it turns out just the right portions. I remember the company more than the food – but it was certainly a great night out and the food was top notch.

The George Inn

Location: Southwark

We didn’t eat here – this is where we met our Columnist Carl – A Pint of Bitter – for pints one night after hours. It was crowded. It was hot. But it couldn’t have been more authentic. Greatly enjoyed meeting Carl, drinking a cool beverage and sharing a few bags of crisps. The George Inn also happens to be the oldest ‘coaching inn’ still in existence in London. Fancy that.

HK Chinese Diner

Location: Chinatown

I don’t like Chinese food. We were rambling through Leicester Square and found our way into Chinatown and Jackie loves Chinese so we stopped in to eat. I was feeling adventurous so I tried something new. I don’t remember what I tried, I just remember taking 2 bites and being quite content to watch my wife eat instead. Oh well. At least the location was nice and the pregnant wife was fed!

Phoenix Pub and Eating House

Location: 14 Palace Street

Located near Buckingham Palace – pub/grill had phenominal food. The only problem was that the service was godawful. It was so bad it was amusing. It didn’t matter as I was having lunch with some friends from Visit Britain – the conversation was good and it was nice and cool – a rare treat on hot London summer days. Definitely want to go back to this place!

The Cooperage

Locaton: Tooley St – London Bridge Station

Located in one of the cellars below London Bridge train station – I wouldn’t really recommend this place. It certainly has atmosphere. It’s dark and nice and cool and aimed at Tourists. But the burger was expensive and to be desired. I don’t know why, but fancier pubs love to stuff crap into their burgers and I really couldn’t stand it. It was also not very cooked, despite the instruction of ‘well done.’ £12 for a burger and chips is highway robbery.

Maxwell’s

Location: Covent Garden

A touristy pub and grill chain. But the food was delicious, the drinks lovely and the atmosphere was fun and Londony. I had the sirloin steak and chips and I ate the whole thing. We had great company with us so it was a very enjoyable evening. It was certainly bustling on a Friday night – but there was no wait and it was relatively cool.

Charlie’s Cafe

Location: Notting Hill off Portobello Road

This used to be the Lazy Dazy cafe in Notting Hill but they’ve since sold up and a chain called Charlie’s Cafe runs it now. It still has the charm it did a few years ago – the service is a little better and the food just as good. This is a great place to eat breakfast if you’re heading to the Portobello Road market on Saturday. It’s tucked away a bit – look for the Scottish Theme Shop – it’s down at the end of that alleyway.

Upper Deck Cafe at London Transport Museum

Location: London Transport Museum – Covent Garden

When you’re done exploring the London Transport Museum, the end of the line dumps you in the awesome Museum Shop and upstairs is a lovely little Tube themed cafe. It was a little warm due to the sun coming in the roof – but the food was good. I had a burdger and chips. The burger was OK. The chips were a little too… potatoey. It was a bit pricey – as to be expected from a tourist attraction – but it was a lovely meal.

Skylon

Location: Southbank – Royal Festival Hall

We met our friends from Updown Cottage here for dinner. Located in the Royal Festival Hall, Skylon is an art deco themed masterpiece of a restuarant with a glaring view of the Thames. It’s certainly fine dining – with a menu to match. There were only 4 things to choose from on the menu. I ordered the steak and it was delicous – though not like any other steak I’ve ever had. It was great atmosphere with great people and by far the most enjoyable night out while we were in London.

Sloe Cafe in Paddington Station

Location: Paddington Station

As we headed out of London back to Heathrow – we stopped in Paddington Station for breakfast. I assumed there would be a decent cafe to have a quick breakfast. I should have done some research first. We stopped at the first cafe we found. Terrible mistake. The Sloe cafe was awful, the food was so terrible we barely ate it. The staff was difficult to communicate with as they were all foreigners and the service was crap. Totally not worth £15. Whatever you do, never eat at the Slow Cafe in Paddington Station.

What are your favorite restaurants in London?


Comments

  1. avatarBrad says

    My favorite restaurants in London:

    The Crypt at the church of St. Martin in the Fields – In Trafalgar Square, this is a very yummy, reasonably priced and very unusual place to eat. This cafeteria-style restaurant has menus that change daily and I’ve never had a bad meal there. The dining room is the actual crypt of the church. While eating your curry or shepherd’s pie you can read the centuries-old grave stones on the floor all around you.

    Wagamama Noodle Bar – Several locations in London. This is a chain but it’s a fave of both tourists and native Londoners. Very reasonable price and a huge menu of delicious pan-Asian noodle dishes.

    North Sea Fish – 7-8 Leigh Street, in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London just a few blocks from Kings Cross station. It’s a “chippy” (fish & chips shop) with a sit-down seafood restaurant next door. I go for the fish & chips. The best I’ve ever had in all of England so far.

    Yo! Sushi – several locations in London. Another chain, but very good sushi.

    These are just a few of my favorites…

  2. avatarAshley says

    I think this article should have been titled “A Guide to Burgers and Steaks in London”. You seem to have a real liking for beef!

    • avatar says

      I do. I have rather annoying dietary requirements and I’m a very picky eater. I have to stick with what’s familiar. There’s a direct correlation between being more adventurous with food and how sick I end up.

  3. avatar says

    This is what I wrote in my blog earlier in the year:

    Please note that as I live in the NW of London, my favorite places tend to be there.

    Don’t just stick with central London. There are good places there, but some of the best are in zone 2 or 3, and are still easy to get to.
    My favorite website to use for both finding restaurants, reviews and even for making reservations is Toptable. I use it all the time…it’s similar to a few sites for the US.
    Wagamama is a great, inexpensive noodle bar. You can get Japanese nood dishes, curries and other such dishes. Great for vegetarians too.
    Gourmet Burget Kitchen is constantly rated for their burgers. Not your typical Burger King sort, but much, much better. And the chips rock too (thick french fries). I suggest getting a side of garlic mayo…mmmm….great for dipping!
    Little Bay is a fun, small restaurant that serves Continental style food. It is quite inexpensive for what you get. And the house wines are decent.
    There are many decent Indian food restaurants and many that aren’t. If you want good stuff, I’d head to either Ealing or Southall. But if you aren’t up for travelling that far, then my favorite restaurants are located in Kilburn (zone 2 on Jubilee line in the NW). Geeta and Vijays are two of my favs and they happen to be on the same street. Ruchi, closer to West Hampstead on the border of Kilburn, is a bit tougher to find but is really, really good!
    If you are already travelling to St Johns Wood to see Abbey Road, keep heading up north on stop (Swiss Cottage) via the Jubilee line and go to my favorite Thai restaurant, Jimmy’s. Though my favorite Thai is in Kilburn…Spicy Basil…it looks kinda run down but it’s fab.
    Another St Johns Wood favorite is the Spanish restaurant, Toresano Wonderful tapas in a lovely setting..
    For a more central dining experience, I can recommend some of my favorite special dining places. These aren’t inexpensive, but they are definitely for those occasions when you want to impress someone.

    French: Brasserie Roux is a lovely restaurant near St James. We took my parents there and they want to go back when they visit next.
    Indian: Benares has a Michelin starred chef. And while it’s not typical Indian cuisine, it’s amazing.
    British: Marcus Wareing at the Berkley. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
    Continental: Close Maggiore. Good food and in a nice central location.
    Drinking

    Brits like to drink. It’s just part of the social and work scene. Even at my job there are regular outtings to the local pub. I figured I’d help you find the best pubs/wine bars you could in central London by asking a few friend for their suggestions (as I don’t hang in central London all that much)…and here they are:

    Cork & Bottle in Leicester Square (please do not pronounce this Lie-kester…it’s Lester Square) – wine bar & very well rated by the outside world too.

    Lamb & Flag near Leicester Square – oldie pub with little indoor space. Good for summer drinking as you can hang outside and not worry about cars.

    Angel in the Field in Marylebone (near Bond St & Baker St tube stations). Good local.

    If you are in Kilburn for dinner and fancy a pint, try out the North London Tavern. It’s totally a local’s pub and a pretty good one at that! (The food’s not bad either!)

  4. avatarPam Cooke says

    I think you meant to refer to the ‘American palate’ (not palette). So long since I lived in London I unfortunately don’t have any favourite restaurants any more as most of my old haunts are most likely long gone & replaced by newer ones…….(except for those old old pubs & taverns mentioned here.

  5. avatarBill P says

    Of all these the Cheshire Chees is my favourite and if you are of a literary bent it is a place that has a number of connections. Samuel Pepys visited the Cheshire Cheese – as is recorded in his diary- and so too did Charles Dickens. Samuel Johnson certainly knew the place intimately as he only lived about 50 yards round the corner.
    Fleet Street, where the pub is, was once the home of the British newspaper industry. They have now moved out but the old watering holes much loved by the press hacks are all still there. The ancient church in Fleet St is worth a visit too. You can go down into its crypt and see the Roman foundations.
    It is only a short walk down Fleet St and then up Ludgate Hill to St Pauls Cathedral. Very easy to have lunch in Fleet St and then visit the Cathedral, (or vice versa).

  6. avatarNatalie says

    I know this is a chain, but one place that I cannot recommend enough for beer, food and experience is Belgo Centraal near Covent Garden, an awesome selection of beer (favourite being raspberry, or honey beers) and schnaaps, and more ways to serve mussels than you can shake a stick at!

    Yes, it specialises in Belgian food, but go for the goats cheese crouton to start with and then, we get to mussel heaven (with oodles of bread), and then some It even serves steak and frites (chips!) for those of you who love a steak… served to you by a monk!

    Do not go here if you are in a rush, just sit back and enjoy the beer and food!

  7. avatarpatrick owen says

    I would also recommend the Telegraph Inn in Putney (well Putney Heath) on a warm summer evening…good food but best of all it feels like a real village country pub in London.

    At the same time maybe Canazarro House in Wimbledon…great village location and excellent food.

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