London is a city extremely close to my heart and mainly due to all the fabulous food experiences I’ve had in this city. Trust me, I was sceptical about moving to another country for the first time in my life, but my apprehensions quickly went away as I began exploring this city on my own. I was able to get to know a special side of London as I constantly tried new types of cuisines.
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I loved spending my weekends at open-air markets and attending food festivals, and just eating tons of food! But, of course, you can easily explore this city on foot, and I would encourage you to do just that and start taking in this city. It’s the best way to get around! Honestly, the food, combined with the vibrant culture and beautiful people in London, make this city one of a kind.
I can genuinely say that I got to know London through its food and when you plan your next visit here, there are a few must-try places. I’ve compiled a list of my top food picks in London, and they include a few places you might not normally consider. Still, I wanted to include all the excellent little restaurants, cafés and bakeries I loved visiting while living in London.
1. Bill’s: 42 Kingsway, London WC2B 6EL
First on the list is Bill’s, located on Kingsway. I frequented this location quite a bit, as it became one of my favourite morning breakfast spots. However, if you can’t get to this location, there are luckily a ton of other Bill’s places throughout Central London so that you can give any one of those a try.
The restaurant serves everything from the classic British breakfast with baked beans and porridge to some more unconventional items like their Vegetarian Breakfast (my absolute favourite), which comes with poached free-range eggs, tomatoes, hummus, mushrooms, guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, basil and toast. I mean, the combination of all these ingredients is spectacular, and this is the perfect dish to start your day off with.
2. Din Din Kitchen: 52 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT
This quaint little Persian eatery is tucked away on Gray’s Inn Road and is a gem of a place. You have the option of dining in or picking up their ready-made meals that are just as delicious. You can get everything from chicken and lamb skewers to aubergine (eggplant) soufflés.
Din Din Kitchen also lets you mix and match different items and build your box. For example, I usually loved the chicken skewers box with saffron and cumin rice and some pickled vegetables and a salad. It’s the perfect amount of food for a light, weekday lunch.
3. Masala Zone: 48 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DA
Masala Zone does a great job at bringing out a Rajasthani flair to the streets of London. This Indian restaurant makes the most delicious thali combinations I’ve ever tried. You can either order the grand or regular-sized thali depending on how hungry you are, but both come packed with chapattis and a variety of curries. The thalis also have vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, so you can add that to your order if you prefer a chicken or lamb curry.
I love ordering my thali with Malabar Chicken; it’s the perfect spicy curry to accompany the other vegetable options. If you don’t like curry, you could also try any street food options like bhel, aloo Tikki chaat, or even some samosas. The choices are truly endless, and there is something for every palate.
4. Dishoom: 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
Dishoom is hands down one of my favourite restaurants ever! I don’t think enough can be said about the fantastic food here. But be prepared to wait. I’ve spent hours in line but trust me, it’s worth it.
Once you walk into Dishoom, you feel as though you’ve been transported to a vintage Bombay café with black and white tiles lining the floors, minimalist lighting and old school Bollywood posters and Indian newspaper clippings hanging from the walls. Of course, you need to give everything on the menu a try, but there are a few standouts for me personally.
As for starters, you can’t go wrong with either the Keema Pau or Vada Pau, and if you’re into trying something completely new, the Dishoom Calamari is definitely on point. As for main meal options, you have to order the House Black Dal, Gunpowder Potatoes and loads of naan (I usually like the garlic and cheese naan). Some other favourites include the paneer tikka, murgh malai and spicy lamb chops. And if you want to have dessert, the Guju Chocolate Mousse is a must!
5. Hummingbird Bakery: 155 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WG
If you’re missing the taste of your beloved American classic desserts, you should head over to Hummingbird Bakery. They make the most delicious cupcakes that will satisfy almost every sweet craving you might have. You can either order mini or regular sized cupcakes and choose from flavours like carrot, red velvet, chocolate and vanilla, to name a few. My top picks would be red velvet and the black bottom cupcake, made with a chocolate cupcake and cheesecake centre filling.
6. Gourmet Burger Kitchen: 13-14 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NE
The name probably says it all, but the Gourmet Burger Kitchen does indeed serve up amazing burgers, fries and milkshakes. They do serve up some other delicious dishes too! If you’re not feeling in the mood for a burger, give their Goat’s Cheese Salad a try. It comes with grilled goat’s cheese, green beans, beetroot, semi-dried tomatoes, hazelnuts, mixed leaves, pomegranate dressing and sweet potato crisps.
And make sure to order a side of chips (French fries) and onion rings. I mean, if you’re having a salad, you might as well indulge a bit in some other food.
7. Fields Bar and Kitchen: Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ
This was one of my favourite study spots during the school year. You could grab a quick bite to eat and spend hours looking out the window and take in the gorgeous park views surrounding the restaurant. Fields Bar and Kitchen is tucked away from the busy streets of London and is a great spot for Sunday brunch to even enjoying a light coffee and slice of cake.
I love the rustic vibe of the spot with its beautiful wood interiors and classic teacups and silverware. I also love that the restaurant dedicates a large table to all of their fresh-baked desserts, which customers can pick and choose themselves. Whenever I’d stop by in the mornings, my meal of choice was the Avocado and Salmon Plate and fruity tea.
8. Thiwanya Thai: 10 Gate Street, London WC2A 3HP
Somehow most of the restaurants I found in London were pretty much by accident, and Thiwanya Thai is no different. This restaurant is completely hidden on Gate Street, on the back end of Holborn, so know that this place might not be the easiest to find.
Luckily, there’s a massive sign in front of the restaurant, so you shouldn’t miss it once you’re on Gate Street. My friend and I visited this place weekly, and by the end of my time in London, our server knew who we were and had memorized our orders.
It’s a lovely place if you’re looking for fresh, delicious and authentic Thai eats. I loved getting the Vegetarian Lunch Special, which came with two courses, a starter and an entrée of your choice. I always went with the Thiwanya Vegetarian Platter, and the Tao Hoo Panaeng Curry made with beancurd (tofu) and mushrooms cooked in a red Panaeng curry sauce and coconut milk and served with rice. Give this place a try!
9. Cuppacha: 23 Newport Court, London WC2H 7JS
My friends know that I’m utterly obsessed with bubble tea, so it came as no surprise to them that this was one of the first places I found after moving to London. I was on the lookout for a good bubble tea place but couldn’t find ‘the one.’ Finally, after walking through Chinatown one day, I came across Cuppacha. It’s a small store that can be easily missed, but the deliciously sweet smells coming out of Cuppacha drew me to it.
Depending on the time you go, you could potentially have to wait in line, but if you go early in the afternoon, there usually isn’t much of a wait. My drink of choice was always the Almond Milk Tea, with half sugar and tapioca. Perfect combination. Loved it.
10. Amorino: 7 Garrick Street, London WC2E 9AR
I had to round out this list on a sweet note, and the gelato at Amorino is just that. The gelato here is rich and decadent, and it’s the perfect place to sample some of your favourite sweet treats. I love the unique way in which you are presented with your gelato here. It is sculpted into a beautiful flower, one of the signature ways Amorino serves their gelato.
If you’re not in the mood for a good serving of gelato, though, they also serve up some delicious macaroons, crepes, waffles and even milkshakes.