London is one of Europe’s most multi-cultural cities, and nowhere is this more apparent than in its food scene, where you can find high-quality food from all around the world. Including a combination of British classics and international cuisine, here’s our list of the top 10 must-try foods in London.
Fish and Chips
Let’s start with the most famous national dish, fish and chips. Fish and chip shops first started appearing in the UK back in the 1860s, during the Victorian era. The crispy-battered fish and thick cut chips quickly became a popular take-away item, that was traditionally wrapped in newspaper and shared among family and friends. If you would like to try fish and chips in London but don’t want to eat it on the street, most pubs will serve it or alternatively you can visit Poppies fish and chip shop in Camden which has a 110-seater restaurant inside.
You can’t visit London and not go for afternoon tea, it’s a fun way to spend the afternoon and will fill you up enough to last until the next day. A British afternoon tea usually consists of a selection of sandwiches, scones, and miniature desserts accompanied by a pot of hot tea of your choice. Budget wise prices vary depending on where you visit, popular brasserie chain The Ivy does a good afternoon tea set for £20 per person but if you feel like indulging then head to one of the luxury hotels as the Ritz for a 5-star experience.
Another classic British dish is the Sunday roast, which you’ll find served at any decent pub in London. A Sunday roast consists of some kind of roasted meat such as beef, pork, chicken, or lamb, served with vegetables, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. It will leave you in a food coma for the rest of the day but will be worth it! A nice spot to go for a Sunday roast in the city are the outer villages of Hampstead and Highgate in north London, where you’ll find lots of historic pubs that have been there for centuries, and afterwards you can take a stroll around Hampstead Heath and enjoy the views.
In recent years, bottomless (all-you-can-drink) brunches previously seen in places like Las Vegas casino hotels have exploded onto the London food scene, turning brunchtime into the day’s highlight instead of dinner, and there are hundreds of themes to choose from to include Disney to drag queens.
Savoury pies are another popular British food that you should try when in London. Fillings vary depending on your preferences and dietary requirements, but steak and ale is a good option for meat eaters served up with mashed potatoes and gravy. Pieminister is a well-known chain of pie restaurants that has three branches in London and an extensive range of pies for just £5 each.
Curry on Brick Lane
Brick Lane is home to some of the city’s best curry houses and is a must-visit place for lovers of Indian food. Known locally as the “curry mile,” there are restaurants to suit every budget, from basic to upmarket, so you can choose the best place according to your budget. Some of the restaurants don’t serve alcohol or you have to bring your own bottle due to religious beliefs, so check before you go inside.
You’ll find London’s Chinatown around Soho and the West End, instantly recognisable by its brightly coloured ornamental gates. Chinese businesses first began to open here during the 1950s, and it is now home to Chinese restaurants, bakeries and sweet stores. From crispy duck to delicious dim-sum, there’s plenty to try for Asian food-lovers.
Bagels on Brick Lane
Back on Brick Lane, it’s not only curry that attracts visitors from around the world, but there are also several of the city’s best bagel (or beigel) shops to be discovered. These shops first began to appear back in the 19th century when Jewish communities started to settle in the area. Pro tip: try the salted beef bagels at Beigel Bake, or one of the multi-coloured rainbow bagels at the Beigel Shop.
Cheese is big business in London, and you’ll find cheese shops throughout the city that offer the finest British and European cheeses paired with wines and accompaniments like biscuits and cured meats. In addition to traditional cheesemongers, there are many restaurants specializing in cheese dishes, such as the Champagne and Fromage chain, fondue and raclette at St. Moritz, and even the world’s first conveyor-belt cheese restaurant at Pick & Cheese.
A huge number of vegan restaurants have opened in London in recent years, making the city one of the world’s most vegan-friendly places to visit. There are vegan versions of every type of cuisine to be found, from Mexican vegan dishes at Club Mexicana to vegan Indian food at SpiceBox. You’ll also find vegan dessert shops, cafes, and bakeries so going meat-free has never been so easy!
Did you know that if you download the OodyMate app, you can post a request and a local will introduce you to a great restaurant in the city that you’re visiting. It’s free to use and download so why not give it a try? Download it now.