The Foodies Guide to London
“Ever since I lived in New York City I’ve had a small obsession with restaurants. I worked at a concierge company helping high net worth individuals to secure some of the hardest to reach restaurants and we had ‘the key to the city’! After quickly learning the best spots to have dinner (and discovering the fascinating prohibition style speak easy bars) I then returned back to London and wanted to do the same over on home turf.
There are so many fantastic places to eat this could easily be quite a long article and it totally depends on your mood, time of day, company and location so I’ve tried to cover all bases! One caveat to note is that I’m not a massive fan of fine dining, I’m from Yorkshire so much prefer a good plate of hearty food!
Joanne Blacker, Event Marketing Lead, EMEA at Facebook
I hope you enjoy this list and explore them all one by one as the lockdown lifts – it’s going to be the party of all parties! AND NO MORE WASHING UP 🙌🏻
Best for breakfast – The Wolseley. This old car garage turned absolute London classic is great at any time of day but I think it’s the fine China and silverware that makes it feel so British and sets the scene for a fabulous day. ‘Omelette gruyère’ and ‘Eggs Benedict’ are winners in my mind! Pop a few doors down to Fortnum and Masons for some seasonal treats.
Best Italian restaurants – Think this has to be my favourite cuisine and the best pasta I’ve tried outside of Italy is the Cacio e Pepe from Trullo in Islington or the Rigatoni al Ragù d’Agnello Brasato from Lina stores. If you’re after more of a fancy feel head to River Cafe in west London for the full works, al fresco dining and an exceptional menu that changes daily.
Best countertop – Barrafina. This Michelin starred Spanish restaurant takes tapas to a whole new level. It’s no frills delicious food, excellent vibes and fascinating to watch the chefs work their magic with such superb yet simple ingredients. There’s now one in the new Coal Drops Yard area in Kings Cross but I think my favourite is on Dean Street.
Best speakeasy – obviously not allowed to share much here but all I’ll say is that this cozy bar and delicious cocktails is through a bookcase at the back of a shop, down some stairs and underground on Greek street! Failing that try The Blind Pigupstairs at Social Eating House and book a table in advance! If you can’t find either head to Kettner’s for a ‘Kettner’s Fizz’ or a Soho House (incredible) usual ‘Picante de la Casa’.
Best for steak – Chiltern Firehouse (luxury hotel and restaurant in Marylebone) for the most incredible Aged Beef Fillet, which we enjoyed sitting at the kitchen bar at the back watching the chefs at play. This is second only to Hawksmoor (my favourite is Air Street or Seven Dials). Order one of every side and try the Rib Eye, you won’t regret it!
Best for Summer dining – The Summerhouse. This beautiful restaurant is set on the banks of the canal in Little Venice in Maida Vale has the nautical, breezy summer vibes you’re looking for to escape the sizzling city. It’s menu covers seared scallops, calamari, and fish of the day but the Whole Baked Bass is hard to beat! To round off a blissful summer day stroll a short walk to Clifton Nurseries for some garden inspiration or head down the canal towards Primrose Hill and ogle at the beautiful houses on the bank side or canal boats.
Best Asian cuisine – so many to choose from here, London has a super array of this type of restaurant. Head to Sticks’n’Sushimid-week (which was founded 22 years ago by brothers Jens and Kim Rahbek and Thor Andersen. Taking inspiration from their half-Japanese, half-Danish background), Roka on Charlotte Street for a special occasion (remember to leave time for a drink downstairs!) and Duck and Rice for World-Class Chinese cooking housed in an old English Soho pub! Ask for a fireplace table or outside on the balcony in the summer and order one of the G&T’s on arrival!
Sunday roast – The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead. It’s the oldest pub in London dating back to 1585 and does a really great chicken roast to share. Warm cozy vibes, fire places glowing in the distance and even a mulled wine in the winter. There’s also a cracking beer garden for summer alfresco lunches. Look out for Harry Styles who is rumoured to live around the corner!
Best for those wanting to ease in to normality (!) – Parrillan is the latest restaurant from the team behind Barrafina and is a good way to join in the fun but outside in the fresh air which feels like a great step up from socially distanced picnics in the parks with friends. Parrillan serves a choice of beautiful meat, seafood and vegetables to be cooked by guests on their own bespoke parrilla mini-grills in a unique alfresco setting.
Best cakes – Not something I intended on including but I recently stopped by Ottolenghi in Islington and was blown away with the astounding array of dazzling cakes. I actually left with 4 mini cakes as I couldn’t choose and they were all outstanding little nuggets of joy!”