It would be ridiculous to limit this list to traditional 'British' foods because London is so international and the food you can get her being a huge part of that. I also can't sit here and list every kind of food that is available - just find comfort in the fact that any craving you have, even if slightly bizarre, you'll probably be able to find it here. Instead, I have listed some standard foods and the best places to get London's unique take on them as well as some great food destinations.
A must do in the capital - an age old English tradition and a great excuse to have four meals a day. All top hotels do some form of afternoon tea, all involving a selection of sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and a selection of cakes. And of course there is a pot of tea of your choice and champagne if you want to up stakes. Inevitably, in addition to your usual traditional Afternoon Teas, which can be found all over the place (look on Groupon or Wowcher for deals), there are now loads of quirkier ones popping up over the place. See below for a few top choices. For a more purse friendly option Patisserie Valerie also do a lovely one including Procecco for £30 - www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/offers.aspx?a=3
- Art at the Rosewood Hotel - http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/london/dining/Art-Afternoon-Tea
- Science at the The Ampersand Hotel - http://www.ampersandhotel.com/whats-on/Luxury-Afternoon-Tea
- Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland at Taj 51 - http://www.taj51buckinghamgate.co.uk/Fine-dining/Afternoon-tea/
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych - http://www.onealdwych.com/food-drink/afternoon-tea
To be honest Breakfast isn't really cool anymore - it's all about the Brunch. Actually even better bottomless brunch - meaning get pissed at 11am while eating American pancakes and avocado's. Said avocado's are usually smashed and on rye or sourdough or some other form of weird bread. Don't let the pretentiousness of brunch put you off though, it is more often than not absolutely delicious and a favourite of capital dwellers.
The ultimate place for such things in London is The Breakfast Club. It has branches scattered over London and in addition to the aforementioned foods also includes some Mexican influenced breakfasts such as the Breakfast Burrito and Huevos Rancheros which is fried eggs on a tortilla with refried beans, chorizo, salsa, cheddar, sour cream and the best thing ever invented Guacamole! They do food throughout the day but brunch is something to be , therefore at peak times do expect to queue - you don't usually have to wait too long however and it is worth it. http://www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com/
The Breakfast Club is great but not bottomless. To enjoy your brunch with a continuous flow of Bloody Marys, Cocktails and Procecco check out the ultimate Brunch destination - Bad Egg in Shoreditch. https://badegg.london/
For more Brunch inspiration, the London bible - Time Out, has put together a list of best places to get brunch in the city. Trust them, they know what they're doing.
Now don't be outraged but I'm not a big fan of steak. Having said that, I appreciate that it having been done right makes for a pretty tasty meal. Done right is just what the guys at Flat Iron do. Never have I ever tasted steak so good. AND reasonably priced. It's simple here, just steak at it's very best with a selection of modest but perfectly picked sides. http://flatironsteak.co.uk
There are all sorts of delicious things on the menu at one of the Hawksmoor's scattered around town but here steak is their speciality along with a more unusual steak companion - cocktails. Steak and Cocktails - sounds like a pretty special night out! With 6 locations across London, what are you waiting for? http://thehawksmoor.com
Another great place for both steak and lobster is an aptly named restaurant - Steak and Lobster which as you'd imagine has built it's offering around these prime two ingredients. Needless to say there is an extensive menu of sides, drinks, starters and desserts too and you can also enjoy both in a surf and turf combo. If like me you prefer your meat minced and re-formed why not try the alternative Burger and Lobster - can't really go wrong there.
It's no surprise that London has so many dedicated burger restaurants with the burger probably being the best invention ever. A multicultural city such as this has different cuisines coming out its ears but every now and again almost everyone, no matter where they're from, likes to sit down and devour a burger! You've obviously got your standard chains like anywhere else and there are lots of Byron Burger's and Five Guys around both of which know how to perfect meat in bread however, I've listed below a few stand out burger joints to look out for when you next have a craving.
- Shake Shack - An American chain that has made it over our shores and up the Thames, they're diddy but delicious. A popular companion with them is their crinkle cut chips with cheese sauce. You could easily eat two though. http://www.shakeshack.com
- Patty and Bun - I believe the ultimate burger restaurant in London, Patty and Bun burgers are what a burger should be - greasy and covered in sauce and cheese. They also do sides such as cheese balls and beef brisket nuggets. This isn't your everyday kind of burger. http://www.pattyandbun.co.uk
- MeatLiquor - Specialising in all things meat and liquor, they have various locations across London including Meat Mission in Hoxton and Meat Market in Covent Garden. Meat Meat Meat and good cocktails. meatliquor.com
- Dirty Burger - Dirty Burger is like proper burger van style without the van. Nothing fancy, 3 choices - cheese, bacon or veggie, just as it should be. It's sister companies are Chicken Shop and PizzaEast which specialise in each of their namesakes and can often be found nearby. www.eatdirtyburger.com
Like burgers, people always want pizza! Some top choices on where to find these in London are below:
- Homeslice - Homeslice specialise in dishing out 20 inch pizza's for £20. If you and your pals can't handle it then you can order by the slice but why would you? In addition to Margherita and Salami other flavour include Aubergine, Cauliflower Cheese, Spinach and Harissa; Chorizo, Corn and Coriander and Kimchi, Porcini Cream and Basil. www.homeslicepizza.co.uk
- Franco Manca - Decent prices and UK ingredients these traditional Neapolitan style, sourdough pizza's really hit the spot and they have a simple not over-complicated menu done well. www.francomanca.co.uk
- Pizza Pilgrims - Similarly to Franco Manca, Pizzza Pilgrims serves Neapolitan pizza's based on traditional ingredients from the land of pizza itself. They also do what they call 'white pizzas' meaning there's no tomato sauce. In addition, for dessert you can order a Nutella pizza ring - basically pizza dough and Nutella. Oh my gawd! www.pizzapilgrims.co.uk
- Lost Boys Pizza - For something a bit different, Lost Boys Pizza serve black charcoal based pizza's all based on the film 'The Lost Boys' (for those who don't know - vampires). It's a cute little place that does a great selection of cocktails too! My fave, Fangs for the Memories. www.lostboyspizza.com