Eating Out In London

Whether you’re visiting London for the first time, or moving there for good, you’ll never run out of fun things to see, do, and explore. If you need a starting point for restaurant recommendations, or you’re in a rut going to the same places over and over, here are some of my favourites that I’d love to share with you! Here’s a Google map with all of these locations so you can plan out your visit.
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Special Occasion | Pick Your Cuisine | Steak Night | Food Markets | Lunch & Brunch | Cute & Instagrammable | Afternoon Tea | Staples & Chains | Exclusively Bougie

Eating out in London

Special Occasion

Celebratory dinner or looking to impress your special guests in town? I got you covered.

City Social
City Social is my go-to for a fancy and special dinner. The service WILL make you feel like you’ve entered your royalty era, and obviously the price tag reflects that. Make your reservation ahead of time if you can, and just know that the most coveted spots (the window view booths) are typically assigned on a first come first served basis. They do not guarantee these tables when you book. The menu is varied with pasta, seafood, lots of meat options – don’t forget to save room for dessert! The wine list is hefty, and the vibes are immaculate. And if you saw that one episode of Killing Eve, where Jodie Comer’s Villanelle poses as Billie to get close to a tech entrepreneur who books out the entire restaurant to watch her stuff pasta into her mouth; this is the place!

Sea Containers
Sea Containers is a hotel on the River Thames with restaurants, as well as a rooftop bar, and I think it’s a little underrated. Boasting all the views as well as a delicious menu, it’s perfect for a fun event or occasion. We rented out their private room (seats up to 22 people) for an event, but you can do breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks – endless options and the prices are lower than most of the upscale London restaurants.

Located conveniently in Covent Garden, this elegant French brasserie is giving those Parisian vibes right from the heart of London. They have an equally gorgeous restaurant in NYC too! Try their pre-theatre menu (Mon-Fri) if you’re in a rush to catch a show, or hang out for Wednesday evening jazz. I love this one for a birthday dinner, and again, the prices are nothing crazy so you get that fancy feeling without taking out a mortgage.

Hawksmoor has restaurants all over the UK, and even in USA, and probably should be in the steak section but I had to include it up here. There are several options to choose from in London – I’d typically go with Air Street or Spitalfields, but wherever works for your itinerary – they’re all great. The decor does give it a little bit of a ‘pub’ vibe but trust me – it’s SO GOOD. I would caveat this with, the pre-theatre menu was not my favorite – just because of the appetiser/starter options, but the steaks are beautiful so dinner here is a must!

The Ned
The Ned is a members’ club and hotel in The City (right by Bank and St Paul’s). Certain areas and offerings are only for members and hotel guests, like the rooftop restaurant (worth it) and my favorite – The Vault bar which used to be a bank vault (so worth it) but there are options for visitors too. It’s definitely worth going inside if only to soak up the live musical and vibes in the main bar. Cecconi’s Italian is my pick, mainly because Italian is my go-to cuisine, but you can’t go wrong choosing any restaurant here! Try the Sunday feast if you’re feeling bougie, for a wide selection of food options (pizza, pastas, seafood, desserts) for a set price (varies depending on drinks option).

Take Your Pick

If you’re looking for something specific, here are a few of my favourites.

Eating out in London

Indian – Dishoom
Dishoom is such a popular pick for Indian food in London. With several locations, and ALL the vibes, I definitely recommend people try it out at least once. There are typically long lines as it’s walk-in only (reservations for groups of 6+ people). I prefer dinner here to breakfast but breakfast has a much shorter wait. Oh, and the chai is bottomless so we love that.

Pan-Asian – Kin
Kin is a small restaurant which is slightly hidden behind Leather Lane market during lunch on weekdays (open Mon-Fri only lunch and dinner). Quite literally a hidden gem. From katsu curry to pad krapao, and nasi goreng, the dishes here are all must-tries. With the intimate setting, the service always feels very attentive and warm.

Asian Cuisines – Chinatown
There’s much more than just restaurants in London’s Chinatown – shopping, supermarkets, and even gaming and events. Chinatown is a must visit for all who are new to London, but especially if you’re craving asian dishes from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and more. There’s way too much to list here – you have to check it out for yourself.

Mexican – Mestizo
If you’re American and you’ve heard (probably on TikTok) that there’s “no good Mexican food in England”, I get it – my husband felt the same. This is the place. If you’re craving tacos or flautas (my order), this is where you’re going to go. I get it, it’s not going to be the same as you get at home – we live in Texas so I see the difference – but it’s going to be better for you than the chains (what my American husband calls ‘Brexican’ – British Mexican). I love the food here and it’s super cute inside too. I’ll raise a margarita to that!

BBQ – Big Easy
For BBQ and lobster (along with live music), head to Big Easy – my favourite one is the Canary Wharf location. The menu is extensive and approved of by my favorite American, so that’s a huge endorsement. Whether you’re from the US and craving a taste of home, or are just really curious about Britain’s imitation American food, give it a go.

Steak Night

Eating out in London

The Heliot at The Hippodrome Casino
It might seem so weird that I’m suggesting you eat dinner inside a casino but trust me. The steaks, the atmosphere, the dramatic desserts. A great steak at a great price. Easy.

Repeating this from the earlier ‘special occasions’ section, as Hawksmoor really is the place for steak. There are several options to choose from in London – I’d typically go with Air Street or Spitalfields, but wherever works for your itinerary – they’re all great. The decor does give it a little bit of a ‘pub’ vibe but trust me – it’s SO GOOD. I would caveat this with, the pre-theatre menu was not my favorite – just because of the appetiser/starter options, but the steaks are beautiful so dinner here is a must!

Steak & Co
With a location right in the midst of everything (Leicester Square) it’s ideal for pre or post theatre show. My preference is to order the steak stone experience where you cook the steak to your liking on the sizzling stone with salt, butter, and sauce. If that’s not for you, you can of course have the kitchen cook your steak, but I love the pizazz of the stone.

Food Markets

I love a market! There are so many food markets to choose from – some are mainly on the weekends, and others available for a weekday lunch. Almost all stalls take card payments – I think most prefer it.

Eating out in London

Borough Market
I think Borough Market will always come up as the most famous and I love the location, but I typically find it very crowded and with limited options. It is such a cool area to check out, so give it a go… but if you have limited time in the Big Smoke, I have others…

Greenwich Market
Greenwich market is probably my favourite. Open daily, but such a great weekend activity; head over there and then take a stroll around beautiful Greenwich. Just a short walk away is the Cutty Sark museum which is not only a cool attraction, but has ANOTHER market right by it. Markets galore. Greenwich is not just food but also artworks, handmade goods, and clothing. There’s an excellent fudge store – trust me. In terms of food, there’s a big variety such as: desserts, Italian, Ethiopian, Japanese, and British. Most markets will have a wide range – it’s always tough to choose just one thing.

Spitalfields is such a fun market, open daily, and close to Liverpool St Station. It’s HUGE with stalls selling goods, as well as some top food options. Burgers, pizzas, thai, tacos, desserts – you want it, they probably got it! Not only that but this area is beautiful so definitely a photo op or two. And just across the road you’ll find Brick Lane market where you’ll find vintage clothing and foods-a-plenty. Again open daily, but the weekends are best to hit up these markets. If you can wait in a long line, you might want to try out Beigel Bake – I’m not really a bagel person but I know these must be good because there is ALWAYS a line.

There’s so many more to check out: Boxpark Shoreditch, Whitecross Street, Seven Dials, Southbank, and more. Markets are THE one.

Lunch & Brunch

A more casual affair, or in need of a brunch? Say no more.

Eating out in London

The Breakfast Club
I love a breakfast or brunch here – especially on Shrove Tuesday aka ‘Pancake Day’ when people attempt to eat a big stack of pancakes under a time limit to get them for free. I’m not sure if they do that every year, but it’s a fun day to be there. The self-proclaimed comfort food chain has locations sprinkled around London, perfect for a casual breakfast with friends.

My Old Dutch
This is where you’ll find me on Shrove Tuesday. Their dutch pancakes (to me, they’re giant crepes) come in savory and sweet flavours – there’s a pepperoni pizza one which gives you all the taste of pizza but keeping it light. But if I had to pick just one, it’s the nutella and ice cream for me. You won’t regret it.

The Ivy Café
The Ivy Cafe is the perfect middle ground. You want to go somewhere beautiful with the atmosphere, a menu you love, where you can dress up a little or down depending on your mood. The Ivy is perfect. The Tower Bridge location is the best option with those VIEWS. This is a place that could go in many categories – special occasion, cute and instagrammable – it’s just the perfect fits-all place.

Cote Brasserie
With their decadent French menu, and various locations, Cote is an easy one to add to the list. The service is quick and friendly, if you’re in a hurry, and the atmosphere again is whatever you want it to be – want to dress up? or down? You’ll fit right in here no matter what. I love this as a lunch spot.

Bill’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! The brunch menu is stacked, we’ve got small plates, we’ve got burgers, we’ve got salads. Bill’s is perfect when your group is indecisive and can’t think what to eat – you’ll all find something here! I like the London Bridge area location (Clink Street) with the flowers all around the door, this location somehow feels elevated compared to the others.

I also have no idea where to fit it in here but I love La Bodega Negra in Soho. I’ve had a few adventures in here for sure, and I will keep coming back as long as they never take the quesadilla rustica off the menu!

Cute & Instagrammable

Eating out in London but make it cute enough for the ‘gram.

Eating out in London

Need something cute for the gram? Well the ‘most instagrammable cafe’ is here to lend a hand. Much like other cafes of this nature, has all pink everything. The flower walls are a social media creator’s dream giving the perfect backdrop to that latte selfie. Most locations are walk in only so there may be a line for this one – everyone wants to get the perfect shot. It’s so cute though, you can’t be mad about it.

Grab Afternoon Tea at The Gallery at Sketch for that classic all pink vibe, or check out one of the different spaces for something a bit different. Everything from breakfast and cakes, to cocktails here – each space has its own eccentric atmosphere.

Peggy Porschen
If you want an adorable cake and a pink hot chocolate to upload to the gram, Peggy Porschen is the place for you. The flowers, the everything pink, it’s just the cutest little spot in London. They have multiple locations – I like the Belgravia spot, but all are CUTE.

Chin Chin Ice Cream
It’s the hot chocolate you’re going for, not particularly the ice cream – sorry – but the hot chocolate is the viral must-try. I would suggest that you could share one between two people – they’re small but rich, with a giant marshmallow. It can get messy.

Coppa Club
Such a vibe. Why it REALLY makes this list though? The igloos. Those coveted Christmas igloos. The igloos are available to reserve throughout the year, but they just feel so magical in December. Get your reservation in ahead of time if you want to secure the cutest table in London, and take in those riverside views. It’s worth saying that this whole place is instagrammable; I’m just a big fan of the igloos. Btw the food and drink here is great too – varied menu with sharing plates and solid options, and of course cocktails on the go.

Harry’s Bar
I’m linking you to the exact one as this is a popular name for unrelated places to share in London! So this Italian restaurant is lovely, the pasta is delicious, but the REAL instagrammable part – the thing that drew me to this place over and over… THE dessert. Harry’s Toadstool dessert is the absolute cutest thing – you won’t have the heart to break into it… but if you like white chocolate, raspberry, and pistachio, you’ll find it in your heart to inhale this thing… after you take 100 pictures.

Bob Bob Ricard
You may have seen the iconic ‘Press For Champagne’ buttons, Bob Bob Ricard has a few locations and they are all gorgeous, Instagrammable as it gets, and offering a delicious French menu. Ideal for gathering all your girls together for any occasion.

Afternoon Tea

Eating out in London

You’re in London, of COURSE you want to go to afternoon tea! And even if you’re not a tourist, I love taking people for afternoon tea as a gift or for an occasion. There are so many options so I’ll just share a few. Patisserie Valerie is a cafe chain and their afternoon tea experience is very casual and affordable (and delicious). The Ritz feels so fancy with a harpist playing in the grand dining room, you WILL feel like you’re living out a Bridgerton royal experience. You could also head to Fortnum & Mason, let’s face it you’re going there anyway because it’s so gorgeous!

There are lots of themed teas, such as Peter Pan themed tea at The Shard (one of the fanciest buildings to visit – I should’ve included their restaurant Duck & Waffle here somewhere but I have to be honest that it wasn’t for me food-wise – I just loved the views, but people love it). I really enjoyed the Beauty & The Beast tea at The Waldorf but I believe they’re no longer booking, so try Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, or The Mad Hatter’s tea. I must admit, I love a theme. The only caveat here is that it may be really cute and fun but some of the items can sometimes be weird or not taste quite as good, simply because the venue is focussed on the theme too heavily. Your call.

And if you don’t want to stay in one place for too long, how about afternoon tea as you drive around on a red London bus?

Staples & Chains

Do you want to eat like the locals or grab something simple? I get it. This section is probably the places I go to most. Here are some UK staples and chains I love.

Eating out in London

If you’re new to the UK, trust me on this one. Greggs is a bakery and they’re dotted all over the UK (originating in my homeland of Newcastle). Most Greggs stores are takeout only or very limited seating space, so it’s best for grab and go. If you do want to sit down after a long day of walking around taking in the sights, I usually go to the one on the Strand (143 Strand). Order a sausage roll or a steak bake – they’re clearly the best things IMO. And if you’re visiting around Christmas, grab a peppermint hot chocolate. I cannot stress enough how much I want the world to know about Greggs.

Nando’s is where Portuguese and English cuisines blend to bring us peri-peri marinated chicken with chips (fries). These restaurants are all over the world – gradually opening across the US – but I consider Nando’s to be an absolute staple. #CheekyNandos. To order, you’ll choose your item (chicken wrap, pitta, burger etc.), followed by heat level (hot, medium, mild, plain etc.) and any sides. You’ll be seated at a table by a staff member but you’ll go up to the counter to order and pay (reference your table number). This is one place where bottomless fountain drinks are a standard.

Patty & Bun
The UK has no shortage of burger joints, but one of my favourites is definitely Patty & Bun. It’s the hot sauce. The chilli burger with that hot sauce is my repeat order. Byron is also pretty solid – consistently good. My only gripe with most London burger places is that they sell the fries separately and I just think that’s generally an injustice.

Food on the go
As well as Starbucks, obviously, you’ll see Pret and Costa for quick bites and a takeout coffee. For healthy-ish fast food you can grab something delicious at Leon. For Japanese grab n go, we’ve got Wasabi. And for a burrito bowl there’s Chipotle, Tortilla, and Benito’s Hat. To grab a sweet treat on the go, I love Ben’s cookies (Oxford Street / Covent Garden) – the cookies are stuffed and thick with delicious fillings but note they charge by weight.

Any Wetherspoons pub
Pubs are a definite staple of England. Wetherspoons pubs are known to be cheap and cheerful. Pubs are everywhere you look in London so it’s not difficult to stumble into one.

Exclusively Bougie

Eating out in London

The UK is home to many ‘members only clubs’ which are often THE bougiest (not always, but often). Some are more drinks or hotels, but there’s a few with great food and immaculate vibes. If you know a member who can take you, Annabel’s is as fancy as they come. Don’t worry if you can’t go in and eat there – most people just like to take a photo at the door with their seasonal decorations (SO Instagrammable). I felt like a celebrity when I went there – exclusive vibes. The Ned, again has members only areas – the rooftop restaurant complete with pool is a must if you can swing it.

Soho House is also popular given its global presence – I’ve only been to the one in literal Soho on Greek Street and it was pretty cute but not the most overwhelming of places; if you got a membership though, you do you. The RAC on Pall Mall is basically a grand hotel so not a foodie spot, but adding it here as I’m pretty confident anyone could wander in and take their photo with whichever classic car they have on display at the time. The Allbright is a womens members club and feels like a ‘chic marketing exec’ vibe albeit a rather small townhouse space, so again, not something for tourists to see, but a great networking spot if you’re moving to London and looking to build your professional circle. And that exhausts the members’ clubs I’ve personally been to in London, though there are many more.

The List Is Neverending

So these are just some of the places I love to go to when it comes to eating out in London, as well as some opinions on popular haunts. There are SO many more in reality, the list would go on for days. You really will never run out of fun things and delicious food in London. Enjoy your stay!

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