March 27, 2023

An Insider’s take on the hot spots of the London food scene!

The London food scene hasn’t always had the best reputation – but it’s time to shed this notion once and for all! The city is now home to more fantastic restaurants, cafes, and street food markets than the traveling foodie could ever hope to taste. And, with so many options, choosing where to dine can be a bit overwhelming – so here’s an inside look at eight of the best eats on the London food scene.

Check out a few photos from the author’s dining experiences, and read on below for the full list of London restaurants, and tips on what to order!

Borough Market and Real Food Festival – London is full of excellent and exciting food markets but this one stands out from the crowd. Locals and tourists alike flock to this foodie haven for excellent lunch options, the daily food shop, or just to wander around. Not far away, The Real Food Festival at the Royal Festival Hall takes place every weekend, a smaller, but equally delicious street food and drink wonderland.

Insider Tip: Borough Market and The Real Food Festival often do live cooking demonstrations!

Dishoom – A Bombay Irani Café, Dishoom presents a type of Indian cooking that has almost been lost, elevating it to a cool and elegant London hot spot. The menu is meant to be shared, with a combination of small plates, grills, curries, biryanis, sides, and rolls. A few things to consider trying: the House Black Daal, simmered over 24 hours; the warm, layered, and comforting Biryanis; and the Roomali Roti, which is made to order. Be sure to sample the incredible cocktail menu as well, featuring classic drinks with a Southeast Asian twist. Locations in Covent Garden, Shoreditch, and King’s Cross.

Flesh and Buns – A spinoff of the ever-popular Ramen bar Bone Daddies in SoHo, right in the heart of Covent Garden. This Japanese drinking and food establishment takes its name quite literally, providing the diner with plenty of meat and steamed bun options. Other amazing small plates feature grilled vegetables, sushi rolls, and ceviche, and of course, there are many fantastic drinks.

The Laughing Gravy – You won’t find many tourists at this fantastic British-Modern European restaurant in Southwark. It’s a true local’s joint, with a relaxed vibe, friendly staff, and incredible high-end food. With dishes like confit belly of pork, venison filet, and wild mushroom wellington, you’re in for rich and comforting British cooking at its best. The cocktails are excellent as well; the espresso martini is smooth and comforting, and the wine list complements the rich food perfectly.

Caravan Coffee – Visit this London food spot for excellent brunch on weekends. Dishes include a cornbread French toast and an avocado sourdough toast with chili flakes that sent this California native straight back to L.A. But what really solidifies Caravan as one of the best in London is their coffee, roasted in house.

Rock and Sole Plaice – This traditional fish and chip shop just off Covent Garden market has been in business since 1871 and has consistently been labeled the best fish and chips in London. It truly is a great incarnation of the tradition British dish.

St. John Bread and Wine – The brain child of world-renowned chef Fergus Henderson and wine expert and restaurateur extraordinaire Trevor Gulliver, St. John Bread and Wine offers simple, delicious British and European fare. The vibe here is a bit warmer and more relaxed than the flagship restaurant in Clerkenwell, with similar dining options. St. John is famous for its nose-to-tail cooking manifesto, so be prepared to see sweetbreads, pig’s head soups, and bone marrow on the menu. But don’t let this deter you! It’s worth the adventure – and the vegetarian options are also prepared with great care and perfectly executed. Not to mention the desserts, which are oh so perfect.

Insider Tip: Every day, St. John Bread and Wine sells the most amazing doughnuts. But get there early because they sell out fast!

Comptoir Libanais – With locations across London, Comptoir Libanais serves consistently fresh and flavorful Middle Eastern cuisine. The mezze platter is a stand-out, full of incredible falafel, hummus, babaganoush, tabbouleh, and more! It’s also affordable, with a menu that includes amazing baked goods, wraps, fresh juices, and mint teas. It’s simple, clean eating done right.

Check out more of the world’s best food and wine travel spots here!

Melissa Karlin is a writer, photographer, and arts administration professional. Originally from Los Angeles, she first fell in love with traveling on a family trip to Italy at the age of 18. Since then, she has lived in the U.K. and New York City, exploring the world in search of adventure, fun, and most importantly, food.

Photos courtesy of Melissa Karlin.

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