Every trip to the capital involves tracking down great places to eat in London. And boy, do you have a huge choice of fabulous places to enjoy fine food, everything from the most expensive and exclusive restaurants to quirky, unusual and surprisingly cheap places to eat in London. If you're looking for some tips and recommendations, here you are. Happy dining!
Heston Blumenthal is one of the world's most creative chefs, a man who combines food with art and science to extraordinary effect. If you have a good few quid spare and fancy treating yourself, why not try his London restaurant Dinner in London, a place with two coveted Michelin stars. It opened in the late' 90s with a wonderland of unique flavours and combinations that have been thrilling visitors to London ever since. The setting delivers great eye candy too, beautifully designed, contemporary and innovative with a funky pulley system that rotates a spit over an open-fire. And views over lush Hyde Park provide the finishing touch. No wonder it has won so many awards, including National Restaurant Awards and Elite Traveller World's Top 100 Restaurants awards.
Authentic food in Brick Lane
If you're after cheap places to eat in London, Brick Lane is an excellent destination. It's also ideal for classy dining, a great blend of affordable and exclusive. The East End is on the ascendancy at the moment, being gentrified faster than you can blink, and Brick Lane has become a top foodie destination as a result. Blanchette at number 204 offers gorgeous French cuisine, Chez Elles Bistroquet at number 45 offers rustic French food and Labatorio Pizza at number 79 is excellent value for money. If you're into Indian dishes Cinnamon at 134 Brick Lane serves tasty Indian classics. There are at least 14 restaurants on Brick Lane, as well as numerous cool pubs and bars.
Cheap eats around the city
London is home to a lively, buzzing cheap eats scene, and there’s an extraordinary choice. If you want to eat well for less than a tenner you could try Jardin de Jasmin in Fitzrovia W1, Rainbo Food on Finsbury Avenue Square EC2M, Maple and Co. at Kings Cross N1 and Fitzrovia W1. Pleasant Lady in Soho W1D, Little Sichuan on Finchley Road NW3 or Hiba Express at either Holborn WC1, Fitzrovia W1 or Walthamstow E17 are also great for cheap dining in London.
Food markets in London
Some of the most fun places to eat in London are in and around the city's many splendid food markets. They're all excellent for people-watching, giving you an intimate picture of the city's inner life and hidden worlds. And Covent Garden is probably the most famous of all. There has been a market on the site for centuries, and there's a new market location being planned and built right now, with a completion date of 2024. In the meantime, you can visit the current Covent Garden shopping mall for shops, cafes and bars in the Market Building, bang in the middle of the Covent Garden shopping area.
Borough Market is near London Bridge so has really good public transport links. This is the UK's most renowned food market, a splendid affair that you discover via a series of narrow, exciting passages and open areas rich in atmosphere and hot on thrilling new foodie discoveries. Number Three Crown Square is the biggest area, devoted to fresh produce of every kind and both eclectic and vivid. If you're searching for new ideas, new recipes, new inspiration, walk this way!
Old Spitalfields Market
Head for Commercial Street to enjoy the vibe at Old Spitalfields Market in Spitalfields, a lively place packed with artists, creative types and a massive Bangladeshi community. Brick Lane is full of curry houses, the Spitalfields Market sells crafts and fashion, and a host of really good local restaurants compete for lunchtime City trade.
Dalston Food Market
Dalston Food Market is a relaxing place to spend a mellow Sunday, with some of London’s best produce on show as well as fantastic street food and drink. Local foods are big here, including special London-based cheesemakers and street food stars like What the Dickens!, Kimchinary, Sub Cults, and Born and Raised Pizza. There's local craft beer and even gin distilled in Hackney. Tasty London roasted coffees join the fun, and this market is particularly child-friendly with different professionally-run indoor activities every week. Head for the grounds of the secondary school on Shacklewell Lane and feel free to picnic in the grounds.
More awesome London food markets
There are so many food markets in the capital, you could easily base your entire trip around discovering great food. There are food markets at Vinegar Yard, Broadway Market, Southbank Centre, Berwick Street, Flat Iron Square, Walthamstow Farmers Market, Walthamstow Market itself, Maltby Street, Hackney Downs Vegan Market, Soho Vegan Market, Leadenhall Market and plenty more.
Unusual places to eat in London
How about the best places to eat in London with a twist?
Archipelago in Fitzrovia serves some interesting food to say the least. Everything from the very latest in insect-based treats to smoked python carpaccio and love bug salad. If you fancy treating your palate to a dish made with a weaver ant garnish, it's waiting for you... if you dare.
Champor-Champor on London Bridge is a visual delight packed with gorgeous, rich décor, batik, masks, incense and of course great service. They do the most marvellous Thai-Malay food and the private table up on the mezzanine floor is only accessible via a ladder. Great fun!
Bubblewrap in Chinatown sells an unusual kind of egg waffle, a blobby cone of batter filled with delights like ice cream, fruit, chocolate and more.
Cereal Killer Café on Brick Lane is famous for serving nothing but breakfast cereals, with literally hundreds of them on display. You can also add funky extras like bubblegum or salted caramel milk, and pile on loads of chocolates and sweets, too. They even do exciting cereal mocktails with amazing names like 'Unicorn Poop’. How can you resist?
Attendant in Fitzrovia used to be a public loo, now repurposed into a hip café with urinals as booths. They do breakfast and brunch, which makes it a fabulous place to start the day.
Abuelo blends South Australian and South American cuisine in Covent Garden, a small yet perfectly formed place where unusual fusion is the name of the game.