What and above all where to eat in London?
And since we are at it, where to taste a good beer and go shopping in London without spending exaggerated amounts? And maybe where to be swallowed by the Londoners daily life, far from the most tourist circuits?
In these days I am requested a lot about this kind, by email or by chat on the social networks.
Honestly, I find it difficult to give full and useful answers like instead usually it happens daily about the United States or for other destinations I am particularly expert on. I know London but not so well to be able to satisfy specifically all questions I am asked.
So as regards this topic I’ve decided to interview a new Italian blogger who lives and works (right in the refreshment field) in London: Lucia Pezzolesi, author, together with her life-companion Nicola, of the “Cuori Ribelli” blog.
Lucia got an important experience about London, about the life in the city and its surroundings.
I leave you to her precious tips about where to eat in London and to the tips-off (I’ll follow them very soon, too) to live the English capital in the best way, like a local!
What to eat in London? I imagine that among ethnic restaurants, pubs, green fast foods (and not) and little and big chains there’s really plenty to choose from. According to your personal experience on the field can you give us some tips about what to eat original, unusual and – why not? – typical, too, once arrived to the city?
You cannot go to London and don’t eat the famous pie and mash, a typical flaky pastry cake filled with mushrooms, pork or turkey, everything served with mashed potatoes. Or don’t taste the famous fish and chips, fillet of whitefish breaded fried and served with chips.
All very caloric food but fit for the cold climate, like the famous cupcake which is possible to taste garnished with fruit, chocolate or caramel…in short, you can pick and choose. The best ones in whole London are certainly those LOLA’s (Cannon Street or Liverpool Street).
But in the British capital, as people know well, gastronomies coming from all over the world hover about: Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Greek, Brazilian, Mexican and above all Indian. And it’s easy to taste a very good kebab, a paella and…a fresh pasta dish, why not?
Where to eat in London: can you give us some cues about the most crowded areas by locals and above all some useful address?
What tourists often don’t know is that the “tourist” areas are the less indicated to decide to stop eating, due to the fact the restaurants are quite expensive and the cuisine often leaves much to be desired. It’s enough to go less far from the town centre to taste instead some very good food.
Poppies of Spitafields in Shoreditch (one of the most lively areas in London both as regards night clubs and restaurants) is the ideal place to taste a very good fish and chips.
Wahaca is one of the best chains in London as regards Mexican food and it is in several areas of London.
Go as far as Benthal Green taking the red line Tube if you want to taste the best kebabs in London: since little time several Turkish restaurants have opened and the best one is certainly Efes.
For the lovers of the Thai food, even if it is a bit expensive, the Busaba Eathai in Brick Lane (exit Shoreditch over ground) will satisfy your needs.
For the Italian people who cannot renounce to pizza, a stone’s throw from the Millennium Bridge there’s Zizzi: it makes really you think to be in Italy thanks to tastes and savours.
Greek and quality cuisine can be tasted at The Real Greek’s, a sophisticated location just behind Liverpool Street.
To eat in London: is it really so expensive like people say? Is it possible to save by some way? Are there some low cost places?
To eat in London is expensive if you don’t know the right places.
There are really many cheap restaurants where to eat: several fast food chains proposing fast and quality food are developing.
Scarpetta is one of them: it’s an Italian restaurant which offers fresh pasta dishes with meat sauce, truffle, salads, very good quality cold cuts and you can eat with only €10 (in Cannon Street). Or for a tasty salad or a sandwich the ideal place is Tossed: in Liverpool Street there are over ten.
For example Istu is one of the best and affordable chains for sushi lovers: half an hour before closing it sells all its dishes 50% off.
To eat cheap in London is possible, above all with street food and above all at the weekend.
Like the famous Food Truck in Camden Tow: on Saturdays people can taste all sorts of food, from the Ethiopic and Asian one to the “piadina romagnola”.
On Sunday morning Brick lane – a stone’s throw from Shoreditch – livens up with stalls where it’s possible to eat delicious hamburgers, duck sandwiches, pizzas al taglio and other more.
Brixton Village, a neighbourhood to the south of London, offers an eccentric street food where exceptional food are typical of the Jamaican cuisine. Certainly to try!
Can you give us also any tip (and maybe addresses) as regards pubs and nightclubs where to listen to good music – and drink the best beer – “like a local”?
Shoreditch is the most crowded area in London as regards the night movida: pubs and discos are there, one next to the other. Camden Town, too, to the north of London, is famous for discos and clubs.
A particular pub is The Chandos in Trafalgar Square: it offers a cheap and very good quality beer produced by themselves.
I take advantage of your experience for a last question (that many people ask me) about which I think you can offer other useful tips. What about the shopping in London? What to buy – souvenirs, vintage clothes, original items… – and above all where to buy?
For vintage lovers, a leg the rigueur of the shopping in London not to miss is the Portobello Road market which takes place on Saturdays just behind the corner of the Notting Hill stop.
More eccentric is certainly the market in Camden Town: the Cyber Dog in the centre of the Camden market is a shop selling gift and fancy goods and clothes in time with house music. I don’t guarantee you’ll find a cloth fit for you, but it is worth it to visit it only to see the shop assistants dancing in time with the music.
Oxford Street is the shopping place crowded by every self-respecting tourist: there are several monobrand shops covering the whole street and Carnaby Street, a cross street of Oxford St.
A last tip: visit one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe, at the Stratford exit. Enjoy a full shopping day in London at Westfield.