Trading £s for Lbs: A London Restaurant Guide

There are lots of wonderful food cities in Europe but no other place has the variety of London.  You can eat anything your heart desires and it doesn’t take much frantic searching on Trip Advisor to find something decent. 

In one full week in London, we ate 12 different types of cuisine: Pakistani, Malaysian, Japanese, Lebanese, Thai, British, American, Italian, Indian, Spanish, Turkish, and Mexican. (I know my children have more adventure willing palettes than most kids.)

Given the abundance of good options and the size of the city, recommendations are best sorted by geography.  So if you find yourself in South Kensington (where we stayed) or Soho (where you will find yourself at some point in your trip) here are a few recommendations:


Noor Jahan – upscale North Indian food (so more meat, less curries),  small with neighborhood vibe, apparently where Brad and Angelina eat when in London.   Lick your plate delicious.  An absolute favorite.  Booking required.

Patara – upscale Thai with non-traditional dishes, smaller portions but great flavors.  Another absolute favorite.  Three locations.  Booking required.

Carluccios – Italian diner, good spot for breakfast which they serve all day especially if you like fried eggs, pancetta and mushrooms.  Nice coloring packet for kids.  Several locations.

Comptoir Libanais – sit down communal table Lebanese,  great for lunch, mezze plates and excellent grill.  Several locations.

Fernandez & Wells –casual, order at the counter Spanish inspired breakfast with fried eggs, chorizo and cheese plate options plus excellent cakes, pastries, and coffee.   New next door is Roots & Bulbs for healthy smoothies.

Bosphorus Kebabs – excellent quality take out Turkish grill (no chips here!), very popular.  We did take out on Valentine’s Day since restaurants were packed.  One of the guys working pulled my husband aside and told him to buy me some flowers

Hereford Arms – great neighborhood gastro pub with comfy seating and screens for sport.

Also with several locations for a sweet fix is Gail’s Bakery and Hummingbird Cupcake (which I personally feel are overrated in taste but beautifully packaged.)


Satori – authentic pizza from Napoli, recommended to us by a Londoner originally from Italy.   Large seating area, good for before a show,  very welcoming with kids.

Jackson + Rye – traditional American brunch,  higher end diner feel with good lookin’ brunch cocktails.   Solid food but not anything unexpected except for the outrageously delicious maple bacon slabs.   Booking required.

Honest Burgers – small place always with a queue, simple chalkboard menu of only a handful of burger options, rosemary chips, onion rings and bottled beers.  Worth the wait if a burger is on your mind.  Also tried the chain Gourmet Burger Kitchen which got the thumbs up as a less “healthy tasting” version to Honest Burgers but with the addition of shakes.  (Disclosure: after two years living outside of the US, our burger hurdle has come down.  We're just happy having ground beef that tastes normal.)

Frith Street and streets around it are full of restaurants.  Two recommendations from previous trips:  Ceviche – Peruvian seafood and Koya – Japanese Udon noodles.  Also nearby which were recommended to us but we ran out of time:  Barrafina – Spanish tapas and Yalla Yalla – Lebanese and middle-eastern street food.  (I'd probably do Ceviche and Barrafina without kids given limited seating.)


Satay House (Paddington) – Malaysian, more than satays,  came recommended as best Malaysian from a London transplant, enjoyed with our Seattle friends based in Luxembourg and holidaying in London at the same time.  I don’t know Malaysian food, but this restaurant made fans out of all of us.  Booking required.

Zayna (Marble Arch) – upscale Pakistani, very good but I thought overpriced.  Also hit my pet peeve when waiter asked me to write a review on Trip Advisor.    Booking required.

Crosstown Donuts (Piccadilly) – daily made American style sourdough donuts, opened 9 months ago, first tried at Fernandez & Wells who carries them as does Whole Foods, first location at Piccadilly Circus Tube Station.  Less sweet than most American donuts and delicious.  Way better than the Hummingbird cupcakes.

Craig’s House in Crouch End – We got a special dinner in the home of one of my childhood friends (and as an Army brat, I don’t have many of those!) Julie and Craig were so sweet to host my four man-sized appetites after having just been on holiday themselves and after a full day’s work.  I can’t guarantee a reservation, but Craig’s couple day Pasta Bolognese sauce is worth crossing town for.  :)

If you find yourself in the East End around Shoreditch/Brick Lane/Spittalfields, I previously blogged about some things I sampled on an East End Food Tour .

Happy eating!