Top Restaurants in London: Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner

Given that summer is here one can only assume that my city streets are to be filled with show-goers, and industry influencers whose bellies may not always appreciate bog standard Mcd’s French fries. After an event or festival searching for a place to eat may seem tiresome in a city that’s not your own.

Any excuse to talk about food and I can’t deny I’m there. Anyone that has been fortunate enough to have been a spectator whilst I am chowing down, knows I take no prisoners. You know that friend that eats out the whole restaurant but maintains a small waist? Yeah that’s me. #SorryNotSorry

My girls and I are partial to testing out the cuisine that London has to offer, and it wasn’t until I started typing up this post that I realised how bad our eating out habits actually are. There was far too many to list them all, but I thought I’d be kind enough to share with you both my thoughts and images. All restaurants are in and around Central London and easily accessible by tube, bus or car. You can eat at most of the venues below for £10.00-80.00, all depending on what you order.

*Note* This is a rough guide, and most of the meals were devoured so long ago that I can’t remember the names of dishes I took photos of. Restaurant names are links to their sites. Enjoy!

Breakfast

Duck&Waffle: 

“…British and European inspired breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner and late-night offerings complemented by an ever-changing artisanal cocktail list…”

The Good: It’s not just the great food it’s the experience, stunning views of London, 24 hour restaurant, with a really cool glass elevator.

The Bad: I wasn’t a huge fan of their cocktails. But that could of been down to a crummy bartender.

Rating:☆☆☆☆☆

Balthazar:

“…Balthazar is open all day, seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, as well as an amazing weekend brunch. Great French bistro food, good wine and friendly service are the order of the day…”

The Good: I have visited a few times, the full breakfast and eggs benedict are exceptional.

The Bad: Only once have I been disappointed, but I think that was due to it being during Christmas rush. The manager was more than apologetic, so I don’t hold a grudge.

Rating:☆☆☆☆

The Breakfast Club:

“…Little yellow cafes in London…”

The Good: Good variety, decently priced and great atmosphere; very much a scene. Ever seen the movie??

The Bad: It is rather popular, and all there venues are relatively small for the amount of customers they have. Avoid Soho branch first thing on a Sunday morning. Queue tends to stretch 3 shops down.

Rating:☆☆☆☆

The Delunay:

“…Breakfast at The Delaunay features full English breakfasts, bakery goods from our own pastry kitchen, all manner of eggs, as well as homemade mueslis, fresh fruits and an extensive tea and coffee menu….”

The Good: Good quality breakfast, fresh tasting eggs and pastries. Beautiful surroundings, opulent and grand.

The Bad: Popular with business men, or women on work meetings. Rather stiff atmosphere at times.

Rating:☆☆☆

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 Above:The Delunay

Below: Balthazar

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Dinner

Sushisamba:

“…Located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, SUSHISAMBA delivers a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, culture, music and striking design to the City of London…”

The Good: The experience. Located at the Heron tower, the glass lift takes you 40 floors up. There is a choice between the 38th/39th and 40th floor. In the same building as Duck&Waffle. So if latin pan asian fusion isn’t your thing, grab a cocktail or breakfast.

The Bad: None!

Rating:☆☆☆☆☆

Skylon:

“…The main restaurant features modern British cuisine from Head Chef Adam Gray, while the grill offers more informal cooking and a relaxed atmosphere…”

The Good: Brilliant steak, and crisp champagne. Waiters are more than attentive and the view of the river thames is beautiful, I would aim for a window seat if booking in advance.

The Bad: There is a bar and a la carte restaurant, but there is no proper divide between them..Just carpet.

Rating:☆☆☆☆

Hakkazan:

“…Traditional techniques use fresh local ingredients to ensure his contemporary dishes retain the essence of conventional Cantonese cuisine…”

The Good: Tasty dim sum and really yummy crackling chocolate dessert.

The Bad: Inside the restaurant was far too dark for me, I like to see my food. lol

Rating:☆☆☆☆

Dstrkt:

“…all-organic blend of Continental cuisines. The space transforms each and every evening as diners stay to party until the small hours. …”

The Good: A popular restaurant (with delicious sea bass), that turns into a club after 11/12. It’s handy if you want to get down and funky without leaving to go elsewhere. But there is a sound proof glass division between club and restaurants so neither raver or foodie is disturbed. They often hold events with musicians/celebs so if you bump into Kid Ink don’t be suprised.

The Bad: The queue on the way out if you choose to leave before the clubbing starts. Also the go go looking dancers in hooker heels on podiums was off putting. hmm…lol

Rating:☆☆☆

Spice Market:

“…Imagine a wall of spices containing all the colours, flavours and fragrances of Southeast Asian cuisine. Spice Market London’s spice cabinet spans two floors…”

The Good: Nice starters. And lovely chilled atmosphere.

The Bad: If I’m honest I just wasn’t really enthused by the layout of the restaurant and the flavours of the food.

Rating:☆☆

Asia De Cuba:

The Good: Situated in St Martins Lane Hotel London, Asia De Cuba provided a excellent food, and elegant atmosphere. The staff were really pleasant, and if you don’t want to splash out on the full dinner menu, they have a less bank damaging option.

The Bad: The fact you have to walk through the hotel reception.

 Rating:☆☆☆

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Above: Spice Market

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Above: Asia de Cuba

Below: Skylon

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Dessert

Hummingbird Bakery:

“…No matter where a Hummingbird Bakery branch pops up, customers can always be assured of a welcoming environment, friendly staff and the delightful smells and tastes of authentic American home baking…”

The Good: Best Red Velvet for miles. The End.

The Bad: The more popular branch on Wardour street doesn’t have much room to sit down. So grab your cupcakes and bounce. lol

Rating:☆☆☆☆☆

L’Eto Caffe:

“…Looking for a range of pastries or muffins for your next breakfast business meeting, or a hand-decorated cake for a birthday party, you can order many of our delicious products to enjoy at home or in the office…”

The Good: Fresh healthy food options for those who don’t want to pile on the pounds. Cake options are endless.

The Bad: It’s right next door to Hummingbird. The choices are too much! *covers face in shame.*

Rating:☆☆☆☆

Patisserie Valerie: 

“…Delicious hand-made cakes, gateaux and patisseries…”

The Good: This chain do sweets as well as desserts. If your in need of a whole cake for an event or birthday, they offer a occasion cake making service.

The Bad:

Rating:☆☆☆

Haagen Daz:

“…The best quality ice cream and desserts, offering consumers an exceptional eating experience… “

The Good: Aside from the desert and late opening times, they often have a sample to hand of new ice cream they have added to the menu. A cheaper alternative to the others listed. 

The Bad: The wait. Due to it being right in the middle of Leicester square, wait times can be a nightmare. However on the plus side, they do dessert on the go.

Rating:☆☆☆

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Above: L’Eto

Shopping Trip Treats & Cheap Eats

SouthBank Market:

“…The idea behind setting up Real Food Markets is to try to provide as much convenience and access to great food producers as we can…”

The Good: Quality and authentic food at a decent price made right in front of you. Great chance to socialise with other food lovers.

The Bad: Away from the action of Central London. Consider a day trip to the London Eye or Southbank attractions, and incorporate the market into your itinerary.

Rating:☆☆☆☆

The Diner:

The Good: Pancakes, hard shakes and all day breakfast.  

The Bad: It’s so dark inside the restaurant. Every time I leave I have to adjust my eyes to the sun light outside. lol

Rating:☆☆☆

Busaba:

“…Busaba Eathai is modern Thai eatery. The diverse but simple menu offers a flavoursome selection of Thai salads, noodles, curries and stir-fries with an authenticity and freshness that surpasses expectations…”

The Good: The Pad Thai alongside the size of curry their dishes. Don’t get carried away their curry bowls are deeper than they look.

The Bad: Their seating is set up like a canteen, it is possible you and your friends could end up sitting next to complete strangers.

Rating:☆☆☆

Nandos: 

“…The Piece de Resistance, our tantalising flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken is made with African bird’s eye chilli…”

The Good: Cheap, cheerful and quick service. I heart the grilled halloumi cheese. 

The Bad: I’m not a huge fan of Nandos purely because it is so common. Similar to Mcds, there is one on every corner.

Rating:☆☆☆

Wagamama:

“…Our restaurants are modelled on the ramen bars …our pan-asian style menu consists of side dishes, main meals, desserts and fantastic fresh juices. Our food is cooked fresh to order and arrives as soon as it’s ready…”

The Good: Food made fresh. Comes out as it is made, I prefer the teryaki soba salmon but I know plenty of people that are batting for the Katsu curry!

The Bad: Again depending what branch you go to, there is a possibility of being seated next to randoms.

Rating:☆☆☆☆

Vapiano:

“…Pasta, pizzas, antipasti and salads …we prepare all dishes to order in front of you so that you have your meal prepared exactly how you want it…”

The Good: Fresh italian food made in front of you, where you can instruct your server as to how you like it. Swipe card system this means you can get up as many times as you wish and pay on your way out by presenting your card to the cashier.

The Bad: Having worked round the corner, I know what their lunch time rush looks like. eek!

Rating:☆☆☆☆

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Above:The Diner

Other stuff you need to try:

OXO tower

The Shard

Cocktails and Salsa at Floridita

Tea at The Dorchester

Barbecoa

Borough Market

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