The city of London is a gigantic place in fact one of the megacities of the world and one of the most iconic places on the planet. London includes no less than 32 districts and is filled with different people of different ethnicities, religions, beliefs and ideologies, which really makes it a “metropolis”. London is the largest city in Western Europe and still remains to this day a place of international trade, fashion, music, politics, finance and, of course, food.
When I started traveling to London 35 years ago, the food wasn’t too good to say the least. I ended up eating in pubs most of the time, but I soon discovered that London pubs were not the “real” pubs of England. Then I started working for an English company and soon discovered that there was some kind of renaissance going on. The food has improved. There were more choices than the typical pub or fish and chips dishes.
Now London has become a true gastronomic destination, with famous chefs we all see on our TVs at the forefront.
England may have had a bad reputation in the past when it comes to food culture, but the truth is far from the boring and weird dishes that people might associate with English food. London’s extremely diverse population has turned dining in London into an exercise in trying to choose what you want to eat when you can literally have everything in the world. Like any major city in the world, finding the right place can be difficult, but this list will help you visit some of the best and most interesting restaurants in London.
For a mid-range restaurant, you’ll feel like you’re eating in a special place that costs you a lot more than it actually does. Barbarity brings the cuisine of North Africa and the Mediterranean Middle East to the plates of Londoners. The Barbary has business booming every night during dinner time, so be sure to book in advance or show up as late as 5 if you’re looking for a chair. The restaurant bills itself as “modern Israeli”, but in reality it is anything but modern, with classic Berber dishes and ancient recipes from North Africa. Enjoy hand-made and freshly prepared naan directly from tandoor or grilled octopus and fried snacks.
Oven brings amazing Thai and Asian inspired dishes straight to your plate from the chef’s hands. The small restaurant is characterized by its simple but modern decoration and by the know-how of chef Meedu Saad. He is an expert in what he does that you can just sit back and watch him cook in front of your eyes. Simple ingredients like cumin pollinated charcoal chicken or lamb skewer may seem simple, but it’s the taste of Chef Meedu’s dishes with things like mint and kefir that stand out.
Not to be confused with sports, Kricket is a lively and energetic Soho restaurant that tops everyone’s must-see list. The restaurant started as a simple little place that operated from a shipping container a short time ago, but now has a stylish and fun dining room that attracts young and trendy customers. The restaurant has two floors and prides itself on serving Indian-inspired dishes made from the finest British ingredients and because the menu is not super heavy, you can order and get your food in minutes. Enjoy dishes like cinnamon keema deer or tandoori grouse and grab a Hendrick’s gin on the side. If you book with a group in advance, you can usually skip the queues outside, but if you do solo or if you try to make a stop with a partner at the bar where you can watch the cooks prepare your dish for you.
Although geographically far from Mexico City, lovers of Mexican cuisine will be delighted by this affordable and delicious Mexican restaurant. Sonora Taquería is in Hackney and brings some of the best tacos served in handmade tortillas by chef Michelle Salazar de la Rocha. Their niche is more specifically the meaty cuisine of the Sonora area, but Sonora Taquería isn’t the most traditional place with options like adding a cheese crust to your taco, but that doesn’t mean barbacoa tacos aren’t made with love and attention.
Pasta is a wonderful thing. By itself, noodles and pasta are not very complex or complicated, but it is what you make of them that sets them apart. And that’s where the Padella comes in. The simple pasta bar offers a wide and extensive selection of pasta dishes of all shapes and sizes and different sauces and toppings. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Where Padella stands out from other classic, pasta-centric Italian restaurants is that their menu works daily. The daily changing menu varies from a few small options each day, but the plates are excellent to satisfy you and the food is prepared right in front of you. Chairs and tables are above the kitchen so you get a little show before eating. The restaurant is fully decorated with glass and marble, making the ultra-chic experience for the eight-hour shin ragu braised beef is out of this world.
The Hill and Szrok
The simplicity of Hill & Szrok is really what sets it apart. What started as a simple butchery is now one of Hackney’s best stops for a quick bite to eat. Of course, because the spirit behind Hill & Szrok are butchers, the pieces of meat you get here will raise the dishes to higher standards. Their juicy cheeseburgers are the perfect feast for those experiencing a meaty delight in the afternoon and their meatball sauce, pies and puree, and pork-headed hot dogs take simple dishes to a new level. Enjoy a double cheeseburger and hard chocolate cookies for dessert.