Restaurants

Like any big city, London has some of the best restaurants in the world. But let’s face it, those of us on a budget can’t afford to eat at all of those Michelin star restaurants with stunning views. Luckily there is a lot of good food in London that is pretty affordable.

  • If you’re in the mood for some traditional British food, there are literally THOUSANDS of pubs to suit your craving. I personally really like British food, so I’m always down for a good pub meal. Some of my favorite pubs are Chelsea Potter, the Marquis Cornwallis, Shakespeare’s Head, and The Old Bell. A good resource for finding pubs is beerintheevening.com.
  • My all time favorite London eatery is by far Nando’s. I was first introduced to this paradise on a weekend trip to Liverpool, and my life has never been the same. The only Nando’s in the states are in the DC area, which is truly a tragedy for the American people. Basically, it’s chicken marinated in a peri-peri sauce that is delicious. You can get this chicken in a sandwich or on its own with sides like mashed potatoes and garlic bread. Ed Sheeran also loves Nando’s, and he sings a song about it called Nando’s Skank. I encourage you to watch the Youtube video. Overall, its amazing. Go.
  • If you need to pick up something quick and cheap, stick with Pret a Manger or EAT. Their sandwiches are pretty good and easy to take with you. I ate Pret a lot when I was pressed for time between classes. My standard go-to is the tuna salad with cucumbers on a baguette and a ThisWater lemonade.
  • I love Italian food, and Carluccio’s is my favorite Italian place in London. My mother also loves Carluccio’s, so much that we went twice during their visit. It’s pretty authentic, and they have great wine, so what’s not to love?
  • If you’re craving American food, like a good burger, Maxwell’s or Giraffe are great. Maxwell’s is in Covent Garden and they do a theatre special menu that’s pretty reasonable price-wise, and their mixed drinks are really good. Giraffe is a chain, but my favorite one is on the Southbank near the London Eye and the Aquarium. I saw Hugh Grant there once, so it must be as good as I think! Gourmet Burger Kitchen is also an excellent option.
  • I discovered Indian food in 2012, and it quickly became one of my favorite ethnic foods. The only place you should be eating Indian is Brick Lane. It’s in East London, and the whole street is full of Indian restaurants, all of which are good. There’s also a bagel place on Brick Lane called Beigel Bake that has really good lox and is open 24 hours a day. This is one of the Time Out 101 Things to Do, so you should do it.
  • All of Chinatown is a heavenly area of Chinese food…my favorite is the Crispy Duck. A friend and I chose this place randomly, and it was great. But like I said, it was a random choice, and you really can’t much go wrong in Chinatown.
  • One of the staples of mine and my friends diets in 2012 was Pizza Express. We went there at least once a week and always had a great time. They’re littered all over London, so you won’t have a hard time finding one. If you’re in the mood for pizza, it’s a good choice.
  • Another staple of my diet was My Old Dutch. The closest one to me was conveniently right across the street from my dormitory (seriously it was 50ft away), so we went every Monday. They have a special deal on Mondays, so it’s usually pretty crowded. Their hallmark is these really huge and really thin pancakes, both sweet and savory. Kind of like a crepe, but not quite. I always got a sweet one, usually apple and cinnamon with whipped cream. This will be one of my first stops when I get back this summer.
  • Where to begin with Wagamama? It’s a Japanese noodle bar, and I love it. I could go on for days about it, but I won’t for the sake of your eyes and my fingers. I’ll say this much: I love it so much that I have a Wagamama cookbook to make lame attempts at replicating its deliciousness. They’re all over London, so you should be able to locate one fairly easily.
  • For dessert, which I eat way more than I should have, look no further than Ben’s Cookies or Hummingbird Bakery. I have eaten so many Ben’s Cookies in my lifetime that it is almost shameful. The best is the dark chocolate chunk, but you honestly can’t pick a bad cookie. Hummingbird specializes in cupcakes, my weakness, and they do a great job baking them. I treated myself several times on my way home from class.

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