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London, taking a trip next month

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Have been to London many many times, but unfortunately it was only for a couple hours at a time for a lunch meeting or something! (I'd take the train from Brussels)

Planning to be out there the week before and including memorial day weekend, and looking for some "must eat" places. Price not that big a deal as long as it's good food.

post #2 of 34
Aladin -- in the East End on Brick Lane -- Not an incredibly unusual London curry house, just a very good one. Perhaps most notable for the picture of Prince Charles on its outside window. As you know, curries are the pizza of England. And no visit to London is complete without a trip to (or carry-out from) a good curry house.

Bibendum -- in South Ken -- you won't get better fish. Great oyster bar -- like that matters to you. More along your lines: Excellent general contemporary French very much in the line of what you're striving to learn.

Gordon Ramsay's -- I'm not going to recommend it, you can get the same thing in NY.

Simpson's in the Strand -- in the Strand, dude. OK, central London. Simpson's has been around forever. Dickens ate there all the time, and it wasn't exactly new then either. You've got to have the roast beef there. Says it all. No trip to London complete.

White Swan Pub and Dining Room -- City -- One of the original gastro pubs. No trip complete...

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Excellent! thanks.
post #4 of 34

dont forget RP

to find yourself some nice seafood, you have to try some traditional english fish and chips im sure some of the lovely english folks can help you out there
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

post #5 of 34
I lived in London for a number of years and have close family in the city and visit every 4-6 weeks. Each visit, we try a different restaurant, either an old favourite or a new place. Here's a few to be going on with...

Zilli Fish in Soho
St John (if you can eat offal, it's a MUST!)
Benares - if you'd like to try very modern, London/Indian food. It's one of my current favourites!
River Cafe
Any of the Ramsay restaurants, including the ones run by some of his 'apprentices' like Angela Hartnett and Marcus Wareing.

When I can think of more, I'll add a few!

Some of the above have 2-3 month waiting lists so book early to avoid disappointment!
post #6 of 34
It really depends on what you are looking for, there are hundreds of excellent restaurants in London from the famous michelin starred ones to some great gastropubs. My personal fav is The Ivy, surprisingly inexpensive, in the heart of theatreland and always a great buzz. I know some people here say its old hat and trading on its former glory but the food is fantastic and the ambiance is really great. You can have the full works for around £70 per head, not bad for central London, and the menu is very diverse, from shepherds pie to lobster and chips. I would reccomend browsing through Top Table though, they have them all, complete with reviews and you can book online.

Online UK and London Restaurants Booking and Guide from toptable.co.uk
post #7 of 34
BTW I am going to Gordon Ramsay next month and thought I'd share this with you.

They email confirmation and you have to reply within 48 hrs or they release the table. They take your credit card details over the phone and cancellations cannot be accepted unless in writing by fax or email, and if you give less than 24hrs notice they at their own discretion will debit your card £100 per person.

May be useful if you are considering this restaurant or a similar one. I can't wait, it will be a great experience. No chance of me cancelling :lips:
post #8 of 34
I like the Ivy, too.

I'd also like to recommend Jamie Oliver's 15, but I've had a couple of not very good meals there in the recent past, so am a bit reluctant to give it a boost!
post #9 of 34
Interesting thread in a lot of ways.

Is anyone actually living in London contributing yet? Seems like Bazza and Ishbel come closest, but still fairly famous places. Where's the local knowledge? Where are the unknown gems?

Gordon Ramsay's (or should we say Gordon Ramsays') is a solid choice. But it's not unique to London. Given all the Ramsay buzz I'd have recommended it, but Ramsay's in NY has a lot in common with the various Ramsays' in London. Maybe it's the abuse and the shouting, but his places (and their successors) are all run at the same high level and reflect more or less the same aesthetic. More interesting might be to eat at some of the restaurants he saved in his Kitchen Nightmares series. "Fresh local ingredients, simply prepared." Does it get any better? Really?

Still ruminating on Ramsay: Maybe Claridge's for a drink. It's important for RPM to boost his alcohol consumption when in London. When in Rome ... Or, should I say, when in Mayfair ...

Every American should eat at Simpson's in the Stand at least once. It IS the England of Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudd. You Brits don't know what that means to us. Plus... if you've got an interest in chess, you probably don't even realize the significance the place has to the game.

post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
haha, thanks for the post boar,

Ramsays' is up in the air....I can go in New York any day of the week, and to be honest, I hate that Hells Kitchen show so much that it's almost tainted me from ever going if it weren't for my "yeah I know...it's still good food" mentality.
post #11 of 34
I understand the desire to eat at a WORLD-CLASS basically French restaurant -- which is what the Ramsays are -- but, I'm not so sure that I'd devote precious London time to doing it... especially with a food hub like NY so close to me.

Bibendum, which I recommended, is kind of in that mold too. The first time I ate there was on business, right after it opened, when it was the hottest of the hot places in London. Food was good. Great in fact. Service was incredible. I didn't pay. What can you say? I ate there a few more times since -- always good, always great service to the point where I let the waiter order for me. I'm not as choosy as you; my number one rule being, "If it's seafood, I like it;" number two, "If it's well prepared, I like it;" and number three, "No food too strange."

I digress. What I remember most, was eating there years later, summer of 1994. My family -- wife, son, daughter, my parents -- were in London for a week. At that age, 14, my son was not easy when it came to food. Picky, picky, picky. But, he'd developed a love of fish and chips. You'd think that would make things easy in London. But nooooooooooooo. Surprisingly, most of it is not even up to H. Salt standards -- let alone what my son, bless his spoiled little palate, was used to.

So, my Dad makes reservations at Bibendum a few weeks before we leave, because he'd heard so much about it. We go. Max, my son, orders fish and chips, which aren't on the menu. The waiter says, "The kitchen will be happy to oblige." My Dad, in solidarity, orders them as well. Sure enough, sublime fish and effing chips.

Next night, Simpsons. Same story. Fish and chips, only now my daughter's playing instead of my son because I'd built up the whole roast beef qua.joint and the silver cart thing, not to mention the history of chess and Simpsons. Fish and chips as good? Yes.

post #12 of 34
Ok I can highly reccomend a great British restaurant called "Roast" its in Borough Market and the food doesn't get any fresher than that. For you Americans that want a taste of England this is great. Borough Market is essentially a fruit and veg market but over the last 10 years has grown in popularity and you can get just about anything now. Historically this was a flower market and "Roast" is set in the Old Floral Hall, a beautiful building which has been extensively modernised. I have eaten there and it was very good.

I have been to Mirabelle, food was very good but stuffy old fashioned service. And on my to-do list is Le Gavaroche.
post #13 of 34
Sorry that link doesn't seem to be working, try this one
Roast Restaurant London, Deliciously British
post #14 of 34
Nice! but im not in UK.. i'll try next time on Trip :)
post #15 of 34
I lived in London for a number of years - and still visit every month or so.

Another upmarket one that I like is Le Gavroche - the Roux Bros place, now run by the son of one of the original Brothers. I have eaten there quite a few times, the food is wonderful.

Petrus - with chef Marcus Wareing (unless he's moved on now) is another great restaurant.

Locatelli also runs a wonderful restaurant, I think he now has two in central London.
post #16 of 34
If you fancy an afternoon tea - then I can recommend Claridge's, the Ritz or the Landmark hotel - all have wonderful, traditional afternoon teas. So does Fortnum & Mason's - but that is rather more hit and miss.
post #17 of 34
I would highly reccommend a pie and mash shop, where you can get eels and liquor (gravy) on the side. (very basic)Spent a few years in Londons South east (Elephant & castle) Never took to the eels and liquor, but my babies thrived on it.
Alternatively try an Italian cafe for a mega, (theres one at Kings cross. just off the station)full English breakfast.It'll be hanging off the plate.
On a cultured note, I went to a lovely place near Covent garden. Cant remember the name. Churchill was a regular patron. They served fish and chips served in the Times. Fab bt Mega bucks
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #18 of 34
Bughut mentioned Covent Garden - I have eaten at Bertorelli's in Floral Street, both for lunch and pre-opera dinner. The second option is really reasonable - about 20 quid per head (without drinks) for a very limited choice menu - but the food is great!
post #19 of 34
Thread Starter 
I'll be staying at one of the following, looks like the Waldorf Hilton as Grange City is booked...These are the "preffered" list of hotels, but if anyone has any hotel recommendations comparable, please recommend.

Grange City Hotel

Thistle, A Guoman Hotel


Grange Holborn
post #20 of 34
Thread Starter 
Also, I'm looking for a place called Le Ho Fook.....

...been craving a big dish of beef chow mein...:p
post #21 of 34
More tourist knowledge:

Bughut's Fish and Chips shop in Covent Garden is Rock and Sole Plaice -- a tourist must, which is how I know about it.

Simpson's in the Strand (formerly Simpson's Cigar Divan (I'm a broken record, so sue me)) has a great fry up (aka "Full English"), but a pricey one. I found out about the breakfast by stumbling in there one Friday morning with a client after he took me to dinner there the night before. Still drunk too. Probably something to do with the Law of Conservation of Liquor. It's walking distance from the Waldorf. So is Rock and Sole Plaice, for that matter.

Best fry up I ever had (but I haven't had many), and just as pricey is The Park which is in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The Mandarin Oriental is one of those places where you want to stay -- IF someone else is paying. It backs up against Hyde Park. Victorian Splendor in all caps. Everything's delovely and dewonderful. It's a five star as opposed to the Waldorf's four. Bring money.

Other great fry ups? Every caff and greasy spoon. The English know how to clog their arteries, that's for sure. Most places don't charge much either.

While in London, don't forget to have beer. Lots and lots of lovely beer.

post #22 of 34

Orso Restaurant

I bounce all over when in London but one place I always make sure to hit is Orso. It's right in thee middle of the West End. I forget the exact address but it's on Wellington St. It's not "British" cuisine but it is really good quality Italian. The menu is always changing so what I've had in the past is sometimes not available. For me it's a must!
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
post #23 of 34

Le Ho Fook

Sorry...I forgot...Le Ho Fook is located somewhere on Kilborn or Kilburn Lane. Not exactly sure of the road's spelling.
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
post #24 of 34

There is a Le Ho Fook on Kilburn, but the Warren Zevon one is on Gerrard in SoHo. Big picture of Warren on the wall. Speaking of Gerrard: Four Seasons for roast duck. World class!

Don't ask,
post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 

I was definitely being facetious, but glad someone got it! (my girlfriend didn't)
post #26 of 34
You should try fish and chips in London
post #27 of 34
i know the Ramsay name has been mentioned a lot but i think your missing out what i feel is one of the better Ramsay restaurants


its not like the others in ways as the meal is made from normally about 8 different very small dishes and unlike most of the Ramsay Holdings its not all french food the chef Jason Atherton has done a very good job in introducing many other foods

on a side note dont judge the fish and chips in london as (sorry to say this but...) there not the best you can get, im not saying there bad but i come from just outside Grimsby (the home of fish and chips) and the Fish & Chips here is a lot better and cheaper then anything ive had in london. although i wouldnt reccomend a trip for it as london is bar far the better place overall
post #28 of 34
When it comes to muckin' about with the tourists, haggis can't compare to regional specialties like Irn Bru, cold bacon butties, the ever-popular and ever-greasy bridies, and the previously mentioned fried Mars (like a sweeter Milky Way in the US) bar. On the other hand, there's buttermilk and salt for your oatmeal. What could be better?

Haggis might frighten the squeamish who find offal icky. But I'm not a little girl, and as a food haggis is not that bad -- if you like subtle verging on bland. The liver, the heart and the suet at least give it some taste, because most of the other ingredients are boring beyond belief -- oatmeal being (once again) the big attraction. On the other hand, there's the whisky sauce. I could eat plumbing fixtures with whisky.

post #29 of 34
Lived in London for a very long time. All the above are good and upmarket restaurants. Cafe Naaz in Brick Lane is also good, but for the true taste of London, you need to go to the East End and have pie, mash and licker (licker being a parsley sauce). The Happy Garden in Soho is good for Chinese if you really want REAL english food, London is probably too cosmopolitan. For a good Roast lunch, try a West country pub. The Bombay Brasserie is good too.
What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child? ~Lin Yutang
What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child? ~Lin Yutang
post #30 of 34

RPM has left the City.

No point in posting more London local knowledge, the OP is back in the States. Loved the duck at The Happy Garden.

Hey, you, get off my cloud / You don't know me and you don't know my style / Who be gettin flam when they come to a jam? / Here I am here I am, the Method Man / Patty cake patty cake hey the method man -- Clan Wu-Tang
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