Exploring new foods, flavours and smells is an important travel experience for a lot of people. When you pick a country to visit, the questions are always there – Where to eat? How to eat it? Would the local people eat here too? How do I avoid the tourist traps? You want me to eat WHAT?? Food can define the city and the culture and what a perfect way to really feel like you belong than to eat what the locals eat.
When I travel to a new city, I always research the local restaurants first. I love finding new places to eat, interesting flavour combinations and foods that I never knew existed! London is a perfect place for any foodie. The restaurants were endless, the options were overwhelming and walking down any street had me drooling and my stomach growling. So how do you choose?
- Talk to other people who have visited the same city or better yet, the people that live there! Find out what their favourite restaurants are and what they would avoid next time.
- Find places away from the tourist attractions. The closer the restaurant is to the attractions, the more likely it’s a tourist trap. Unfortunately, most of us learn this the hard way.
- Look for any food festivals or events happening in the city.
- Find a food tour! It’s a great way to learn about the culture, meet new people and eat some really delicious food.
Here’s what we loved:
Wahaca – a perfect place for traditional Mexican food. This is not about nachos with guac or chicken fajitas. We’re talking about grilled Mexican street corn (topped with a spicy mayo, cotija cheese and cilantro), tacos filled with sautéed cactus or barbacoa beef and potent margaritas that’ll give you a good day buzz.
There are a few Wahaca restaurants dotted around the city, but we found the one on Southbank. If you know the one I’m referring to, then you know it’s built from shipping containers! WHAAAA?? Who knew that shipping containers made a great venue for tacos!?
Soho – take a walk down any of the streets in Soho and you’ll get sucked into a black hole of delicious foods and flavours. You’ll find restaurants from almost every country in this little area of London and it was quite possibly my favourite! Get to Salt Yard for amazing Spanish cheeses, wines and charcuterie. Find Asian street food restaurants, ramen noodle bars or cocktails served in dainty tea cups at Bourne and Hollingsworth.
Borough Market – Oh.My.God!
Fresh cheese samples are quickly offered up from stalls as you pass by, calls from the seafood stands boast about the best oyster shuckers in town, seafood paella simmers on a wide cast iron pan for onlookers to drool over and the scent of baked goods wafts through the air making you feel like you’re right at home. And nothing completes the experience more than grabbing a glass of Sangria or Pimms in a take-away cup as you browse the food stalls!
Fortnum and Mason – perhaps this place is a bit touristy but it’s such a guilty pleasure! The sweets and treats here are luxurious and the endless aisles of chocolate truffles, biscuits, jams, teas and coffees are perfectly indulgent.
Street Feast – located in Dalston Yard, this old warehouse is transformed into an amazing foodie scene on the weekends. Small stalls serve up Indian street food, crispy pork belly and ribs, hand pulled north Asian noodles, sliders, I could go on but I’m getting hungry. Tucked away in the back, you’ll find a quiet whisky bar with incredible cocktails and single/double malt whiskeys for the purists.
A couple other favourites include Gordon’s Wine Bar (easy to miss but an amazing underground bar near Oxford Circus), Boro Bistro – a French bar with an eclectic patio serving up delicious French charcuterie and cheese boards near Borough Market, Camden Lock Food Market for more amazing food stalls, a lovely tea house (Yumchaa) and liquid-nitrogen ice cream from Chin Chin Labs!