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London, A City Tasting Tour
Photo Rocky Lubbers / flickr

London, A City Tasting Tour

Take a look at the best food, markets, cafes and restaurants in the UK capital. If you’re tired of eating in London, you’re tired of life.

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In no place more than London does one get the feeling that people are constantly eating, at any time of the day, in every place you go. Chalk it up to the British tradition of “afternoon tea”, the day’s unofficial but undeniable fourth meal. Or it could also be the result of London’s heterogeneous and multi-ethnic population. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: London has some of the best dining in the world. Whatever you’re in the mood for – Thai, Lebanese, Kosher, Italian – you can be sure you’ll find it here. And you can eat it – like the rest of the Londoners – at least three times a day.

“Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing,” writes the author A.A Gill in his book about breakfast, which he wrote from the depths of an old armchair at The Wolseley. Like Mr. Gill, a true epicurean could greet the day from this legendary Piccadilly café, just a few stops away from Harrods, which not only offers unparalleled shopping, but a Food Hall that rivals any in the word: hundreds of square meters of the world’s finest chocolate, caviar, sweets and pastries, meats and treats of all kinds. The most refined Brits might consider Harrods a bit “for the masses”, and many well-bred food snobs favor Selfridges or Fortum and Mason – which, like Harrods, is truly one of a kind. Come here to shop or just have a look, to eat in one of the many restaurants – but most of all, come for the tea. Served on the fourth floor, their tea has been quenching the Royal Family’s thirst since 1707. This past March, in fact, the Queen Elizabeth herself was on hand to inaugurate its new name, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Many say this is the finest, most authentic afternoon tea available anywhere – served in cups and saucers from the most prestigious designers in the world.

Wolseley
160 Piccadilly
London, W1J 9EB
Tel. +44 (0)20 7499 6996, Website

Harrods
87-135 Brompton Road Knightsbridge SW1X 7XL
Tel. +44 (0)20 7730 1234, Website

Selfridges
400 Oxford Street
London, W1A 1AB
Tel. +44 0113 369 8040, Website

Fortnum & Mason
181 Piccadilly
London, W1A 1ER
Tel. +44 0845 300 1707, Website

MARKETS AND STREET FOOD
If you’ve only got a few pounds in your pocket, not to worry: at the left side of Trafalgar Square, there’s a hot dog stand that’s been satiating appetites for twenty years and still going strong. But London markets are great place to enjoy street food without spending too much. Portobello, famous for its vintage finds, is also chock full of vendors offering freshly made snacks like crèpes or Italian style tomato bruschetta. The Borough Market, however, is dedicated only to food – and is especially rich in vegetarian and vegan options. The toasted cheese sandwiches from Kappacasein http://www.kappacasein.com/ are absolutely irresistible, as is the melted cheese raclette served on new potatoes. At the historic Leadenhall Market, housed in a Victorian-era edifice, you can by meats and poultries from the city’s best butchers and ranchers.

Leadenhall Market
1a Leadenhall Market
racechurch Street
London EC3V

Website

Portobello Market
Portobello Road

London, W11 1AN
Tel. +44 (0)20 7727 7684, Website

Borough Market
8 Southwark Street
London, SE1 1TL

Tel. +44 (0)20 7407 1002, Website

PUBS AND GASTROPUBS
There may be pubs on every street, but be warned: you’ll find good beer in just about all of them, but not all of them serve great food. One of the oldest and most suggestive of the bunch is the Mayflower in the East End, which was founded in 1621, when the Thames was a thriving commercial hub. Why not arrive on a boat? Passing through the city on its great river, especially at sunset, is an experience well worth trying. The beer is obviously top-notch, as is their selection of cheeses. In the summer, the The Windsor Castle in West London is one of the rare pubs with a garden. Try the salmon fishcakes with lemon & chive creme fraiche and beetroot salad.

The Mayflower
117 Rotherhithe Street
London, SE16 4NF
Tel. +44 (0)20 7237 4088, Website

The Windsor Castle
14 Campden Hill Road, Kensington
London, W8 7AR
Tel. +44 (0)20 7243 8797, Website

FINE DINING RESTAURANTS
While Europe’s most savvy eaters crowd the waiting list for a table at Oliver Dabbous, which is fully booked until 2013, those without reservations can hunt out the “next big thing”. There are several new restaurants, recently opened, that are creating buzz and hoping for that first Michelin star. Try Medlar at the end of Kings Road, Hedone in West London, or Roganic in Marylebone.

Dabbous
39 Whitfield Street
London W1T 2SF
Tel. +44 (0)20 7323 1544, Website

Hedone
301-303 Chiswick High Road
London, W44HH
Tel. +44 (0)20 8747 0377, Website

Medlar
438 Kings Road
Chelsea, SW10 0LJ
Tel. +44 (0)20 7349 1900, Website

Roganic
19 Blandford Street
London; W1U 3DH
Tel. +44 (0)20 7486 0380, Website

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