What we are in London
My husband and I are foodies and we love to try new restaurants for dinner. Whenever we travel, we make it a goal to try the best food that we can there. Before we go out of town, I’ll check Tripadvisor for the top rated restaurants and I’ll also search Pinterest for blogs and articles on where the best eats in the city are. Since everyone has different tastes, it can be hard to tell which restaurants you will like and which ones you won’t. If you’re planning a trip to London, I’d share with you the places we ate at in London and maybe give you some ideas on where to dine when you head there on vacation.
The Berkeley London – Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Fashion Tea
One thing that was an absolute must do while in London was going to an afternoon tea. One of my besties told me about the fashion tea that’s at The Berkley Hotel. It’s 2 hours long and you receive a savory and a sweets course. The savory was finger sandwiches and other small bites to eat. The sweets was different cookies, cakes and parfaits that were all inspired and modeled after the latest fashion trends. Cakes that looks like handbags, parfaits with the colors of designer dresses and cookies that looked like shoes. We really enjoyed the loose-leaf tea and the sandwiches were super delicious. All of the sweets were so so so good and since we were completely full by that point, we got purse-like boxes to take the rest home with us. I know there are tons of afternoon teas to choose from but I highly recommend this one!
Another must eat for us was finding some good fish and chips while in town. On our first night there, we were absolutely exhausted and didn’t want to go too far for dinner but we found this pub on Tripadvisor and it was a short walk from our hotel. I think this place was the quintessential pub atmosphere with wood as the decor and lots of locals having a pint to drink. The Wisconsin girl in me had to order fish and chips and the husband got chicken mushroom pie. Neither were the best thing we’ve ever eaten but since both were local delicacies, we had to try it. I highly recumbent finding a pub on Tripadvisor for you to go to while in London. One thing out waiter warned us about was that the true local pubs won’t have a beer brand on their name outside (i.e. Guiness)
Fortnum & Mason
Prior to going on vacation, I searched all over the internet to find out where we could get macarons to eat while there. My husband and I fell in love with macarons on a trip to St. Maarten and ever since then we always try to find some wherever we travel to. Fortnum and Mason is a local department store that has the biggest food hall/chocolates/pastries floor ever! My eyes were so big once I saw all of the macaron goodness there! We got several flavors to take back with us to our hotel including blood orange, salted caramel, red velvet, brownie, watermelon, mixed berries and white champagne. Our favorite flavor was salted caramel but white champagne, red velvet and watermelon were all really good too!
We were really looking forward to trying this place out because it was rated #1 when we looked on Tripadvisor (ratings change each day on there based on reviews). I know, going all the way to London and eating Italian food just didn’t seem like the right thing to do, but hey it was highly rated out of 17,000+ restaurants so why not! We ventured out to find it one afternoon and little did we know it’s a small kiosk inside of a mall. That didn’t take away from how good it was though. It’s basically a build your own pasta with the sauce and add-ins that you’d like. It was fresh pasta and tasted almost exactly like what we ate while in Italy.
After already eating fish and chips, we were at a loss for what other local food we should try out. Since we came up short, we decided to stick with what friends had told us and that is that the ethnic dining scene in London is really good so try to eat other foods such as Spanish, Chinese etc. Since I’ve recently taken a liking to Greek food, we decided to try out #38 rated Andy’s Taverna. It was a small restaurant that was a few tube stops from our hotel. We started out with saganaki (fried cheese) which was ok. I’ve had better to eat before. When our meals came there was so much food! I ordered lamb and chicken kabobs and the husband had baked lamb. I had 3 skewers full of meat and I wish I had more room in my stomach to finish them because I loved them!
Since the sun doesn’t set in London until nearly 9:30pm and we think that no meal is complete without dessert, we set out to find some. We noticed that Ben’s Cookies was rated in the top on Tripadvisor and we were seeing them all over town so we decided to get some cookies to complete the night. I’m not sure why this was rated so high because it wasn’t that good of a cookie for me. It satisfied my sweet tooth but not the best I’ve ever had.
I’m still dreaming of all the delicious smells at the Borough Market. It’s basically the world’s best farmer’s market. There are TONS and TONS of local vendors and restaurants there with everything from meat to cheese to ice cream. We picked up some really good pepper cashews and cinnamon nuts to eat while we walked around. We decided to turn our little walk into lunch and we picked up a cheese pretzel, peppered foccacia bread and, of course, we found macarons and cookies the size of our heads to eat later on. Those macarons and cookies were some of the BEST ever. I wish I could remember the name of the vendor so I could order myself some!
Gordon’s Wine Bar
After a long day of walking around, we wanted to relax, unwind and enjoy happy hour. Gordon’s Wine Bar was a recommendation from our Small Car, Big City tour guide. We tried to come here the day before, but it was completely packed with locals enjoying happy hour after work so we came back earlier the next night to get a table. It’s a long patio next to a beautiful park that’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. For 2 hours, we just sat, enjoyed a bottle of wine and a cheese plate and talked and people watched.
We heard that Selfridge’s has the world’s most extensive collection of chocolate bars in their food hall so we went to check it out. I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate after I saw a macaron stand in there.L’Amandier has a selection of macarons to choose from so we picked up 3. I don’t remember the flavors we got and while they were macarons to eat and I liked them, they didn’t compare to the ones we picked up at the market earlier in the day.
We wanted a quick snack on our last afternoon there so we could get out of the cold, rain for awhile and came across this small coffee shop near Buckingham Palace. Once we saw on Tripadvisor that they have arancini, we were sold. While we were in Italy last fall, we discovered arancini and it is amazing. It’s risotto with cheese and whatever else you want in it like pesto, vegetables or marinara sauce and then it’s fried. We had a spinach and cheese and also an eggplant and cheese arancini. I know they don’t look really good but you have to try them to understand how good they can be. They didn’t compare to the ones we had in Italy but they hit the spot for a quick snack.
BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
I found this tour a few weeks before we left and I thought it would be a fun way to see London. We drove around in a vintage double decker bus and got to see all of the major tourist attractions while enjoying tea. This was on the last day of our trip so by this point we had seen mostly everything in town. There isn’t much of a “tour” aspect to this since the waitresses on board don’t tell much about what you’re driving past and you don’t make any stops on the tour. The food was ok. I enjoyed most of the sandwiches including a turkey sandwich, cucumber one and a salmon one. Most of the desserts had a filling in them which neither myself or husband are fans of. But at least there was a macaron to finish it off! If you’re looking for a fun way to drive past the sites in town, then I recommend doing this tour. I think it’d be a fun thing to do with girlfriends.
Since we had success the day before at Gordon’s, we wanted to find another wine bar to relax at again the next night. Vinoteca was a choice my husband stumbled across so we went there to enjoy some appetizers and a bottle of wine. Since I loved the cheese plate the night before, we ordered another one here. They also had arancini as a night special so we, of course, ordered a plate. I can’t remember much about the cheese plate or the arancini so that tells me that I must not have liked them. Either way, it was a nice little spot to enjoy some down time.
Patty & Bun
After Vinoteca we were still a little bit hungry and I was craving good burger. Husband came to the rescue again when he found Patty & Bun. They have 2 locations and we went to the one on James Street. It’s super small with seating for only about 2 dozen people. We had to wait outside and were told it was a 45 minute wait. Luckily you can get a table faster as a party of 2 so we only waited about 15 minutes. Since it was 9:30 pm, neither of us wanted to eat an entire burger by ourselves so we split a Lambshank burger and an order of fries. The burger was the best one that I have ever had! I wish that I could recreate it and eat it all the time! Highly recumbent finding one of its locations and grabbing a bite to eat.
The Booking Office – Renaissance St. Pancras
Every morning we opted to eat breakfast at our hotel since it was included as a part of the hotel rewards program we belong to. I love eating breakfast out but I wasn’t in the mood to try to find a new bakery or restaurant every morning to eat at because, to me, pretty much all breakfast food is the same and you really can’t mess it up. It was a really nice buffet that had lots to choose from. Each morning my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I always took more than I could eat. I love how European breakfasts have a cheese and meat selection with it. Cheese is one of my favorite food groups in Europe because it’s so fresh there! I also loved eating english muffins every morning. They’re not as a crumbly like they are in the US. And, no morning was complete without hot tea. I always drink green tea in the morning but I had English Breakfast tea each day and I really liked it.
So there’s all the places we ate! I’m really hungry now just remembering all the places we ate. My best advice when eating while traveling is to turn to Tripadvisor. Read the reviews, look at the pictures and the menu before going to see if it’s what you’d like. We’ve never really eaten anywhere super bad on vacation and I think it’s through the help of Tripadvisor that we’ve been able to know what we’re eating and if we’ll like it before we get there.