We’ve been very lucky to have travelled, lived and eaten around the world, and no city can match London when it comes to diversity and quality at every price level. Whether it’s a Korean street food stall, a Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant or a simple gelato, this town has the best of it all, and we’d say exploring its food scene is just as much of a “must-do” as visiting St Paul’s Cathedral or The Houses of Parliament!
We are Vishnu & Sonia, otherwise known as @transatlanticfoodies! We’ve been a couple since high school and when we went to London & Los Angeles respectively for university we came up with this food blog to try and share all the awesome food we were eating around the world. We both live in London now and when we’re not busy eating our way through this gastronomic paradise we love to travel (check out one of our travel blogs @novisanoproblem too), and love walking around London exploring all of its history and culture!
As side gigs, Sonia works at PR Agency and Vishnu as a trader at an Investment Bank!
Because of how overwhelming and vast London can be, we tried to condense some of our favourite places into a “Top 10” for each category/price level. Since this is designed for people visiting London for a short time, most of it is focussed on Central London / zone 1. To see our full extensive list of the 500+ places we recommend checking out the link on our Instagram @transatlanticfoodies bio which opens into a map of London that you can also filter by category!
The lists aren’t in any order, we like all equally – enjoy!
(Focussed around zone 1 / Central London as it’s designed for ppl visiting London for a short time)
Top 10s (Not in order all 10 are great!):
Food (Price range is per head) :
1. Black Penny – Fantastic brunch, Turkish/Middle Eastern influences. The ozdemir pasha dish is easily one of London’s best breakfast dishes!
2. Ergon London – Chic greek cafe in Mayfair. Amazing-amazing brunch, Greek sesame bagel with Yoghurt and poached eggs, garlic, parsley, and spicy olive oil is outstanding. Hazelnut chocolate pancakes as well. The lunch menu is also incredible with classic Cretan/Greek dishes. Gets VERY busy so make sure you try to get there before 10:30/45!
3. Caravan (multiple locations) – One of our favourite Aussie brunches. Aubergine puree with soft boiled egg, sumac yogurt etc, and the baked eggs with tomato pepper ragout with merguez sausage our must do’s!
4. Modern Pantry Clerkenwell – Amazing brunch, Asian fusion with classic western brunch dishes. Almost everything is amazing! Beautiful outside seating too.
5. Good Egg – Lovely setting in Kingly Court with a lot of outdoor seating, great Israeli brunch.
6. Riding House Cafe – Really good brunch!
7. Nopi – Delicious Israeli/Mediterranean brunch by Ottolenghi.
8. Berners Tavern – For breakfast/brunch absolutely beautiful restaurant with huge paintings everywhere. Great for lunch and dinner too but more pricey for those!
9. Wolseley – Breakfast here is one of the ALL-TIME London must do’s! Beautiful grand cafe and one of the most famous in the world! Reservations almost impossible but you can always get a spot if you walk in. A personal favourite is the Eggs Arlington (eggs royale). The pastries are fantastic, and the pancakes and french toast too!
10. Delamina – Lovely spot in Marylebone with delicious Israeli brunch.
Street Food (<£10)
1. Borough Market -the oldest and most famous of the London food markets, in a beautiful old building too, a must-visit even if a touch overwhelming!
2. Southbank Centre Food Market – Dearest to our hearts, and brimming with incredible stalls all year round! (Friday-Sunday). Favourite stalls are the Pad Thai (best pad thai in London), Crepes stall (Nutella banana crepe amazing, but so are the savoury ones), and the Maria Sabina Mexican Taco stall.
3. Mercato Metropolitano- Just an amazing spot overall. Italian food market but also has plenty of stalls with all other cuisines. Almost all the stalls are very good, and great vibe lots of outdoor space and drink stalls etc with music and gets very lively!
4. Arcade Food Theatre – AWESOME indoor food hall with some amazing unique stalls by some famous London restaurants like Oklava, Lina Stores etc – great vibe and good for drinks too and great value.
5. Victoria Park Market (Sundays) – Known amongst foodies as legendary, definitely worth checking out the area and spending time in the park whilst trying out some delicious food and buying some fresh produce from the stalls.
6. Boxpark Shoreditch – Great place to hang out, loads of good food and drink stalls. Home of the famous Black Bear burger!
7. Dinerama Shoreditch – Great food stalls, and a great vibe. Burger and Beyond is a favourite!
8. Broadway Market (Saturday) – So so so good! I wish we went more often. Great to get some food and then walk along the canal to Victoria Park.
9. Yalla Yalla – great for taking away shawarma wraps!
10. Bleecker Burger (multiple locations) – Might be consensus, but justifiably considered the best burger in London!
11. PIDE – Charlotte street awesome Turkish oven boat type pizzas, favourite is the Pasterma.
1. Aline of Lebanon – Very nice Lebanese food and a very nice interior and homemade feel and fresh ingredients. Great mezze (baba ghanoush is so good. Kafta lamb Kebab also very good). Great for all occasions – including group dinners. You can always get a table.
2. Bancone – Perhaps the best Pasta in Northern Europe!!! Don’t miss the Silk Handkerchiefs, and if they have the smoked eel ravioli in the watercress puree that is incredible too!
3. Pastaio – Small plates, handmade pasta, trendy London vibe but takes reservations and has outside seating too!
4. Kibele – I think some of the best inexpensive Turkish in London, live guitarist and great atmosphere and decor too, incredible kebabs, the Lamb Beyti, and the Kofta are unmissable, the Manti is great too. The pistachio baklava with ice cream was class too. Nice selection of Turkish wines as well.
5. Cay Tre (Soho and Shoreditch) – Very good south East Asian focused on Vietnamese primarily. Great pho and a good atmosphere.
6. Hoppers (Soho and St Christophers Place) – Really good and cheap Sri Lankan/South Indian. Don’t bother trying for dinner wait is 2+ hours (unless you put your name in before/after the crowds). Easier to go for lunch. Get the Lamb Kothu Roti, Goat Roti, Egg Hoppers with Fish Kari.
7. Suvlaki (Soho & Shoreditch) – Amazing suvlaki wraps and grills, all the small plates great too especially Baked Feta, Octopus, Moussaka and pulled pork starter!
8. Baozi Inn Romilly Street – Really good spot to hit that dumpling craving! A go-to when we crave Chinese food but don’t want to break the bank!
9. Lina Stores Restaurant – Some of the west end’s best pasta, can’t go wrong here!
10. Santa Maria Pizzeria Fitzrovia – Best pizza in London!
Mid Range (£25-40)
1. Meraki – Great vibe, chic interiors, and awesome modern greek food. Get a bunch of cold mezze, hot mezze, and some of the larger meat/fish dishes and share everything! Salt crusted sea bass, lobster, Lamb kebabs, meatballs in tahini, veal cheek, gyros mini tacos, octopus bbq, and all the dips are awesome!
2. Farzi Cafe – Simply too good! Amazing modern Indian with some great influences from all over. Don’t miss the Tandoori Goat Shoulder, Lobster Moilee, Madras Pepper Prawns, Lamb Shawarma Biryani, Venison Irachi Pepper Fry!
3. Kiln – One of the hottest restaurants in London (was not long ago voted NO1 restaurant in the UK!!), Thai/Myanmarese fusion sharing plates, incredible vibe, and food, like Hoppers with getting a table, is a long wait but they’ll text you when it’s ready.
4. Barbary – By the same owners as famous Palomar (which would also make this list), The Barbary features amazing modern North African food in Neals Yard. Don’t miss the hash cake – one of London’s best desserts. The Aubergine Sharabik, Monkfish, and Patata Negra Neck are all must do’s as well.
5. Oka Kingly Court – Great Japanese sushi rolls and grill. Don’t miss the bulgogi beef in Asian chimichurri and the honey marinated grilled salmon. All the rolls are great too.
6. Bombay Bustle – Great modern Indian – mixed of North and South dishes. Set in a lovely ‘old train’ style decor. All the seafood dishes are amazing, especially the southern ones like Nilgiri Prawn Curry, Cafreal Fish, Kerala fish curry, etc. A trio of dosa, kheema pao, Dum Nalli Biryani is also great. Chaats are as well very good. Make sure you reserve in advance!
7. Sushi Atelier – Top sushi for a mid-range price, really good quality and nice restaurant as well, butterfish carpaccio is a must-have!!
8. Kin + Deum – Probably the best mid-range Thai in London! Really nice setting in London bridge, and really great Thai food that’s not too oily/greasy, etc. Loved the Sea Bass Red Curry, Chicken Green Curry, the Pad Kra Prow, and the shrimp clay pots! Honestly, everything was great!!
9. Fucina – Great if you’re looking for a high-quality Italian meal in a real sleek setting. Yellowtail and sea bass carpaccio with stracciatella, basil oil, lemon and a hint of shiso is great, and so is the Burrata and all the pasta!
10. Kyseri – Great Turkish by the masters behind Oklava (which is also equally good!)
1. Yuautcha Soho – One that we keep going back to and just absolutely adore. Anyone who doesn’t like this is simply wrong! Michelin starred Chinese and incredible value! All the dim sums are spectacular, especially the prawn and beancurd Cheong fun (one of the best dishes in London), the Siew Long Bun, spicy Szechuan pork wontons, har gau, siew mai! From mains, the spicy steamed sea bass, crispy aromatic duck, and the stir fry Penang kwetiao are all amazing.
2. Rovi – Ottolenghi’s at his best! More refined than Nopi, and all-around fantastic. Highlights were: BURRATA, CONFIT MUSHROOMS, CELERIAC SHAWARMA, BEEF CARPACCIO (GRASS FED), CHALK STREAM TROUT,
3. Ruya – One of our all-time favourites, absolutely beautiful space too with a super chic lounge, super cool decor, amazing refined Turkish food. Don’t miss the dips, the Adana kebab with Aubergine puree, lobster, lamb lahmacun, cag chicken kebab, and the Pide/Gozleme.
4. Aquavit – Remarkable how beautiful this restaurant is and how good the food is (Michelin Starred) and how reasonable the price is! One of our favourites in London! Fantastic modern Scandinavian food. The seafood is absolutely stellar. The whole boned trout, monkfish, cod, sea bass mains all amazing. In the starters the Veal tartare, smoked eel are MUSTs!
5. Yopo at the Mandrake Hotel – Outstanding refined Peruvian restaurant in the beautiful Mandrake hotel. Awesome decor, vibe, and food! Don’t miss the grilled monkfish with smoked paprika, the grilled octopus, the stracciatella with calcots, grilled aubergine, and sirloin! Order lots and share. Plus, since its the Mandrake they have the same cocktails as the bar, which are some of the most creative in London!
6. Brigadiers – By the group behind Gymkhana and Hoppers, a great Indian restaurant priced in the middle of the above two. Great vibe too with the concept being reminiscent of an Army Mess, with a room with Pool tables and sports matches being played on Tv too! Anything to do with meat is outstanding here, and so are the small plates/starters like the Wagyu Seekh Kebab Roll, Hyderabadi Prawn Poori, Smoked Aubergine Rotis, Chilli Chicken Lettuce Chops etc. Also, the bone marrow biryani is great!
7. Ooty – Really good new south Indian restaurant to hit the streets of London. Refined Kerala-style food in a beautiful bright setting. Some of our favourites included baked cod, goat sukka, seabass moilee, and the dosas! Their lunch menu is great value for money and they have a beautiful hidden cocktail bar downstairs.
8. Social Eating House – Jason Atherton classic. Great modern innovative British with European/Asian influences. Great atmosphere too! Amazing value for a Michelin starred restaurant!
9. Barrafina (multiple locations) – A classic for refined Michelin Starred Spanish Tapas, very hard to get a table but worth the wait!
10. Pidgin – A true gem in East London! The menu changes every week and they never repeat, extremely well made creative British/European dishes with great ingredients. Great value too for a Michelin Starred restaurant! Check them out on Instagram they are sure to make you drool!
High End (£75+)
1. Amaya- One of the best Indian restaurants in London if not the world! Must-haves are the venison sheekh kebab, raan musallam, the scallops starter, grilled seabass starter, and biryani!
2. Dinings – Probably the best sushi in London! Everything is amazing about it. The wagyu beef nigiri with the foie gras is one of the best things you can eat in London!
3. Coya – By the same group as Zuma, and just as incredible! Modern upscale Peruvian in a very buzzing atmosphere. Chilean sea bass, lomo beef, the tacos, Octopus, all amazing. Can’t go wrong here!
4. Restaurant Story – A 2-3 hour dining experience but absolutely excellent and some very creative/innovative dishes. A must-visit for all admirers of high-end Michelin starred gastronomy!
5. Zuma – A classic and very hyped, but one of those that completely deserves it! Japanese with a few Peruvian influences. Cannot miss the Roasted Lobster with garlic hojiso butter, the grilled Chilean seabags, seared beef starter, and the skewers! Would stick to the grilled stuff here, Zuma is a lot better for this vs Sushi/Sashimi! Of course, a fabulous atmosphere and great sake etc too!
6. Frog by Adam Handling – One of the top modern British restaurants by a truly great chef. The tasting menu is sublime.
7. Street XO – an INCREDIBLE combination of Basque cuisine with Asian influences. Highlights are Scallops with coconut & kaffir lime, Usuzukuri Carpaccio of Hamachi, octopus anticuchero, and the Scottish cow visits Mexico.
8. Duddells– Original in Hong Kong, but no less incredible here with a lovely location inside an old church, and some of the best modern Chinese food you can have! Don’t miss the truffle roasted black cod, dim sum symphony, black pepper beef in Martell sauce, and the scallop & egg white fried rice with truffle.
9. Cinnamon Club – A favourite as well, in an absolutely beautiful old Victorian library so the dining space is surrounded by old books. Amazing modern creative Indian food. Favourite dishes are the Lamb fillet and galouti kebab starter, fenugreek cod starter, then the roast Romney marsh lamb main, seared seabass in coconut ginger sauce, wild prawns with mango coriander sauce, and the halibut in coconut sauce!
10. Locanda Locatelli – Awesome Michelin Star Italian, don’t miss the Ossobuco Ravioli, and the wine list is fabulous too!
1. La Gelateria Covent Garden – probably the best gelato in London!
2. Gelupo – also very good gelato.
3. Paul A Young Chocolatier – an amazing British chocolatier.
4. Marriages Frères Covent Garden- A jaw-droppingly beautiful store, the original is in Paris but the London branch far better got great pastries and desserts and seating space upstairs.
5. Balthazar Cafe – Love the pastries here in the small cafe next to the restaurants.
6. Ole & Steen (multiple locations) – legendary Cinnamon Roll (called the cinnamon social).
7. Mamason’s Dirty Ice Cream – Philippino dessert joint with some really wonderful and unique flavours – a favourite is the “Ube” (purple yam that tastes like pandan/coconutty) ice cream on the toasted milk bun.
8. Pierre Marcolini – an outpost of a legendary Belgian Chocolatier.
9. Artisan Du Chocolat (multiple locations) – nice funky chocolatier.
10. Chiltern Firehouse – a beautiful and very famous space as it is in an old fire station (and a popular hangout for celebrities), and while i wouldn’t eat a meal there as its overpriced, the desserts are lovely and a great way to visit the place without spending too much!
*Bonus* 11!! Ciao Bella on Lamb’s Conduit Street – this is a lovely family-run Italian restaurant as it is with some great pizza, but the true standout here is THE BEST TIRAMISU WE’VE EVER HAD ANYWHERE. Trust us, we’re yet to find a better one even in Italy!
Drink (Bars, Clubs & Cafes) :
1. Opium Cocktail Bar & Dim Sum Parlour – A classic Chinatown speakeasy-style cocktail bar – one of our favourites! Got many rooms across 3 floors, a large and diverse cocktail menu, and some excellent dim sums too! Tiger cocktail is a favourite! Gets very popular so try to book if you can!
2. Experimental Cocktail Club – If you can’t find it that’s part of the fun! A black door next to the four seasons duck restaurant in Chinatown. Very cool vibe, and some seriously creative cocktails, some of the best in London! Favourites are the Old Cuban, Saint Germain Des Pres, Kota Ternate! They also keep getting new ones every few months in addition to the above that are classics! Gets very busy on weekends so get there early-ish (cover charge after £11), and if you want to be sure of having a seated table best to reserve!
3. Radio Rooftop Bar – One of the best rooftop bars, great view, and vibe. It can be hard to get into though!
4. The Alchemist – Very cool cocktails, great vibe, all around an awesome bar.
5. Nightjar – One of the most famous (and deservedly so) bars in London, amazing live jazz music and cocktails. Book in advance!
6. Lyaness (formerly Dandelyan) – Dandelyan was the World’s No.1 Bar! They’ve reopened as Lyaness as a tribute to all the women behind their project, and it’s just as good! Extensive menu of cocktails, but I like just telling the bartender what you like and letting them work their magic! Lovely vibe too on the ground floor by the river with views of St Paul’s Cathedral.
7. Mr. Fogg’s Residence – Very cool bar with beautiful interiors that feature items from all around the world since its the former residence of a famous traveller called Phileas J Fogg. Cocktails are also similarly eclectic and have a lot of worldly influences!
8. The Rooftop St James – Amazing view over Trafalgar square, try to book if you can!
9. 68 & Boston Wine Bar – Great vibe and amazing value for wine with loads of nice bottles at just £20.
10. The Ned Hotel – quite an UNMISSABLE place to at least pop into for a drink with a wonderful atrium with a number of bars and restaurants and an elevated stage in the middle with musicians performing every evening!
Clubs (will just classify them as chic or casual, with chic being you have to dress up and might have to get a table or promoter etc). Also feel free to cross-check these online as neither of us are the biggest clubbers!
1. Scandal (chic Mayfair)
2. Charlie (chic Mayfair)
3. Cirque Le Soir (chic Mayfair, some freaky stuff can go on there too!)
4. Maddox (chic Mayfair)
5. Toy Room (chic Mayfair)
6. The Box (chic Mayfair and also quite an intense experience)
7. Queen of Hoxton (casual Shoreditch)
8. Be at One Greek St (casual/trashy Soho)
9. Zebranos Greek St (casual/trashy Soho)
10. XOYO (casual Shoreditch with more techno focus)
1. Monmouth Coffee Company – Famous for its amazing coffee roasting specialties.
2. HR Higgins – In our opinion, the best coffee place in London. The royals think so too (they are their official suppliers!). Shop the coffee beans upstairs, and try their delicacies in the cafe in the lower ground. We loved the Filter coffee, and flat white!
3. TAP Coffee (Multiple locations) – Can’t’ go wrong with the coffees here! They have nice food/snacks too.
4. Department of Coffee & Social Affairs (Multiple Locations) – Really good coffee!
5. Jacob The Angel – Awesome cafe in the lovely Neal’s Yard, amazing pastries and cakes!
6. Flocafe (multiple locations) – Some of the best espresso/macchiatos in London!
7. TY Seven Dials – A very functional space. Great coffee, food, and cakes. Also great to get your work done, have a meeting or chat with some friends. They have a downstairs space, but its much nicer to sit upstairs and enjoy the large windows that give on Seven Dials.
8. Notes (multiple locations) – Great filter coffees, pastries, flat whites!
9. Caffe Vergnano 1882 (multiple locations) – Awesome Italian chain with many many delicious coffee types (including espressos layered with whipped cream and chocolate)!
10. Attendant (Fitzrovia and Shoreditch) – Super cute cafe situated in what once used to be public toilets!
Stay tuned for more recommendations and the updated versions of these top 10’s!