As you can imagine, there are plenty of places to eat in London and you can find pretty much any type of food imaginable, from around the world. Different conurbations reflect the ethnicity of their locals, ranging from the dim sum of China Town to the Turkish and Cypriot food of Harringey, Polish in Hammersmith, kosher food of Stamford Hill and Vietnamese in Surbiton!
If you are in the centre of London, there are plenty of well known chains to choose from, along with a number of overpriced tourist traps. With a little bit of investigation you can find something great and reasonably priced.
Most of the Capital’s museums have great little cafes, restaurants and picnic areas. If I’m in the centre of London with the children, I really like picnicking in the Phoenix Gardens (near Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road). I’ll often carry plastic cutlery and cups in my bag in case the mood takes me, so I can pop into a mini market to buy food and a big carton of Juice (better and cheaper than cans of pop!).
Below you’ll find some of our favourite haunts, but if you want a comprehensive searchable list of everything the capital has to offer, check Time Out.
Four off the top of my head? Café in the Science Museum, Pie & Mash at Cooke’s, a burger at Ed’s in Soho (near Shaftesbury Avenue) and world food in the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. Use the links to Transport for London (TFL) to plan your route.
F Cooke (Hackney & Islington)
Well known Old family business offering traditional London grub. The original fast food. You don't have to be a cockney to eat here, but it helps.
Address: 9 Broadway Market, London Fields, E8 4PH
Phone: (020) 7254 6458
Address: 150 Hoxton Road, N1 6SH.
Phone: (020) 7729 7718)
A family run business that’s been baking traditional East London Pie & Mash in Roman Road Market since 1937. Their pies are hand-made in-house, using a recipe handed down through three generations. Great website, take a look.
Open: seven days a week, times vary
Address: 526 Roman Road Market, Bow, London E3 5ES
Phone: 0208 980 3165
Castle’s (Camden Town)
Traditional Pie & mash in, what is claimed to be, Camden's oldest restaurant. It was established 1934.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday
Address: 229 Royal College Street, Camden London NW1 9LT
Phone: 020 7485 2196
Goddard’s Pie & Mash (Greenwich)
Founded in 1890, Goddard's Pie House offers freshly prepared traditional London food at affordable prices. This is a family pie and mash business, now run by the fifth generation of Goddard's, Offering traditional pie and mash meals together with vegetarian options and desserts.
Open: 7 days a week, times vary
Address: 45 Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich, London SE10 9BL
Phone: 020 8293 9313
Manzes was established in 1902 by Michele Manze - the present owners' Grandfather. It serves traditional Pie & Mash and Eels (jellied or stewed) in authentic surroundings. Manzes still use the same recipes today for the pies and liquor as they used in 1902, the only changes made have been to improve quality and to meet the higher food standards of today. You can even order online for delivery by courier!
Open: Monday to Saturday
87 Tower Bridge Road SE1 4TW
105 High Street, Peckham SE15 5RS
226 High Street, Sutton SM1 1NT
Phone: 020 7277 6181
Eel, Pie & Mash shop
An East End tradition and the original fast food – many of these places still have the Victorian tiles, wooden benches and white marble tables. Best enjoyed with a fork and spoon, make a hole in the meat pie, pour in some vinegar and top off with salt & white pepper.
Kids might complain about the green liquor that accompanies the pies – it's made from water used to boil the eels and parsley – but once they've tried it I am sure they'll love it (maybe).
Family enjoying sushi
Eating al fresco on deck of boat
Pie & Mash meal
Family enjoying sushi
Ed's Easy Diner
There are a number of Ed's around, including Covent Garden, Soho & Chelsea. These American-style diners, with original 50's jukeboxes serve up great burgers, fries & thick shakes. If the kids want burgers, give this place a go. Very enjoyable. A bit more expensive than run-of-the-mill fast food joints, but
Open: 11.30am until late.
Tube: Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road
Address: 12 Moor Street, Soho, London, W1D 5NG
Phone: 020 7439 1955
Café in the Crypt, St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Set in the crypt of this famous church overlooking Trafalgar Square, you’ll find brick-vaulted ceilings, pillars and gravestones on the floor. Given the location, food is moderately priced. On offer you’ll find self-service salads, sandwiches, soup and hot food. It shares its location with the London brass rubbing centre.
Open: 7 days a week, times vary
Tube: Charing Cross
Address: Trafalgar Square London WC2N 4JJ
Phone: 020 7766 1158
Over the years the area around Brick Lane has been the first place migrants have settled, before second and third generations spread to the suburbs. Jews and Hugonaughts fleeing persecution settled here and, in more recent times, a Bangladeshi community has grown. Unsurprisingly, the area has some of the best curry houses in the world. It is also home to a bohemian art movement and you'll see plenty of great street art, along with nice little artisan cafes, bars, pop up restaurants and food stalls. Try the Old Trueman Brewery for stalls with just about every type of food imaginable. Sunday is market day, when the place is buzzing!
The Old Truman Brewery
The Old Boiler House, dating back to the 1830’s with soaring ceilings and landmark Chimney, is the home to Brick Lane's food hall. Inside you’ll find over thirty stalls of international food.
Open: Weekends, 11am-6pm Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday
Address: The Old Truman Brewery, 152 Brick Lane, E1 6RU
Phone: 020 7770 6028
Science Museum – Deep Blue Café
This futuristic cafe at the Science museum sells no-nonsense child friendly food. Sausage & mash or pizza always go down well and are reasonably priced. The glass table tops are lit from below, which makes it quite quirky. There are other cafes on site offering self-service pick and mix lunchboxes. If you want to take your own lunch there are also a couple of picnic areas.
Open: 11am-3pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday
Address: Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD.
Chinatown moved from Limehouse in the East End to Soho in the West End, following the Second World War. It is now a small district between Shafestbury Avenue and Leicester Square, with its centre in Gerrard Street. Here you’ll find lots of Chinese restaurants and shops, along with the odd dim sum stall selling beautiful steamed dumplings. Look for a stall near the corner of Newport Court and Newport place most afternoons. Eating in – try the HK Diner, Café TPT or Longji.
Where: Gerrard Street W1D 5QJ
Tube: Leicester Square