Feeding, Eating and Dining in London
This page contains a number of restaurant recommendations in London, specifically targeting venues close to the Royal Society (where VEE'12 and ASPLOS'12 are being held). Since people have a range of budgets, and a range of interests in food, things are broken down into:
- Feeding: generally decent chow, reasonably priced, but nothing special. Possibly best suited for a quick snack, or for lunch on non-conference days.
- Eating: usually sit-down restaurants with good food, although some gastro pubs too. Bit pricier but generally nothing to break the bank. Typically possible to walk in without a reservation.
- Dining: places for a special occasion. Nice ambiance, good service, and excellent food. Typically an extensive wine list too. Worth booking in advance (and some places may require you to call your credit card company in advance to avoid later embarrassment). Worth making a trip for.
There are also a number of recommendations in other parts of London; good if you happen to find yourself exploring.
If you want to make reservations, you will probably find toptable (http://toptable.co.uk) useful -- this has better UK coverage than e.g. opentable. Note that people in the UK tend to dine at 7:30pm or 8:00pm -- if you are someone who prefers eating early (e.g. 6pm) you might find that certain places have more availability and/or a different (cheaper) menu.
- Lunch hole near UCL: burrito van, thai curry, salad, falafel
- Italia 1: sandwiches that even Italians like!
- Borough Market. (Between feeding and eating)
- China town: lots of places, including the excellent Crispy-- --Duck!
- Fortnum and Mason food hall: Awesome, and great place to visit for tourists :)
- Hare & Tortoise (near Russel Sq)
- Kulu Kulu - sushi boat.
- Addis. Ethiopian near King's Cross
- Asakusa. Looks shabby, but best of the best for Japanese food. Need to book early though!
- Bar Shu. Best combination of authentic and classy Szechuan food in London. If you like your food hot, you'll like it here.
- Belgo's. A Belgian restaurant (?!), great moules-frites.
- Bocca di Lupo (Soho). Proper regional Italian food with an excellent house wine selection, and fantastic ice cream (gelato) from Gelupo next door.
- Ciao Bella (Bloomsbury). In a nice area, near pubs on Lamb Conduit Street.
- Gallipoli Bazaar (Islington)
- Gordon's wine bar on Villiers St. (in old coal vaults)
- Jimmy's. For those who want bad greek food accompanied with greek style eccentricities and singning that is a classic: you will not be allowed to enter there after midnight on the weekends, unless you have a booking or you are greek ;-)
- Laduree in the Burlington Arcade. Lunchtime snacks and cakes for those who wish the conference was in Paris instead.
- Mildreds - 100% vegetarian
- Mitshkoshi (near Royal Society)
- Toku (near Royal Society)
- Yoshino (near Royal Society)
- The Avenue. Modern British food on a London St with some very old shops - peer through the windows of Berry Bros & Rudd (wine) and John Locke (hats) on the way.
- Bentleys - just off Piccadilly, around the corner from the Royal Society.
- Berry Bros. For wine buffs, Berry Bros do dinners in their spectacular old building. Only one event close to ASPLOS/VEE, which is the Chateau Margaux Cellar Dinner on 9th March. Rather pricy ;-)
- Bob Bob Ricard
- Cinnamon Club. Modern Indian cooking (fish and game dishes are particularly good) in a fabulous setting (the former Westminster Library). Being close to Parliament, you might recognise some faces from TV. Anyone from NYC will feel at home here - ruthless table turnaround and high prices. They are also open for breakfast - if you ever wanted to try kedgeree, here's your chance.
- The Criterion Restaurant. One of the most spectacular dining rooms in London, food is French classic, opinions about quality vary.
- Fortnum & Mason Restaurant (Picadilly). High-class British food. They also have a Tea Room with traditional English tea and sandwiches.
- The Guinea Grill
- Hix Soho. Mark Hix is probably the best example of Modern British Cooking at the moment - he is famous for his fish and rustic things like pork chops. They serve pork crackling, too - and boutique beer and cider, not just wine.
- Inn the Park. Very British food (so British it does not serve Coke - but they make an exception for wine) in St James' park, outside tables have wonderful views to London Eye. Cafe during day, more expensive restaurant from 6pm, when booking may be required.
- Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery. Wonderful views over Trafalgar Sq if you get the right table - ask when booking. More at the pricey end, but good.
- Rule's Restaurant. Supposedly the oldest restaurant in London, its food is quite game-focused but damn tasty :) Fairly close to Charing Cross.
- Simpsons in the Strand. THE place for traditional roast beef and other carvery; fantastic old dining rooms. Take your drinks before or after at The Coal Hole pub next door.
- St John Hotel Restaurant. Offshoot of the famous "nose to tail eating" restaurant in East London. Unpretentious but delicious; they have a small number of veg dishes, but committed veggies may not feel comfortable here.
- Veeraswamy. Apparently the oldest Indian restaurant in London. As the a new wave of chefs have come in over, they have modernised their food, too. Some tables have nice view over busy Regent St/Piccadilly circus.
- Viajante (Bethnal Green). Not an area you'd typically associate with good food, but this place has a tasting menus of deliciousness (including the 12-course tasting menu with wine flight for maximum indulgence ... we started with drinks in the bar at 7:30 and left at 2am :-)
- Zaika (Kensington). Excellent Indian restaurant with great cocktails and an extensive wine list. And delicious deserts! (try the trio of creme brulee ;-)
Food for Explorers
These are places a little out of the way. Not necessarily worth making a trip to go to, but useful to know if you find yourself in the area.
- Andy's Kebab House (Camden)
- Brick Lane (East End) for Indian/Bagels
- Chilango. Really good Mexican lunches (and good burritos). Several venues.
- Crusting Pipe (Covent Garden). Good food and very good port!
- Daphne (Camden)
- Diwana (Euston). Although it can be a bit annoying it's definitely different. Plenty of other Indian places on Drummond St too.
- El Burrito by Mestizo (Euston). Good mexican food (not just burritos!) although service can be poor.
- Junction Tavern (Tufnell Park)
- Lahore (East London). Cheap and Delicious Indian/Pakistani (8-9 pounds per person). The best lassi EVER!
- Lemonia (Camden)
- Moro (Farringdon). Very good Moroccan/Spanish food. Exmouth market is cool too
- St. John's (Archway). Very good.
- Khan's (Bayswater). Indian joke restaurant with rudest waiters in the world :)
- Tayyabs (Whitechapel)
- A variety of chain restaurants at Westfield Shopping Centre (for tourists)