London caters well for fussy and adventurous eaters, with reliable chain restaurants and ethnically diverse street food.
The West End
In the West End, themed restaurants are thick on the ground. You can’t go far wrong with the US flavours and rock memorabilia at the original Hard Rock Cafe, where Eric Clapton’s and Pete Townshend’s guitars are part of the decor.
For a more exotic atmosphere, head into the jungle, complete with waterfalls, animatronics and sudden storms, at the Rainforest Cafe.
Zédel is an enormous, buzzy, could-be-Paris brasserie with a big enough menu to satisfy most tastes (including the excellent French fries). Sunday lunch is popular with families, especially since roast chicken is the plat du jour, and it’s yards away from Piccadilly Circus.
Soho is the best neighbourhood forsheer diversity, with lots of Italian bistros plus scores of Chinese eateries on Gerrard Street, the heart of London’s Chinatown. Family Traveller’s recommendation is the friendly Cafe TPT, located on the Piccadilly Circus end of Wardour Street, opposite the W Hotel.
For more cutting-edge Asian style, where you order everything by the touch of a button, try Inamo.
In West London, there’s Rolling Stones heritage on the menu at Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers, which serves ribs, burgers, chicken drumsticks and shakes, plus cocktails for the grown-ups.
Julie’s Restaurant & Champagne Bar in Holland Park operates a crèche every Sunday (except in August) for two- to 12-year-olds, as well as a children’s ‘FUN’CH menu.
London Bridge is at its most animated on a Saturday. At Borough Market, you can sample the best of the produce by strolling from one outlet to the next – a great place to stock up for a picnic.
East London’s Brick Lane is the epicentre of London’s curry houses, the street lined with mostly Bangladeshi restaurants. Bengal Village is one of the most popular.
If you are planning a trip to Camden Town market and can resist the food stalls, continue north for 400 yards towards Chalk Farm to Marine Ices. As well as serving some of the best ice cream in London, there’s an Italian restaurant, too.
Combine bowling with classic US fare, including southern fried chicken, burgers, steaks and ribs, at All Star Lanes; it has branches on Brick Lane, Bayswater and Holborn, and is close to the British Museum.
The Breakfast Club: Superb breakfasts served until late plus a range of other dishes.
Wagamama: Communal tables, a huge range of Pan-Asian dishes, great juices and kid’s menu.
Yo Sushi: For the fun of picking Japanese dishes off the conveyor belt.
My Old Dutch: Both sweet and savoury pancakes and waffles.
Giraffe: Very family-friendly with a broad range of dishes.
Pizza Express: The pizza and pasta chain found all over town, and mostly in interesting buildings.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen: Quality burgers, with mini versions for children.
Did you know?
Wormwood Scrubs, a name synonymous with a men’s prison (one that famously hosted Pete Doherty), is one of the best places for picking blackberries. On the surrounding common, of course, not the exercise yard.