London Journals

Eating in central London

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to London by Amanda

Isolabella Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: London has a bewildering selection of wonderful restaurants - here's some of my favourites; if you're going to one, have fun!

Eating in central London

Overview

Quote:
London is a great place for many things – but after all the sightseeing and shopping, you’ll need to refuel! This is my guide to eating in the centre of London. I live here, and will make sure my journal is up to date, so you should be able to find information within it which is current and useful. Whatever kind of food you like, you’ll find it in London town. Indian, Chinese, French and Italian are the most common foreign foods available, but you’ll also find many Thai, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, fusion, and fast-food joints here. And while you’re visiting, for the sake of the full English experience, you must try Fish and Chips, or an all-day fry-up! Quick Tips: Best Way To Get...Read More

The Halcyon Hotel

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

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My boyfriend and I set out for a night away in our home town, courtesy of the IgoUgo travel club. I’ve never stayed in a hotel in London before, so it was an interesting feeling – I kept thinking we were having a weekend away from home, but the Halcyon is only perhaps some 4 miles from where we live! We arrived in the evening, having come from work to meet in Holland Park. I arrived second, so the brief check-in procedure had already been taken care of. If you didn’t know there was a hotel here, you wouldn’t necessarily spot it! Holland Park is just to the west of Marble Arch and Kensington, and some of the newer countries (Ukraine, Uzbekistan) that haven’t quite made it to Kensington have t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 3, 2002

The Halcyon Hotel
Holland Park Avenue
London, England

Becks

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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This is a traditional British caff - otherwise known as a greasy spoon. It's open from 6am to 4pm, and caters to an eclectic mix of local builders, cabbies, law students from across the road, and a few office workers. It serves breakfasts all day - you want bacon, sausages, eggs, beans and fried bread, with strong, milky tea? If so, what you want is a traditional breakfast, and you can get it here for under 5 pounds. A bargain anywhere, and miraculous for this part of London. As well as breakfasts, the caff does a roaring trade in jacket potatoes, omlettes, sandwiches, and soup. They bundle food and hot drinks up for take-away, or you can sit in one of about 35 seats inside, or 6 outside, and e...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Becks
Red Lion Street, Holborn
London, England

Fryer's Delight

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Fish and chips is a great British tradition - and this place does it both well and cheaply. Cod, chips, and a cup of tea will set you back just under a fiver here, and less (about £3) if you have it wrapped up in paper (lots of salt and vinegar) to take-away. This is in many ways a typical fish and chip shop - the cooking area goes on down once side of it, behind a counter, and there are 5 tables with benches the other side. When you go in, go to the counter to order for take away, and sit down for service if eating in. On the menu are things like cod, haddock, skate, various pies (cheese and onion, beef, etc), sausages and rolls, all with chips. There are also the traditional side dishes of p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Fryer's Delight
Theobalds Road
London, England

Gigi's

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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Gigi’s is a great sandwich bar. It’s on the corner of Red Lion and Princeton Streets, and is open from 5am to 3pm. There are 5 tables inside the place, and a further 5 outside all times of year (although you might not fancy sitting there much in the dead of winter!). Most of their business is take-away, however. They specialise in high-quality, fresh breakfast and lunch food. Every day they have two choices of soup, usually at least one of which is vegetarian, and jacket potatoes. Their main food offerings, though, come between bits of bread. Set aside any stereotypes of sandwiches as being dull, though, the choices here are amazing! First you pick your bread – baguette, ciabatta, oli...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Gigi's
Red Lion Street, Holborn
London, England

Holborn Hotel

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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This restaurant is on the ground floor of the above-mentioned hotel. I've never stayed here (I live nearby), but don't be put off by the incredibly naff decor in the hotel lobby (and, indeed, the restaurant), the food is superb. I've eaten here 4 times, and each time tried something different. The food is sushi based - strips of tuna, salmon, white and flat fish are the most common, served with rice and soup. They also do some chicken-with-rice meals that are excellent, and some noodle dishes. You can order food as separate, small dishes, or go for the good value meal combinations, where you get fish or chicken, rice, and soup together at a lower cost. They also sell Japanese beer, and serve a fragran...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Holborn Hotel
50-60 Southampton Row
London, England WC1B 4AR
+44 (0) 20 7242 1800

Isolabella

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Isolabella Photo, London, England
Quote:
It's everything an Italian restaurant should be - amazing food, great service, fine wine. Not cheap, but worth every penny. The waiters never seem to be staring at you, but if you look round for one, he appears at once, and they are great at advising good wines for the food you've ordered, from an excellent and not too pricey wine list. If you want a really special wine, however, they have a few amazing offerings. They have great specials, often fresh fish such as Dover sole, and seafood for starters. Their standard menu is also good - my boyfriend loves their steak in red wine and pepper, and their fish selection of main courses is also excellent. Better to go during the week; Friday a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Isolabella
45-46 Red Lion Street
London, England WC1R 4PF
(020) 7405-6830

Joe Allen

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Joe Allen's"

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This is a basement restaurant, serving good, European food. There's a bar along one side of the room, plus seats and tables for about 50 people to eat at. I've been here about 3 times over the last couple of years - twice with a group of friends, the last time with my boyfriend. When I came here with my boyfriend, we started with a drink at the bar, then he had a mozzarella based salad for a starter, and I had asparagus with a creamy sauce. Both were very good. I had a sublime grilled fish with spinach, and himself enjoyed a steak. The wine list is good and comprehensive, but certainly not cheap. The decoration is theatrical - posters, memorabilia, and details. The atmosphere is nice...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Joe Allen
13 Exeter Street
London, England WC2E 7DT
+44 20 7836 0651

Wagamama

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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This is a terrific place, a small chain of restaurants with 4 branches in central London. Reservations aren't possible, you just turn up. For this reason, it's better to go about 7pm, later and you might have to queue for a while to get in. The restaurant is in a basement, decorated in cool whites and creams, with pine tables and benches. The tables are in long lines, with benches running along them, so it's not a good place for a private chat, as there will be people on both sides of you able to hear! The food is essentially post-modern Japanese, no sushi, and all pretty healthy. My favourite thing there is a meal combination, called "Absolute Wagamama", where you get chicken, green...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Wagamama
4A Sreatham St
London, England W1H 9AB
+44 20 7323 9223

Sarastro

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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This is an amazing restaurant – it’s unspeakably vulgar, entertainingly naff, and wonderfully tasteless. It’s a great evening out. The restaurant, in the centre of London, Covent Garden to be precise, is not just a meal, it’s an evening out. It bills itself as "the show after the show", and it’s certainly that. I went on a Friday night with my boyfriend and 4 other people – one of them had been there a couple of weeks previously and urged us all along. As you walk in, the décor makes you take a deep breath – it’s almost unbelievable. The floor is an odd mixture of stone, tiles, and mosaic. Every inch of the interior is decorated within an inch of its life in a riot of self-indulgent rococo exces...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Sarastro
126 Drury Lane
London, England WC2B 5QG
+44 20 7836 0101

Tandoori Raj

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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The Tandoori Raj, at the southern end of Red Lion Street, is a new Indian restaurant. The menu here is good, and more imaginative than many Indian restaurants - it's not all Chicken Tikka and Lamb Passanda. Last time we went, my boyfriend had a Duck Jalfresi, which was very interesting and most unusual, and I had a chickpea, tomato and onion effort that was very good indeed. One criticism - the service is a bit slow, and the only way we got our bill was to get up and start putting on our coats - which worked nice and fast! It's based over 3 floors, with a bar and tables on the ground floor, tables on the first floor, and cloakroom facilites on the third. As there's no lift, and steep...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Tandoori Raj
65 Red Lion Street
London, England WC1R 4NA
+44 (207) 405-8072

Pizza Express

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Pizza Express is a chain of restaurants; there are several in central London. I’ve been to one near Charing Cross, on the Strand, but the main one I’ve visited is on High Holborn, near the tube. It’s a good place to come with a group of people; there are large tables available and it’s a good group atmosphere. The pizza here is much tastier and less diet-breaking than at most pizza chains. And not only pizza is on the menu – there’s quite a choice. Several times when I’ve been I’ve had dough balls as a starter – delicious tiny bread rolls that come with a pot of garlic butter; if you’re here on a date, better make sure you both eat them! I’ve also had a good tuna and bean salad here as...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2001

Pizza Express
10 Dean Street
London, England W1V 5RL
+44 20 7439 8722

The Albert Tavern

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Albert Pub"

Quote:
This is a classic Victorian London pub. It’s a tall, fairly narrow detached building, standing on the main road, so it gets a fair amount of drop-in trade as well as regular office workers nearby coming in. Inside it’s quite dark – the tables, stools chairs and benches, and the bar are all dark oak. The impressive carved oak bar is topped with a huge railway station-style clock – plain faced with Roman numerals for numbers and the words "Victoria" and "Albert" just above and below the centre respectively. (The name of the Queen from 1837 to 1901, and her consort who died in the 1860s.) It must be some 2.5 feet in diameter, and can be seen clearly from most parts of the ground floor. The wall...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 23, 2002

The Albert Tavern
52 Victoria Street
London, England SW1H 0NP
44 (0)20 7222 5577