“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” so said Samuel Johnson. You won’t get tired of London with this guide to the best places to eat with just one day in central London.
Portrait restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery
The Portrait Restaurant has one of the most spectacular views of central London, you can see Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. The chef at the helm of the restaurant is Matthew harris, who spent many years working at London institution Bibendum. A great place to have brunch or Afternoon tea starts at just £29.50 while the a la carte menu for dinner has classic dishes such as white onion soup, and steak tartare. Experience central London from a great vantage point, whatever the time of the day. Get booking!
Brunch is big, and only getting bigger. Millennials across the country, rejoice, here we have an Insta ready brunch place that serves avo on toast with all the pink trimmings. Labelled as one of London’s best new restaurants by Vogue, if that doesn’t make you hot at the Millennial pink collar, we don’t know what will. Choose from the savoury or sweet choices for brunch, including dishes such as the sweetcorn and spring green fritters with red pepper, habanero and almond puree, smashed avocado, Graceburn feta, and fresh corn. The sweet dishes are equally as tasty, go all out and try the unicorn waffles, belgian waffles with pomegranate jelly, meringue horns, fresh berries, white chocolate ice cream, unicorn crumbs, and pure maple. If you simply can’t choose, then go for the bottomless brunch party at £39.50 per person which includes a savoury dish, a sweet dish, and all the prosecco and mimosas you like.
If you want a light lunch, Bancone is a good bet. After a morning of wandering around the famous sights, you might need something comforting to warm you up or just to give you a bit of sustenance (there’s so much more to see). It’s in a great location too, on William IV Street in Covent Garden. Their menu is inspired by the whole of Italy, and it can be difficult to choose what to go for, everything looks tasty. Try the antipasti first, especially the Nocellara olives from south west Sicily. All the pasta dishes will be delicious, we can assure you. For us there’s something about pasta with an egg yolk, it adds a natural silky richness to any dish. It can get quite busy so you’re best reserving a table.
Sticks n Sushi Covent Garden
Described as a sushi restaurant, even for those who don’t like sushi. Sticks n Sushi in Covent Garden has all your favourites, served both raw and cooked. The menu is a work of art, with beautiful images of all of the sushi dishes you might like to try. There’s healthy options and more indulgent dishes, they have both “the angelic and the wicked” on their menu. We love the way you can ‘compose’ your own menu (go a la carte) or choose the set dishes. Make sure you go on an empty stomach and try their extravaganza set menu where you’ll get twelve different sushi dishes including four types of tataki, and hotate kataifi which is scallop in kataifi pastry, miso aïoli, trout roe, and cress. It might not be your classic fish and chips place, but it’s a great place to visit to try something a little different on your trip to London (plus there’s still lots of fish available).
If you’re in the middle of soho around lunchtime, this is the place to go. Just round the corner from Ronnie Scott’s (where you’ll find the best jazz and cocktails in the city, definitely go if you have an evening spare, but be sure to book in advance). Start off with antipasti, we absolutely love everything on the menu, and it took us a while to pick out a couple of favourites. First up being the Panino con Porchetta, a sumptuous slow roasted pork belly sandwich, it literally melts in your mouth it’s that good. If you’re a veggie, we’d recommend the Bella Di Cerignola Olives & Artichokes, because proper olives are just out of this world. Sample a taste of Italy in the heart of soho, and be prepared to be raving about this place to everyone you meet, book yourself a table for a lunch sitting or an early/late dinner sitting, great for a post-show meal.
Mac & Wild
If you’re hanging out in the centre of town, head to Fitzrovia to try the champions of Scottish produce and food, Mac & Wild. They will transport you out of London to the Highlands, where all meat is ‘game’, the burgers are supersize and the whisky is served by the dram. If you’ve been out and about in the cold for the day, this is a great place to warm up, and top tip: if you end up in Shoreditch, they even have a restaurant there too. Their burgers have been voted the best in London and the UK, and the one to try is the Veni-Moo burger, made from a beef patty, venison patty, cheese, bernaise and caramelised onions, served in a seeded bun. Delish.
Kiln Soho is a restaurant specialising in cuisine from rural Thailand with an emphasis on great quality produce. Our content manager, Claire, reviewed Kiln on a recent trip to London on a scorching day. She loved all the dishes, especially the claypot glass noodles, “cooked in their claypot, directly on hot coals, their smell was the first sign that they were going to be amazing. A little crispy on top, they were soft underneath, with a sweet and salty taste, classic to Thai dishes. The Tamworth belly and crab meat were sat underneath the noodles and both were soft and flavoursome.” Read all about it here. Tables of four or more can be booked online but if you’re going in a pair, it might be best to turn up and see when they can fit you in, you’ll be close to all the action too as you’ll be sat in the counter area. You’re in soho so there’s plenty of places to hang out before you dine.
Bob Bob Ricard
Opening over ten years ago, by a man called Leonid (nicknamed Bob) and Richard; the origin of the name is due to Bob having to put two thirds of the money into the restaurant, logical eh? This is old school dining at it’s most opulent, although the restaurant isn’t that old, it makes you feel like you’re in an Agatha Christie novel since you’re dining in an Orient express train with booths reminiscent of dining cars. The most famous addition to the booths is the “press for champagne” buzzer, a real luxurious touch. If you’re in London just for one day, this is the place to go if you love a bit of luxury in your life.
This casual wine bar on Lamb’s Conduit Street opened in 2015 with a simple yet delicious menu. Every dish is a star dish, take a look at their Instagram for mouth drooling dishes, like the grilled whole plaice with wild garlic butter. They’ve even got their own magazine where they talk about all things wine, so they know their stuff. Their twenty three page wine menu will have the wine of your dreams on it, we assure you, even if you’re not into wine, you’ll love it after you’ve been here. Sit outside and enjoy the hustle and bustle of central London as it enters the darkness of night.