In London you will be able to dine on food from anywhere in the world at reasonable prices. However, if you are looking for traditional British fare, some of the best eating in London can be done in the dining rooms of fine hotels. The Savoy Grill, at The Savoy Hotel, The Strand, is as famous for its clientele as its food. Classic British dishes are served using only the best ingredients. Try steak and kidney puddings with oysters or Cumberland sausages with Guinness gravy. Finish it all off with something from the famous dessert trolley. Another world famous restaurant is close by. Simpson’s in the Strand, which also serves traditional British food. It has been serving genuine, fine English food since the early 19th century and its roast meats, Lobster soup and Potted shrimps are out of this world. It also serves really good game meat in the traditional way with game chips and bread sauce. Again ensure you leave room for something from the dessert trolley.
Further west, close to Kensington High Street is Maggie Jones’s unique and charming little traditional restaurant. Their evening menu offers a good range of English traditional favourites. Other good traditional restaurants are Butlers Wharf Chop House close to Tower Bridge where in the summer you can eat on the terrace and enjoy the views of the river and the City of London. The food is excellent, offering such delicacies as venison, wild boar and roast pork with prunes. Across the river, on the South Bank at Waterloo, you can sample the fine menu of the Oxo Tower Restaurant which is located on the eighth floor and also has wonderful views across the Thames. Porters, in Covent Garden is probably, one of the best restaurants for real traditional English food. A plethora of fantastic pies, their wonderful fillings hidden under crumbling puff pastry. Portions are large and everything you consider to be typical English food can be found here. Porters is also a great place to stop for afternoon tea. Whilst on the subject of afternoon tea, treat yourself to a trip to one of the following for a really special treat.
Afternoon tea at the Ritz in Piccadilly is really elegant; the surroundings are sumptuous and the waiters discrete, courteous and quaint in their tuxedos with tails.. The dress code is formal for customers and men must wear jackets and ties. If the weather is good, take your tea on the terrace. Or go up the road to Fortnum and Masons’ St James’ Restaurant. Its cakes and pastries, teas and breads are amazing, there is live piano music and the whole ambiance is quietly genteel. Finally, if your budget can’t stretch to actually stay in a five star hotel you could always take afternoon tea in one to experience its luxury. Tea at The Savoy on the Strand will give you that experience. Again the array of teatime delicacies is astounding, the surroundings and ambience dignified and elegant with live piano music and wonderful views of the River Thames.If you are looking for that other British staple, fish and chips, most of the restaurants above offer this on their menu. However, there are also many wonderful restaurants that specialise in only this. Try Fish Bone, at 82 Cleveland St, W1. The fish is freshly cooked as you order it, the batter is crunchy and not dripping with grease. The chips are proper chips, thick, fat and made from real potatoes. Try eating your fish and chips the traditional way with a portion of mushy peas.
The other traditional eating places to try are the pubs. Here you can find some excellent menus of traditional and other kinds of food and very good prices. However, as in any eating place you can also find some that are not so good. Try The Charles Lamb near the Angel, Islington, N1 or The Anchor and Hope at The Cut, Southwark SE1 for a really good meal. Because both these pubs have built up excellent reputations for good food they are get full very quickly and neither accept booking reservations, so arrive in good time or be prepared to wait. The latter pub has a very good menu that blends both traditional French and British cuisine. Alternatively if you are looking for something a bit cheaper and less well known , The Coach and Horses Pub and Dining Room 26-28 Ray Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1 or The White Horse on Parsons Green, London are both very good and very reasonably priced. Both have developed reputations as gastro pubs, which can be described as a pub which serves restaurant-quality food at pub prices in an informal, relaxed atmosphere.
Ethnic restaurants can be found anywhere in London but different countries restaurants tend to cluster in specific areas. For Chinese, try the China Town area around Leicester Square, For Indian curries go to Brick Lane in the East End – known as the curry mile. If you happen to be in Chelsea, however, and want a really special Indian meal go to Chutney Mary, in King’s Road, Chelsea, SW10. Here you will find gourmet food in a delightfully, oriental and romantic setting making it something really special. Middle Eastern food can be found in the Edgeware Road W1 area and also around Kensington and Knightsbridge. Islington, Archway, Camden and Bayswater have many Greek restaurants.
If you fancy East European food go to Wódka, at 12 St Albans Grove, W8. It is one of the few more upmarket restaurants of its type and has a wonderful menu. Try plump herring served with potato, cucumber, onion and dill salad, Chicken Kieve or guinea fowl stuffed with goat’s cheese flavoured with mint. For Thai food the Blue Elephant, 4-6 Fulham Broadway, SW6 is probably the most famous in London. Its food is delicious and there is a gorgeous indoor tropical garden. The Hard Rock Café at Hyde Park Corner was the original Hard Rock Cafe opened more than 30 years ago. Still very popular, expect to queue, but for the typical American dining experience, you can’t beat it. .
Try it for a unique experience. For any theatre show it is best to decide what you want to see when you first arrive and get seats in advance. Popular plays and first night performances sell out very quickly, especially during the summer. Tickets can be purchased at the booking office; at Ticket Agencies, which you will see all around central London; from the official ticket booths in Leicester Square or at Canary Wharf ; On-line; or over the phone. If purchasing via a Ticket Agent you will be charged a booking fee of around 25% . Look for Agents who are members of the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers (STAR) to ensure the best service. Purchasing your ticket at the booking office of the theatre itself will not entail extra booking fee costs (unless you do so over the phone). Most theatre’s booking offices are open from 10a.m. and continue to sell tickets till 30 minutes before the evening performance.
For discount tickets the best way is to go, on the day of the performance, to the ticket booth in the clock tower building in Leicester Square or at Canary Wharf in the DLR station between platforms four and five. . They are open from 10am to 7pm . (12pm-3pm Sundays). Visit their website at www.tkts.co.uk for information about what is available on the day you want to go.