A weekend in London should be a foodies absolute dream; from the rich culturally history which has heavily influenced the dishes available from almost every part of the city to the Michelin-starred restaurants, and everything in between. Whether you are looking for fine dining, to visit a food festival or just taste some of the best that London has to offer, if you are a foodie then you won’t be disappointed when you next come to the city.
There are literally hundreds of restaurant options if you want to indulge in some fine dining when you are in the city. London currently has around 67 restaurants which have at least one Michelin-star meaning there are plenty of world class options as well if you are really looking to indulge. It is always best to book ahead if you are hoping to visit one of the top 13 which have two or three Michelin-stars to avoid disappointment; these restaurants are incredibly popular and often have waiting lists of several months so get ahead and book your table as soon as possible. Restaurants such as Le Gavroche, Gordon Ramsay, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Hibiscus would be the perfect option for any foodie who wanted to really experience world-class dining when in London.
One thing which London does very well is to offer its share of unique dining experiences. This can be anything from eating in pitch black to having your meals served whilst an acrobat performs directly above your head. Some of London’s best restaurants also offer their unique slant on a meal out turning it into more of an experience rather than just an opportunity to eat some good food and enjoy great conversation. No matter where you are staying, whether in one of the hotels near London city or somewhere further afield, there will no doubt be a unique restaurant within a short distance of your accommodation. Good choices include Sarastro where you can be treated to operatic performances by professional singers and staff alike, Bunga Bunga where you have to pass through an Italian phone box to enter and Archipelago where the menu features exotic delights such as crocodile, wildebeest and scorpion.
Street food vendors and food markets are great ways to taste some of the best cuisine on offer in the city without paying the hefty price tag you will commonly find in London’s restaurants. You will find stalls selling food at both dedicated food markets and generalised markets alike; and there is often a combination of artisan food and home-cooked food being sold as well. Some of the best market choices include Borough Market: one of the city’s oldest and most renowned markets, Borough Market has been in operation in some form since the 13th century and is a good place to go if you want to pick up a few bits and pieces for a picnic and Brixton Village Market which is fast becoming known as the place to go if you want a taste of authentic Afro-Carribbean cuisine. Brick Lane Market and Broadway Market are also too excellent choices and Greenwich Market has an entire undercover section dedicated to food stalls and vendors.
Food market have to be the best option for a foodie visiting the city on a budget. Keep your eyes peeled in the run up to your trip as occasionally you will find well known restaurants and chefs setting up a pop-up establishment or food stall to offer samples of their produce as well which is perfect if you want artisan or gourmet food without the cost of booking a table at an inner city restaurant.
There are a number of gastronomic festivals held throughout the year in London and it may be that you are travelling to the city and booking your accommodation, such as the Montcalm hotel London especially for one of these festivals or perhaps it is just great timing. Popular festivals include the London Coffee Festival complete with espresso martinis, coffee food pairing and even a competition between sixteen baristas to see who is of world-class standard, BBC Good Food Summer in the City, London Craft Beer Festival and The Chocolate Festival. However, two festivals which absolutely have to be mentioned are Taste of London and Foodies Festival. Tate of London takes place every June and is a five day event dedicated to all things foodie. Located in Regent’s Park, Taste of London sees over 40 of the city’s best restaurants, including a number with Michelin-stars, show off the best of their creations whilst a number of well known chefs also show up. The Foodies Festival takes place at 3 different locations over the summer months including Syon Park and Alexandra Palace and features well known chefs, a Drinks Theatre, a children’s cookery school, a chilli eating challenge as well as live entertainment throughout the three days.
If you like your dinner to come with a view then you would do well to pack up a picnic (perhaps by visiting one of the aforementioned Food Markets) and head to one of the many picturesque spots in the city which are perfect for admiring the view whilst tucking into some culinary delights. For views over the city’s skyline you can’t go wrong with Primrose Hill which is located inside Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Parliament Hill and Richmond Park near King Henry’s Mound. If you like your picnic spots to come with tranquillity then you might enjoy the Isabella Plantation, the Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens, Postman’s Park or Lincoln’s Inn Fields which is situated next to the four Inns of Court and is the largest public square in London. London is home to many great secret gardens, green parks and open spaces so there really are plenty of alternative options if none of the ones mentioned here suit either.
As you can see, a weekend in London would be a real delight for anyone with an interest in food.