Similar to the many iconic landmarks, historical structures, and picturesque natural resources, London’s food and drink culture is a major tourist attraction. The multifaceted culinary scene has a lot to offer hungry and enthusiastic visitors. If you’re planning to visit the city, you can’t fail to taste some of its famed delicacies and drinks.
If you need help deciding what to eat and drink and the best restaurants and bars to go to, you’ve come to the right place. Here is our complete London food and drink guide. Get your taste buds ready!
The Best Foods and Drinks to Try in London
1. English Breakfast
When in England, it’s only right that you kickstart your day with the English Breakfast. A nutritious traditional meal that has helped shape Britain’s culinary culture for years. It comes complete with sausages, bacon, hash browns, eggs, buttered toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, and baked beans. You can have it with either tea or coffee. The meal is well-balanced and a mouthful, hence the moniker “Full English Breakfast”.
Many pubs and restaurants in London serve English Breakfast at any time. However, the best places to go if you want a wholesome experience are The Wolseley, Terry’s Cafe, Regency Cafe, and E Pellicci.
2. Fish and Chips
The pairing of fish and chips is another British staple guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds. Its introduction to British culinary culture goes far back to the 1800s. It became even more popular during the first and second world wars when the government secured the supply of fish and chips. Since then, it has become highly irresistible and an all-time classic meal.
The dish is batter-coated fried fish, and fluffy chips smothered in salt and vinegar—best served hot. You’ll find it in almost every London restaurant. Some food stalls even sell it as a takeaway snack. However, if you want to indulge in delicious fish and chips as a main course, go to any of the Poppie’s branches.
3. Sunday Roast
This is yet another traditional British meal. It comprises large potions of roasted meat (beef, lamb, or chicken), roast vegetables (potatoes or carrots), Yorkshire puddings and accompaniments like gravy, stuffing, and mint sauce.
As the name suggests, and as a way of sticking to traditions, the meal is served on Sundays. You can find it in many pubs and restaurants London-wide. Reputable ones include The Guinea, The New Inn, and The Grazing Goat.
4. Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is the quintessential British experience. It’s a light meal comprising of tea and delicious accompaniments like biscuits, cakes, bread, freshly-baked scones, and other pastries. You can enjoy your tea treat at different establishments in the afternoon or early evening. There’re even bus tours that serve it onboard to tourists as they move around the city.
5. Pie and Mash
The history of British foods wouldn’t be complete without the mention of pies. In this case, the pie and mash is a simple, easy-to-prepare meal that includes pastry pie with meat feelings, served with creamy mashed potatoes. The popular pies to try are chicken and mushroom, steak and kidney, steak and ale, and vegetarian options.
The best place to go and enjoy award-winning delicious pies is The Windmill in Mayfair.
6. Chicken Tikka Massala
For a cuisine that isn’t originally British, the Chicken tikka massala has done a good job of endearing itself to the locals. You should try it out to discover why it’s been voted Britain’s favourite dish countless times. The mix of Indian curry and pieces of grilled chicken in a spiced tomato sauce will leave you yearning for more.
Out of all the food joints in London, none prepares a better chicken tikka massala than the curry houses along Brick lane.
7. Vegan Cake
There’re many plant-based dining options in London, thanks to the rise in veganism in the country. However, the best treats to try are vegan cakes. Where do you find them? Well, start at The Ruby’s of London.
8. Street Food
The last food to try in London is their street food. It’s a blend of many delicious local and international cuisines, freshly cooked and affordable. All you need is a tour of the food markets and to let your taste buds do the talking. Take your time to indulge in as much as your stomach can handle.
You can book a tour with an expert gastronome guide to explore different eclectic neighbourhoods and discover local food-lover’s hotspots. Be sure to master some of the food slang.
9. Craft Beer
London has an extremely vibrant drinking culture that’s mainly enabled by its broad range of craft beers and drinking establishments. You can join in by trying out some of their popular beers. Fortunately, you don’t have to go far looking for a bar, considering they’re almost everywhere. From the centuries-old ale houses to modern rooftop bars with breathtaking city skyline views. Even better, you can go on a pub crawl.
10. Gin and Tonic
Known as G&T in London, this drink is another favourite among locals. That’s partly due to its history with British soldiers who used to mix their tonic water with gin to make the taste bearable. The tonic water was recommended for treating malaria.
To try a variety of gin and tonic blends, visit the Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room. they have more than 500 varieties of gin and 30 tonics. You can taste your gin blending skills at the Ginstitute.
Pimm’s is a brand of gin-based fruit cup that’s very popular in London, and England at large. If you want to get a taste of London; literally, this is the drink to order. Its name comes from James Pimm, who created it in the 1800s. You can find it in almost all the bars in the city.
12. English Wine
By the bottle or by the glass? That’s what you need to think about when you decide to try some of the exclusive English wines. If you want to enjoy a wide variety, go to the wine bars. However, many restaurants also feature an extensive catalogue of exquisite wine options. Be sure to inquire as much as possible about the different brands of English wine.
13. Cocktail Bars
Finally, to wrap up your drinks guide in London, why not close on a high? And, there’s no better way to do that than indulge in some of London’s finest cocktails. Where? At the best cocktail bars in London. Namely Connaught Bar, Freud Bar, Swift Soho, Cahoots London, among others. Ensure you take advantage of any available happy hours.