Restaurants Guide for Expats in London
There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of restaurants in London. It is one of the world’s most dynamic and varied culinary destination. From cheap eateries to fine dining where a bottle of wine can cost as much as a holiday abroad, there is a restaurant for every budget. Thanks to its metropolitan background, you will find food from every corner of the globe and that means every corner from Ethiopian to Mongolian, each cuisine is represented. Not only cuisines but specific diets have their place on menus, if you so wish you can locate easily a place catering for Atkins dieters, for example. If you are looking for a particular type of food you will find it somewhere in London.
Local food, like fish & chips, sausage/mash & peas, can be of good or bad quality so you need to know the authentic places to visit. Here are a few resources to help you find the great food you deserve:
- Time Out: http://www.timeout.com/london
Time Out reviews restaurants, pubs and bars weekly, and is a great starting point.
- Zagat: http://www.zagat.com/london
The famous Zagat book is also an excellent resource for expats in London. If you get onto the website you can add your own review of a particular restaurant. The book is more useful than the site, and updates annually.
- Toptable: http://www.toptable.co.uk/london-restaurants
Check out restaurant reviews for every type of food and even book your reservation online.
Popular restaurants obviously get crowded so you will need a reservation at these specific restaurants, however not all London restaurants insist on reservations. Do some research before deciding whether you will need to book ahead of time. Famous restaurants often have a waiting list of more than 4 weeks!
Most restaurants are open for lunch and dinner and close around 11pm. Of course, each restaurant will have different hours and there are even 24-hour restaurants and late-night restaurants (particularly in Soho). Many pubs also serve food but cut-off time in the kitchen is often around 10pm so get there early. It is a good idea to call your restaurant of choice ahead of time to enquire about dining times and reservation etiquette. Many London restaurants also have websites.
Mentalities are changing and it is easier nowadays to eat out with children than it was a decade ago. However check if the establishment is “children friendly” before deciding on a place. Guide books and websites such as http://www.beerintheevening.com will have a section or a search by key-word to help you find a suitable place.
London with a Difference
London underground restaurants are a new trend. People open their home for an evening to host a “restaurant” in their dinning room. Some of them are becoming rather famous, if you fancy something a little alternative but high quality have a look a this list: http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/features/8001/London-s-underground-restaurants.html.
Pop up restaurants are, again, a new concept which seems to have taken off. Restaurants offering “easy food” open for a set period of time. Since they are opened temporarily, they tend to be rather good quality and worth checking out. Due to their temporary nature, here at Expat Info Desk we can only recommend to do a Google search for “pop up restaurants + London” such as the last one we did here.
It is usual to leave 10-15%. Double check first that the service has not been automatically added to the bill.