There was a lot of trial and error finding spots we liked and didn’t like. So here are some of my favorite restaurants/bars/areas, and one cocktail recommendation:
Recommendations near Metrogate and Foundation House:
Paul is a French café down the street from Foundation House. I would go there every morning before class. The beetroot sandwich and apricot pastry are very good.
Memories of India is around the corner from Metrogate. It is definitely made for a British person’s palate, but the food is amazing. My go to is the lamb pasanda, lemon rice, garlic naan and gulab jamun for dessert, but literally anything you order will be delicious. Imran, the manager, is hilarious and lively and knows everyone in the neighborhood. If you ever go, tell him you know Maritza (maybe he’ll give you a discount). Quick, cheap, delicious and close if you’re hungry but don’t want to go far or spend a lot of money.
Publiq is a small farm-to-table restaurant. The owners and staff are lovely, and their food is even better. It is definitely for the more adventurous eaters, but everything is fresh and delicious, and the cocktails are strong. The beef croquettes with truffle mayo, mushrooms and parmesan, and the suckling pig dishes are amazing. This is great for a celebration or a special night out, because it’s more expensive than my other recommendations, but it is totally worth it.
Hyde Park is incredible. Lively during the day and very peaceful at night. You can rent bikes and ride around, or bring wine and snacks later in the evening. And it’s a two minute walk from Metrogate.
Café Deco and Sandwich World are both on Gloucester Road, right down the street from Metrogate. They both sell sandwiches, among other things, but their sandwiches are really great, and cheap!
Guillam is a café on Gloucester Road with great pastries and Wi-Fi if you’re looking to do some work in a café.
Megan’s in Chelsea was my last brunch in London. They are a dog friendly cafe, so we got to pet some puppies wandering around. The “garden” seating area in the back is very nicely decorated, and they have a retractable roof for when the sun comes out! If you like cheese this is a great place; the cheese fondue and grilled halloumi was amazing.
Covent Garden is a great area to walk around, and if you want to go shopping!
Din Tai Fung is a chain restaurant with locations in the US, but only on the west coast unfortunately. Their location in Covent Garden is huge, and busy so be sure to make a reservation. Definitely order the soup dumplings and buns and the chocolate and red bean buns for dessert.
Vardo is another restaurant in Covent Garden. I recommend sitting outside and ordering their spek pizza—cheese, bacon, egg and chili flakes.
O’Neills has live music every night, and it is surprisingly popular on Mondays. Head up to the second floor because the band comes on around 10 or 11, and everyone up there dances and sings along to the live music.
London Pub Crawl is a company that organizes pub crawls in different areas of London. They take you to a few different bars in the area with discounted drinks and free entry, usually only for a 20 pound pre-booked ticket. We went on a few during our trip and they were great! If you want a cheap and easy Friday or Saturday night, I would definitely recommend them.
Lucky Voice is a karaoke chain. Entrance is pretty cheap and they have yummy cocktails. I went the very first day after quarantine and had a really great time. Warning however, you have to be 21 to enter for some reason.
Random spots around the city:
Meat Liquor, despite its name, is a chain bar and restaurant. They have live performers and really great chicken wings. If you like a dark ambiance with neon lights, this is the right place for you.
Coal Drops Yard is an area near Kings Cross Station. They have a new-ish development of shops and restaurants, and they show free movies on the canal. There are bean bags and chairs set up in front of a giant movie screen. Some friends and I went and saw Dirty Dancing outside on a Saturday night.
The Brick Lane/Shoreditch area is really fun. A lot of young people live in the area, so it’s always lively. In this area is Spitalfields markets, a great market if you want to buy jewelry, potted plants or eat from food trucks. There is a lot of street art, and there’s a new Eataly in the area.
Brat x Climpson’s Arch is pretty far from South Kensington, but it’s great if you have a couple hours for a nice dinner. We sat outside and ordered appetizers to share. Everything was really fresh, and the environment was great.
Finally, the pornstar martini. My favorite cocktail of all time. I don’t know why they don’t have them in the US but they are very popular in London. If you like passionfruit you have to try it.
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