London’s Nicest Cups of Brew and Bites to Eat

Churchill Arms offers surprisingly authentic Thai fare in the classic English pub setting.
Churchill Arms offers surprisingly authentic Thai fare in the classic English pub setting.

Okay, so it’s time to be honest–London may be the greatest city in the world (not even arguably), but the English are not exactly known for their cuisine. Luckily, the influx of diverse cultures and some very creative restaurateurs have not left London lacking for great eats.

With the look and feel of the quintessential British pub, Churchill Arms is deceivingly English. Churchill Arms’ cascading English roses and colorful greenery embracing every inch of the exterior of the building welcome in the casual passerby and the knowing foodie stopping in this famous spot. Set amongst the hubbub of Kensington High Street, this gem was frequented by Churchill and serves a crave-worthy surprise of Thai food in the heart of London. Each dish on the menu is deliciously authentic, and everything on tap is exactly what’s expected of the top pub in the city.

One of the top pubs sworn by locals is White Horse near Parsons Green Tube stop. White Horse’s Victorian décor sets a great backdrop for relaxing with a pint, and in the summertime, the pub opens its windows and faces a beer garden. Try their hundreds of brews on a warm night and enjoy watching the bustling London streets. For more tap sampling, check out The Rake near London Bridge, where they swap out their brews daily. You’ll never run out of things to test with their exotic variety.

Home to many high-profile and celebrity chefs, London is also the location of many of their restaurants. Gordon Ramsay’s fleet of successful restaurants include Ramsay in Chelsea and Savoy Grill in Covent Garden. Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian has pasta cooked to perfection and refreshing cocktails to pair. If you’re looking for a thrill for your eyes and your taste buds, travel to Camden for Gilgamesh. This gargantuan building lives up to its namesake with its chic, daring mystique amidst the alternative grunge culture of Camden. But even more exciting than its fully-retractable rooftop bar is its creative pan-Asian cuisine. This experience is more than just a meal.

Flavors of the Caribbean flourish at The Effra in Brixton, where its residents cherish its authentic jerk chicken and spicy rice dishes. Spend an evening here jamming out to live jazz and ska music and cooling off the spice with a cold pitcher of beer. For more international variety, check out the many restaurants of Covent Garden. On your way home, stop by New Covent Garden Market and browse the stalls for fresh fruits and vegetables to cook with the freshest from British farms.

For those of you still looking for some classic British pub fare and maybe a homey Shepherds pie, dine at The Queen’s Arms in Kensington. This pub offers the staples in a tight nook behind some of London’s most expensive real estate, though their prices are reasonable. If you’re up for a quest to find the greatest fish and chips in London, trek to North London’s Toff’s of Muswell Hill. Most people swear by their fresh fish, variety of fry batters (classic, grilled, matzoh meal), and crispy perfection. You may be nursing a food baby after this meal with its heaping portions, but make sure to leave room for their legendary sticky toffee pudding in warm custard. Whether you’re in search for the perfect foreign dish or have developed a hankering for chips with vinegar, modern London reinvents the way the world looks at British food with its international infusion and a bevy of committed natives.

About the author

Rachel Tesler graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Film & Television and a B.A. in International Relations. She has lived in London, Jerusalem and Boston, and has traveled to many other countries. When traveling anywhere for the first time, Rachel loves to chat with locals about their recommendations and then chart out trips on a map. “My favorite part of visiting anywhere new is the people. They become part of the landscape and you can tell a lot about a city by the people that live in it,” she says. In her spare time, she enjoys doing community service, playing her banjo and painting. While she admits to having serious wanderlust, she currently lives in Boston and works as a freelance writer and teacher.

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