MY CONNECTION TO London’s cuisine goes back generations. My maternal grandmother’s family were London butchers and pub managers, while my maternal great-grandfather found work on the Victoria and Albert docks in East London, unloading cargoes of grain, meat, fruit, and vegetables.
I grew up on the far southwest coast of England, in Cornwall, regularly visiting family living in the capital. I went to a university on London’s outskirts, then moved into the city proper after graduation, and I’ve never left. London has been the backdrop of my most significant milestones, and many of those have been celebrated in the restaurants and cafes you’ll read about here. I celebrated my marriage at The Drapers Arms, was asked to be a bridesmaid at Kiln, and, early in my career, researched my first-ever article with a far more senior, very generous journalist at The Eagle Farringdon.
London is vast and ever-evolving, so being asked to write a food guide feels at first like an impossible task. The spots I’ve chosen carry personal history, but they are also the kinds of eateries you can connect with on the first visit. If you want to gain insight into authentic London, these are my picks.
Coffee, Breakfast, and Pastries
Pophams BakeryInventive seasonal pastries
Bar ItaliaTraditional Italian coffee with over 70 years of history
The WolseleyBreakfast in a grand environment
DishoomIranian-Indian breakfast treats
Lunch and Dinner
BarrafinaAuthentic Spanish cuisine, expertly made
Forza WineSmall plates, wine, and cocktails with a view
TayyabsPerfectly spiced, family-made curry
PadellaHandmade pasta on the edge of Borough Market
The Drapers ArmsTraditional English pub fare with excellent pie
OkanCasual Japanese street food
The Eagle FarringdonHearty Mediterranean plates from the original gastropub
Dumplings’ LegendHandmade dumplings in Chinatown
KilnThai-inspired dishes cooked over fire
Laura Potter Writer
Laura Potter is a freelance writer and editor based in London. Her writing has appeared in some of the UK’s most influential titles, including The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, Men’s Health, and Time Out.