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London Dining, Especially Mayfair, West End


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#1 jsmeeker

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 10:32 AM

I'm going to London the first time ever the week after next.  I'm getting totally overwhelmed by restaurants and places to eat.   Day time will be filled with typical sight seeing.  Not sure how muchI can plan lunches. Will probably mostly "wing it" and figure out something based on where we happened to be when we get hungry.  Don't really want to go far out of the way to get food.  

 

Really, for now, mostly looking for dinner spots. We'll be staying in in Mayfair (JW Marriott Grosvenor House to be exact).   So, places in and around that area that are a convenient walk are ideal.  Mostly, looking for more casual spots.  Mayfair seems to be packed to the gills with the high end fancy places.  I like those places, but just can't eat at them every night.

 

Also, one night we are going to see a show  (Book of Mormon).  We'll probably be hungry after the show. So, something fairly convenient to the Prince of Wales theater would be good.

 

Don't  want American chains.  Though I would be OK with some small local London/UK chains.  A good "curry house" or Indian place would be nice some time.  

 

Oh. And what about a place for Sunday Roast? That doesn't have to be a casual place. Might make for a nice last final day in London before flying back home the next morning.


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#2 MaLO

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 01:17 PM

Meldlar in Chelsea, The Ledbury in Notting Hill and Hedone in Chiswick are among my favourites in London. 

 

Closer to your hotel and as a starter:

 

Pollen St Social / Little Social / Social Eating House. http://www.pollenstr...aurants/london/

 

Gymkhana / http://www.gymkhanalondon.com/  Benares  http://www.benaresrestaurant.com/  Trishna  http://www.trishnalondon.com/

 

WildHoney  http://www.wildhoneyrestaurant.co.uk/  Alyn Williams http://www.alynwilliams.com/  Bubbledogs  & kitchen table http://www.bubbledogs.co.uk/home  Scotts  http://www.scotts-restaurant.com/

 

Hawksmoor  http://thehawksmoor.com/  Goodman  http://www.goodmanrestaurants.com/home  Bar Boulud  http://www.barboulud.com/london/

 

 

The Square and Le Gavroche are also near.  You can easily walk to Marylebone, Soho, Knightsbridge - Lots of areas nearby.  All sorts of great food at all price points.

 

I also enjoy a drink in the basement bar at Fortnum and Mason,  The new bar in Selfridges (if you are shopping) looks quite nice - 2850 isn't far either. 

The Masons and The Guinea Grill are not bad for a pint.  Drinks are always interesting in Sketch and food ranges from afternoon tea to 2* Gagaiare food.

 

Try the sampler in South Kensington for wine and nibbles (its a wine shop) or go to Apereo in the ampersand hotel for good food and drinks - there is another good cheese shop La Cave a Fromage very near by that you can eat in.  Ten minutes walk from here you can eat very good Spanish food at Cambio De Terico. 

 

Coffee at http://www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk/  Dose http://www.dose-espr....com/about.html  Many good places many are terrible.....

 

There are so many places to choose from. 


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#3 Mayur

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 01:18 PM

St John.

 

Barrafina.

 

Either Rasa (Malayali food) or Gymkhana (Indian modernized a bit) or both.

 

#s 2 and 3 are super-close to you; St John is worth the trip.

 

These are obvious spots but absolutely worthwhile. You should also go to Borough Market; it's obligatory for anyone visiting London who likes to eat. Grab a glass of bubbly, have some oysters and whole scallops, eat your way through all the ham at Brindisa, and look into the pie, sausage, and game selections.


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#4 Mayur

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 01:22 PM

Good suggestions from MaLO though a bit fancier than mine!

 

Also, if you can make it, I'm 100% behind the idea of going to 69 Colebrooke Row for a cocktail. Not super-convenient to you but quite accessible via taxi/tube.

 

Moti Mahal is super-convenient to the Prince of Wales theater and is excellent. So's Barrafina; it's a madhouse but you can drink yourself silly while waiting for a counter seat.

 

There's also a lovely spot called the Ape and Bird that just (re)opened with a new menu right across from the Palace theatre. Haven't eaten there but their beer is fantastic.


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#5 jsmeeker

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for all the great suggestions!


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#6 jsager01

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:35 AM

If you are interested in  seafood then check out.

http://www.j-sheekey.co.uk/menu/main-courses/

Was there 2 months ago. 

Their Plateau de Fruits de Mer is better than what i have had in France.  It is also less than 5 minutes walk from Prince of Wales theatre, but a reservation is highly recommended, a must if you dont wish to be disappointed. 

 

For chinese food, avoid eating in chinatown (soho, off Piccadilly circus), unless you want to experience what tourist traps can be.  Bayswater is a better bet. 

For middle eastern, check out edgware road. 

Although i have not been for sometime, Indian restaurants are great value and authenticity along Brick lane, E1.

 

Out of topic, but maybe useful for a first timer in london,  If you are using public transport, then buy an oyster card (the electronic 

purse/wallet), and if you are in london for more than 4 days, it will usually be cheaper to also load it with a 7-day travelcard (valid for zones

 1 and 2 for central london, but not for trips to/from airports), and for which you can also get vouchers for 2for1 deals. However, due to some convoluted bureaucracy, you must get the travelcard at a national railway station, as different from a tube (underground/metro) station,

although they may coexist at the same location. And you do NOT have to travel by train into London to get the 2for1 deals. Confused? But it 

works.

 

Tripadvisor has lots of info about travelcards, check this out and their other links:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186338-c195600/London:United-Kingdom:2.4.1.Travelcards.Step.By.Step.html

 

I bought my travelcard at a national railway station, but this website seems to offer travelcard vouchers online, check it out:

http://www.london-travelcards.com/

 

what you can get with the 2for1 deals:

http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/

 

The travelcard is different from the londonpass, which costs a lot more because it includes prepaid entrances to several tourist sites. If you search the tripadvisor website you will find lots of opinionated discussions about travelcard vs londonpass. For me, its the travelcard.

 

General info about public transport in london

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/


Edited by jsager01, 01 December 2013 - 12:54 AM.

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#7 Hassouni

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:48 AM

I don't have much to add here, as both times I lived in London I was either an unpaid student or intern, but:

 

Alounak in Westbourne Grove is one of, if not the best Persian restaurants I've ever been to anywhere (and I'm a huge connoisseur of Middle Eastern food from the Eastern Med on east)

 

Le Chef Masgouf on Connaught Street (Place? Can't remember) serves high quality Iraqi food, which you're unlikely to find almost anywhere else outside the Middle East. Get the grilled fish special (masgouf, the namesake of the place.)

 

Bar Shu and Ba Shan are both high quality Sichuanese places in Soho with some involvement from Fuchsia Dunlop, and Golden Days, if it still operates under that name, on Shaftesbury Ave near the intersection with Cambridge Circus, has very good Hunan cuisine.

 

The north end of Soho also has a string of quite good tapas and wine bars, Fernandez & Wells come to mind, but there are a few others.

 

Check out Koya in Soho if you want A+ soba, it's probably the best I've had. 

 

As for Indian, I'd go for Rasa or one of the other southern establishments, as that food is harder to get in America.



#8 jameswilliam

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 02:53 AM

Just a quick note on Golden Day - this is apparently now has a different chef and is not so good

http://www.theguardi...view-jay-rayner

Jay Rayner recently reviewed Leong's Legend in Chinatown quite favourably



#9 jsmeeker

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 09:16 AM

If you are interested in  seafood then check out.

http://www.j-sheekey.co.uk/menu/main-courses/

Was there 2 months ago. 

Their Plateau de Fruits de Mer is better than what i have had in France.  It is also less than 5 minutes walk from Prince of Wales theatre, but a reservation is highly recommended, a must if you dont wish to be disappointed. 

 

For chinese food, avoid eating in chinatown (soho, off Piccadilly circus), unless you want to experience what tourist traps can be.  Bayswater is a better bet. 

For middle eastern, check out edgware road. 

Although i have not been for sometime, Indian restaurants are great value and authenticity along Brick lane, E1.

 

 

 

Thanks for these suggestions.  J Sheekey  is a place I found while researching some other places.  Seems part of a large restaurant group.  May be a little spend for a post theater meal, but we'll still keep it in mind.  Thanks for the other suggestions too, especially on Indian.

 

I DO have plans for an Oyster card. Actually, a friend of mine is mailing me two of them from when he and his wife took a trip to London earlier this summer.  They are setup as PAYG and have a few pounds on them.  My understanding is that the PAYG cards cap at a max per day that is the same as you would pay on a travel card.


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#10 Hassouni

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:45 PM

I DO have plans for an Oyster card. Actually, a friend of mine is mailing me two of them from when he and his wife took a trip to London earlier this summer.  They are setup as PAYG and have a few pounds on them.  My understanding is that the PAYG cards cap at a max per day that is the same as you would pay on a travel card.

 

Yep - yet another reason why London is the greatest city in the world! 

 

*coughgetyourshittogetherDCcough*



#11 jsager01

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 04:37 PM

 

Thanks for these suggestions.  J Sheekey  is a place I found while researching some other places.  Seems part of a large restaurant group.  May be a little spend for a post theater meal, but we'll still keep it in mind.  Thanks for the other suggestions too, especially on Indian.

 

I DO have plans for an Oyster card. Actually, a friend of mine is mailing me two of them from when he and his wife took a trip to London earlier this summer.  They are setup as PAYG and have a few pounds on them.  My understanding is that the PAYG cards cap at a max per day that is the same as you would pay on a travel card.

 

 

From the theatre to Sheekey or any of the many restaurants in that area, you will pass thru many interesting, albeit touristic, areas that you can do before or after dinner.
 
In zones 1 and 2, the PAYG costs 2.80 GBP per single trip, caps at 8.40 GBP per day for anytime travel.
For the same zones, the travelcard costs 30.40 GBP for 7 days unlimited travel, ie 4.35 GBP per day. PLUS, you get the free 2for1 vouchers, ie if you get your travel card at a national railway ticket office (and not tube/underground), and have to explicitly ask for those vouchers. However, ou can also print those 2for1 vouchers online.  If you must see the tower of london, where they chop off  heads of royalty in days gone by, there is a 2for1 voucher which will further offset the cost of the travel card.
 
It all depends on how much you will be using public transport and for how long, eg, if you are only there for 2 or 3 days, then PAYG may be the best option. With a travelcard, and there is a similar system in Paris, i have been known to get into a bus just to get rested and still see parts of the city that i had not planned for, and in winter to get warmed up, and if you can get on a double Decker and a front seat at the top deck, well, that is a bonus.
 
BTW, use the tube/underground only if you want to just get from point A to B in the shortest possible time. Otherwise, i always use the bus.  
 
check out this link: 

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#12 patrickamory

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 06:29 PM

Do not worry about Sheekey being part of a larger restaurant group - it is indeed superb. Do eat in the main restaurant though and not the new bar-restaurant they've attached on the left-hand side - it simply isn't as good.

 

I love the Guinea Grille in Mayfair off Berkeley Square, not just for drink but also for dinner. The steak and kidney pie is wonderful.

 

Also second Hassouni's recommendations of Alounak and Ba Shan (I prefer Ba Shan to Bar Shu, though both are good). 

 

St. John remains great - make sure you go to the original in St. John Road near Smithfield Market.

 

Further afield:

 

- Sweetings in the City (weekday lunch only, fantastic seafood served at sit-down counters)

 

- Dock Kitchen off Ladbroke Grove for inventive & delicious wood-oven Mediterranean and North African with a bit of South Asian mixed in

 

- River Cafe in deepest Fulham for Ruth Rogers' delicious, British-inflected Northern Italian

 

- Painted Heron in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea for upscale but really excellent Indian from different regions

 

For more exotic regional Indian cuisine, usually in a much more casual setting, you may need to travel further. Tooting is home to a number of excellent spots. 


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#13 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 08:32 PM

Good suggestions from MaLO though a bit fancier than mine!

 

Also, if you can make it, I'm 100% behind the idea of going to 69 Colebrooke Row for a cocktail. Not super-convenient to you but quite accessible via taxi/tube.

 

Moti Mahal is super-convenient to the Prince of Wales theater and is excellent. So's Barrafina; it's a madhouse but you can drink yourself silly while waiting for a counter seat.

 

There's also a lovely spot called the Ape and Bird that just (re)opened with a new menu right across from the Palace theatre. Haven't eaten there but their beer is fantastic.

 

I endorse 69 Colebrooke Row. Was underwhelmed by Barrafina two nights ago; I would prefer the Social Eating House or Polpo for that part of London.

 

Do not worry about Sheekey being part of a larger restaurant group - it is indeed superb. Do eat in the main restaurant though and not the new bar-restaurant they've attached on the left-hand side - it simply isn't as good.

 

I love the Guinea Grille in Mayfair off Berkeley Square, not just for drink but also for dinner. The steak and kidney pie is wonderful.

 

Also second Hassouni's recommendations of Alounak and Ba Shan (I prefer Ba Shan to Bar Shu, though both are good). 

 

St. John remains great - make sure you go to the original in St. John Road near Smithfield Market.

 

Further afield:

 

- Sweetings in the City (weekday lunch only, fantastic seafood served at sit-down counters)

 

- Dock Kitchen off Ladbroke Grove for inventive & delicious wood-oven Mediterranean and North African with a bit of South Asian mixed in

 

- River Cafe in deepest Fulham for Ruth Rogers' delicious, British-inflected Northern Italian

 

- Painted Heron in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea for upscale but really excellent Indian from different regions

 

For more exotic regional Indian cuisine, usually in a much more casual setting, you may need to travel further. Tooting is home to a number of excellent spots. 

 

Agree about the River Cafe. The Harwood Arms, also in Fulham, serves fantastic food and is also great for a pint. It's a 5min walk from Chelsea football club if that interests you.



#14 Hassouni

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 09:07 PM

Speaking of Chelsea, the Pig's Ear on Old Church St is about as good a gastropub as you'll find.  While in that neighborhood, the Cross Keys is a very proper if gussied up pub, quite charming, with very solid "traditional pub fare" if you're interested in that.



#15 ahpadt

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 05:27 PM

In that area Patty and Bun do a really good burger. It's just next to Selfridges.