My favourite Borough Market restaurant is Wright BrothersOyster House - clearly one for fish lovers only. They have another, newer restaurant in Soho, but this one is MUCH better.
I don’t know a single Londoner who as ever been here. In fact, I only heard about it when I started frequenting a US based travel forum. Read from that what you will.
Absolutely second this - I used to live up the road from Toulouse Lautrec and it is really good and much more reasonably priced than might otherwise be the case. The same guys own the Lobster Pot which is next door and is also fantastic. Not sure about the international bit - most of what I have had there has been relatively quintessential French fare. The owner and head chef is from Brittany (and could not be more French if he walked around with a hooped jumper and a string of onions around his neck). His son cooks when he’s not around and they seem to have quite a lot of Frenchmen in the kitchen.
Also second SanVito’s call of Wright Brothers at Borough Market. Really enjoyed my two meals there.
Someone else mentioned Brindisa for tapas. This is also very good.
I’m pretty familiar with it as much of the game is sourced from near my birthplace deep in the Durham dales. In fact. I’ve mentioned it before but the batter recipe used by Rules is actually my dad’s. He used to have a chippy up north and owners of Rules wangled his batter recipe off him with a dangled carrot of a free Rules dinner for him and the family. Only my sister has taken them up on the offer so far but her report is “spectacular”
Ah! my missus is a bugger for the oysters but she needs the certainty that they are top notch. Good to get a couple of endorsements.
Any menu recommendations? did you have the oysters?
Yep, we had the oysters when we went and they were excellent. That said, we were careful to go in season, so you know that you’re getting something fresh out of the sea that morning (or maybe the day before). We’re still in season now though right? We went in October last time.
ETA: Of course we are still in season, it’s one of those easy to remember “is there an R in the month” things.
They only really do Rock Oysters though at the Borough branch (not that this was a problem for us) so if you/your good lady are a connoisseur of these things and are looking for true native stuff, like a Loch Ryan or a Mersea, you might be disappointed.
Well worth going though. Thoroughly enjoyed it and relatively informal at the place in Borough. We basically sat at the bar.
Hmmm, I’ve had natives there. Maybe I was just there at the right time - the native oyster season is only Sept-April. Rock oysters are available year round as our cool summer temperatured don’t usually tempt them to spawn, which is what happens to natives.
They do the most gorgeous fish pie there too.
Yes, Brindisa do great tapas. I can’t personally stand the crowds there - hate queueing for a table – but many people like the buzzy atmosphere. There’s another (tiny but great) tapas bar on Bermondsey street: Pizzaro
Damn it. I must have missed out.
Oh well - I guess I’ll just have to go back. Hardship.
Oh my gosh yes.
Perfect pub for foodies - loads of character, decent beers and ciders, and the food is excellent. Their charcuterie board as a shared starter with a couple of pints of Wyld Wood cider is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
Are you people restaurant critics or something?
I’m always amazed at people’s encyclopaedic knowledge of London restaurants.
Never been, must check it out.
Which reminds me, a note for the OP: it’s hard to find a really good gastropub in the tourist heartland of the West End, presumably because their clientele are often just passing through so they don’t have to try too hard. I had a horror of a meal in a pub in Victoria the other week, really shameful.
Anyway, the upshot is you may have to jump on a tube to find the best ones, usually in places serving either local residents or office workers. A couple more good examples are the Princess of Shoreditch, in the trendy but scruffy Shoreditch area, and the Anchor and Hope in Waterloo/Southwark.
I think this might be a wisdom of crowds thing. There are a number of the quoted restaurants up thread that I have never been to and couldn’t comment on. There are also a few where I really like the type of food that they serve up so tried to learn stuff about it (seafood and steak in particular) and word tends to get around/you see restaurants as being difficult to get into or are always busy. Sure enough, they turn out to be pretty decent.
Beyond seafood, steak and the odd tapas place, I am pretty dumb when it comes to restaurants. I rely on other people to help me out. This has been a great thread for me to see where I might want to go and I have lived in London 10 years!
I went to the Anchor and Hope for my first date with my current girlfriend. It was fantastic but it is perennially quite busy. I think they only take reservations for Sunday lunch and we had to wait 2 hours before we got a table when we went (though admittedly it was a Saturday night). Stretched my small talk skills, I can tell you.
The upshot is though, unless someone knows better, if you’re going to go to the Anchor and Hope, better to get there early, or else you might not eat until quite late.
Let’s just say I’m greedy.
Couple of more suggestions for ‘significant’ gastro pubs that aren’t too far out of the way.
The Eagle on Farringdon Road (nearest Tube station: Farringdon). This is The original gastro pub, credited with starting the pub food revolution. Still great.
The Duke of Cambridgein Islington (Angel Tube). Billed as the UK’s first truly organic pub – everything they serve is organic, including the beer, the wine, the cola, they filter their own water, heck they even used to sell organic cigarettes. Not as hippie as it sounds, it’s a buzzing, atmospheric pub serving great food.
I might be a bit late to the game here, but for a pre-theatre meal you might like the mad opulence of the Criterion on Piccadilly, or for spectacular views try the Paramountat the top of Centrepoint on the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.
I have eaten at both of these (regularly at the Criterion) and the food is perfectly fine, but it’s more for the ambience I’m making these suggestions.
I’ve got to put in a plug for my favorite blogsite A Rather Unusual Chinaman.
Despite the name, the author reviews all kinds of restaurants all over London, and produces some (probably occasionally illegal) photographs of some of the dishes on offer. We went to couple of the author’s recommended places the last time we were in London (Tai Ka Lok and The Chippy, if memory serves), and they were both great meals for very little money (for London). I especially like the rundown on the right side of the website, categorizing the place by how much you’re going to have to fork out for your meals.