Thursday, 19 March 2009

London restaurants: Good food, great night

I am coming up to the 5 year anniversary of my residence as a "grown up" in this great Capital of ours. Although I grew up in London, I was whisked off to the lush green hills and sandy beaches of Devon at 7 years old and didn't return until 12 years later.

Over the last 5 years one of the things that has brought me the greatest pleasure is eating out. It is what I spend the majority of my disposable income on, and what I spend most of time thinking about!

As such I wanted to create a list of some of my favourite places to dine out. This is a work in progress, and some of the places on my list may seem surprising to some. Number 5 for example could be seen as too touristy, too busy or not serving sophisticated enough food. But my list is based on a mixture of many things, including the quality of the meal.

Although the food does play a big part in my enjoyment of a place, there are other things that hold equal value. The service is a big part of the success of a restaurant for me, as well as the way a place looks and feels and how you feel about a place as a way to spend an evening.

These are all places I feel genuine excitement about when I know I am going to visit them that evening, and they are places I would take my dearest friends as they feel like a part of my life in this city. I am not promising the best food in the capital, but I hope these places all offer a friendly welcome, delicious food and a very enjoyable dining experience.

So my first top 5...
5) Cafe Pacifico - 5 Langley St, WC2H 9JA
For me this has always been a fabulous start to a good night out in Central London. I love this bustling restaurant, which I think serves some gorgeous Mexican food. It may not be as adventurous as neighboring Wahaca but for cheap, good food in town with the girls this is my favourite place to go.

4) Lucky Sevens - 127 Westbourne Park Road, W2 5QL
I have lost count of the amount of times I have waited at the door of Tom Conrans' West London burger bar, drooling at the thought of my favourite burger (chicken, guacamole, mustard and cheese) and the most delicious fries I have come across in town. Despite the undeniable "trendiness" of this place the staff always seem sweet, the restaurant is decked out in traditional American diner style and the food is always sublime. If you are looking for drinks after head down to the Cow or The Westbourne

3) 32 Great Queen St., WC2B 5AA
This young restaurant in Holborn/Covent Garden has a wonderful French feel to it, aided by the fact that you can dine at the bar. We sipped delicious white wine from little glasses, dined on an entire sea bass cooked perfectly and served with herbs and lemon and were hugely impressed by how delicious everything we ordered was. The food is traditionally British, but cooked very simply and accompanied by a gorgeous array of sides.

2) Lemonia, 89 Regent's Park Road, NW1 8UY
Situated next to my favourite place in London (obvious I know, but the view from Primrose Hill is just so beautiful) this restaurant has never disappointed. Whether it is a family meal, romantic evening or gathering of friends you can be sure (I hope) of excellent food in a bustling yet intimate environment. This place holds a lot of memories for me, being the restaurant my parents took my best friend and I to on our first grown-up visit to London!
The traditional Greek food is fresh, authentic and reasonably priced. Every time I have been the place is busy and yet they make you feel a much-missed part of the family!

1) The Ripe Tomato, 7 All Saint's Road, W11
I have never eaten a bad meal in any of the twenty times I have been here, including a Valentine Day set menu - which is potentially a minefield. The restaurant is intimate, cosy and perfect for a first date or meal with your oldest, dearest friends. Food is neither fussy or expensive and your are guaranteed fresh, traditional and exciting Italian dishes. Once you are settled in at your table you will want to spend your evening whiling away the hours at this wonderful place.

1 comment:

  1. I have to confess a love for 'cheap and cheerful' type food as well. I've always enjoyed popping into a Zizzi London, especially when out with a group to start off the night. the food is simple but reaaly great and reasonable. Lucky7 is my favourite burger bar in London - Grilled Chicken, Swiss Cheese, Rocket, Guac, Mustard Mayo is what i have whenever I go.


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