One of the first things I did after moving back to California from London was make a list of my favourite places to eat. I love a good meal, and many of my happiest vacation memories revolve around food. Without further ado, here are some of the places I enjoyed the most while living in London.
LA PORCHETTA—84/86 Rosebery Avenue
This small Italian chain came to my attention when the leaders of my programme at City University London took us out for dinner. There are a few different locations, but the one I frequented was the Clerkenwell branch. The prices are a tiny bit steep if you’re on a tight budget, but the portions are also pretty huge, so consider sharing an entree with someone. My favourite dish here is the spaghetti. That might seem rather boring, but they serve the most delicious tomato sauce I’ve ever had. It’s freshly made, with bright flavors that you cannot find in a jar.
BOMBAY BURRITO—357 Goswell Road
This little spot is just down the street from the Angel station, and is terribly addicting. Although it might sound strange at first, hear me out! Bombay Burrito’s main dish is exactly what it sounds like: Indian food wrapped in a flour tortilla. You can also order a curry bowl or salad bowl if you don’t like tortillas. My regular order was a burrito with tikka masala curry and either tandoori chicken or shredded beef, topped with rice, chickpeas, grilled onions, lettuce, mango chutney, and garlic chili chutney.
AUGUST MOON—7 Ashbourne Parade
This Chinese restaurant was near my flat, and became a regular spot for take-away. Just across the road from the Hanger Lane station, August Moon has an extensive menu. Although I’ve seen a few unhappy reviews online, I never had a problem with their food. I typically ordered enough to feed an army, since there were usually three of us eating at a time. I highly recommend the sweet and sour chicken, lemon chicken, deep fried shredded beef with chili, plain noodles, and egg fried rice.
HK DINER—22 Wardour Street
My favourite Chinese spot in London, HK Diner, is located right where Chinatown meets Leicester Square. My friend Stephanie introduced me to it not long after the school year began, and I never looked back. Although the waiters can be abrupt, the food is worth it. My regular order was the vegetarian Singapore noodles. No matter how full the restaurant is, you never have to wait very long for your food to arrive. And of course, the trick to recognizing a good Chinese restaurant is if you see it full of Chinese people!
ZEERA—10 Queen’s Parade
Another little gem tucked away in Ealing, Zeera serves delicious Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. You can order their food for delivery on Just-Eat.com, which honestly spoiled me. I liked everything I ever ordered from them, although I obviously developed preferences. The things I ordered most were: chicken tikka (under the tandoori part of the menu), lamb tikka massala, chana massala, garlic naan, and mushroom pilau rice. And it all goes wonderfully with mango chutney!
NANDO’S—Everywhere in London!
Nando’s is actually a chain restaurant originally from South Africa, best known for piri piri chicken. I had never heard of it, or piri piri peppers, before moving to London. I was easily hooked, however, and am currently trying to figure out my own piri piri recipe. At any rate, these can be found all over London. My favourite thing to order is the grilled chicken burger with mango-lime sauce with a side of chips. Their cole slaw is also yummy, as is the prego steak roll. Nando’s has a few locations in the US, but the menu is very slightly different from the one in the UK. But if you like spice, try it anyway! The piri piri sauce will be the same.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE CAFE—38 Goswell Road
This little corner cafe became a favourite of mine and Kendra’s after our friend Maggie found it near her dormitory. Just down the road from the Barbican station, People’s Choice serves a large variety of quick lunch foods. Despite the long menu, however, I only ever got one thing because it was so darn good—a tomato omelette and chips. “Chips” is Brit-speak for what we call “fries.” So basically, an enormous omelette is served over an enormous portion of fries, and it makes for the perfect enormous lunch. They’ll make everything to your specifications as well, so if you want extra cheese or extra onions or extra mushrooms, ask away!
THE SHERLOCK HOLMES—10 Northumberland Street
Another regular spot! The Sherlock Holmes is a pub and restaurant down the road from Trafalgar Square, on your way to Big Ben. Although it isn’t anywhere near Baker street, it’s the perfect spot for a Sherlock fan to grab some good food. Everything I tried was flavorful, despite the poor reputation of British food. I recommend Jeremy Brett’s homemade soup, Inspector Lestrade’s favorite ploughman’s lunch, the retired colourman’s fish and chips…or basically anything else on the cleverly put together menu.
PERI PIZZA—202 London Road
I only ate here once, but once was enough for the name to cement itself in my mind. The peri peri chicken is similar to what you’d find at a Nando’s, or indeed at any peri peri spot in London. But this little place in East Croydon serves a large assortment of pizzas and other goodies. What really caught my eye, aside from the delicious chicken, were the absolutely divine chips and marinated olives.