I find that food pretty much makes or breaks my vacations. I could be in the most beautiful or in an extremely significant historic location, and would probably not want to go back because of my “hate” relationship with the food. I know. It’s horrible.
London, however, never fails me. Not all of the restaurants are great, but when the food is good, it’s really good. And to top it all off, not only can I say great things about the food, but the décor is equally amazing or even better as well. Score.
This time, hubs and I tried out a few pretty awesome spots, thanks to our amazing families! We’re lucky that both of our families love good food so much that they always end up introducing us to some of the yummiest spots in town.
So I thought I’d pass the love along and introduce you as well to the five places that really made a stellar impression on us this time…
1. BERNERS TAVERN
I instantly knew I was going to love this spot as soon as my sister-in-law sent me a picture of it!
Berners Tavern is located in the London Edition hotel right off of Oxford Street in central London. My sister-in-law and I met up for brunch at this gorgeous restaurant for some contemporary British cuisine, and while the food and service was probably great, I kinda don’t even remember it since I was so totally focused on the décor… It seriously took my breath away.
I couldn’t stop staring at the ceilings, the frames, the backlit bar, the light fixtures, and any of the other hundreds of beautiful details that caught my eye. And then after staring at it, I was obsessed with trying to figure out ways of taking pictures without looking like a total tourist freak. It’s really no surprise at all that it has won multiple awards for best interior in the past few years.
I’d even seriously consider booking a night at the hotel next time, even though it’s totally unnecessary, if the décor is anything like the restaurant…
2. STICKS N SUSHI
When I leave Saudi, I crave good sushi. One of my favorite spots for sushi in the Middle East is Mirai in Bahrain (try the spicy edamame, their version of dynamite shrimp, spicy salmon and spicy tuna), but otherwise, I find trying new sushi restaurants in Saudi to be disappointing, unnecessarily expensive, and sadly, a waste of time.
My sister decided to take me to Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden for my lunchtime sushi fix. Sticks N Sushi is actually a Scandinavian-based Japanese restaurant and was voted the best sushi restaurant in Copenhagen. They even claim to be a sushi restaurant “for those who don’t like fish.” The lunch-time menu was group-friendly as they had many options for 2 or more people and it was great to be able to try multiple kinds of maki rolls without having to order too many pieces.
Overall, this restaurant was super solid! Not only was the food delicious, but the décor was on point. Simple, modern and full of charcoal grays, blacks and whites. It almost seemed like the sushi was supposed to be the colorful statement piece in a sea of neutrals! I also loved the fact that the menu actually shows you pictures of every single item – so helpful! And if you need to go with a non-sushi lover, they have lots of grilled options as well that looked super yummy.
Sticks N Sushi has multiple locations all around London, so make sure to check out their page to see which one you’re close to.
Photos Courtesy of Sticks N Sushi
3. PERGOLA ON THE ROOF
Now this place made me feel really cool.
It’s the perfect spot to chill out on a beautiful sunny day, eat some good food, and enjoy the amazing atmosphere.
The idea behind Pergola on the Roof is to take “unloved and unused spaces and turn them into unique, big and beautiful outdoor destinations” (source: Pergola on the Roof).
We took an elevator to the top of the White City location, a multi story car park, and after being seated at our colorful picnic bench, we ordered food from one of the four restaurant kiosks that they had there. While I normally would have gone for a burger from Patty and Bun, I decided to try the slightly messy, but quite satisfying chicken and baja fish street tacos from Breddos Tacos.
I can’t really say that the food is going to be the best you’ve had in London, but it’s not bad at all, and the atmosphere will make this an incredibly memorable experience overall!
4. ROTI CHAI STREET KITCHEN
I sometimes find ordering at Indian and Pakistani restaurants to be quite challenging. I often want to try multiple dishes, but the portion sizes are so large that ordering more than 2 or 3 dishes, to feed a couple of people, is more than enough food.
So what I really liked about Roti Chai is that it essentially solves my classic struggle with all of these restaurants. Besides offering super comforting Indian street food, they make it a point to serve smaller portions of food so that you can easily try multiple dishes!
The restaurant specializes in serving traditional Indian food with a contemporary twist. I thought that the atmosphere was fun and the flavors incredibly refreshing. Even my self-proclaimed foodie husband, who calls himself a South-Asian food expert, thought that “Roti Chai offered something exciting for even the most seasoned of palates.”
Legit review, right? 🙂
We had the Pani Puri, Aloo Papri Chaat and Chicken Samosa Chaat to start off with. We then ordered Manchurian Chicken, Railway Lamb Curry and Bun Kebabs as mains.
All of the food was great, but our favorite part of the meal was definitely the Chicken Samosa Chaat and the Bun Kebab – the Indian version of a burger made out of spicy lamb. So delisshh!!
Roti Chai also has a more formal restaurant downstairs, but the menu is supposed to be different so let me know how you like it if you get a chance to go!
5. THE MAYFAIR CHIPPY
A classic fish & chips meal is a staple in England, in general. I don’t care if you’re on a diet, or trying to avoid fried foods, you can’t leave without having it. So when I’m in London, and I need to indulge, I will make it a point to make a trip to “The Mayfair Chippy” for my cheat meal.
My mom and I actually found this place in the winter purely by accident. We were cold, starving, and walking around Oxford Street trying to find a decent place to eat when my mom noticed a small, unassuming fish and chips restaurant tucked away on one of the side streets.
I was expecting a typical pub type set up, but as soon as I saw the black and white checkered floors, white marble tables, brass light fixtures, subway tiles, and gorgeous watercolor paintings of fish to add the right pop of color, I knew I was in a place with some serious potential.
This summer was the second time I went, and I can’t seem to try anything else but the fish & chips. Apparently, they serve some of the British classics as well – shepherd’s pie and steak and kidney pudding – but I don’t think I’ll be trying anything else for a while. I’m good.
The portion sizes are quite large (as you can see from the picture), and while I’m not a huge fan of mushy peas, these were excellent! I loved it – the entire meal was worth every single fatty calorie.
Photos Courtesy of The Mayfair Chippy
FYI – London is one of those cities where you pretty much have to make a reservation for even thinking of going to a highly-rated restaurant. Places fill up really fast, and the last thing I want is for you to get turned away for not booking a spot. I called a restaurant this time to make a reservation the week I got there, and was told I couldn’t get a reservation for dinner for at least a week and a half. So make sure you plan out your nights accordingly!