I've been scouting around, watching videos from youtube and reviews about local food from London and Paris, just can't wait!!!!
This is the restaurants I found:
London - S&M, Golden Hind, Hampstead Creperie.
Paris - Berthillon ice cream parlour
what else :)?
Wonder any locals here knows which local restaurants to go for? It would be better to get advice from you guys rather than tour guide books, cause sometimes they turn out lousy hahaha. My family and I do not mind stalls and non high class restaurants, we would prefer to have simple food that locals would go for!!
I'm flying off in 2 days time!! oh my... Feed me please... thank you :DDDDDDD
in Paris you will find many restaurants or "bistrots" ! But I ate there long :
I have fond a good memory !
Have a nice trip !
Vero ( excuse for my English!)
Not sure whereabouts you are in London? There is a lovely Mexican in Clapham High Street SW4, called Cafe Sol.
What kind of food do you like? I could talk about London food all day! :)
As for what is really traditional London fare, you'll want fish & chips (certainly try the golden hind for fish, chips & mushy peas - but do not stay for dessert! fish & chips they can do... dessert, really no.) and pie & mash (you've got bangers and mash covered at S&M that you already listed). But because those are the local dishes tourists want to try, you'll get plenty of places with signs outside saying they have amazing fish and chips or whatever and really no local would eat there. A good rule of thumb is after 5pm, unless it is bucketing down (and sometimes still then), any pub that has a good reputation with locals will have a crowd outside! Never trust a mostly-empty pub! :) Your best bet might be the Spitalfields area, as Poppie's does amazing fish & chips and Square Pie Company does pie & mash fabulously. You'd also be close to Brick Lane, which is basically the curry headquarters of London, especially of an evening.
Some of London's best food is to be found at the markets, though most markets are only on certain days of the week so it helps to schedule a bit otherwise you'll walk up to find nothing there. Sad times. :) The biggest market for food is Borough Market, near London Bridge. It's for both ingredients you take away to cook yourself and for food you eat right now. It's open for the lunch time Monday to Wednesday and longer on Thursday to Saturday - though it always closes around 5 or 6. One of my favourite markets for just eating is the Southbank Real Food Market - it's just Friday to Sunday, and it's behind the Royal Festival Hall, so if you walk the Southbank you could miss it, but it's just a stone's throw from the London Eye. SO much good food there - I've never left without being stuffed! My local market is Greenwich, which is a tourist attraction in itself (but sadly much of our big park is closed right now in preparation for the Olympics). The market in Greenwich is bigger at the weekend, smaller during the week and closed on Mondays - it's part food, part something else with each day having a different theme. The food stalls that come every day tend to be different kinds of international foods rather than British, but the corner of the market is home to Goddard's, London's oldest surviving pie & mash shop. Lots of places in Greenwich have signs about the fish & chips - they lie. Don't have fish & chips there - all the market traders have far superior food! :) Soho is also a real foodie destination of late - Old Compton Street is mostly big places that aren't particularly noteworthy, but wander the smaller side streets and there is all sorts of goodness to be found. there's even inamo there which is a crazy (but delish) place where you order from a projection on the table instead of talking to a waiter. you pay a lot for the gimmick there but there are all price ranges present nearby, from street food to formal dining. :)
Three places that are growing rapidly so I suppose the quality may eventually slip, but right now they are quite good: Byron for burgers (they are springing up everywhere so you'll inevitably pass one - Covent Garden, Leicester Square, South Kensington by the museums, Greenwich riverside just to start), Pieminster for pie & mash (Borough Market and dotted about elsewhere in both shops and markets) and Wahaca for the British twist on Mexican food (original restaurant is between Covent Garden and Charing Cross station). There is a lot of *bad* Mexican in London, but Wahaca has led a trend to reverse that, so now there is a bit of both! Wahaca features a menu of Mexican-inspired street food made with British-grown ingredients, and you order lots of bits and pieces to share on the table or if you're on your own or don't like sharing there are regular plates on the menu too. Ottolenghi has four cafes now and is lush - a real foodie heaven.
I know it seems mad because England is known for tea, but right now London is in the middle of a real coffee renaissance so there are some amazing coffee places to try if you like coffee done right. Yes, there is a Starbucks or two on every single corner, but the independently owned cafes are the same price with a world of difference in the quality. (Admittedly, they don't serve frappuccinos, so you win some, you lose some.) Some of them are just coffee, but many also do excellent food as well. Depending on where you are, you might try... Notes (Covent Garden behind the opera house or St Martin's Lane near the National Portrait Gallery & Trafalgar Square); Flat White, Milkbar or Foxcroft & Ginger (all in Soho, within about 2 minutes of each other); Prufrock or The Dept of Coffee & Social Affairs (both on Leather Lane near Holborn); Workshop Coffee (amazing brunch! on clerkenwell and a smaller shop minus brunch in marylebone); Kaffeine (near Oxford Street), Nude Espresso (near Spitalfields); Coffee Plant (near Notting Hill Gate); or Taylor Street Baristas (if you're further west). Sacred is a small chain and is also quite good. :) Admittedly if you don't like coffee, that's not really useful at all!
London chefs are quite good at putting a twist on something, and places with simple menus are often reallllly good. If you like shellfish, try Burger & Lobster near Green Park. Abeno between Leicester Square and Covent Garden does okonomiyaki Japanese style (cooked on the table right in front of you) but their specials menu almost always includes some twist of Japanese + British that is usually quite funny as well as yummy. (Last week they were running a special in line with a football match where they made the food look like a football pitch, of all things!)
Anyway - there is much good stuff to be found but definitely some losers too so go with your gut instinct of what looks awesome and what doesn't. If you ask for suggestions at the hotel or anything, ask if the employee is a foodie or not - there is a definite divide between people who love food here and people who just go where is convenient. And you've probably already guessed this, but if you're used to Malaysian food, you will find things here on the bland side! My husband spent much of his childhood in Singapore so is more used to the scale of what is hot and mild, and he will order something extra extra hot and says it's not hot at all. Meanwhile I grew up without much spicy food so I'll order the not-hot version and still find it spicy! :) So if you like the spice, don't be afraid to tell them so! :)
Okay... now I'm too hungry and need to go find some food! ;-) Enjoy your trip!!!
Whoa. Shimelle, I live in London and even I learned something from your awesome and informative post! I was just coming to recommend a rather small and obscure creperie on Exhibition Road just up from the Natural History Museum in the direction of South Kensington station. It's just called the Creperie but it's the nicest crepes I've had!
And. Loving the World Food court in the Stratford Westfield... it's my local, LOL.
Finally, what Shimelle said: any place worth it salt is the place you find the locals at, especially when it is raining. This is the same wherever you travel: if you want authentic and good food? Find the places the locals like and go there. It may not be the prettiest eatery about, but the food will most definitely be worth it :)