London is a diverse, international city with a wide variety of cuisines to enjoy. Learn more about what to eat in London for the full experience.
British food has a reputation. Specifically, if you want to experience the great foods of Europe…don’t go to England.
While London isn’t the home of pizza or macarons, there’s a distinct pleasure and coziness that you can only find at an English pub.
And within English pubs, there’s a ton of traditional British food that’s well worth a taste (and some less traditional food, too). Here’s your complete guide for what to eat in London.
Fish and Chips
London without fish and chips is like London without the Queen, red phone booths, or double-decker buses.
Rare is a food so comforting as fish and chips, a deep-fried fillet of cod, haddock, or plaice and served with thick, fried slices of potatoes (chips, thicker than the American fries) and boiled or mashed peas.
London’s oldest fish and chip shop (or chippie) still in operation in Rock and Sole Plaice, dating back to 1871. But the East End is where the working class propelled the dish into the culinary culture.
You could go for the nostalgia, but for the absolute best chippies in London, check out this guide.
Full English Breakfast
It’s a national institution, albeit a recent one–the various components of the dish, particularly the meat, weren’t cheap enough to be available to the masses until the 1960s.
A number of shops offer a truly great full English breakfast, but one of the common mentions is the Wolseley.
Alright, we may have lied. There might actually be a staple that’s almost as classic as fish and chips: afternoon tea.
If anything, afternoon tea is the epitome of English tradition (just don’t confuse it with high tea).
Traditional afternoon tea consists of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream (not to be confused with biscuits), various pastries, and your choice of tea, the quintessential Anglophile drink.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
When you need a taste of something sweet, stop in at a pub for some sticky toffee pudding.
To be clear: when Brits say pudding, they mean something different than their American cousins (thanks, Great British Baking Show!)
English pudding dates back to 1305 when the Middle English word “poding” referred to a meat-filled animal stomach. Happily, modern pudding has a different connotation.
In general, it means dessert, though it can be sweet or savory (see: black pudding).
Sticky toffee pudding comes from Scotland and consists of dense sponge cake made with chopped dates and topped with a rich toffee sauce. And if you need some ideas about where to find this joy of life, check out this list.
Less Traditional Eats: World Cuisine in London
Now, full disclosure: British pub food isn’t the only great food you can find in London. In fact, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t explore the other amazing cuisines available here.
Indian food, for example, is known to be spectacular in London. Seriously, you’ll never want to order takeout Indian food in America again.
But there are also some delightfully hip and inventive restaurants populating the London food scene, particularly in the best Japanese restaurants in London.
What to Eat in London, What to See in Europe
Now that you know what to eat in London, it’s time to book your flight!
Seriously, if you get a chance to stay or live in the UK, you may not want to go home again.
Check out the blog for more tips and ideas to make your travel experience the best one yet, like this post on why you can’t miss Champion’s Day at Cheltenham.