I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that loves London more than my friend, Greg. He’s the first real anglophile I’ve ever met and the only person I know that takes a trip to London any time he plans a vacation.
Because he’s so knowledgeable of London and because he’s got GREAT taste in restaurants, I asked him if I could publish the Best Things to Do in London List! I’m hoping this will help anyone out who is planning on traveling to London and want tips from the King of London himself!
Best Things to Do in London by Greg Ogarrio
He starts with food, of course…
Food Food Food
- Amaya in Belgravia for Indian. My fave Indian in the known world. Tapas-like dishes. Elegant. Pricey.
- Masala Zone, any branch (Soho, Camden Town, Covent Garden) for Indian. The Railway Chicken Curry is my pure heaven, I could eat that every day. But their entire menu is wonderful.
- Franco Manca for pizza on Tottenham Court Road near Goodge Street tube. Ate there three times in a week the last trip. Neapolitan pizza supreme to weep over.
- Pizza Express, any branch. The American Hot w/jalapeños is one of all-time fave pies, always first meal off the plane to London
- Hakkasan (Hanway Place near Tottenham Court Road tube) or Yauthcha (Soho) for dim sum. Beyond belief, IMHO.
- Patogh (Crawford Place near Edgeware Road) or Alounak (Westbourne Grow) for Persian. Patogh is like an Iranian café: small, cozy, working class and a favourite of English food personality Nigella Lawson and serves bread as big as a small table. Alounak, a more proper sit-down restaurant, has the most ethereal Persian bread!
- Canteen (Southbank near Royal Festival Hall) or Mother Mash (Ganton Street, Soho) for English bangers and mash.
- Charlotte Street Hotel (Fitzrovia) for elegant breakfast.
- Fish and Chips: Almost any place will do. Fryer’s Delight, North Sea Fish Restaurant, Masters Super Fish, Sea Shell.
- Sticky toffee pudding for desert at Winter Garden inside Landmark Hotel (Marylebone).
Drinks Drinks Drinks
- Duke’s Hotel Bar in St. James’s—inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond! Had the greatest bespoke martinis of my life there!
- Claridge’s Fumoir Bar (art deco paradise) in Mayfair. “If I were meeting God for a cocktail, I’d go here.” <—quote from my fave Londonguidebook.
- Hakkasan has the coolest bar (see dim sum above).
- OXO Tower Bar and Brasserie in Southbank—to-die for views of the Thames and St. Paul’s. Romantic. Sweeping.
- Coffee: Fernandez & Wells (Soho)
- Coffee: Monmouth Coffee Co. (Seven Dials)
- Coffee: Lantana (Charlotte Place)
- Coffee: Tap Coffee on Tottenham Court Road (near Warren Street tube)
- Avoid eating in Chinatown unless you like mediocre food and clueless tourists.
- Avoid drinking at Starbucks. If you must go to a chain, why not try a cool English chain like “Café Nero” instead?
Culture To Do’s
- See a West End play.
- Walk through Soho at night.
- Hear jazz at Ronnie Scotts in Soho.
- Run through Regent’s Park or Hyde Park, almost like a religious experience in the morning.
- Climb to the top of Primrose Hill.
- Let it be by crossing Abbey Road.
- See the Turners and other Impressionism masterpieces at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Free.
- See the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles, and Mummies in the British Museum. Free.
Transport To Do’s
- Walk or take a black cab across Westminster Bridge or the Albert Bridge at sunset.
- Ride a double decker bus down Oxford Street or up Shaftesbury Avenue through Piccadilly Circus.
- Ride the London Underground anywhere.
- Portobello Road on Saturday morning—and 202 for breakfast on Westbourne Grove
- Covent Garden for shops, street performers, London vibe.
- Bond Street for haute couture.
- Borough Market near London Bridge south of the Thames
- Camden Town—especially if you like leather.
- Petticoat Lane market near East End.
- Hatchard’s on Piccadilly or Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road for books.
- Lush, Burberry on Regent Street.
- Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly.
- Food Halls at Harrod’s, especially sweets rooms