London is a wonderful city, full of a multitude of absolutely wonderful, unique things, varying anywhere between unique fashion, art opportunities, activities and, of course, foods.
It’s incredible in terms of any food — it’s so much easier to find international delicacies here in London than it is anywhere else in Europe or, even, the UK. However don’t let that fool you — just because you can try anything from anywhere in the world doesn’t mean that there’s nothing native to London to enjoy here.
From the most popular drunk meals at two in the morning, to the most beloved foods throughout the day, here’s a list of things that are beloved by all Londoners, and I would recommend you try if passing through.
Salt beef bagels
An absolutely iconic drunk meal treat, salt beef bagels are quite popular throughout the day as well; with the ratio of one bagel to some pickles to an absolute ton of beef rarely leaves anyone unsatisfied. Unless you don’t like salt — but that’s food technicalities, am I right?
It’s one of those sandwich situations where there’s three times more filling than there is bread. And really, who doesn’t love some of that?
Where to try:
The most iconic location (yet not the only location, of course) for salt beef bagels remains Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. Which is unsurprising: it’s cheap, it’s delicious, it’s popular and it’s, well, on Brick Lane. And as we know, everything is on Brick Lane.
However, beware: during certain hours of the day, usually closer to the evening, you might end up in a proper queue. As long as you don’t mind — you’re set, though. For twenty-four hours, no less. It’s one of the very few places in London that work round the clock, and who doesn’t love some of that.
159 Brick Ln, Shoreditch, London E1 6SB
The iconic afternoon tea
The iconic British meal that isn’t, factually, a meal at all — afternoon tea made from delicious English brews and accompanied by decadent snacks and pastries is a most wonderful timepass with friends and family, where you can just relax and feel properly posh.
Where to try:
While there’s a very wide selection of fantastic places to enjoy afternoon tea at, I would absolutely recommend Claridge’s in Manchester. It is a gorgeous little place with the most traditional and authentic afternoon tea experience available. It offers a wonderful selection of food and desserts, and is overall gorgeous and very pleasant.
One thing to beware of: it’s important to get a reservation before getting in. You know, popular places.
Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR
Bangers and mash
…which is just a British name for sausages with mashed potatoes. However, don’t let that fool you: they’re traditional British sausages, full of delicious, real meat, served with mashed potatoes and gravy. I wasn’t convinced it’s as good as people say until I tried it — and boy, was this food worth it.
Where to try:
MotherMash is one of the most popular locations for this — I’d say the name is quite telling.
Besides the bangers that I’m talking about here, this location offers a various selection of iconic UK foods, and a number of different options for you to improve the recipe according to your own tastes, with all kinds of additions to and variations of both the types of mashes and bangers.
They have veggie options, too, which is quite rare for this particular dish.
26 Ganton St, Soho, London W1F 7QZ
Fish and chips
Of course, how could you possibly go to London without trying some authentic fish and chips?
This dish might sound basic — like, it’s just battered, deep fried fish with chips, right? This food does sound basic, but there are a lot of places in London that prepare it fantastically; besides, eating something like this in London gives it a special feeling, and a special taste.
Where to try:
Poppies Fish & Chips, Spitalfields, would be my go-to place. Located not far from Brick Lane (yet again — everything is on Brick Lane, or next to it) it’s traditional taste and iconic, 50s decorum is the perfect experience.
6-8 Hanbury St, Spitalfields, London E1 6QR