8 of London’s Must-Visit Restaurants for First Timers

As a student, 10-15 pounds would have been an expensive dinner, reserved only to celebrate birthdays. With that budget, it was hard to appreciate the expertise and good food on offer all over London.

So returning to the city as an adult a few years later, finally with money to spend, I got around to properly exploring food in London. Hong Kong may already be known for good food, but I was impressed to a whole new level by the restaurants in London. The thing is, compared with Hong Kong, it’s hard to find good cheap eats in London. But as long as you’re willing to spend, good food is amazing for a relatively decent price.

It’s difficult to pick out a handful of restaurants because there are too many outstanding ones. But here’s a list of the ones I think you must consider.

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1. Burger & Lobster (Lunch/Dinner)

Last year, I was in London for two days and tried Burger & Lobster for the first time. It was the one restaurant I revisited this trip and is always my number one recommendation! For 20 pounds, you can choose either a burger, a lobster or a lobster roll – it comes with fries and a salad too. I always go with the lobster roll because I’m too lazy to de-shell crustaceans, but I can vouch for both lobster dishes!

Location: Soho
Address: 36-38 Dean St, Soho, W1D 4PS
Price per person: 20-30 pounds

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2. Granger & Co. (Breakfast/Brunch)

Definitely get the ricotta hotcakes! They were extremely moist and had mini chunks of ricotta inside. Topped with honeycomb butter and syrup, this was one of the most unforgettable brunch items I had in London. I went to the King’s Cross branch and the natural lighting was so comfortable, while the ambience was relaxing. Good quality ingredients were also used in the other breakfast items.

Location: King’s Cross
Address: Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square, N1C 4AG
Price per person: 15-20 pounds

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3. Chiltern Firehouse (Breakfast)

Famous for housing celebrities, I didn’t attempt getting a reservation for dinner. Instead, I came for breakfast on a weekday, because their blueberry pancakes looked most appealing to me anyway. This luxury hotel is a former fire station, an extremely beautiful one – I almost want to say that’s reason enough to come. But thankfully the breakfast food was delicious and equally a good reason to be here. The buttermilk pancakes were made perfectly. We also tried the truffle egg soldiers which were addictive too.

Location: Marylebone
Address: 1 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PA
Price per person: 20-25 pounds

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4. Duck & Waffle (Brunch/Lunch/Dinner)

Duck and Waffle may be famous for that and rightly so, because it’s an interesting and delicious combo, featuring perfectly cooked duck confit. But as I outlined in the full review, it also boasts a beautiful 40th floor view of London, a great ambience and delicious food aside from the duck. I was particularly impressed with the steak tartare.

Location: Liverpool Street Station
Address: 110 Bishopsgate, Heron Tower 40/F, EC2N 4AY
Price per person: 50 pounds

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5. Spitalfields Market (Lunch)

I was really surprised by Spitalfields Market. It was hip, populated with flee market stalls and boutique stores too. Within it is Bleecker Street burgers – they are so juicy and medium rare-ingly good that even non-Londoners would see it pop up on their news feeds. It was exactly that. Poppies is also a good spot next door for some good old fish and chips.

Location: Spitalfields Market (near Liverpool Street Station)
Address: Hornersfield, Spitalfields, E1 6EW
Price per person: 10-15 pounds

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6. Ceviche (Dinner)

This was my favourite dinner spot in our whole trip. To be fair, it’s my first time having Peruvian ceviche so part of the amazement comes from this aspect too. I loved all the ceviches we tried – so flavourful and refreshing. We also tried the beef heart which was fun. The wine was delicious and decently priced (20 ish pounds). The atmosphere is a little too noisy, but the vibes are good in general.

Location: Soho
Address: 17 Frith Street, W1D 4RG
Price per person: 40 pounds

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7. Barrafina (Dinner)

When you go to a place like London, it’s practically custom to ask each one of your Londoners for their “list” of places to eat. I’ve collected a lot of these lists and Barrafina became my number one must-visit restaurant this time round because it was in every. single. list. Spotting this pattern, I inquired further to receive the common response: “Yes, it’s my favourite. You have to go!”. It’s Spanish style tapas and all the dishes are cooked so perfectly, especially the seafood. But do expect to wait in line for 30 mins – 1 hour. It’s sorta worth it.

Location: Soho
Address: 54 Frith Street, W1D 4SL
Price per person: 50 pounds

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8. MASH Steakhouse (Dinner)

I’m always looking for good steakhouses. MASH became my steakhouse choice of the trip and I had no regrets! We ordered the Danish beef and it was so strong and pleasantly gamey. Game is not really my thing but sometimes it works very favourably in beef and this was the time. All the steaks were cooked perfectly with a good amount of chargrilled-ness to it. The ambience was also very spacious and American steakhouse-like.

Location: Soho
Address: 77 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN
Price per person: 100 pounds (~70 if we take out the bottle of wine)

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