My gosh you could go to London 10 times and still not eat everything you want! But I definitely tried to find all the best food in London during my 3-day visit. Similar to my second time in Amsterdam, food was the goal this time around more than seeing Buckingham Palace and London Bridge again. You know a lot about a culture when you eat their food. Given that London is a true, international city, they have the diverse cuisine to match. This post breaks down where to eat in London and some extra tips to make the most of your experience.
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Maltby Street Market
Markets on markets on markets! Similar to my foodie adventures in Berlin, there is no shortage of food markets that house some of the best food in London. From my conversations with expats and locals, Maltby Street Market is a lesser known market located away from the traditional touristy spots. However a smaller market normally means better food (just saying). I ordered 5 seafood and vegetarian dumplings for £7 and it left room for me to eat more while walking to see the other stalls. Though it may be a little premature, I think this was my favorite market stop. Go on a Sunday to see it in all its glory.
Pleasant Lady Jian Bing
For as little as £6, Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall will have your taste buds happily doing backflips. I opted for a traditional vegetarian Chinese egg crepe with onions, herbs, and a spicy sauce to top it all off. Pleasant Lady is a small stand not too far from the Leicester Square Underground stop around Covent Garden. I walked past it twice before realizing what it was! Your food is made right in front of you and it only takes a few minutes to make. There is no seating since it’s a stand, so the chef wraps it to go for you. In other words, it’s a cheap eat in London you can’t miss.
Fellow travel blogging friend Briona Lamback of You Me Lunch and Travel, who lives in London, said this was the food stand I NEEDED visit. She was right. This was easily one of the most flavorful meals and one of my top 5 places to eat in London. I would have never found it without her, so shoutout to her for the recommendation!
Eat of Eden
Again, travel bloggers for the win here because Briona, Caroline of Travel Eat Slay, and Cee Cee took me here my first night! For all my vegan (or even non-vegan) lovers, the vegan options here make it some of the best food in London. Located in one of the predominately-Black areas of London called Brixton, Eat of Eden is an indoor-outdoor restaurant to get all your vegan eats. They offer vegan burgers, wraps, salads, large plates, and other savory sides such as plantains, to satisfy all of your vegan needs.
Three of us shared one of their mixed plates for just under £17. With this plate, you can order 8 to 10 items off the menu in smaller portions to share. If you go with friends, I highly recommend this option and letting the chef pick your choices. It makes it more fun and who knows the food better than the people making it?
Prince of Peckham
Out in Peckham you can find flavorful food and drinks paired with a chill atmosphere at the Prince of Peckham. It’s a Black-owned bar that should be on your list of places to hit during happy hour in London! Their Prince of Peckham Rum Punch was the best drink I had during my trip. Happy hour drinks are £5 and I ordered some shrimp bites for £7 to compliment my drink. If I had more time, I would have definitely come back for a second visit. I loved the vibes so much.
There are so many places to eat in London and I can see why Camden Market is one of the most popular spots. Camden was my first foodie stop and set the tone for what would follow because the Indonesian food I ate here was divine. My dish was £8 and an entirely vegan, spicy mushroom curry with vegetables and rice.
However for context, I walked around the market 3 times before deciding on what to eat. Every food stand had their own cuisine, smell, style, and marketing to get you to eat with them. Pro tip: don’t be afraid to ask to try a dish! Many of the vendors are more than willing to give you a sample.
During my stay in London, my hostel was in King’s Cross. After Googling brunch spots near me, I found the cute and quaint Half Cup just a mere 10 minute walk from me. I selected the pancakes with an egg on top and cheese in the middle for £9.50. My meal normally comes with bacon too, however I don’t eat meat. Yet, while my meal was delicious, it was the French toast that caught me eye. They made me want to eat again, after I finished my pancakes.
Additionally, this leads me to another tip. To find the best food in London use Instagram! Had I looked up Half Cup and found their Insta, I would have seen how delicious the French toast looked before ordering. Using Instagram is a resourceful way to gauge how your food will look. Presentation isn’t everything, but it can aide in your decision-making.
Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane is known for their street art and vintage shopping, however foodies come for the market that makes the street come alive on the weekends. I found my way to an Ethiopian stand called Ethiopiques and grabbed their vegan plate for £7. But best believe, there is a cuisine here for you, including Thai and Indian options. Similar to Camden Market, the vendors will offer you a sample if you ask. From there, you can find the best meal for you.
This was a pleasant surprise to make my list of the best food in London! For £21 I ate some savory eggplants with caramelized onion and a bao, fried tofu burger with a drink that had the taste of an alcoholic jolly rancher. I had never eaten the soft, Vietnamese bun, called Bao, and my gosh I wanted more! The soft bun was a nice contrast to the fried tofu. While you can’t sample food at Yuu Kitchen like I mentioned at Camden Market, I do recommend asking your serve what’s good. That also worked in my favor here with the eggplant dish. Servers often know what and where to eat in London better than us bloggers, so relying on their recommendations is always helpful.
Though I didn’t actually eat at Peckham Levels, I still wanted to include it in this guide. Peckham is another predominately-Black area of London and this was a cool and slightly hidden spot in the area. Peckham Levels is a colorful haven of food, games, and more, which makes it kid-friendly too. They sell dumplings, burgers, and other delectable treats, however I opted for the £5 happy hour drinks at the bar. It’s not too far from the Prince of Peckham (mentioned above), so you can hit both happy hours like I did! If you are able to, the walk is under 15 minutes.
A foodie guide to London wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Beigel Bake. Probably one of the most iconic places to eat in London, Beigel Bake is known for having the best bagels in the city. It’s located in the hipster area of Shoreditch on Brick Lane, surrounded by vintage stores and other foodie finds. I ordered the salmon and cream cheese bagel for just under £2.50, so it also makes Beigel Bake one of the few cheap eats in London I visited. It’s a perfect stop for all the budget travelers out there!
Furthermore, a little FYI: the line can be long! If you go here in the morning be prepared to wait. If you don’t want to wait, head here closer to the end of the day. Additionally, Beigel Bake is open 24 hours! This gives you many chances to try the infamous bagels for yourself.
I can never get enough of markets and Borough Market was as grand as I expected! You can find Spanish paella and mushroom risotto made right in front of you. You can eat seafood, Ethiopian food, pasta, baked goods, and juices. I only ate a large cookie for £2.50, but there was so much I didn’t get a chance to see. The smell of each restaurant is intoxicating and distracting, so your senses will be in overload for all the right reasons. On any foodie list, you’ll find that Borough Market is one of the best places to eat in London that it houses some of the best food in London too. I can’t agree more.
In conclusion, three days was just not enough time to eat everything I hoped to eat! That means I can always make trips back. Being a foodie and budget traveler will clash in London, just because it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world, however the food is worth it. The quality, the flavor, the variety, everything makes eating the best food in London an adventure in itself.
What types of food do you gravitate towards while traveling? Is a certain cuisine your favorite?