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When it comes to food, London is among the most eclectic cities on Earth. Thanks to the sheer diversity of people who call Britain’s capital home, it plays host to an abundance of cuisines, both old and new, exotic and familiar.

London is a little different from most cities. People travel here not only for the legacy food culture but also for culinary innovation. The city is rife with chefs and restaurants willing to push the envelope and try new things. There’s a real entrepreneurial zeal here, with competition pushing standards ever higher. Food aficionados describe London as the most diverse and exciting capital city in the world.

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What traditional British food can you eat in London?

To say that Britain has no food culture of its own is not entirely true. While it is heavily influenced by imported cuisines, there are places that still serve the type of food that was around before the multicultural boom.

A full English breakfast is a good example. This smorgasbord of delights – eggs (either scrambled or fried), bacon, sausages, baked beans and fried bread – is still going strong.

If you’re looking for the best example of a full English, you don’t have to go to an expensive eatery – regular establishments will do just fine. Two places to try are Half Cup, located on Judd Street in Holborn, and Terry’s Café on Great Suffolk Street in Elephant and Castle. Some restaurants will also add traditional black pudding (a patty of congealed sheep’s blood), hash browns, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Those looking for fish and chips should check out Poppy’s in Camden and Shoreditch. Portions are large and prices are low.

For Sunday roast and Yorkshire puddings, there are three places to check out: Anchor and Hope in Waterloo, Windsor Castle in Notting Hill, and The Three Stags close to Kennington. Surprisingly, prices at Windsor Castle are affordable and portions are good too.

If you’re looking for Eton Mess – named after the prestigious boys’ public school – go to the National Gallery. It has a café that serves a traditional version of the dish – crushed meringue, strawberries, cream and, sometimes, vanilla ice cream.

Lastly, for afternoon tea – a unique way to enjoy a range of quintessentially British sandwiches, cakes and scones – go to Fortnum & Mason Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly. Prices are steep, but the presentation is exquisite.

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Where can you get authentic Indian food in London?

London is home to some of the best Indian food outside of Bengal. After WWII, Britain invited thousands of Indian migrants to settle in the city to work in the NHS and help rebuild. After a few years, they began setting up restaurants recreating the tastes of India, clustering on Brick Lane.

Most Indian food is “Anglo-Indian” and originally emerged under the British Raj from the 1810s. However, for many people, this version of Indian cuisine isn’t “authentic” enough. While it offers a taste of India, it is quite different from the subcontinent’s traditional fare.

For those looking for the original, head to Drummond Street, close to Euston Station in central London. Here, you’ll find what looks like a row of townhouses. However, as you walk down the street, you’ll find various restaurants that serve South Asian dishes, including Lahore and Mumbai-style street food.

Here you can get dosa (a type of filled south Indian pancake), sambar (a lentil and tamarind stew), daals, vegetables and rice, pickles and homemade chapatis. Popular eateries include Chutney’s, Euston Spice, Taste of India and Drummond Villa Restaurant.

Does London have any fine dining Michelin star restaurants?

If you’re looking to sample the most sophisticated tastes in the world, London is a great place to be.

The first place to check out is Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant near Limehouse, close to the Isle of Dogs, just up the road from the famous Grapes public house. Here you’ll dine on reasonably priced dishes while enjoying beautiful views over the Thames. Sit in the middle, among more than 4,500 illuminated optical fibres. These drop from the ceiling during dining, offering diners privacy while helping them feel connected to the rest of the restaurant at the same time.

Those wanting to take the experience up a notch should head to Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, one of only three restaurants in the capital to have three Michelin stars. The most famous table is the Table Lumiére. If you’re looking for something equally high-brow, you might consider Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, perhaps the most experimental British chef of all time. The establishment, located close to Hyde Park, is widely regarded as the best place to eat in the UK and serves traditional British food with Heston’s unique twist.

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What food festivals are there in London?

We should also mention that London is home to a variety of food festivals. Top of the list is Taste of London, which usually takes place in the summer. Guests get to enjoy five days of continuous eating, sampling everything from savoury dishes to desserts.

Many of London’s most famous restaurants provide samples of their signature dishes for you to try at the event, with live demonstrations from Michelin star chefs. Happy punters can also take part in masterclasses. These show them how to make dishes like the pros.

Tickets start at around £17. The event takes place close to Regent's Park, close to Camden.

Anyone interested in vegan food should also check out VegFest. This event runs annually at Olympia London in the autumn. It’s a chance for new brands and startups to show off their vegan cuisine. You’ll enjoy vegan burgers, smoothies, crepes, sandwiches and cakes, all totally free from animal products.

Food Tours In London

Of course, covering all of London’s diverse food culture would require an entire book. This post hasn’t discussed Dishoom – a restaurant that draws inspiration from Iranian cafés in Bombay, or Andina, a Peruvian restaurant that serves braised belly pork, rib-eye steak and chicken – or any of the other countless restaurants dotted around the capital.

However, we hope we have gotten the message across. No matter what type of cuisine you’re looking for, you can find it in London. The city is literally teeming with fascinating and niche restaurants, so happy hunting.

If you’d like to experience more of London’s food and drink, then be sure to check out tabl. With us, you can find a directory of food and wine tours in the capital, introducing you to everything the city has to offer your taste buds.

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