We travel for the food of it! Food just MAKES the trip. And we have found the best food for a day in London. If you only have 24 hours, this is your list!
Patisserie Valerie – Just like most European establishments, you can stay as long as you want-worked on my laptop for 2 hours, and they let me be. Look at this croissant and cappuccino! Their mugs are huge helpings of coziness. As if that wasn’t enough caffeine, I ordered their hot chocolate.
Oh my word, it was like drinking chocolate stew – that thick of a consistency. Think Starbucks Hot Chocolate with more chocolate flavor and more thickened hotness…and then having the shakes for the next hour. Next time I won’t order coffee; I’ll just take a bath in that hot chocolate!
Borough Market – Vendors from all over the world sell their best tastes here. It’s under a metro track, so if it rains, you’re good. If it’s hot, you’re shaded. You want the side for tourists-not the market with raw meat for locals. The most important part: where are the bathrooms? The single, clean bathrooms are right in the middle of the touristy section; you may have to ask a friendly Englishman.
Indian, Middle Eastern, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Thai pancakes, cheese from Parma, hash, pig roasting on a stake, Bakery School bread… you just stand around and eat and people watch. No pushy salesmen either. Oh, and you can pay with credit card.
Look at this fresh, dense fudge! I got this super creamy hummus with a spinach bread; he was out of pita by 1 pm on a weekday! I’ve heard that on the weekends, it can be shoulder to shoulder. Get there early if you can. And bring your bottles of water that you can stash in your back packs to wash down your delicious lunch…or dessert.
Now getting there is easy. Just take the Tube (underground metro) to London Bridge and while you’re still in the subway station, look for the black signs telling you which side of the street to exit for Borough Market. The first time, we didn’t look for the signs. But a friendly Englishman smiled as he told us directions. They’re so friendly!!!
Dining in caves that you can barely stand up straight in can be quite an experience! But it was a beautiful day so we made sure we got to Gordon’s Patio and Wine Bar early afternoon. Or at their opening hour of noon. This is the oldest wine bar in London. They tell you on a sign that they only serve wine and to not ask for beer haha. Wine Bar. You can go here for a full meal, or you can just go through their “salad bar” that’s not really a salad bar.
We recommend you have someone in your party snag a table outside on the super-long patio that fills up quicker than you can say, “Will you grab us a table?” Then you get two wooden plates and fill it up with olives, cheese from Italy, Spain or France, Spanish Jamon (prosciutto type), gherkins, loaves of bread…all for $10.95 a plate. You can fill it up! Then you would pay for that and your wine or order wine from your table – but that could take forever. Remember that Europeans are into lounging, and the patio is seriously super-long and narrow, so the servers may not notice you. I could’ve stayed here for hours!
Finding it can be tricky. Get off at the Embankment stop and go out toward the Starbucks umbrella side. You will just see a tiny patio with a few Starbucks umbrellas. Then go left so that you’re walking by the little garden, and you will run into the Patio. You have to look closely for it, or use your phone to get there: 47 Villiers Street.
For dinner we highly recommend the area of St Christopher’s Place. It is an area of eclectic sidewalk shops and restaurants; Parisian-like outdoor seating right up to the edge of the sidewalk. However, cars can only go one way so it’s not exactly Parisian. There are sidewalk cafes on two parallel streets. We heard about La Tasca-a tapas restaurant. Tapas is Spanish for “small plates.” It has an extensive drink and small plates menu, and IF you have room, you can order their Paella. It comes in a black skillet on a raised platform. We only ordered small plates. I highly recommend the Croquettes-3 creamy cheesiness with just enough chicken. Think crispy balls called Croquettes-for plain Jane eaters. Comfort food to a T! Take your time and enjoy people watching and relaxation! Make yourself eat slowly and European-y.
HOW TO GET THERE: 30 – 34 James Street past the Forever 21 store near Hyde Park on Oxford Street.
POP over to my Instagram, and let’s be friends.