I know what you’re thinking.
London is full of them, and it just can’t be helped. There are always going to be spots which thrive for no apparent reason other than you’re hungry and they’re in the right place. But your time is valuable okay, and your money is well earned. So wouldn’t you like to spend those things somewhere a little better?
Mmmhm, I thought as much.
Here’s our Top Guide to the spots you should dip out on, and where to try in their place.
Where not to go: Angus Steakhouse, Leicester Square.
I don’t know a single person who has ever ventured into an Angus Steakhouse, but as they’ve been happily sitting in Leicester Square for absolutely zonks, clearly they’re doing something right. Maybe you’ve just come out of a long and tedious play, or you simply want to come out of the cold; you’re craving comfort, familiarity and low key vibes. You’d like a steak. Angus Steakhouse seems like a safe choice. Right? Wrong.
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🇸🇰/🇬🇧 🍗Steak v Angus Steak House, ktorý má po Londýne mnoho prevádzok. Samotný steak bol fajn, ale trošku studenší a menej dochutený. Cibuľové krúžky mi prišli príliš mastné, barbeque omáčka určite nebola domáca a to všetko za naozaj nemalú sumu 😣 Najlepšie z toho boli jednoznačne domáce batátové hranolky 🍟 ************************************************* 🍗Finally some steak time at Angus Steak House which has couple of restaurants across London. The steak itself was good but a little bit cold and less seasoned. Onion rings were too greasy for me, bbq sauce wasn't certainly homemade and it all costed too much money 😣The best part of it were definitely sweet potato fries🍟
Where to go instead? Flat Iron, Covent Garden.
My personal favourite branch of this yes, basic, and basically delicious steakhouse. Flat Iron may be stripped of pretension but it’s sizzling with style. The covent garden setting is a glamorous and buzzing venue split over two floors. With art deco embellishments, mirrors, soft lighting and jazzy numbers, it’s a very good choice for a (somewhat cheap) date. The menu is simple; you get yourself a nice little steak and salad for a tenner, and there are a few very good sides to choose from. The aubergine parmigiana is incredible, the creamed spinach addictive, and the sauces are a treat. There’s no dessert menu, but rather a cone of sumptuous salted caramel ice cream rolled in hand shaved chocolate to go on the way out. It works.
Where not to go: The breakfast club, Soho.
Oh The breakfast club. You were great, once upon a time when London had very limited brunch options. But those days have passed.
London is now a hub of casual brunching and as a result, your brunch no longer needs to be dry and poorly buttered toast with a few artistically placed slices of avocado, topped with micro herbs. There is always a queue for The breakfast club. Midweek, midday; it doesn’t matter when, there is always a queue and whilst there are some things in life worth queuing for (I’m looking at you elusive Hamilton tickets), this just isn’t one of them. You can get more bang for your buck elsewhere.
Where to go instead? Abuelo, Covent Garden.
This intimate spot is tucked away just off Covent Garden and is all about casual brunching and beautiful dishes packed with flavour. They’re lovely to look at, yes, but unlike much of the competition there is both style and substance here. The plates are delicious, seasonal and will satisfy you on both a physical and emotional level. A sound winner is their Honey whipped mascarpone on sourdough, with fresh figs & crushed pistachios. Yes, it really does taste as good as it sounds, hitting all the right spots at a price which won’t make you weep internally.
Where not to go: Borough Market, London Bridge.
When you think of classic food markets, you think of Borough Market. Rookie mistake. Pricier than it needs to be, crowded so heavily one can barely move on a Saturday afternoon, and no longer filled with some of the traders which gave it that amazing reputation, Borough Market is not what it used to be. Bread Ahead is there still, but luckily there are easier ways to get your Bread Ahead fix- which don’t involve battling through the masses.
Where to go instead? Victoria Park Market, Bethnal Green.
Do you like tranquil landscaped parks? Water? A LOT of dogs? Excellent traders? Then Victoria Park Market is probably your jam.
It hasn’t received the Timeout boost yet, so whilst it does bustle on a sunday afternoon, there is generally a bearable and buzzing vibe. As opposed to, you know, so busy it’s invoking general panic and fear. You can, currently, find gems such as A Pie Party and The Piadina Project, both of which are top freaking notch okay.
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Finally got myself down to @meltsmiths at Victoria Market 🧀 If you’re looking for a cheese toastie… look no further. I went with the classic and I absolutely loved it!! Thanks @whataleats for helping me with the pic 📸 . Such a beautiful market at @victoriaparkmkt – with all the dogs running around and everyone is so friendly I could have stayed all day 😊 . #invited
Where not to go: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Leicester Square.
I get it. You’re hungry and you want something fried and you don’t want to walk super far because the crowds are super draining.
“This looks okay.” You say to the wife.
“Fine.” Your wife is also hungry, this is the closest you’re going to get to approval so you take it. You both take the plunge.
And you go inside.
And you pay £12.95 for a margarita and £20.25 for a plate of “I’m Stuffed!” Shrimp & Breadcrumbs. You are not stuffed, just saddened and questioning of your own life decisions.
Where to go instead: Misato, Soho.
Literally anywhere is better, but since you’re craving breaded goodness, you are likely to really appreciate the crisp, golden goodness of Misato’s signature Katsu. A cosy vibe, and friendly, unobtrusive service, this is good, hearty food in a relaxed and very casual environment. It’s no frills, no branding; just good honest dishes served generously.