If you’re planning a food-filled trip to the capital and want to know where to eat, stay and play, you’ve come to the right place. It’s no secret that London thrums with world-famous restaurants, award-winning bars and streetfood markets showcasing an eclectic variety of cuisines from all around the world, but knowing where your time is best spent is half the challenge. That’s why we’ve curated this guide to a foodie weekend in London. From decadent sandwich shops and bottomless brunches to floating cocktail bars and farm-to-table cafés, here’s our guide on where to go if you’re a foodie looking to explore the city via your tastebuds.
Guide to a foodie weekend in London
In this guide
- Where to stay
- Where to grab lunch
- What to do
- Weekend brunch spots
- Pre-dinner pub drinks
- Where to eat dinner
- Where to drink
- Food and drink shops
Where to stay
A foodie heaven
As a foodie you’re spoilt for choice at The Savoy Hotel. Whether you want to sample their world-famous afternoon tea or wine and dine at some of the best hotel restaurants and bars in the city, you’re in for a tasty treat. Enjoy the best of British grub at Savoy Grill by Gordon Ramsay or chow down on seafood and shellfish at the River Restaurant followed by a late-night tipple at the luxurious American Bar, the longest surviving cocktail bar in London and one of the most renowned in the world.
Mexican and Italian with a side of epic views
If the chic aesthetic of Treehouse Hotel isn't enough to make you book a stay here, then perhaps the restaurant will be. Madera is the sister restaurant of Los Angeles-based Toca Madera and serves reimagined Mexican fare in a pretty setting with epic London skyline views. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner Mexican-style, or enjoy pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza, where seasonal produce is at the heart of every dish. For drinks you have The Nest, a bustling rooftop bar decked out with hanging foliage and spectacular city views.
Top spot for dinner and drinks
NoMad London is located in a beautiful, historic grade II-listed building in the heart of Covent Garden. But it offers more than just a comfortable place to stay; it’s earned a reputation within the foodie world for its excellent dining and drinking options. The restaurant is set inside a towering glass atrium that drenches the space in natural light. The menu has been crafted by executive chef Ashely Abodeely and focuses on local and regional produce from surrounding farms and coastlines. For something a little more casual, you have Side Hustle, a chilled-out drinks and dinner spot set inside a former police station.
Where to grab lunch
For sandwiches of epic proportions
If you’re a traditional sandwich-for-lunch kind of person, then you have to try Max’s Sandwich Shop. Two thick slices of focaccia filled with what can only be described as a full meal. The menu features classics like ham, egg ’n’ chips slathered with piccalilli and a silky béchamel lasagne sandwich stuffed with deep-fried macaroni. It’s very no-frills in that you can turn up, settle down at a table and have your sandwich plonked in a brown paper bag in front of you in a matter of minutes. A must for any sandwich aficionado.
Casual spot for Nepalese dumplings
This tiny spot round the corner from Dalston Kingsland Station has fewer than 20 seats. They don’t take reservations, but you can usually nab a seat if you hang about for a little bit. It’s super chill, and you go up to the bar to order from a small menu of Nepalese dumplings and a thali of the day, which usually consists of a handful of curries, a soup and rice to accompany. Opt for a creamy vegan mango lassi on the side to sweeten everything up a little.
What to do
History, heritage and banging street food
Aside from its brilliant selection of pubs where you can sip on the city’s best beers, Greenwich is also home to a bustling market trading everything from street food and clothing to jewellery and antiques. A trip to Greenwich not only feels like you’re venturing outside of the city, but it’s also an area steeped in history and culture. When you’re done soaking up the heritage and taking in the sweeping views of the capital’s skyline, head to the market for a bite to eat. You’ll find everything from brownies and Brazillion churros to empanadas and oysters.
Cruise and sip
Not only does The Milk Float serve delicious seasonal cocktails with an awesome view of the canal, but they also let you hire out canoes to explore Hackney Wick's waterways. Just down the canal, opposite Crate Brewery (which, by the way, serves the best pizzas and home-brewed beer), you'll find Alfred Le Roy, a cocktail bar on a barge that lets you grab a drink out of their water-facing hatch as you canoe by.
Seasonal grub grown on the farm
Not only can you pet adorable farm animals at Stepney City Farm and learn the ins and outs of a working farm, but there's also an excellent farm café to dine at. The Allotment Kitchen, run by two sisters, features a seasonally-inspired menu using local ingredients. This farm-to-fork spot uses the produce grown by the farm’s Head Grower, Billy, with a menu chock full of coffee, cake and delicate lunch plates.
Weekend brunch spots
An Eastern Mediterranean brunch
Brother Marcus has been a staple on the London brunch scene for quite some time. The modern decor combines lush foliage, exposed raw brick, and open space. As for the food, you can expect Eastern Mediterranean fare, like grilled lamb kofta with garlic yoghurt and spinach and sun-blushed tomato pide on a cauliflower base. The brunch menu offers the option to go for the ‘Marcus’ Choice’, where you pay a set fee and they curate an order specifically for you. As for drinks, there are alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails as well as beer, wine, cider, juices, smoothies and hot beverages.
A brilliant brunch with bottomless Prosecco
There's a reason Megan's has won best brunch in London on more than one occasion. The menu takes inspiration from Mediterranean cuisines, like shakshuka baked eggs topped with halloumi and scrambled turmeric tofu, all made better by adding their bottomless Prosecco option. Every one of their restaurants is a delight to look at, decorated with hanging plants, wicker lights and rustic wooden furniture. One for the Instagram grid.
An Aussie brunch on a barge
Banana bread with whipped mascarpone, fresh berries and flaked almonds, torched peach French toast with coconut yoghurt, and sweetcorn fritters with smashed avocado and poached eggs are just a few of the things you can expect to see on Darcie and May Green’s menu. They've got venues dotted all over the city, but the one on a barge perched along the canal in Paddington gets our vote, designed by British pop artist Peter Blake.
Pre-dinner pub drinks
The most beautiful pub in the country
The Churchill Arms is voted one of the most beautiful pubs in the country, probably thanks to its flower-covered façade. It was built in 1750 and was a favourite haunt of Winston Churchill’s grandparents, hence the Churchill memorabilia scattered around the place. As for drinks, you can expect a changing selection of cask-conditioned ales, craft beers and ciders. The wine menu also features bottles from all over the world. Hungry? The kitchen cooks up a Thai storm daily - think fragrant curries, stir-fried dishes and nibbles like spring rolls and prawn crackers.
A slice of Ireland in the heart of Stoke Newington
This Church Street boozer is a simple Irish-themed pub in the heart of Stoke Newington. You’ll probably want to order a Guinness in here (‘cos it will be one of the best you’ll have in the city), but they also have a world-famous stout on tap, which has a beautifully rich, earthy taste. Inside, you can expect a wood-panelled interior with quirky additions, like prints of Frank Sinatra and pub signs, whilst the back door leads to a beer garden for al fresco drinking.
Devoted to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Owl and the Hitchiker is an ode to Douglas Adams’ best-selling sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels, with a sprinkling of the works of poet Edward Lear. Inside, the space is decked out in a quirky style with second-hand furniture, a ping-pong table and a signature giant wooden owl. The food menu is made up of Caribbean fare, like jerk chicken burgers and fried plantain. There’s also a selection of local craft beers on tap and wines, cocktails and spirits.
Where to eat dinner
Exquisite food in a Finsbury Park boozer
You might want to dine here solely to try their famous Dexter cheeseburger, a glossy, cheese-filled, gherkin-stuffed burger and one that’s earned itself a reputation on London’s burger scene. It’s located in a North London boozer down a side road in Finsbury Park and it can be pretty tricky to get a booking, so make sure you book ahead if you’re planning to visit. If you're one of the lucky ones to get a table, make sure you order their deep-fried salad potatoes served with a mountain of fresh aioli.
A BYOB Punjabi mainstay
You’ve likely heard of Dishoom, but you might not have heard of Tayyabs. This no-frills establishment has been a longstanding Punjabi curry house in Whitechapel since it opened in 1972. Famed for its sizzling mountains of melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops and dry lamb curries, every dish maxes out on flavour. It’s not only got an excellent menu, but it’s also atmospherically wild (probably because it’s BYOB). It’s also mega cheap; you can easily spend less than £20 and walk out with change.
Proper pasta for an excellent price
This quaint Italian restaurant is a firm favourite among the pasta-fiends, which explains why there’s always a queue to get a table. There are two venues located on the edge of Borough Market and in the heart of Shoreditch, with narrow marble counters offering a glimpse at chefs hand-rolling pasta, simmering sauces and preparing orders. It’s extremely reasonably priced for the quality of food you get, like their famous plates of Pici Cacio e Pepe and fettuccine with Cobble Lane cured nduja, mascarpone and lemon. They also make a mean Negroni that’s a must-order.
Where to drink
Music, food and Japanese sake
This trendy East London bar hosts live jazz and DJ sessions alongside a set Japanese menu of classic specialist dishes, like spicy tuna maki and green salad with miso. Sip on creative cocktails, like the white old-fashioned with miso, or opt for Japanese sake and sit back, relax and listen as the DJ spins the freshest tracks in the background.
One of the best bars in the world
When renowned bartenders Alex Kratena and Monica Berg joined heads, they came up with Tayēr + Elementary, a minimalist walk-in bar in Shoreditch that was voted number two on the list of the best bars in the world in 2022. It's trendy with exposed brick walls and an overall industrial-style theme throughout. Pick from a menu of pre-bottled drinks or let the bartenders showcase their craft with one of their in-house cocktails.
Bring your own spirits
This 1920s casino-themed bar lets you bring your own spirits so that a trained mixologist can craft five rounds of bespoke cocktails just for you. Choose from various mixers and garnishes, and sit back while the mixologist curates your perfect tipple. The space is old-school, with wooden furnishings and dim-lighting. It makes for an exciting date spot.
Food and drink shops
Street food and shopping
In line with Mercato Metropolitano's green ethos, everything sold at the Mercato Mayfair is sourced as fresh and sustainably as possible. Feast on food from around the world at one of the market's street food stalls or stock up on fresh produce to take home with you. They stock all sorts, from meats and cheeses to wine and sweet treats.
Street food and fresh produce
Borough Market has a history dating back over 1,000 years when traders first started selling food on the site. Local traders are there week-on-week, selling everything from olive oil, cheese and fruit to street food, chocolate and fresh meat. Even if you’re unsure what to buy, you’ll be able to wander around and enjoy the free samples handed out across all of the stalls.
For premium British and Irish cheese
Stock up on the finest cheese in the country at any of Neal's Yard Dairy shops around the city. From crumbly Wensleydale and tangy red Leicester to Suffolk brie and blue cheese from Devon, Neal's Yard Dairy stocks all kinds of cheese personally selected for its rich flavour and quality. They visit the cheesemakers themselves to ensure that the best batches of cheese are selected before maturing them at their site in Bermondsey. What's more, everything is hand-wrapped before being sold in-store.