20 Places You Really Need To Eat While Studying In London
Being a student in London means you’re at the cultural hub of museums, history, and food! With so much choice a bus or tube ride away, it can sometimes be overwhelming. Don’t worry though, because here are the 20 places you should definitely try while you’re in the capital.
1. Bloomsbury farmer’s market
A weekly spot for UCL and SOAS-goers as well as locals of Bloomsbury, it’s almost impossible to resist the smell coming from this set-up just off Byng place. The food is all cooked fresh before your eyes in great steaming vats, from thai green curry to fresh Italian past. And let’s not forget about the pulled duck sandwiches from Giggly Pig which, btw, are to die for. What a way to brighten up those not-quite-weekend feels.
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2. Franco Manca
Slow-risen, sourdough based pizza, beautifully charred in a traditional oven before your very eyes by swarthy Italian chefs and topped with locally-sourced ingredients have made this authentic Italian pizzeria the star attraction on the local pizza-front. Not to mention it’s incredibly reasonable pricing (starting at £4.95 for pizzas). It genuinely is a taste of Italy in the midst of the city.
3. Temple of Seitan
Vegans of London rejoice! Somebody has thought of a way for you to eat fried chicken, or fried seitan, actually. After the success of their pop-up stall on Brick Lane, Temple of Seitan has opened in Hackney and people have been queuing to taste the animal-friendly equivalent to the classic student junk food. Get there before 12 so they don’t run out.
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4. Brick Lane Beigel Bake
Freshly baked filled bagels slathered with cream cheese and smoked salmon, or chunks of mouthwateringly moist salt beef, carved from a slab in the window make this 24hr institution a must when visiting the East end. Always busy with clubbers, hungry tourists and Shoreditch regulars, the place has been going since 1977 and is well worth the queue. Not to mention, you can get those world famous rainbow bagels.
5. Kua Aina
This little Hawaiian enclave just off Tottenham Court Road serves classic brunch food with an island twist. The waiters, who greet you with a cheeky smile and a floral shirt, and the bright yellow and orange diner décor make the standard bacon sandwiches, cooked breakfasts, and pancakes seem a little exotic. The avocado and bacon burger and the peanut butter milkshake, made with Jersey milk ice cream, are heavenly.
6. Duck and Waffle
It’s worth saving up a bit to spend an evening in the highest restaurant in London. Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower on Bishopsgate, it offers spectacular panoramic views of London. The cocktails average at about £14 and the staple duck and waffle (a crispy leg of duck on light-as-air waffles and a fried duck egg) can be purchased for £16 – a reasonable splurge for an evening of high-class dining in a remarkable urban setting.
If you thought of champagne and hot dogs don’t belong together, think again. Epitomizing the spirit of Fitzrovia, which throws London’s upper class together with scrimping students, this bare-brick dining cafe on Charlotte Street offers poshed-up comfort food in a homely environment. Keep your eyes out for offers on certain days of the week and be sure to try the tater tots.
8. King of Falafel
A night out in Camden would not be complete without a trip to see the King – The Falafel King, that is. The men behind the counter are used to comprehending inebriated orders and efficiently slap toasted balls of nutty falafel onto warm pitas for clubbers at the end of their tether. To top it all off, there’s even halloumi. It beats the traditional McDonalds trip every time. 👌
Located in London’s accessible Fitzrovia, a stone’s throw away from Oxford Circus, Icco serves the cheapest margherita pizza to be found in Central London at £4.95. However, Icco doesn’t sacrifice quality. The pizza bases are thin and crispy, and come with a variety of customisable toppings (vegan toppings included!). Plus, the pizzas are enormous and fly out of the oven at the speed of light.
Among the array of small artisan food stops along Marchmont Street and Bloomsbury, Balfour stands out for its honest, Italian cooking. The classics are untouched and confidently executed: creamy lasagne, golden bruschetta and – a personal favourite – the melanzane parmigiana, a delicious layer of aubergine topped with tomato sauce and mozzarrella melted in the oven. But watch out for the daily specials chalked on the board outside, which are always excellent.
11. Cafe Moreish
A Spanish-inspired cafe in the heart of Bloomsbury offering fresh and healthy breakfast and lunch alongside enormous cups of quality Italian coffee. The menu is extensive and ranges from Spanish tortillas, to coconut porridge, plus fresh pastries.
12. Dirty Bones
Think darkened room lit up with candles, New York style bar food and elaborate cocktails. This joint, with branches in Kensington, Carnaby, and Shoreditch, makes for a pretty cool dinner-date. The ‘filthy’ food on the menu has been given a twist of elegance – chicken and waffles served with a shot of maple syrup on the side and matcha infused french toast, made with brioche and served with candied bacon, are some of the staples. Go on Thursday for live music.
13. Dirty Burger
The burgers are oozing with cheese, bacon and quality meat. Get the crinkle cut fries and onion rings alongside your choice of signature cocktail, milkshakes, or draught craft beer. The minimalist rough set-up, with timber counters and metal furniture, gives it a cool, rustic vibe. Shoreditch’s answer to proper ‘dirty’ food.
14. Daisy Green
The cutesy Alice in Wonderland décor and artisan breakfasts and coffee make for a chilled-out trip to this corner of London, off a side street near Hyde Park. With two courses plus bottomless Prosecco, Mimosas, AND Bloody Marys on offer for £35, it’s an ideal weekend brunch destination.
This small chain of Indian restaurants offers quality, authentic food with a twist. The service is friendly and the drinks are delicious – order a cocktail, a lassi or a house chai. The only trouble is the long queue at a weekend due to its growing popularity so try it as an alternative breakfast option if you want to avoid the crowds.
Good value Japanese cuisine in Highgate offering options for casual dining with lots of unusual ingredients and high quality sushi. There is a range of hot food options and noodle dishes for the less sushi-inclined.
17. Voodoo Rays
An American-style, late-night pizza by the slice place in Dalston and Shoreditch, where the toppings are fresh and alternative, ranging from artichoke hearts, to ricotta, to ‘bacon dust’ (you’ll never know if you don’t try).
This Milanese-style bakery in the heart of Soho features enormous open counters stacked with freshly-baked Italian pastries and cakes on one side and a range of savoury treats on the other from tarts to pizzas. Good for a quick bite or to sit at the window with a strong Italian coffee and people-watch.
19. Rabot 1745
The Hotel Chocolat’s Borough Market baby has the character of its Carribean beginnings (the first of its kind was opened in Saint Lucia on the Rabot estate cocoa foundation) with a bit of Southbank style. Rabot 1745 brews quality hot chocolate and a cocoa-inspired food menu, but it’s the afternoon tea that really steals the show. The traditional British ritual is remixed with a bit of West-Indian bite, and it really, really works.
Located in the heart of King’s Cross in an old Victorian Grain store, Caravan’s wide open dining room with open kitchen and outdoor terrace has an old-meets-new feel. But there is nothing stale about their quality-roasted coffee and their innovative menu, revisiting old classics. Think rosewater milk pudding, hazelnut dukkah on smoked salmon toasts and coconut bread.