British cuisine, much like that of the United States, combines a number of ethnic influences to produce cross-cultural dishes. After adopting a strong appreciation for the flavor of Indian dishes, England used the food as an example to inspire a cuisine with meat and savory herbs to create famous country staples like Sunday Roast and steak and kidney pie. England is widely recognized beyond its boundaries for fish and chips, offering geographically developed dishes such as Yorkshire pudding and Cornish Pastries.
And while we might continue to think of England as the birthplace of fish and chips and tea time, junior Alexa Wong, who is currently studying abroad at Queen Mary, University of London, weighs in on her favorite English restaurants.
“There are so many great places to eat and drink in London that for me, it’s less about going to the same restaurant over and over again and more about trying new places and menu items,” Wong says. “There is something for everyone here.”
Future study-abroaders, take note.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake
Located in Shoreditch, this neighborhood institution serves up freshly baked bagels with a light and fluffy touch. Although it is open 24 hours a day, business at this local bagel legend never thins out, and lines extend through the door almost any time of day, the younger crowd flocking here for late-night food options. What makes this place special though, according to Wong, is the ability of the bagel to taste delicious no matter what.
“The bagel itself is pretty much the same all around, so it’s up to you what toppings you put on it. Here, the bagel is fresh and light enough that you can eat it alone or with anything you want.”
Best eats: Bagel with lox and cream cheese
JD Wetherspoon offers an extensive menu complete with breakfast sandwiches, stews, English roasts, desserts and other pub items. With an open and relaxed atmosphere, the pub has an array of drink offerings and deals, as well as menu items for special diets.
“My friends and I eat here all the time and have yet to come across a bad menu item,” Wong said.
Best eats: Fish and chips, chocolate cake
This restaurant serves up the best pad thai in the area and offers other dishes influenced by international flavors. Rosa’s is a modern Thai restaurant just a stone’s throw away from the Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane, the place for authentic Indian food. The restaurant is a cozy space with a diverse customer base.
Best eats: Pad Thai
Byron is a burger joint with a slight American feel and a menu that resembles a traditional diner’s. The difference between Byron and your average American food joint is the sophistication Byron brings to these diner staples. Byron offers toppings, sauces and dips to spice up the traditional beef patty, and it also provides an extensive drink menu, complete with liquor and shakes.
“Their take on gourmet burgers is amazing and I can honestly say that I had one of the best vanilla milkshakes of my life at Byron,” Wong says. “Seriously, order a milkshake.”
Offering a little slice of home for any American student, the difference here lies in the freshness of the ingredients.
Best eats: Milkshakes, mushroom burger with goat cheese
Best areas to dine:
Wong recommends Spitalfields Market for an affordable sit-down meal with friends, Camden Market for cheap on-the-go food, and Brick Lane for authentic Indian food
Other areas to check out:
Liverpool Street, Notting Hill, Islington, Waterloo
Other notable restaurants:
Leon, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Giraffe