When I first started at Western, I was very underwhelmed by London's food scene. Can you blame me? I'm from Toronto, one of the best foodie destinations in the country. I knew it would take some time to adjust to my new surroundings. So instead of sticking to the same old campus eateries and busy spots on Richmond Row, I started to do a bit of exploring around the city and was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered.

London may not be like Toronto with its never ending rows of great places to eat, but it does have its hidden gems! All eight of these restaurants do London proud and are serving up some quality food. Sure, they may involve going a little out of your way, but all will be worth it once you experience their amazing atmospheres, fair prices, and delicious dishes. 

1. Edgar and Joe's Cafe  

255 Horton Street

Edgar and Joe’s Cafe is a Goodwill Industries initiative with the mission to provide affordable food without sacrificing quality. For example, the most expensive item on its breakfast menu is the eggs benny, which for only $9.96, features 2 poached eggs on a warm buttermilk biscuit with peameal bacon, hollandaise sauce and a side of hash browns. What a steal! The cafe is also very sophisticated and serves great coffee, sandwiches, and pastries. What more could you ask for?

Distance from campus: 9 min drive

Serves: Breakfast and Lunch

Price: $

2. Plant Matter Kitchen 

162 Wortley Road 

A plant-based restaurant and juice bar, Plant Matter Kitchen has successfully revamped your fav dishes into organic, vegan masterpieces. Take for example their Mac & Cheese, which can be made gluten free and is oh-so comforting. Or their delicious thin crust pizzas, which you can customize to meet your cravings. Looking for a sweet treat? Their vegan, gluten-free doughnuts are to die for! I also appreciate their mission to support local, sustainable food choices. Vegan or not, this place is worth heading off campus for.

Distance from campus: 10 min drive

Serves: Brunch (Sundays only), Lunch, Dinner

Price: $$

3. The Morrissey House 

359 Dundas 

Featuring everything you want and more for an affordable price, the Morrissey House is truly a student's haven. They have you covered for your weekend hangover breakfast, your energy boosting lunch, and comfort-food dinner. The restaurant is very spacious and features a back patio that opens up during the warmer months. They also have great daily specials, including half priced wings on Tuesdays, #Winesday Wednesdays, Tallboy Thursdays, and Sunday Roast. This place is sure to show you a good time no matter the occasion.

Distance from campus: 8 min drive

Serves: Breakfast (weekends only), Lunch, and Dinner

Price: $$

4. Wich is Wich 

125 King Street 

Located downtown, Wich is Wich prides itself on being a proper sandwich shop. So forget the basic Wonder Bread sandwiches your mom forced on you for lunch when you were younger because these sandwiches are next level! From their steak BLT to their Panko Crusted Chicken, there is guaranteed to be a sandwich that appeals to you. They also do great salads and soups, and have a vegetarian sandwich special every week. Walk-Ins are always welcome with delivery and takeout options as well. 

Distance from campus: 9 min drive

Serves: Sandwiches all day er day

Price: $$

5. The Root Cellar 

623 Dundas St

The Root Cellar was the first restaurant I tried in London where I realized it's food scene isn’t too shabby. This place reminds me of something I would find in Toronto with its exposed brick interior, diverse menu, and smoothie bar at the front. All of their food is locally sourced and organic, making it friendly for all types of foodies out there. Although it is not conveniently close to campus, this place is always worth the trek for their farm to fork eats.

Distance from campus: 11 min drive

Serves: Brunch (Saturdays only), Lunch, and Dinner

Price: $$

6. Zoup!

171 Queens Ave. 

Zoup! is a chain that features 12 always-rotating daily varieties of soup, including vegetarian and dairy-free options. I especially love their chicken and wild rice medley, as well as their tomato bisque which never fails to comfort me. Best of all, each soup is served with a chunk of freshly baked bread to dip into your soup of choice. They also have great combo deals where you can get either a half sandwich or salad on the side. Soup is no longer the side bae here but the main event!

Distance from campus: 7 min drive

Serves: Soup all day er day

Price: $

7. The Early Bird 

355 Talbot St 

The Early Bird is definitely a fun place to be. With its quirky decor and big portions, this place has taken classic comfort foods and elevated them. I live for their all day breakfast where they're serving up chicken n’ waffles and stacks of pancakes layered with bacon and eggs. And if that doesn’t do it for you, they also do great salads, perogies, poutine, and sandwiches. You name it, this place has it all — and is doing it so well!

Distance from campus: 9 minute drive

Serves: All day Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Price: $$

8. Rock Au Taco 

353 Talbot St

Owned by the same guys as The Early Bird, Rock Au Taco serves bite sized tacos ranging from $3.10-$3.54 each, making this place very student friendly. They also serve up delicious cocktails including a classic margarita where you and your pals can split a pitcher and really get your fiesta on. And just like its neighbour, The Early Bird, the decor is very vibrant and has its own quirks. If you’re looking to feel like you’ve instantly been transported to the streets of Mexico, this is the place to be!

Distance from campus: 7 min driving

Serves: Lunch and Dinner (closed Mondays)

Price: $$

It's time to branch out and see what London has to offer in terms of food. And who knows, maybe you'll find your own hidden gem while doing so ( I won't blame you for keeping it to yourself). Now, go get your eat on!

For more great London, Ontario foodie destinations, check out these five vegan destinations and these places to grab a coffee other than Timmys or Starbucks.