London has become a home-away-from-home for me. After returning back to the States from studying abroad last December, I find myself thinking about the time I spent there quite often. I'll text my flatmates, travel buddies, and hopefully lifelong friends I made while there pictures I randomly stumble upon from our trips or whenever I suddenly think of an awesome memory we shared (and there were so many of those).

From Liverpool to Chawton to Oxford, we explored not only England, but also so many places within the UK and Europe itself I'd read about and always dreamed of visiting. And London's South Bank, in particular, is where I found a home. My daily walks along the Thames, my beloved Love Actually bench, my favorite Borough Market, which is a place all on its own that definitely helped me figure out what to eat in London.

beer, wine, coffee
Tara Bitran

But in light of the recent hurdles and crises that seem to continually bombard this city, I miss and think of so frequently, I can never change my notion of London as existing apart from everything that tries to drag this magical and stalwart place down into the muck. We are all united by a common love for each other, and while every notice of an attack is shattering, no one can take away the strength and beauty of London itself. It's been through a lot of fires and turmoil over the years, but the city and its people are still standing.

And on a brighter note, one important thing that bonds all us Londoners together is our love of the good food London has to offer the world, and knowing what to eat in London is essential when visiting. Becoming a South Londoner certainly had its perks in terms of knowing where to find the best grub and which stalls to gravitate towards at local markets, so here I am to tell you the 50 best foods in London you have to try next time you visit. You ready? Let's go.

1. Full English Breakfast 

Tara Bitran

You can't leave London without trying a full English breakfast. It's a sin. To have the real deal experience on the cheap, try the Chunnel Bar by Waterloo Station. Fair warning, you might not be able to move for the rest of the day afterwards and may be confined to your room due to an impending food coma.

2. Nordic Pear Porridge from 26 Grains

Tara Bitran

Tucked into Neal's Yard in Covent Garden around the first corner on your left, you'll find 26 Grains, whose specialty is none other than porridge. They have avocado toast and excellent lattes, too, but I'd highly recommend their Nordic Pear porridge, which includes coconut milk oats, a cacao crumble, pear, and maple. Good morning to me.

3. Leon's Porridge of the Gods

The name of this morning porridge from Leon is not hyperbolic. I remember when I brought this for breakfast on the train for our class trip to Liverpool, and everyone asked me: "What is that luscious-looking concoction?" As Hercules would say: "It could only be the porridge of the gods, obviously." Although it's not at every Leon location, this organic oat porridge is topped with banana, Montezuma chocolate flakes, and raw, organic honey. 

4. Sausage Bap from Boston Sausage

sandwich, chicken
Tara Bitran

Boston Sausage is one of the best food stalls at Borough Market, no question, and therefore must be on this list of what to eat in London. It was the first stall I ever stopped at after scanning every possible stall the first time I ventured into the pride of Southwark.

I'd suggest the sausage on the stick all by itself, which is juicy and hearty in its own right, or "The Famous Boston Sausage Bap," which has the full regalia of two Lincolnshire sausages, caramelized onions, a warm, crunchy bun, and ketchup as desired. 

5. Beigel from Brick Lane

Tara Bitran

We've pondered this debate already: is a beigel just a bagel? Well, if you want to discern any difference for yourself, try Brick Lane's version of New Yorkers' breakfast mainstay at one of London's two most famous beigel shops that just happen to be situated right next to each other on Brick Lane: The Beigel Shop and Beigel Bake.

6. Sausage Roll from Gail's Artisan Bakery

Tara Bitran

My friend Tiff and I were all about the sausage rolls from Gail's. If you have never heard me rave about Gail's, here's the spiel. Gail's is the bakery and café right down the street from us in Bloomsbury that had the most delightful baked goods made fresh every day. We lived at this place in between, before, and after class. Don't know how Gail herself didn't know us all by the end of term.

Anyway, I'd be remiss not to highlight Gail's sausage roll, for which they make their own sausage meat from free-range pork, then wrap it in flaky pastry, scatter it with seeds, and bake it until its golden. Seriously missing those.

7. Cereal from Cereal Killer Café

chocolate, banana, milk
Tara Bitran

Cereal Killer Café is a novelty shop at its finest. Located on the East End, it's the first cereal-themed café in the UK and has every brand of cereal you can think of—American, international, and otherwise lined against the front wall. We went there to celebrate one of our friend's birthdays, and the décor is like you're coming straight out of an '80s slumber party. It's awesome, and should definitely be on any list for what to eat in London.

They also have premium milks like pumpkin spice and banana as well as premium toppings like Twinkies and crispy M&M's. I got a bowl of Reese's Puffs with bananas and almond milk, but to each her own when considering what to eat in London.

8. Avocado Toast from Bill's

egg, cheese, sandwich
Tara Bitran

Although typically called avocado on toast in the UK, this avo spread on toast from trusty Bill's brought back fond memories of the stateside brunch staple. We first went to this restaurant on our day trip to Brighton and then went back to the location in Covent Garden‚we loved their avocado on toast that much.

The avocado is sliced into thick chunks and the runny poached egg is so fun to lap up with your slabs of bread. The fresh lime squeezed on top ties the whole dish together, which makes it essential for this list of what to eat in London.

9. Goat Cheese Waffle from Waffle On

blueberry, syrup, waffle
Tara Bitran

London street food company that specializes in waffles, Waffle On had a stall propped up on the South Bank towards the end of the summer months early into my time studying abroad. And I was so lucky to discover their mouthwatering goat cheese waffle off their "Savoury Waffle Menu" section—although I didn't find it to stray too far from the sweet side.

Pan-fried goat cheese is served with slices of fig, which I love alone anyway, as well as with a handful of fresh blueberries. Honey is drizzled on top along with their homemade blueberry coulis to finish it off.

10. Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel 

Tara Bitran

Want to feel like you're Alice in your very own version of an afternoon tea wonderland? Make a date at the Sanderson Hotel for their award-winning Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea. So grateful my friend recommended I attend this tea before I headed off to London.

It's got scones, small savory sandwiches, and Scotch eggs, but the shining stars are the finely decorated desserts and character-themed tea choices. The white rabbit, the cheshire cat, the queen of hearts. Just look at the teapot! And the little ladybug red velvet pastries and blue caterpillar chocolates.

My favorite treat was definitely the cinnamon, apple, and peach "Drink Me" potion. While I didn't shrink in size, I happily did as instructed and slurped away.

11. Carrot Cake at Fortnum and Mason

banana, cheese, cream cheese, cake
Tara Bitran

Piccadilly's own Fortnum and Mason does not disappoint when it comes to tea and scones. They even insisted on giving us extra scones and jams to take home after the afternoon tea I had with my family. No way we said no to that. But I have to highlight their carrot cake from their specialty cake carriage.

While the whole afternoon tea experience in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 is decadent and posh in its own right, the carrot cake is absolutely divine. Cream cheese, nuts on top, filled with carrots and dried fruits, and, of course, cinnamon, this carrot cake is one of the best I've ever had and is certainly a treat that must be on a list for what to eat in London.

12. The Night Before Christmas Afternoon Tea at Sketch

tea, coffee, cake
Tara Bitran

Similar in quirks and pizzazz to the Mad Hatter tea, afternoon tea at Sketch is nothing less than memorable. If you've seen the bathroom pods that look straight out of an alien invasion, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Book your afternoon tea in the plush pink Gallery room, and for a particularly festive tea experience, come during the holiday season for their "Night Before Christmas Afternoon Tea." With highlights including an egg and mayonnaise sandwich with quail egg and caviar, walnut tarts, and two different kinds of Battenberg cakes, an afternoon spent at Sketch—during the holiday season or not—makes for a memory you won't soon forget (unlike what the bottom of that teacup says). 

13. Cream Tea at Soho's Secret Tea Room

Tara Bitran

Tucked up above the Coach & Horses pub on Greek Street in Soho is Soho's Secret Tea Room, a vintage and intimate atmosphere where you can enjoy a '40s jazz soundtrack gracing your ears.

My roommate Claud and I were partial to the tea room's cream tea, as all we cared about while we were abroad was how to satisfy our cravings for tea and scones in the easiest manner possible, which is just what a cream tea provides. The tea room is also run by a very kind woman who swapped out the sultana scones for plain ones per my roommate's preference. 

14. Afternoon Tea at the British Museum

tea, coffee, croissant
Tara Bitran

First of all, visiting the British Museum is free, and you should most certainly go if you're ever in London and want to see incredible artifacts like the Rosetta Stone. And if you book an afternoon tea reservation with the British Museum, as our program did on our second day in London, you'll find yourself with an overhead view of the Great Court of the museum, where I'd often write postcards to friends and family during lunch breaks.

The tea is on the cheaper side of most in London, and do you see the size of the scones?! While we were there, our tour guide extraordinaire, Ruth Polling, taught us how to properly eat a scone with clotted cream and jam, and now I always think of her when I spread some on.

15. Muriel's Kitchen's Carrot Cake

Alright, I know I already praised the carrot cake from Fortnum & Mason, but Muriel's Kitchen is famous for their take on the dessert. Not to mention, one slice is huge. I met a friend there for brunch and I had to share a slice because it was so big.

A huge helping of walnuts on top, two thick layers of carrot-y goodness, and a sweet-but-not-too-sweet cream cheese icing makes for a dessert you do not skimp out on despite having just eaten a meal. In fact, the carrot cake should be your meal, and one you should definitely include on your itinerary when thinking about what to eat in London.

16. Rosemary Focaccia Bread from Olivier's Bakery

Olivier's Bakery has the secret on baking addictive bread loaves. No joke, I bought an entire loaf of their rosemary focaccia, and ate it within two days. Two. Days. Sprinkled with just the right amount of salt on top, these loaves pair so nicely with figs and cheese bought at nearby stalls within Borough Market and will make you feel like you're having an Italian picnic, even if it's just in your flat.

17. Gail's Chai Latte or Cappuccino

coffee, chocolate, milk, cinnamon
Tara Bitran

Gail's not only bakes the best baked goods London has to offer every day, but there are always lines out the door for people simply ordering drinks. Their chai lattes are topped with copious amounts of cinnamon, while their cappuccinos feature generous sprinklings of chocolate. Oh, how I miss cappuccinos with chocolate on top.

18. Latte from the Black Cab Coffee Company

beer, coffee, tea, pizza
Tara Bitran

I've already noted this company's epic coolness in my article on the beigels on Brick Lane, but I have to share again that these guys serve and make lattes inside of a BLACK CAB. What a novel concept. And they make mean lattes. I'd suggest the honey latte that soothes the throat and your body temperature on a brisk London morning.

19. Cappuccino or Flat White from Flat Cap Coffee

London isn't all about the tea, guys. There is a booming coffee culture, and Flat Cap slices right through it with its strong caffeine. Queue up at the back of Borough Market for an artfully-designed cappuccino or a flat white, which we all only realized existed once we moved to the UK.

20. Hazelnut Hot Chocolate from Said

coffee, espresso, cappuccino, milk, tea, chocolate, cream
Tara Bitran

The London posting of the chocolate shop hailing from Roma, Said in Soho has chocolate by the mound, with rich hot cocoa just waiting for you to stop by and try. The kicker with their hot chocolate is that they have three different types of chocolate dripping all around the cup, from dark to milk to white.

21. Hot Chocolate from Chin Chin Labs

coffee, cappuccino, chocolate, espresso, milk, cream, mocha, hot chocolate
Tara Bitran

Rich chocolate. Gooey marshmallow topping that tastes like a liquified s'more. Behold probably the best straight-up hot chocolate you will ever have the pleasure of drinking in your life, courtesy of Chin Chin Labs. My friend Justin and I tried this masterpiece at Camden Market one weekend, and we couldn't stop gushing over it until we took all of our friends back before our semester abroad ended. All I can say is: "Go, go, go!" 

22. Hot Apple Juice

soup, meat, beef, vegetable
Tara Bitran

Hot apple juice became my favorite drink to warm my heart and soul during the holidays. Served from a cauldron like this that you'd find at any market in London from Brick Lane to Borough, these hot apple drinks with ginger and cinnamon just taste like comfort.

23. Rekorderlig Cider

Rekorderlig, where are you in the US?! Please, anyone. Bueller...

I miss Rekorderlig dearly. This cider was a favorite of ours to order at pubs, with flavors like strawberry-lime and passionfruit to spice the drink up. I can't find it anywhere now that I'm back, so make sure you order it there while you still can.

24. Planet Organic

broccoli, cauliflower
Tara Bitran

Planet Organic rocks as a lunch spot. I always felt like I'd cleansed my body after eating a lunchbox from here. You can choose a medium-sized bowl and fill it up with any products you see from the counter that are not only healthy and filling but also immensely flavorful—sweet potato wedges, hummus, falafel, sweet potato and feta frittatas, broccoli, roast potatoes with rosemary...I could go on. 

25. Christmas Lunch Sandwich from Pret a Manger

Why don't we have Pret in LA? This is the ultimate food chain. Everything is prepared day-of and tastes so fresh and nourishing. They have salads, fresh-squeezed orange juice that made my roomie happy, and sandwiches.

Their Christmas lunch one is not to miss and must be on my list for what to eat in London, as it features all the delicious trimmings you love about Thanksgiving like turkey breast, stuffing made of mince pork, bacon, and apricots, spinach, and cranberry sauce. Then Pret crams them all between malted bread slices, providing for a Christmas lunch all holiday season long.

26. Ham and Cheese Sandwich from Viandas de Salamanca 

As my friend Britt says, "It's simple, but so, so good." She urged me to try it with her for a long time, and when we finally went together, I realized just how right she was. But we never knew the name of "the ham and cheese sandwich shop on the Strand right next to the Savoy" until now. Viandas de Salamanca, we salute you. 

27. Portobello & Truffle Pizza from Pizza Pilgrims

pizza, mushroom, mozzarella, spinach
Tara Bitran

Think Blaze, but more gourmet. During my last few days in London, I took advantage of the opportunity to stroll leisurely in my city and walk around to see the sights. London is extremely walk-able, and I would walk at least four miles per day when I lived there. Unlike in LA where you have to drive nearly everywhere...

Anyway, on one of those days I walked to Pizza Pilgrims in King's Court off Carnaby Street (which was a frequent Rolling Stones hangout, as my father would know). I suggest their white pizza with portobello mushrooms, fior di latte (basically two kinds of mozzarella), Parmesan, basil, and white truffle oil that I easily devoured single-handedly. Walking so much does that to a person!

28. Duck Confit Salad from Le Marché du Quartier

pork, chicken, rice
Tara Bitran

For you fellow mustard-detesters, the duck confit salad from the Le Marché du Quartier stall at Borough Market will soon make you a fan of mustard chutney. The shredded duck comes on top of a bed of greens or in sandwich form. Either way, you'll feel like you're transported to Paris after one bite.

29. Mac and Cheese from Rabot 1745

Tara Bitran

Rabot 1745 is a restaurant that prioritizes cacao above all else. My friend Liliana recommended I try their mac and cheese in a cacao nib shell, and at first I thought that combo did not seem to go well together. Chocolate and cheese, really? But I tried it, and the cacao ketchup was savory enough to blend well with the aged cheddar and field mushrooms found mixed in with the mac.

For something old, borrowed, seemingly new, but not blue when planning what to eat in London, try this surprising dish that actually has a history of popularity in the Caribbean.

30. Chicken Pad Thai from Khanom Krok

Tara Bitran

Khanom Krok made me a fan of pad Thai. I'd had pad Thai before I studied abroad, but was not nearly as enthusiastic about Thai cuisine as I am now. Featuring a tender chicken breast nestled within a box filled with splendidly thick noodles, veggies, and crunchy peanuts, this chicken pad Thai will have you coming back every other week. Guilty as charged.

31. Black Truffle Pizza from Pizza East 

pizza, truffle
Tara Bitran

I was amazed at how ridiculously cheap black truffles were in London and Europe in general compared to how much they are back here in the US. When I went to Pizza East in Shoreditch to celebrate my friend's birthday, I immediately saw the price on the menu and was stunned. The black truffle pizza with mozzarella, cream, and Taleggio (a nutty Italian cheese), was an ideal pizza for a dairy lover. 

32. Free Ranger Pie from Pieminister

Tara Bitran

You can find Pieminister all across England, but I usually got my stamp card punched at their shop at Gabriel's Wharf and stall at Borough. Their Free Ranger pie is a highlight with chicken, leek, ham, and thyme. Heading into the winter months, they brought out their Three Kings pie, which also became a favorite, with turkey, smoked bacon, parsnip, and cranberry baked inside.

33. Pumpkin Tortelloni from La Tua Pasta

La Tua Pasta at Borough Market makes handmade pasta available for take-away every day (except Sundays because that's when Borough is closed), and one of their best is their tortelloni stuffed generously with pumpkin. Make sure to add Parmesan on top for good measure.

34. Cheese Toastie or Raclette from Kappacasein Dairy

Tara Bitran

Kappacasein Dairy has made a name for itself at Borough with its oozing cheese you can watch bubbling as you wait in line to order. Either get a cheese toastie, which is crunchy on the outside but gooey on the inside, or the famed Swiss raclette scraped on top of a plate of potatoes.  

35. Bleecker Black from Bleecker St.

bacon, cheese, cheddar, beef
Tara Bitran

I am in the 1% of kids on my study abroad program who likes black pudding, and I scoured Old Spitalfields to find Bleecker St. in order to try their Bleecker Black, a double cheeseburger with black pudding in the middle. If you like black pudding, try this. If you don't think you like black pudding, try this and think again.

36. Regular Cheeseburger from Bleecker St.

cheese, bacon
Tara Bitran

Sorry, Shake Shack and In-N-OutBleecker St. is the best burger joint in my book. It's so good I have to list two of their burgers on my guide. While I've already sung their black pudding burger's praises, their regular cheeseburger is a force to be reckoned with in its own right. Try one for lunch and the other for dinner. You'll leave a full and happy camper.

37. Prosciutto Panino from Gastronomica

sandwich, chicken, bacon, cheese, ham
Tara Bitran

Visiting Gastronomica makes you feel like you grabbed a panino just outside of St. Peter's Square. Especially the prosciutto with thick mozzarella and arugula, their sandwiches that come toasted on focaccia or ciabatta make you more excited for lunch hour than you already are.

38. Hash Brown and Salami Quesadilla from Killa Dilla Quesadillas

meat, cheese, bread, pizza, chicken, tomato
Tara Bitran

Camden Market is the biggest market I've ever been to, but make sure you stop by the Killa Dilla food stall when you're thinking about what to eat in London. They put an Italian twist on a breakfast quesadilla by including salami and mozzarella along with hash browns.

39. Gourmet Mac & Cheese from The Mac Factory

Tara Bitran

Also a must on a visit to Camden, aka Amy Winehouse's hangout for a good long while, the Mac Factory takes pride in topping each one of their mac pots with a Parmesan and thyme crumble. Regardless of which flavor you get—from the Nostalgic (cheese on cheese on cheese on cheese) to the Mambo Italiano (smoked pancetta, sautéed mushrooms, and garlic oil) to the Lobster Mac (you get the picture)—you can't go wrong.

40. Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli from Padella Pasta

Tara Bitran

Fear not over the long lines (just go at lunch). Padella serves up fresh, handmade pasta restaurant-style but at a very reasonable price and with portions that are Goldilocks status of just right for one person. And they insist you tell them if you don't want Parmesan, because they assume that everybody would. So right, Padella. Oh, so right. Try their Spinach & Ricotta ravioli, with cheese courtesy of Neal's Yard Dairy.  

41. Homeslice

pizza, mozzarella, basil, tomato
Tara Bitran

Homeslice. 20-inch pizzas that you could share with a group of friends, another person, or keep just to yourself (totally solid choice). Every London foods list needs to have Homeslice on it.

Their three most popular pizzas that you can get for a whole pie or by the slice are the margherita, the salami, rocket, and Parmesan, and the mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed, and chili. I'd also suggest the seasonal butternut pumpkin, broccoli, pecorino, and crispy onion pizza, but I am a sucker for anything with fall vegetables included.

42. Lunch at Dishoom

chicken, cucumber
Tara Bitran

Whatever you order at Dishoom, it will be good. Before I'd gone to London, I'd never had Indian as amazing as the food I had at Dishoom. My friends and I were not super familiar with what to order, but our waiter was exceedingly kind and helpful. He even gave us bottomless refills of chai and a free order of black lentil soup because we were curious about it. Make sure that you don't forget to order the naan (plain, garlic, or cheese). Better yet, order all three kinds.

43. Fish & Chips at the Mayfair Chippy

chips, cheese
Tara Bitran

Our first weekend in London, Claudia and I went to Hyde Park and seemingly out of nowhere were lucky enough to find the Mayfair Chippy. The least greasy cod fried in beer batter I've ever had, this fish is accompanied with heavenly thick-cut fries that are salty enough that you don't need tartar sauce but that also taste excellent with it.

The first night we tried the Mayfair Chippy, Claud and I toasted (with some rosé to class it up) to making more memories just like the one we'd made that day. I think we stayed true to our word.

44. Pizza and Pasta from Delfino's

pasta, sauce, macaroni, cheese, penne
Tara Bitran

Right around the corner from the church where Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor's characters got married in Love Actually, Delfino's serves up authentic Italian food in the heart of Mayfair.

Their pizzas are thin with crunchy crusts, while their pastas are loaded with toppings like pancetta and runny egg yolk that will make you feel like you're eating pastina from your childhood. I loved the pasta so much that when I came back to the States, my mom and I tried to make pastina again over Christmas break.

45. Sunday Roast 

You can't leave London without treating yourself to a Sunday roast. My professor was kind enough to invite my peers and I into his home, where he and his wife cooked up a traditional Sunday Roast of roast beef, cauliflower mac and cheese, roast potatoes, homemade pumpkin pie, and, best of all, Yorkshire pudding. Pubs throughout London also serve up this cousin of a Thanksgiving dinner every Sunday.

46. Soft Serve Vanilla Ice Cream with a Chocolate Flake

cream, ice, chocolate, ice cream, milk, sweet
Tara Bitran

Okay, I know this just looks like your ordinary, run-of-the-mill vanilla soft serve with a chocolate Flake. But this ice cream tasted like thicker whipped cream. And this cone was beyond cheap. I'm talking less than five pounds. Find it at any street food ice cream truck along the South Bank.

47. Ice Cream from Udderlicious

ice, ice cream, chocolate, cream
Tara Bitran

Yup, Udderlicious is the correct name of the ice cream shop that serves up some of the creamiest flavors in Covent Garden. Their dark chocolate and sea salt sorbet is my personal treat of choice, but any flavor you try will make for an excellent afternoon delight, as all their sorbets and ice creams are made in-house.

48. Black Bottom Cupcake from Hummingbird Bakery Café

cream, chocolate, cheese, cake
Tara Bitran

One day, I decided to venture out to Portobello Road in Notting Hill (yes, think of the Hugh Grant movie). It was a very productive and worthwhile day, as I not only found the leather jacket of my dreams but also a cupcake that blends two of my favorite desserts together: cupcakes and cheesecake.

The Black Bottom Cupcake from Hummingbird Bakery Café is made of chocolate sponge cake on the bottom, baked with a cheesecake center (what a filling), and topped with cream cheese frosting.

49. Scones from Gail's

bread, sweet, popovers, brioche, pastry
Tara Bitran

As you can probably discern by now, if you're ever wondering about what to eat in London, look no further than your friendly neighborhood Gail's to fulfill all your artisanal bakery needs. They have a stamp card, and I highly suggest you pick one of those up on your first visit.

One of my favorite confections they offer are their scones. Their maple and pecan drop scone is a close second, but their plain scone is perfect in its simplicity. With or without clotted cream and jam, Gail's gave me the best scone I had in London, and that's all I could ever ask for when inhabiting the land of tea and scones.

50. Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie from Comptoir Gourmand

Tara Bitran

This is it. The last item on my list for what to eat in London. If you know me, could you honestly expect anything else to be the final item? Comptoir Gourmand's dark chocolate chocolate chip cookies are the confections of legend. They are the size of your face, and I loved them so undyingly that I even wrote a speech about how much they mean to me for my public speaking class. Yup, that much.

They're featured in my profile picture for Spoon. They're the first thing I tell people to try when they tell me they're going to London. Please, heed the advice my friend Gabby gave to me and that I now give to everyone else. Go to Borough Market. Go for the big cookies.

Wondering what to eat in London? Worry no more. I don't know how London somehow acquired the reputation of not being a city where people can enjoy delectable food, but that could not be the furthest thing from the truth. And after you try these 50 foods, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Cheers.