Londoners answer: What are the traditional London foods?

Wondering what to eat to get a taste of the typical fare here in London? You’re on the right page, as our staff members dished out what they think visitors to the city should sample.

The must-try traditional foods in London include fish and chips, pie and mash, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, bangers and mash, and jellied eels. The famous London tea and scones are staples as well.

Want to learn more? Join us, then, as we take a deep dive into the mouth-watering world of traditional London food!

Fish and chips

Fish and chips make up the quintessential British dish. It’s simple yet satisfying: a flaky piece of fish, battered and deep-fried until golden brown, served alongside a heaping pile of crispy, salty chips. 

Whether you’re on a romantic date or nursing a hangover, nothing hits the spot quite like a piping-hot plate of fish and chips!

Best place for fish and chips: J Sheekey 
Their fish and chips dish features a generous portion of perfectly cooked fish in a crispy, light batter, served alongside chunky chips and homemade tartar sauce. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie is a classic dish that’ll make you feel like you’re in the heart of the British countryside. It’s a savoury dish made with minced lamb, mashed potatoes, and a variety of vegetables.

So what’s the difference between a regular pie and a shepherd’s pie, you ask? Well, the latter has mashed potatoes on top instead of pastry – this gives shepherd’s pie its unique texture and flavour. 

Best place for shepherd’s pie: The Churchill Arms
The shepherd’s pie at this resto is made with top-quality ingredients and is baked to perfection, resulting in a dish that’s hearty, flavorful, and oh-so-comforting. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Bangers and mash

Bangers and mash is a simple yet satisfying dish that consists of sausages (aka bangers) and mashed potatoes (aka mash). It’s the kind of food that’ll warm your heart and fill your belly, making it a favourite among Brits and foodies alike.

Just remember that not all bangers and mash are equal. Some lack the oomph, while others will make your taste buds cheer. 

Best place for bangers and mash: The Wolseley 
Their bangers and mash are made with Lincolnshire sausages and creamy mashed potatoes, served with a side of gravy that will make you want to lick the plate clean! Directions on Google Maps are here!

Full English breakfast

A full English breakfast is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). It’s a spread that’s packed with all the classic breakfast staples you could ever want or need. 

We’re talking eggs, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, and toast. Oh, and let’s not forget about the black pudding for the true adventurous eaters out there.

Let’s also not forget about the cultural significance of the dish. It’s a meal that’s steeped in tradition and history, so every bite is like a nod to the culinary heritage of the British Isles.

Best place for a full English Breakfast: The Breakfast Club 
Their portions are generous enough to satisfy even the hungriest of diners. And they also offer a range of twists on the traditional full English, like their breakfast burrito or the “Ham So Eggcited” sandwich. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Sunday roast

A Sunday roast is a hearty meal featuring a juicy joint of meat (usually beef, lamb, or pork), roasted to perfection and served alongside crispy roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, and a variety of seasonal vegetables. 

However, this dish is more than just a meal. Londoners serve a Sunday roast for their families and friends to come together, catch up on the week that’s passed, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Best place for a Sunday Roast: The Bull and LastThis is a cosy gastropub that serves up a Sunday roast that is simply to die for. The star of the show is their meat which is cooked to perfection and so tender that it practically melts in your mouth. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Sticky toffee pudding

This classic British dessert is not for the faint of heart (or those watching their sugar intake), but oh boy is it worth it! Imagine a moist, spongy cake that’s been drenched in a rich and decadent toffee sauce – it’s like a warm hug for your taste buds. 

And the best part? It’s called “sticky” for a reason – that gooey toffee sauce will cling to your spoon, your plate, and your memories long after you’ve devoured the last bite. 

Trust me, once you’ve tried a proper sticky toffee pudding in London, you’ll never look at dessert the same way again!

Best place for a sticky toffee pudding: The Guinea Grill 
When it comes to sticky toffee pudding, they know their stuff. The cake is moist and spongy, with just the right amount of sweetness, and the sauce is thick, gooey, and downright addictive. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Eton Mess

This delightful dessert is named after Eton College, the posh school where Prince William and Prince Harry studied. It’s essentially a mish-mash of crushed meringue, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries, all swirled together in a glorious mess of deliciousness.

Whether you’re enjoying it on a sunny day in a picnic blanket or treating yourself to a fancy-pants version at a posh restaurant, the Eton mess is a quintessentially British dessert that’s guaranteed to make you smile

Best place for an Eton mess: The Ivy Chelsea Garden
This posh eatery knows how to do Eton mess justice, with perfectly crushed meringue, velvety whipped cream, and the freshest strawberries you’ll ever taste. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Spotted dick

This classic British dessert that has a funny name is a steamed pudding made with suet (a type of animal fat – don’t worry, it’s not as gross as it sounds), flour, sugar, and currants.

The name comes from the currants that resemble spots in the cake. As for the “dick” part, its origin is a mystery, with some saying it’s a variation of “puddick”. 

Regardless, it’s a quirky dessert that’s definitely worth a try.

Best place for spotted dick: The English Restaurant
This cosy eatery has been serving spotted dick for years. Their version is the perfect balance of sweet and savoury, with the plump currants adding just the right amount of fruity goodness. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Bakewell tart

Is it a tart? Is it a cake? Honestly, who cares? Bakewell tart is delicious either way. 

This classic British dessert hails from the town of Bakewell (hence the name) and consists of a shortcrust pastry shell filled with jam and frangipane.

The whole thing is baked to golden perfection and usually topped with a layer of icing and a cherry on top. The result is a sweet, buttery, and slightly nutty treat that’s perfect for any occasion.

Best place for a Bakewell tart: Konditor & Cook 
Their Bakewell tart is a perfect example of their baking prowess, with a crisp and buttery crust that gives way to a rich almond frangipane filling and a generous layer of raspberry jam. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Victoria sponge cake

This is the kind of dessert that your nan would make on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but don’t let that fool you – this classic cake is a true British icon.

A Victoria sponge cake consists of two layers of light and fluffy sponge cake, sandwiched together with a generous layer of jam and whipped cream. The top is dusted with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, giving it that classic, homemade look. 

Best place for a Victoria sponge cake: Peggy Porschen
This bakery is a sweet-toothed haven, with a legendary Victoria sponge cake. It features two layers of fluffy vanilla sponge, raspberry jam, and whipped cream, and exudes elegance and refinement. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Jellied eels

Jellied eels are a true London delicacy that might make you go “eek!” or “yum!” depending on your taste buds’ fortitude.

This dish consists of slimy eels that are cooked in a spicy broth and then left to cool until the broth turns into a jelly-like substance that’s poured over the eels. 

Sounds strange, right? But don’t knock it until you try it!

Best place for jellied eels: Tubby Isaacs
This legendary East End institution has been serving up the slippery delicacy for years. Their secret recipe involves simmering the eels in a spicy vinegar stock until they reach a jelly-like consistency. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Cockles

Cockles are typically found on the East Coast of England and have been a favourite snack for Londoners for centuries. They’re often served simply, with a dash of vinegar and a sprinkle of salt, making them the perfect accompaniment to a pint of beer or a day at the seaside. 

So if you’re feeling peckish, try something a bit different, and give these little molluscs a go. 

Best place for cockles: Shellfish Stand at Borough Market
Nestled amidst the bustling market stalls, this seafood haven serves up plump, juicy cockles that will have you slurping with delight. Directions on Google Maps are here!

Bubble and squeak

If you’re not from the UK or a fan of traditional British cuisine, you might be scratching your head wondering what on earth this could be.

Bubble and squeak is a classic dish made from leftover vegetables, usually from a Sunday roast, that are mixed together with mashed potatoes and fried until crispy and golden brown.

Best place for a bubble and squeak: The Wolseley
Their bubble and squeak is made with perfectly crispy potatoes, greens, and onions, this dish is a real treat for the taste buds. 
And the best part? You can enjoy it in the stunning surroundings of The Wolseley’s grand Art Deco dining room! Directions on Google Maps are here!

Pease pudding

This is a dish that’s been around for centuries, but it’s not one that everyone is familiar with. So, what is pease pudding?

It’s a savoury pudding made from split peas that are boiled until they’re soft and then mashed into a thick, smooth paste.

Now, before you turn up your nose at the thought of savoury pudding, let me assure you that this is a true delight for the taste buds. It’s a staple of British cuisine, whereas it’s often served alongside ham or bacon, and sometimes even in a sandwich.

Best place for pease pudding: The Jugged Hare
A cosy gastropub located in the heart of the City. They serve up a mean Pease Pudding that’s sure to warm your cockles on a cold winter’s day. 
And if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, why not try it alongside their famous game pie? It’s a match made in heaven. Directions on Google Maps are here!
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