The people's 101: restaurants, cafes and bars

Discover the best things to do in the capital as recommended by real Londoners



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After creating our own list of 101 things to do in London we decided to let you have your say. We asked Time Out readers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers to tell us their top things to do in the capital. Kayak tours, daytime clubbing, rooftop cinema and candlelit gigs – Time Outers named them all. Check out the people's 101 and explore this city like a true Londoner.

What's missing from the list? Have your say: on Facebook | on Twitter using #BestofLondon or in the comments form below


Restaurants, coffee shops and bars in London

Eat pizza at Big Red

  • Rated as: 3/5

A series of readers pointed us towards the Big Red, a double-decker bus that’s been converted into a Deptford pizzeria. There’s satisfying Italian food, Meantime ales, frequent live music and cinema, and a weekday happy hour that lasts till 9pm. 

  1. 30 Deptford Church St, SE8 4RZ
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Visit foodie heaven at Brixton Village

A group of readers singled out Brixton Village (aka Granville Arcade) as a great place for good value lunching, citing pizza at Agile Rabbit, Pakistani food at Elephant and Thai dishes at Kaosarn

  1. Electric Avenue, Pope's Road, Brixton Station Road, SW9 8JX
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Enjoy a cuppa at Broadway Market

Londoners remain reassuringly fond of a cup of tea and a biscuit or five. Broadway Market is one of your favoured spots for indulging in such archetypically British behaviour, whether you’re knocking back a milky builder’s from F. Cooke’s pie and mash joint or an exotic foreign brew fromClimpson & Sons (Persian Pomegranate Pyramid, anyone?) 

  1. Broadway Market, E8 4PH
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Lunch at Brunswick House Café

  • Rated as: 4/5

With its pleasingly idiosyncratic design, quirky Vauxhall hangout Brunswick House is a grand spot for a lazy lunch. It is also, Dan Carver informs us, the purveyor of the ‘Corpse Reviver Number Two’, which has, and we quote, ‘everything in it’. 

  1. 30 Wandsworth Road, (Vauxhall Cross), SW8 2LG
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Visit Camden Town Brewery Bar

  • Rated as: 3/5

This fantastic independent brewery has opened an onsite bar, open Friday evenings and boasting all the Camden ales and occasional guest beers on tap. According to reader David Whitesmith, ‘the strange, sweet smell from the mash tun seems to add to the flavour.’ 

  1. 55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, NW5 3NN
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Have a Mad Hatter's tea party at the Sanderson

There are lots of positive noises being made about the Sanderson’s twist on afternoon tea, the Mad Hatter’s Party, which offers plenty of ‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’-themed treats: far more fun than the

  1. The Sanderson, (50 Berners St), W1T 3NG
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Marvel at the view in Container Cafe

  • Rated as: 3/5

The Container is part of View Tube, a large lime-green tin overlooking the Olympic Park. ‘For such a touristy location,’ says Noor A, ‘the food and coffee are surprisingly excellent.’ 

  1. The View Tube, Marshgate Lane, (The Greenway), E15 2PJ
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Breakfast at Counter Café

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘On the rare weekend when it’s not chucking it down,’ writes Katie D, ‘I cycle along the canal to Counter Café for an Antipodean breakfast overlooking the new Olympic site. Service is slow, it’s crammed with irritating hipsters from the nearby art studios, but the food and view are unbeatable.’ 

  1. Stour Space, 7 Roach Road, E3 2PA
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Be sure to eat on Eat.St

‘If I’m really hungry I’ll eat a Rib Man wrap followed by a Yum Bun pork belly roll and a Big Apple hot dog (see our Old Street listing)’, confesses Stacey Hamilton. And who can blame her when London street food collective Eat.St only host their market from Tuesday to Friday lunchtimes. As well as Stacey’s fine trio, don’t miss Tongue N Cheek’s Italian offal sandwiches, Kimchi Cult’s Korean street food and Anna Mae’s pulled pork sandwiches. 

Hang out on the terrace at The Frog

A big vote-winner, this: it seems there’s nothing Time Out readers love more than snagging a seat at this Clapham hangout’s rooftop terrace and enjoying the views over the Common with a cheeky Rioja. 

  1. 32 The Pavement Clapham, SW4 0JE
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Gorge on salt beef at Gaby's

  • Rated as: 2/5

There were understandably warm words for the salt beef sandwiches at Gaby’s Deli, the legendary Theatreland haunt which is under threat of closure. 

  1. 30 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DE
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Eat traditional grub at Goddard's

There was a late rally for the newly reopened Goddard’s Pie Shop in Greenwich, which is back after a five-year disappearance. As well as pie, mash and liquor, Goddard’s also serves jellied eels. 

Scoff brunch at Hawksmoor

  • Rated as: 5/5

Hawksmoor sometimes seems less a restaurant than a meat-worshipping cult, such are the levels of devotion its weighty, dry-aged, charcoal-grilled beef inspires. But while the steaks steal the show, don’t miss the breakfast at the Guildhall branch, a feast of black pudding, bone marrow, short rib, bubble & squeak, sausages, beans and all-you-can-eat (now there’s a challenge worth rising to...) toast. 

  1. 10-12 Basinghall Street, EC2V 5BQ
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Have a mojito at Kaff

This café and eatery moonlights as one of Brixton’s most chilled-out spots, complete with DJs and that rarest of enticements, a well-priced cocktail list. The mojitos, it appears, are unmissable. 

  1. 64-68 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PY
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Sip a cocktail or two at the Oxo Tower

  • Rated as: 5/5

Paula Luce heartily recommends ‘a gingerbread swizzle cocktail on the Oxo Tower’s balcony, on a sunny day.’ Other readers raved about the Southbank Cocktail, a devilish mix of gin and juice with a chirpy smack of lychees. 

  1. 8th floor, Barge House Street, (Oxo Tower Wharf), SE1 9PH
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Buy the best fresh produce on Maltby Street

On Saturdays, readers are skipping busy Borough Marketand walking ten minutes to Maltby Street, where traders selling produce of the highest quality include Neal’s Yard DairyMonmouth Coffee and The Ham & Cheese Company. 

Wander Whitecross Street Food Market

Thursdays and Fridays are street food days on Whitecross Street, where you can find burritos from Luardos, British pies from Eat My Pies and Hoxton Beach’s excellent falafel. 

  1. Whitecross St, EC1Y
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Follow the 'bugerati' to Meat Liquor

  • Rated as: 4/5

When the Meatwagon opened in 2009, Yianni Papoutsis reinvented the London fast-food burger. London’s fledgling burgerati followed it around town and now the masses queue every evening to get a table at Meat Liquor, Papoutsis’s faux-divey Bond Street burger bar. Reader Gavin Holmes urges you towards ‘The Dead Hippie burger’, which apparently resembles a ‘pimp-my-Big Mac’. 

  1. 74 Welbeck Street, W1G 0BA
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Indulge in posh nosh at Modern Pantry

With a menu that features roast pork belly, confit duck leg, filo-baked buffalo mozzarella and the like, brunch at The Modern Pantry is to the average fry-up as a Rolls Royce is to a pile of burning tyres. Best enjoyed al fresco in St John’s Square. 

  1. 47 - 48 St Johns Square, EC1V 4JJ
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Get refreshed at Museum of London

  • Free

Derrick Williams makes the strongest case for the tea at the 74 Museum of London’s Entrance Hall café. He promises it, ‘will lift you from the Victorian bleakness’ of their Dickens exhibition

  1. 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
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Bloody Mary

Slurp on a Bloody Mary at The Narrow Boat

This canal-side Islington tavern is, according to a sizeable quorum of readers, the perfect place to fritter away a Sunday. The general consensus was that the Bloody Marys are the wisest way to start proceedings.

Drink beer at the National Theatre

It’s far from being a secret suggestion – head to the National and grab a beer on the terrace while doing some serious people-watching in the sun. It is, however, a massive hit with TO voters: expect this South Bank drinkery to be rammed again this summer. 

  1. South Bank, SE1 9PX
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Feast on Turkish cuisine

  • Rated as: 4/5

19 Numara Bos Cirrik I is an old-school kebab house, which is a firm favourite with a phalanx of readers including one called Doug who hailed its ‘giant-sized portions’. Dip straight-off-the-grill flatbread into onion and pomegranate sauce and rejoice – this is Turkish food at its best. 

  1. 34 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XJ
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Pie and mash in Covent Garden

  • Rated as: 3/5

Who ate all the pies? Readers of Time Out magazine, it appears, going by the impressive number of pastry-based votes you cast. Craig Carver spearheads a group of Covent Garden pie aficionados, saying he always has ‘more than enough time for Battersea Pie Station, the greatest pie around’. 

  1. Lower ground floor, (28 The Market), WC2E 8RA
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Afternoon tea at the Petersham Hotel

The Petersham Hotel’s Diamond Jubilee afternoon tea has garnered praise for its aristocratic assortment of dainty sandwiches, Battenberg cake and - for a £12.50 supplement - a glass of champers. 

Enjoy a caffeine hit at Prufrock Coffee

  • Rated as: 5/5

One-time World Barista champion Gwilym Davies has won major affection from bean-loving readers for his welcoming café, named after a TS Eliot character. 

  1. 23-25 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TE
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Sink a few at Rules

  • Rated as: 4/5

One-time World Barista champion Gwilym Davies has won major affection from bean-loving readers for his welcoming café, named after a TS Eliot character. 

  1. 35 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7LB
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Picnic in Soho Square

There was an emphasis on simple pleasures with recommendations for what Laura Gok Tran Brady described as ‘sitting in Soho Square with a pint of cider from The Edge pub and a picnic’. 

Eat al fresco on the South Bank

A clutch of Time Outers, spearheaded by@Innovativebaker, also commended the joys of picnicking on the South Bank and enjoying ‘the LSO’s performances without being inside’. 

Spend summer evenings at Tattershall Castle

This floating boat bar got a series of approving nods from readers, with particular praise for its gently-bobbing views of the London Eye and its glorious summertime barbecues. 

  1. Kings Reach, Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2HR
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Try cocktails at Zetter Townhouse

  • Rated as: 4/5

The lounge at the Zetter is equipped with cosily squashy armchairs, quirky granny-esque decor, and a cocktail list that leaves readers reeling. Favourite concoctions include the ‘Fleurs du mal’, made with rose vodka and absinthe, and the face-scrunching Nettle Gimlet. Marvellous. 

  1. 49-50 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ
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Stomach jellied eels at Tubby's

Readers including Charlie Minster love to eat jellied eels at Tubby Issac’s, a stall at the back of Petticoat Lane Market. In a slightly surreal paean to Tubby’s, Minster claims they serve ‘amusingly gelatinous’ eels, designed to be savoured with chili vinegar and pepper and eaten standing up. 

  1. Middlesex St, Glousten St, Toynbee St, Wentworth St, Bell Lane, Cobb St, , Leyden St, Strype St, E1 7EX
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