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Traditional Victorian Pub

Tea at the Ritz

The Prospect of Whitby, opened in 1520

Fish and Chips

Afternoon treats

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British classics shine in an international city


ou can travel the world in London's restaurants.  French, modern European, Indian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian,  Mexican, Greek, African, Middle Eastern and Russian foods are all readily available. High quality Chinese food in its many styles is easy to find, as are Chinese influenced cuisines from Singapore and Vietnam.


But London's local treats are still worth seeking out. Earthy "sausages & mash" is served in pubs, bistros and even many fine restaurants. Afternoon tea with delicate pastries, cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream - a rich, buttery cream from Devon and Cornwall, is a must.  


Londoners no longer eat chips with everything,  but a portion of crispy fish and chips can be irresistible.  If you've never tried them, its best to sample fish and chips in a proper restaurant before trying one of the many chip shops around town. Geales, with branches in Notting Hill and Chelsea Green, have been serving posh fish and chips since 1939. Nautilus in Hampstead, is another on many Londoners' lists. 


Start the day with a traditional "full English",  a breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, sausages, sautéed mushrooms and grilled tomatoes served with lots of milky tea and buttered toast.  If your hotel doesn't send you off with a big breakfast, try the Wolseley,  in a former bank on Piccadilly. It's famous for luxury breakfasts - and afternoon tea.  Speaking of afternoon tea, the best traditional teas, with all the trimmings, are served in London's grand hotels.  At Brown's in Mayfair, London's oldest hotel, the award winning afternoon tea comes with continually refilled trays of treats. The Savoy, the Ritz and the Lanesborough, where they have a tea sommelier, serve elegant teas as well. 


Whether or not you are a beer drinker, you won't want to leave London without experiencing the atmosphere of a traditional London pub like the Salisbury, in the heart of the theatre district -  a Victorian extravaganza of etched mirrors and dark polished woodwork.  Not all pubs serve meals but beer, soft drinks and light snacks are universally available. And here's a tip - there's absolutely nothing traditional about a Ploughman's Lunch; it was invented by a British tourism marketing department in the 1970s. So, unless you really want bread, a hunk of ordinary cheese and some undressed salad, give it a miss. 


When the London work day ends, the pubs and the pavements outside them fill up with office workers and shoppers relaxing before starting their journeys home. Pubs, you see,  are as much for socializing with friends as for drinking.