Unique Places To Eat in London
Updated: Feb 19, 2022
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The food scene in London has exploded over recent decades. As you walk along the streets you’ll be greeted by more than your fair share of unique restaurants and quirky cafes. But don’t worry, you can still get your English pub fix no matter what area of London you’re in. Some of the most unique places to eat in London are worlds away from the tourist spots that you’re probably used to. But that’s what makes exploring London so fun!
Many first time visitors to the UK are keen to try traditional British dishes such as fish and chips, toad in the hole, or the mighty full English breakfast. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these dishes, but you’ll find more and more quirky restaurants in London turning tradition on its head. From the markets of Camden to the streets of Whitechapel, and even across the River Thames into Bermondsey, you won’t run out of unique places to eat in London. Here are some of my top recommendations.
While you’re in London, why not try out the UK’s first vegan pizzeria? Purezza is located in Camden, only a short walk from the underground station. Their plant-based menu is full of tasty Neapolitan pizzas, with a mixture of different bases to choose from. If you’re a fan of melted cheese, I’d recommend ordering their Dough Balls to start things off with. Their desserts are equally as good as their pizzas too, or you can opt for a freshly blended smoothie if you want to stay on the healthier side of things. With 95% of their menu being gluten free, Purezza is the perfect vegan restaurant in London to dine at for people with specific dietary requirements (or anyone really).
The Mac Factory (Camden)
Camden Lock Market is crammed with unique food stalls, but one of the best is The Mac Factory. They bring mac n’ cheese to a whole new level. They have everything from traditional macaroni cheese to truffle infused mac n’ cheese. We chose to sample their Super Mario option, which was a blend of mushrooms, parmesan, and white truffle oil. Each order is freshly prepared, so if you’re in a rush this may not be the best option for you. But it’s definitely worth the wait! The Mac Factory is another quirky and unique place to eat in London that won’t leave you hungry.
Rossopomodoro (Covent Garden)
The next time you’re in Covent Garden, you have to eat at Rossopomodoro. This restaurant serves authentic southern Italian food that’s all freshly prepared on-site. If you’re missing Italy, their wood-fired pizzas will take you right back to Naples. Plus, who can resist some garlic pizza bread to start things off with? In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have tried to eat two pizzas in one sitting. But I was excited! Make sure you finish off your dinner with one of their desserts too, because they are equally as tasty. The staff are very friendly here and couldn’t do enough for us, which made us feel like part of the family. You’ll have a great evening at Rossopomodoro.
Zizi Factory (Covent Garden)
There are unusual places to eat in London, and then there’s Zizi Factory. Straight from the heart of Paris, this naughty waffle house is putting bubble waffles to shame. Depending on your preference, you can pick between a Willy or a Fanny, and there are a variety of different sauces and toppings to choose from. Of course, you can also get a heart-shaped waffle, but that’s no fun, is it? We ordered a Lucien Willy and a Bernadette Fanny. Zizi Factory is located in Covent Garden and is easy to locate with its signage. It’s a very fun and unique place to eat in London - so don’t miss it!
Circolo Popolare (Fitzrovia)
If you want to eat at what many have called the best Italian restaurant in London, make sure you book in advance for a seat at Circolo Popolare. We showed up without a booking right when they opened and were lucky enough to get a seat. This is by far one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in London, not only because of its decor but also its food. Plants hanging from the ceiling, bottles lining the walls, and quirky cocktail glasses are just some of its unique features. The pasta dishes here come highly recommended, so we tried the gnocchi and black truffle pasta. But the highlight really had to be the unique cocktails that were served! It’s a bit pricey if you’re visiting London on a budget, but if you want to pay for the experience then it’s a good option in central London.
Dough Bakehouse (Herne Hill)
While we were staying in Bermondsey, we decided to take a short train ride down to Herne Hill to try Dough Bakehouse. The founder of this dessert shop in London won The Apprentice in 2019, so you may recognize the name if you watched the show. Their Herne Hill location is built under one of the train bridges, with quite a simple decor inside and pretty flowers decorating the wall to add some vibrancy. We opted for their famous doughnuts, as well as a cheeky pistachio brownie. Their deluxe hot chocolate is definitely worth getting on a chilly day too! It’s one of the best dessert places in London, so hop on a train and get yourself down to Herne Hill.
Mr White's (Leicester Square)
If you’ve been to London, chances are you’ve wandered around Leicester Square at least once. This popular area of London is surrounded by theatres, so there’s a constant buzz around it. And right in the heart of things is Mr White’s, one of the more unique places to eat in London. This multi-storey restaurant is teeming with plants and classy decorations, making everything seem warm and inviting. Apart from its famous gins, Mr White’s is known for its tasty steaks and pizzas. The Saffron Aranchini are one starter that you won’t want to miss out on either. Dining at Mr White’s is the perfect way to cap off an evening.
Eat Tokyo (Soho)
The best Japanese restaurant in London is Eat Toyko. They have a number of locations around London, and each one always has a massive queue outside. If you haven’t booked a table, be prepared to wait at least 90 minutes like we did. But the wait is worth it! It’s a no-frills kind of restaurant, with what has to be the largest menu I’ve ever seen. The sushi is very popular here, but they also have bento boxes and other non-seafood items on the menu. I went for their Vegetarian Bento Box and a few starters. Despite it being centrally located, Eat Tokyo isn’t overpriced so it’s a great option if you don’t want to blow all of your budget on food. It’s another unique place to eat in London that’s worth the trip.
Truffle Burger (Soho)
Soho is home to a lot of popular restaurants in London, but if you love burgers (and truffle) then you’re really going to enjoy Truffle Burger. This is another unique place to eat in London that has a modern, trendy vibe to it. The menu is small, with six burger options on it, but the flavours are amazing. And there are plenty of side dishes to add to your meal. They even have a vegetarian burger available that’s bursting with truffle goodness. We went for their famous Truffalo Chicken Burger and The Truffle Burger which were both very tasty, and filling too. Add some sides and a couple of cocktails to your meal for the ultimate dining experience at Truffle Burger.
The Black Pig (Southwark)
Borough Market is one of the best places to eat near Tower Bridge. There’s an enormous amount of food stalls in the market to choose from and The Black Pig is one of the most popular. Their pork ciabatta sandwiches are off the charts. Everything from the bread, to the pork, to the sauces are all freshly made with the highest quality ingredients. You can even watch as they slow roast the pork shoulder on their special grill. Order either the Truffle Honey Parmesan or the Smoked Scamorza and you’ll be leaving with a very happy stomach. The Black Pig also offers a veggie sandwich with the same flavours as their pork sandwiches (minus the meat obviously). It was one of our favourite places to eat in London so we’ll definitely be back.
Dumpling Shack (Spitalfields)
If fresh handmade dumplings are your thing, you won’t want to miss the Dumpling Shack in the Old Spitalfields Market. When we were walking around the market we noticed a massive queue so we knew it had to be good. And we weren’t disappointed! We ordered their signature dish, which is the Pork Pan Fried Soup Dumplings and we’d happily go back again and eat some more. They also offer soup, noodles, and meal deals so there’s something for everyone on the menu. It’s a great place to eat in London if you’re on the go.
Hotbox London (Spitalfields)
Aside from the market, Spitalfields is home to some very popular restaurants in London too. Hotbox London is a smoked meat restaurant offering American BBQ platters and other hearty meals. It definitely offers one of the best brunches in East London. The St. Louis Pork Ribs are a must for anyone who enjoys eating sticky BBQ ribs hot off the grill. I had my heart set on the Chicken Waffles though. They definitely serve the best chicken and waffles in London, and top it all off with a maple butter sauce. And since I’m Canadian, I couldn’t say no to a side of their Brisket Poutine.
*They have now closed their Spitalfields location. You can find them at Market Halls*
Naan Wrap (Spitalfields)
Old Spitalfields Market has a lot of food stalls to choose from. If you’re in the mood for something Indian, I’d recommend going to Naan Wrap. All of their naan bread are made on site in a tandoori oven, and they have a few different options for the wrap filling, such as chicken or paneer tikka. You can also order a naan bread to munch on if the wraps don’t appeal to you.
The Culpeper (Spitalfields)
The Culpeper is located only a short walk from Brick Lane, in nearby Spitalfields. It’s a very cozy pub with a traditional yet modern vibe inside. The name comes from a 17th century physician who helped to treat people that weren’t able to afford medical care. We visited for drinks as the upstairs restaurant hadn’t reopened yet. They have a great selection of cocktails on their menu, and it seemed to be a very popular spot for both couples and larger groups to meet for a drink. If you want a cocktail with a bit of a punch to it, I’d recommend ordering the Devil’s Kiss. As well as the restaurant upstairs, The Culpeper has a few guest rooms available too. It’s a great pub to stop at for some drinks in London.
Wheelcake Island (Spitalfields)
Wheelcake Island is a delicious hidden gem in London, serving childhood snacks right from the streets of Taiwan. They serve authentic Taiwanese pancakes, which are stuffed with a creamy filling. My recommendation would be the custard filling, but they have a few other options available, as well as a monthly special. It’s a great food stall to visit if you’re looking for a tasty dessert in London or have a craving that needs satisfying. They’re also very inexpensive, so you may as well try all of the flavours!
Yum Bun (Spitalfields)
This food stall in the Old Spitalfields Market was so good we went back twice. Yum Bun serves soft steamed buns with a selection of different fillings, with tasty sauces and crunchy toppings. The best option is to go for the Bun Box, which includes two buns of your choice, two veggie gyozas, and Asian slaw. Not only does it save you money, but you get a good selection from their menu all at once. You won’t regret eating here.
If you’re in Whitechapel, a nice breakfast spot in London to go to is Grounded. They’re known for their fresh and organic food, as well as their coffee blends. It gets very busy here, so I would recommend going for breakfast as early as possible if you don’t like crowded places. Instead of a full English breakfast, I tried their Shakshuka which is a Middle Eastern dish of baked eggs in a tomato sauce with peppers. It’s a great option for a vegetarian meal and is very filling.
Rinkoff Bakery (Whitechapel)
One of my favourite stops in London was Rinkoff Bakery. This Jewish family-run bakery has been operating since 1911, and is now baking some very colourful treats. Apart from traditional challah bread, you can dig into some mouthwatering crodoughs or grab yourself a rainbow bagel. Crodoughs were originally invented in New York City, but the idea was brought all the way back to London by a family member. Rinkoff Bakery now produces a wide selection of these croissant-doughnut hybrids which are just as tasty as they look. And if you’re a bagel lover like me, you can’t leave the bakery without purchasing a rainbow bagel with cream cheese (or whatever filling you’d like)! It’s one of the most unique places to eat in London, and a bit of a hidden gem in Whitechapel too.
The Buxton (Whitechapel)
The Buxton is one of the best places to eat in East London, and doubles as a hotel. It’s situated along Brick Lane in Whitechapel, and serves a delicious blend of British and European cuisine. They have a great selection of freshly made dishes on their menu, which are prepared in their open kitchen. Their ingredients come from local suppliers, and they even have a garden on their roof which they use to the full extent. The menu is changed regularly so only the freshest and most in-season produce is being used, which is a nice change from other eateries. If they’re still on the menu when you visit The Buxton, the Cottage Pie and Butternut Squash Risotto are both excellent choices for your main meal.
Unique Places to Stay in London
The Buxton is not only a great place to have dinner, it’s also one of the more unique places to stay in London. It was named after Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton who was a social reformer from the 19th century. Other than campaigning for human rights, he raised money for the city’s weavers who were forced into poverty when machines began to dominate factories.
They have 15 modernly designed rooms available on varying floors. There are no lifts inside the hotel so bear that in mind. Each room is decorated with original hand woven artworks and blankets made by local weavers, a nod to the people who Sir Thomas helped. We stayed in the Double Room which are en-suite. The rooms aren’t massive, but they are very cozy and we had a great night sleep in the large double bed. Each room comes with a selection of books, a TV, and a coffee maker. Guests also have access to the rooftop where you can get panoramic views of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. The room was perfect for our needs; we couldn't fault it at all.
The breakfast served at The Buxton is incredible. There was no need for us to start researching breakfast spots in Whitechapel. All of the preserves, butter, and buns are made in house, and they even cure their own bacon. If you’re not up for a Full English Breakfast, they have lighter options such as porridge or house granola available. Their French Toast is very flavourful, topped with seasonal preserves to give it extra flavour. It was one of the best breakfasts we had while we were in London, so even if you aren’t staying at The Buxton I would recommend stopping by.
>> Click here for the most up to date prices at The Buxton <<
You probably didn’t need me to tell you that there are a lot of unique places to eat in London. This list doesn’t even begin to touch the surface, but hopefully it’s given you a couple of ideas for your next trip to the capital. The food scene in London is constantly changing, so I have no doubt that we’ll come across many more quirky and unusual restaurants in London when we return.
Do you have any tips on where to eat in London? Or even any tips on what restaurants in London to avoid? Let me know in the comment section below. And don’t forget to follow my latest ventures on Instagram too!