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Aperitivo is an Italian ritual that originated in Milan. It sees friends and family unwind together in the early evening with a cocktail and a few nibbles, or cicchetti. As more and more restaurants and bars in the capital start to offer Italian-style post-work cocktails and snacks, aperitivo has gradually found its way into the London lexicon. If you’re planning to go continental this summer, here are our picks of the best restaurants and bars offering the aperitivo experience.
Square Meal asked its two American interns to work their way round the capital’s macaroni and cheese offerings to find the best mac ‘n’ cheese in London. Here’s their verdict…
There’s no more extravagant stage experience than the opera and, beginner or buff, there’s something for everyone in London this season – not to mention some tasty pre-/post-theatre dining options within soprano-shouting distance of the action…
Still not decided where to take your beloved this Thursday? Use Square Meal’s Tree of Love to find the perfect restaurant for your Valentine's Day date.
Is there anything more embarrassing than getting turned away from the latest cool club? Well, yes – probably – but if you want to avoid the late-night walk of shame, follow our essential guide to those disco dos and don’ts.
Enjoying a meal – whether in a restaurant or at home – is increasingly becoming a truly interactive experience. With a smartphone on hand, we can research the best glass of wine with which to complement our dish, document our meal snap by snap, or find a group of friends with whom to share the experience. Square Meal has compiled a list of the best apps for tech-savvy foodies.
We’ve all been there: a show ends too late, drinks run on too long, or work keeps us in the office, and we can’t get to a restaurant in time to eat. Thankfully, a handful of restaurants throughout the city operate late kitchen hours for those of us with inconvenient schedules. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck for somewhere to grab a late-night bite, here’s our pick of the best restaurants in London that keep their doors open for rumbling stomachs.
Even in unseasonal weather, a great view of London can take your breath away. Whether you want to watch the sun rise or stargaze, make time to see the capital from a different perspective. Try our pick of the best London bars-with-views that are perfect for any time of year.
As the UK’s appreciation for fine food increases, so too has our appetite for learning new skills in the kitchen. It’s no longer enough to watch Hugh wrestle with rhubarb on the telly; we want to be out there, learning first-hand from the professionals. And it seems as if the restaurants are starting to realise this, as increasing numbers launch their own classes. And where better to brush up your culinary skills than in a top-flight restaurant?
Visitors and tourists visiting London can be overwhelmed with choice when it comes to eating and drinking out in the capital’s restaurants and bars. Choose badly and you can find yourself in some miserable tourist-trap dining room surrounded only by other tourists. To give visitors to London during the Olympics some insider tips, Square Meal has tracked down a selection of London restaurants that are off the beaten track, such as The Seagrass (pictured). Welcome to the capital’s hidden restaurants and secret bars – some of which even born-and-bred Londoners might not know about.
If you’re planning to visit London this summer for the Olympics, get the most out of your trip by taking in all that the capital has to offer – including its red-hot dining and drinking scenes. Square Meal’s run-through of the hippest haunts, most atmospheric bars, and most impressive foodie locations will bring out the best London has to offer for both foreign tourists and Brits from outside London. What’s more, we have suggestions for every budget and taste.
After all the excitement of a day at the Games, get a different kind of fix by sampling east London’s buzzing social scene. Whether you want a time-warp experience, modern eclecticism, or an evening people-watching the trendy, artsy crowd of Bethnal Green, head to one of the area’s best pubs or most buzzing bars for a dose of London life.
With tens of thousands of tourists descending on the capital for the London Olympics, it pays to be prepared when it comes to eating and drinking near the Games’ main events. If you want to venture further afield than the Olympic Park for a quick lunchtime pit-stop or an after-race snack, Square Meal reveals some hidden gems, all just a quick sprint from the action (or reachable with a little help from London Transport).
Wimbledon and all that it entails – Murray mania, the threat of rain, and mass consumption of strawberries – is here again. Whether you’ve aced a spot courtside or are cheering on the Brits from Murray Mount, there’s plenty on offer for those who breach the confines of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. And if you’re out and about in the capital this fortnight, you’ll also find tennis-tastic restaurants getting into the spirit of the game.
As the five-ring circus rolls into town and the hordes of sports fans descend, Londoners may find themselves hard pressed to enjoy a quiet pint or a leisurely meal. One solution: head for the hills. Keith Barker-Main suggests some alternative drinking and dining locations within easy striking distance of the capital.
Champagne is the perfect summer thirst-quencher: cool, crisp and brimming with soothingly satisfying bubbles, it is unquestionably an aristocrat among alfresco tipples. Very few drinks do so much to slake a thirst while lifting the spirits in such a civilised way, especially when the British sun deigns to shine. With this in mind, Square Meal has rounded up 10 of the best oases in London, places with great outside space and a decent Champagne offering, where you can indulge in the spirit of summer to the full.
Raise the steaks this Father’s Day and bring out your dad’s inner caveman by treating him to a slap-up meal at one of London’s top steak joints. From high-end hunks of beef (and fantastic cocktails) at all-round winner Hawksmoor (pictured) to glamorous dining at 34, Square Meal will help you make the cut on 17 June.
If you’re feeling patriotic this Sunday, raise a glass to HRH Queen Elizabeth to celebrate her 60-year reign. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will see more than 1,000 boats take to the water in a 14-mile river procession that starts from Hammersmith Bridge and finishes at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Even if you’re not a royalist, the flotilla will be worth watching – it’s reported to be the largest procession since Tudor times. Square Meal picks some of the best bars and pubs along the river route – plus a few restaurants for refreshment.
Europe’s diversity is perfectly showcased by the Eurovision Song Contest – a super-camp soirée of flashing lights, fixed smiles and false notes, spiced up with a mixture of cross-border nepotism and tension. This year's contest is hosted by Azerbaijan (whose 2011 entry, Arash and AySel, pictured, clinched them the title). Whether you’re backing the UK or giving douze points to an adopted European country, get into the spirit of the annual songfest with a European tour of London’s restaurants. Square Meal shows you how.
Thankfully for veggies, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants are a growing presence in a city preoccupied with steakhouses and burger joints. Gone are the worthy overtones and limited menus of old-style veggie restaurants; here to stay is a new genre that ushers in global flavours and inventive fusion cooking. Square Meal lists the best vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in London, as well as some vegan options.
Feeling patriotic? Indulge in traditional English delicacies at some of London’s most celebrated restaurants. From historical dishes at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and The Gilbert Scott to modern classics at Hix and Rhodes Twenty Four, there are plenty of English restaurants to make us proud.
Although takeaway Thai food might be a familiar crutch after a busy working day, Thai New Year (12-15 April) is an excuse to treat yourself to a slap-up, sit-down meal meal and break from the norm. From modest hidden gems to popular upmarket eateries, London has no shortage of Thai restaurants to choose from – and Square Meal has rounded up some of the best.
Treat yourself, or someone you know, to a slice of indulgence in something they consider nice – but naughty. Here, Square Meal lists the cream of London’s chocolate and cake purveyors specially for your delectation. Enjoy.
Even in straitened economic times, every budget needs room for the occasional indulgence. If you’re looking to celebrate or treat yourself with a glass of bubbly, Square Meal has compiled a list of the best Champagne bars in London, where the fun of the fizz makes up for the strain on your wallet.
Square Meal has selected London’s most romantic restaurants for all occasions, from first dates to proposals to anniversaries. Secure a second date at intimate venues such as Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis, or plan for a ‘yes’ to that all-important question in the sophisticated splendour of The Ritz. When love is in the air, let Square Meal help guide Cupid’s arrow…
London can be prohibitively expensive. Don’t despair: with increasing numbers of the capital’s inhabitants dining out more regularly, London’s restaurateurs are waking up to the idea of serving good-value, good-quality food in a fun, casual environment. Dine well for under £35 with Square Meal’s pick of the best cheap-and-cheerful restaurants in London.
From dumplings to steamed buns, dim sum has a dedicated following. Most people head to Chinatown to get their fix, although there are surprising finds dotted all over the capital – and just beyond. Dim sum has gone mainstream, too: the Ping Pong chain gives a user-friendly introduction to the delicacy. Aficionados and newcomers alike should read on for Square Meal’s pick of London’s most authentic dim sum restaurants.
How do you avoid the hungry hordes when you hit the high street for a spot of sales shopping? Forget department stores, chain restaurants and the usual suspects: the streets behind and surrounding Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street offer up some real gems – if you know where to look. Don’t let your fashion fizzle when it comes to food: here are Square Meal’s top 10 tips for lunching in style.
If you’re not dieting or detoxing, don’t let your social circle stagnate: instead, organise nights out at restaurants that won’t lead you astray. Whether you’re looking for calorie-conscious menus, determined to dine out in a more sustainable way, or striving for a bit of inner harmony, Square Meal has compiled the ultimate collection of healthy-eating and feel-good restaurants.
Increasingly savvy diners are not only asking restaurants whether their chicken is free range, their tuna line-caught and their scallops hand-dived; more and more now want to know where ingredients have come from, what eco-credentials a restaurant possesses, and how establishments treat their staff in terms of training and tips. The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) awards one-, two- or three-star ratings to member restaurants that perform highly in these categories, and works with them to improve their sustainability. Here is Square Meal’s pick of the best SRA-certified sustainable restaurants in London and the UK.
Are the short days and cold evenings of winter reasons to be depressed? On the contrary, says Keith Barker-Main, as he sups cask-conditioned real ales in front of roaring fires. Check out his brilliant baker’s dozen.
Whether you want a Korean-Mexican mash-up, a bistro lunch, or just a good old burger – London’s gang of mobile street vendors has got it covered.
When Guy Fawkes Night comes around, what better way to brace yourself against the whizzes and bangs of London’s fireworks or warm yourself up after a night of standing in the cold than to pop into a local bistro, gastropub or wine bar for a restorative tipple or some rib-sticking winter food? Read Square Meal’s suggestions for the best food-and-fireworks combo in your area.
The BFI London Film Festival (12-27 October) has pitched up for 2011 with a packed schedule, and will be showing films at various locations across the city, including Southbank, Leicester Square, central London, South Kensington and Brixton. If you’re looking to make a day or night of your trip to the flicks, Square Meal has suggestions for where to eat before or after the film – and why.
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you might as well spoil yourself. From breakfast meetings to weekend brunch, Square Meal has 10 mouthwatering suggestions for where to spend your morning – and 10 good reasons to get out of bed. Read on for a list of London’s best breakfasts and brunches.
12 August marks the Glorious Twelfth – the start of the grouse shooting season – and UK chefs will celebrate with dishes that showcase the rich, dark meat of this beautiful bird, as well as other game dishes. Find out where you can enjoy roast grouse, be it with traditional bread sauce, game chips or something more avant-garde (such as The Cinnamon Club's chargrilled grouse with pickled pumpkin and black lentils, pictured). Be warned, however, that some restaurants will not serve grouse until later in the month, so check before you book.
Give yourself a dose of la dolce vita this lunchtime with our list of the best pizzas in London. Whether you’re hankering after the flavours of a recent holiday, or yearning for the sunshine and sass of this Mediterranean food mecca, there’s nothing better than a pizza done properly. Here are the pizzerias that most deserve a slice of your lunchbreak.
Looking for an extra spurt of energy to get you through the working day? Make a pitstop at one of the capital’s top coffee shops. From full-on flat whites to creamy cappuccinos, our selection of London’s best coffee shops will have you going from 0 to 60 in, well, about half an hour or so.
Given Britain's finicky climate, there’s no knowing what the weather will do from one minute to the next. Many London restaurants have long since given up on the idea of offering sustained alfresco dining, opting instead to install a retractable roof. Here are some of the best restaurants and bars for ‘semi’ open-air dining.
London has more than its fair share of restaurants that seek to entertain diners as well as feed them. Find bawdy burlesque shows, sexy striptease, live music or dance, and all that jazz with Square Meal’s pick of some of the best restaurants and bars with entertainment in town.
When the sun is shining, London’s beer gardens are the place to be. Whether you’re popping into the pub for a quick after-work drink, enjoying a weekend lunch in the sun, or holing up in your local for a lost afternoon, here are 10 of London’s best beer gardens in which to soak up the sunshine.
Tired of spending your lunch hour cooped up in the office when you could be catching a few rays, or at least getting some fresh air? Pick up a picnic hamper or posh takeaway from one of London’s top restaurants and enjoy a spot of fine dining al fresco. Alternatively, treat yourself to gourmet food to go during a festival, road trip or another of this summer’s events.
While force-feeding your kids some culture over the summer holidays or nourishing your own inner self, make sure you don’t neglect the needs of the outer one. Find a restaurant pit stop that’s worth its weight in gourmet gold at London’s top museums, galleries, gardens and other cultural attractions.
France is still regarded by many as a standard-bearer for the ultimate in good food, and London has no shortage of Gallic bistros and fancy French fine-dining restaurants. If you’re yearning for a trip to the other side of the Channel, here are 10 of the capital’s best French restaurants. Bon appétit.
Where do you go if you’re a homesick Yank in the UK or just in awe of all things American? No sweat, you’ve come to the right place – find diners to die for, cool cocktail bars and patriotic pick-me-ups with Square Meal’s list of the best North American restaurants in London.
Use Square Meal’s list of the best places for Sunday lunch in London to find the perfect spot for a slap-up roast dinner with family and friends – from central-London restaurants (such as The Cadogan Arms, pictured) to foodie pubs off the beaten track.
Sunshine or no sunshine, the capital boasts plenty of purveyors of top-quality ice cream, enough to warrant more than the odd cone or two this summer. From the classic and cool, to the wacky and avant-garde, Square Meal has the inside scoop.
Fancy a different dining experience this summer? Bored of predictable menus and same-old service? Then this could be the list for you: we’ve scoured for the globe and found the world’s five weirdest restaurants, featuring everything from stir-fried horse penis to monkey waiters.
If you’re a committed carnivore, vegetarian restaurants are probably not a consideration when you head out for lunch. But as a healthier, lighter and often cheaper option, there’s no better time to try some of London’s increasingly competitive veggie restaurants that National Vegetarian week, which runs from today until 29 May. Alternatively, plenty of vegetarian friendly restaurants offer commendable meat-free dishes.
If you live for those ‘have you ever been to…?’ conversations, and love nothing more than letting rip with a good anecdote, this is the list for you: a collection of must-visit bars and restaurants in London and beyond. Whether you’re after fun food, daring decor, or even trendy toilets, make sure you don’t miss Square Meal’s pick of the capital’s most bizarre restaurants and bars.
What better way to spend a day in London than to take a luxurious and dainty afternoon tea in a quintessentially English location? From tea sommeliers and finger sandwiches to cream horns and baby-pink fondant fancies, here’s Square Meal’s guide to the best cream teas in the capital.
Limber up for a busy day in the capital this Sunday when, once again, London will play host to Marathon runners and their supporters. If you’re going along to cheer on the athletes, now’s the time to book restaurants and bars on or near the 26.2-mile course’s main viewing spots, such as The Narrow (pictured). Square Meal gives you a rundown of where to enjoy some refreshment without missing the event.
In the mood for a taste of España? Treat your tastebuds to the best tapas in London with our list of the top 15 tapas restaurants not to be missed.
Show your mum she’s worth her weight in gold by treating her to a lazy brunch, gourmet set lunch or decadent afternoon tea.
Do away with your preconceptions: today's pop-ups, supper clubs, and their newer siblings, chef residencies, are an altogether more spruced-up and luxurious experience than their anything-goes boho ancestors. From slick, one-table affairs to fine-dining tasting menus cooked by superstar chefs, there’s something for everyone in London’s underground dining scene. If you decide to turn your back on Michelin stars for one night, you’ll be riding sky-high with these pop-up restaurants, supper clubs and temporary chef residencies.
Make the most of London’s beautiful skyline with the top 10 restaurants offering picturesque views. From the go-to spots for vistas of the river to the places that capture the capital’s iconic landmarks from their best side, Square Meal maps out the city as you’ve never seen it before.
Square Meal has scoured the four-mile stretch of west London's riverbank, from Putney Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge, for perfect pubs and favourite restaurants at which to enjoy the river views - or watch the all-important Boat Race when the time comes. Here are 10 of the best.
The main St Patrick’s Day celebrations pass in a flurry of lurid green felt hats, temporary shamrock tattoos and many, many pints of Guinness. But if you’re hoping to celebrate Ireland’s national day with a touch more dignity and sophistication, look to London’s Irish-owned restaurants or visit Square Meal’s suggestions for the pubs and bars serving the best stout in town.
Whether you’ve decided to stay off the sauce for Lent, are shunning booze as part of a detox, or just prefer to go out on the town without feeling worse for wear the next day, there's no need to take the fun out of your bar ordering. Check out Square Meal’s pick of the best juices, teas and mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) on offer at London’s bars.
You don't have to stop tossing pancakes just because Shrove Tuesday is over. Make them a fixture of your breakfast table with the help of Square Meal's top five pancake joints. Whether you choose a stack of American-style pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, or a delicate French crêpe with a hint of lemon and sugar, treat yourself to a flippin’ marvellous feast and make every day a Pancake Day.
Restaurants with a no-bookings policy divide opinion at Square Meal: some of us hate to queue in tense anticipation while some of us embrace the supposed spontaneity that this dining model affords our social lives. If you can’t decide where to eat out this weekend, or want to take a chance on something new, here’s our pick of the capital’s hottest no-reservations restaurants – plus a few golden oldies that are well worth the queues.
The fash pack might not be renowned for its love of food, but you can be sure its movers and shakers will be out in force in the capital’s restaurants and bars, seeing and being seen, during London Fashion Week. Square Meal reveals the top 20 trend-setting destinations for keeping up with the crowd.
Taking the family out for a meal you'll all enjoy can be a tricky business. Whether you’re after a restaurant that will keep your offspring entertained without sending you up the wall, a hip place that will give you street cred with your teens (such as All Star Lanes, pictured), Square Meal has the answer, with its pick of the best family-friendly restaurants.
Come summer, some watering holes are guaranteed to put you on top of the world. We've searched out 10 of the best rooftop bars in London, from famous haunts such as Kensington Roof Gardens, to bijou suntraps you won't have heard of. Pack your Prada shades, roll up the sleeves and soak up the sun, drink in hand, before the summer inevitably turns bad.
The British really know how to make the most of a sunny spell, whatever season it happens to fall in. If the sun is shining, whether it's summer, winter, spring or autumn, make the most of it with Square Meal's run-down of London's top park cafés, waterside restaurants, pub gardens and alfresco courtyards. After all, it could be here today, rain tomorrow...