Food choices are abundant in London so deciding the best option for you can be a difficult task. Having some insight into the best eats of the city will make choosing your London lunch spot so much easier.
Knowing where to eat lunch in London can be difficult. Not only can it be expensive but there is a huge amount of choice. Having lived in or near London for much of the past 20 years, I definitely have my favorite restaurants. The wonderful thing about London is that I’m always discovering new – and new to me – ideas for where to eat lunch in London.
Prices in London restaurants are higher than in the rest of England; familiar fast food outlets are likely to shock you with their prices and some ‘American style’ restaurants can be a real tourist trap. Restaurants should display their menus outside but it’s also worth checking online before you go or asking to see a menu before you are seated.
Quick, Budget Places for Lunch in London
London has many multi-location restaurants that offer good value for money. At Pizza Express you can find a huge variety of delicious pizzas and pasta, with main courses priced at around £9 to £14.
There are at least a dozen branches of Pizza Express in Central London and the quality is pretty consistent at all of them. With a kid’s menu priced at around £6.50, lots of vegetarian and even a few gluten free options, Pizza Express is one of my top choices for value for money London dining.
Other similarly priced venues with kid’s menus include Strada, Bella Italia and Bill’s. Or grab soup, sandwiches and snacks at one of the many Pret a Manager locations throughout the capital.
Have a Picnic for Lunch in London
We Brits love to picnic, despite our rather temperamental weather. Many British department stores, including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, have food halls in selected locations where you can purchase sandwiches and snacks to take out.
Or look for branches of Sainsburys Local or Tesco, grocery stores that stock sandwiches. It’s easy to put together a picnic at short
notice, so if you see the sunshine, take advantage while it lasts!
Museums and Galleries for Lunch in London
Most of London’s museums and galleries offer at least one café and some have multiple places to eat. I particularly like the V&A Café at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. It offers a great selection of salads, sandwiches, hot meals, pastries and cakes and all the food is prepared on site.
The Science Museum and Natural History Museum offer several places to eat, as does the National Gallery.
For a Treat
If your budget will stretch to it, there are some classic lunch venues in London that are well worth a visit. Harrods department store in Knightsbridge has more than a dozen places to eat – my favorites being the Georgian Restaurant, Ladurée and Galvin Demoiselle.
The Wolseley in Piccadilly – also famous for its Eggs Benedict Breakfast – offers delicious dishes at lunchtime and the service is excellent. The a la carte menu as well as a Plat du Jour are priced at £18.95. You do need to book in advance.
The famous Piccadilly department store, Fortnum and Mason, has a selection of restaurants. Kids love The Fountain Restaurant, which resembles an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and serves some amazing treats. My son, now 21, used to love The Rainforest Café in Shaftesbury Avenue. The food is good and you really do feel like you are eating in the rain forest. The kids menu is priced around £12.50.
Check out these tips on Where to Eat in London with Kids.
April Harris is a food, lifestyle and travel writer who lives in Berkshire, England. She shares inspiration, tips and trends for anyone who loves food, cooking, entertaining, fashion, travel and the finer things in life at The 21st Century Housewife.