Search for a place or activity

8 Quintessentially British Dishes and Where To Eat Them in London

Don’t leave the capital without trying these iconic British bites.
Hi, I'm Jade!

Jade is a writer with a passion for travel, drag queens, and baked goods. Her happy place is South America, but when she's not exploring the world, she enjoys cooking and reading Gothic novels in her London flat.

London’s culinary scene is almost as diverse as its cosmopolitan culture—no matter what food you’re in the mood for, you’ll probably find it in the Big Smoke. But even though the city has seen a rise in niche and novelty creations—ranging from garlic-infused shots to chicken donuts—heritage dishes still hold strong. Here are 10 of the best.

1. Roast dinner

A roast beef being cooked in London in the UK.
Roast beef is a classic choice.Photo Credit: Barry Neal / Shutterstock

Wrap up the weekend with a cozy feast.

During the long winter months in London, no Sunday is complete without a roast dinner, also known as a Sunday roast. Comprising pork, beef, or chicken and an array of vegetables, this British tradition is the ultimate comfort food—typical trimmings include cheesy cauliflower, crisp Yorkshire puddings, and lashings of gravy.

Where to try a roast dinner in London: Top spots for a roast dinner in London include Blacklock, Temper, and Hawksmoor, although you'll find them at any London pub worth its salt.

2. Fish and chips

Fish and chips, with all the sides, in London in the UK.
Fish, chips, and mushy peas.Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

A famous fried pairing.

Don’t miss out on the chance to eat one of Britain’s most famous foods while visiting the capital: Fish and chips—a plate of crispy battered cod and thick, perfectly cooked chips. While you can happily pair it with a strong cup of tea, it's equally as good washed down with a pint of real ale. Adding a healthy amount of salt and malt vinegar to the fish and chips is optional but encouraged.

Where to try fish and chips in London: Stop into a traditional pub near Charing Cross or London Bridge.

3. Full English breakfast

A customer enjoys a Full English breakfast, with beans and toast and orange juice, in London in the UK.
There's no better hangover cure.Photo Credit: Natalia Lisovskaya / Shutterstock

Start the day with a hefty serving of fried breakfast fare.

Quite the opposite of its European counterpart, the Continental, this hearty start to the day is perhaps one of England’s most famous exports—but it’s not for the faint of heart. Sausages, bacon, beans, hash browns, and black pudding—as well as other extras including mushrooms, tomatoes, and fried bread—are sure to fuel you up for the day (or send you back for a nap).

Where to try a full English in London: Head to 338 Cafe in Bethnal Green for a traditional take, or visit chic Caravan in Kings Cross for a more modern variation.

4. Pie and mash

Customers line up for pie and mash.
Pie and mash is an extremely London choice.Photo Credit: Alena Veasey / Shutterstock

Savory pies from Victorian days.

Simple and satisfying, pie and mash has been served in the shops of east London since the Victorian era—the thick crust of the pie protected the filling from the grime of London. Now, however, it’s eaten purely for enjoyment rather than practicality.

Where to try pie and mash in London: Visit Holborn Dining Room for an elevated take on the dish, while traditional Goodard’s in Greenwich offers pies with the accompaniment of jellied eels, a London delicacy that are exactly what they sound like.

5. Afternoon tea

Friends enjoy afternoon tea in a dining room in London.
Afternoon tea with friends is one of life's pleasures.Photo Credit: DGLimages / Shutterstock

Relax with tea, Champagne, and light bites.

In London, afternoon tea is a cultural institution that’s remained beloved since its “invention” in 1840—and for good reason. What’s not to love about dainty finger sandwiches, pretty pastries, English tea, and flutes of Champagne?

Where to try afternoon tea in London: Two of the top spots to enjoy this English tradition are The Savoy and Fortnum and Mason, although you can also grab an afternoon tea on a double decker bus or in the Kensington Palace gardens.

Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Afternoon Tea in London

6. Cheese

Friends line up to order ripe cheeses in London in England.
Cheese, glorious cheese.Photo Credit: Alena Veasey / Shutterstock

Stilton, Cheshire, and cheddar are just a few of the top English cheeses.

Cheese, glorious cheese. While most often associated with France, England has a wealth of great cheeses too. Take Stilton, crumbly Cheshire (just as popular as Cheddar in many British supermarkets), or even Wensleydale. (Wallace and Gromit, anyone?)

Where to try cheese in London: Make your way to the posh Mayfair neighborhood to find London’s oldest cheese shop, where you can sample tasty morsels of cheese from around the country. Another great spot for cheese sampling is Borough Market, with dozens of vendors and countless delicious products. Of course, you can always opt for a handy London cheese crawl instead.

Related: The 11 Cheesiest Events and Attractions Around the World

7. Scotch egg

A Scotch egg sliced in half on a chopping board in London, in England.
It's good, no matter how you slice it.Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Order one at the pub.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a London gastropub that doesn’t serve some variation of the humble Scotch egg—a hard-boiled egg traditionally encased in sausage meat and crispy breadcrumbs.

Where to try Scotch eggs in London: Often topping the list of the best is the Harwood Arms in Fulham, which uses venison, and the Bull and Last pub near Hampstead Heath.

8. Curry

Curries lined up at a restaurant in London in England.
There's a plethora of curry houses to choose from.Photo Credit: I Wei Huang / Shutterstock

Londoners love nothing more than a good curry.

Curry is a classic pub grub meal, fancy takeout option, or greasy hangover remedy in England and you can try it in all its glorious iterations and spice levels across the capital. The heart of the city’s Bangladeshi community, Brick Lane in particular is home to numerous curry houses—it's not for nothing that the chicken tikka masala is the country's national dish.

Where to try curry in London: Head to Brick Lane for a plate of one of England’s favorite dishes: curry. While you're in the area, save some room for a salt beef bagel from one of Britain’s most famous bagel shops, Brick Lane Beigel Bake, too.

Find things to do in London

1 / 5

Keep reading

1 / 5
Do more with Viator
One site, 300,000+ travel experiences you'll remember—direct to your inbox.
Stay in the know