Going to London’s museums and art galleries is one of the best ways to spend a day in this city. But, it’s also a lot of effort. There’s all that standing, the countless thoughtful head tilts, and the anxiety of pretending you know the difference between cubism and expressionism. That’s why it’s important to go to the right restaurants that are not only nearby, but where you can sit down, relax, refuel, and Google whether that painting you saw was of a fruit basket or a parrot. These are the best spots to hit after spending a few hours at Royal Academy.
You just saw a toddler lick a 700 year old painting. To say it was distressing would be an understatement. You need wine and you need it now. Old school seafood spot J Sheekey is an excellent spot for a glass of wine and, shockingly, for some seafood, especially if you get involved in their shellfish. This place also has a real looker of an outdoor terrace, and, sure, it’s expensive, but splitting their £20 fish pie is totally reasonable.
Underwhelmed by everything you saw at the galleries, head to Beijing Dumpling. There are plenty of great restaurants in London's Chinatown, but seeing a stack of bamboo steamers appear before you at Beijing Dumpling is sort of like Christmas morning for adults with a real thing for pork xiao long bao. This unassuming little spot on Lisle Street is making big-deal dumplings. We’re talking seafood dumplings that are salty and sippable, pan fried pork dumplings that are totally simple in the best possible way, and those spicy soup dumplings that we’ll always return to. And the best part is this place is super affordable.
You can watch Bancone make their pasta in the window of this Covent Garden spot. Think of it as like being at the gallery but with more salivating and less questioning of whether you really wanted to see that many naked torsos in one day. Just up from Trafalgar Square, this place has a short menu of fresh pasta dishes that are as affordable as they are tasty. Be warned, it gets busy, so book ahead.
You’ll probably have a similar reaction to the food at Scully as you would to actual pieces of art. It’s colourful. It’s innovative. And it might take a second to understand, but once you do, you’ll like it. Don’t be fooled by the outside of this St James’s spot - it might look a bit too glossy and slightly soulless, but a few bites of their food and you’ll never underestimate a piece of charred pumpkin again. We like this place best in the evening, so our game plan would be to come here to chase all that culture with some drinks and lots of chickpeas.