Where To Eat When You’re Shopping In London

Consumerism is hungry work. Here’s where to eat when you’re out spending your cash.
Where To Eat When You’re Shopping In London image

Shopping in London is like the 21st-century human savanna. Grown adults desperately pacing the perimeters for an exit, parents protecting their young from free pretzel samples, hysterical teenagers high on freedom and their first spritz of Lynx Africa. All it takes is for someone to side-step the queue and you’ve got a full scale riot on your hands. 

That’s why we’ve made this guide. Whether you’re in need of somewhere to rest your bags and have a good sit down, or several cocktails to avoid a breakdown, you’re guaranteed a good meal too.


photo credit: Adam Luszniak

Middle Eastern


$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastBusiness MealsDate NightDining SoloDinner with the ParentsDrinking Good Cocktails


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To treat yourself

Most Londoners would rather kiss a pavement, or worse, compliment their ex, than spend even a single, solitary second in Oxford Circus. But, for whatever reason you might find yourself shopping on London’s most rage-provoking street, you can find solace in the fact that Rovi is a short walk away. This place is anti-rage, like a lovely shot of vegetable valium, complete with comfy red seating, lapsang old fashioneds, and enough room for all of your shopping bags. Be sure to get the celeriac shawarma. 

To re-energise

Towards Tottenham Court Road on Newman Street, you’ll find Laksamania—a Soho favourite that has made a name for itself by serving homely, huge portions of comforting noodle soup. Pick between options like a Singapore curry laksa, or the sour and spicy penang assam number. Just be prepared to ask for about 70 extra tissues when your nose inevitably starts running. The compact and comfortable dining room makes it a great place to come with a small group, or even on your own for a lunchtime date with a bowl of steaming hot broth. 

To grab and go

The Soho outpost of this casual Vietnamese cafe is just as reliable as its Shoreditch sibling. Their bánh mì’s are always tasty—the classic, roast pork, or roast duck are our go-tos—but the meat and rice dishes here are similarly good. It’s a meal that suits quick lunches as well as prolonged ones, solo ones, or social ones.


To re-energise

Lahpet is a buzzing Burmese restaurant that will serve everyone enough coconut and ginger to shock you out of your urban blues. The vegan yellow pea paratha is a zesty little flatbread number, and you’ll be tempted to ask the king prawns about their workout regime, given how hench they are. The highlight, though, is the coconut noodles. Rich, creamy, with an essential crispy wonton that serves as the ultimate spoon. Lahpet understands that craving no-brainer comfort is something everyone has in common.

To grab and go

Covent Garden is an exhausting place. Chances are you’ll end up in the background of some poor tourist’s video, effing and blinding, as your paper shopping bag rips apart with the last of your patience. That’s why it’s so important to know where your nearest fried chicken specialist is. Chick ‘N’ Sours’ cool and casual basement has all of the K-pop chicken sandwiches, beef dripping fries, and sour cocktails you could need after a day of stressful shopping.


To treat yourself

If Westfield is a planet, then Shikumen is the nice moon that we all escape to when a riot in Primark’s sale section triggers the complete collapse of civilisation as we know it. This is arguably the nicest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush and works for a quick dim sum lunch before heading back in to the belly of the beast, or a full-blown roast duck extravaganza once you’re finally done.

To re-energise

You were ambushed by one of those perfume spritzers in House of Fraser, and now you smell like something you presume is called Fleur, Forever, and Ever by J-Lo. Luckily, Kricket in the old Television Centre has enough samphire in the air to mildly cover your new scent, a big open kitchen to distract from the fact your phone died 20 minutes ago after you got lost in ‘The Village’, and some great Indian small plates. Their Keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayo is pretty much guaranteed to cheer you up. 

To grab and go

There’s tasty things between bread, and then there’s Sam Sandwiches. This Algerian street food spot inside Shepherd’s Bush Market makes some of the best sandwiches around. There’s a simple menu with five meats to choose from, including lamb’s liver, merguez, marinated chicken, and a fish fillet. While all of the sandwiches are great, our favourites are the chicken and the minced meat. They’re generously filled and make a great lunch. Once you try one, trust us, you’ll be back to taste everything on the menu.


To treat yourself

In our opinion, any restaurant that encourages you to order two bread baskets instead of one has a deep understanding of how to make the most of intense shopping days and rapidly dropping blood sugar levels. Notting Hill’s Sinuhe is exactly that kind of restaurant, and everything from the mixed grill meats for two, to the big Persian stews have the power to stop your incessant ‘do I have Seasonal Affective Disorder’ googling habits. A round of the aubergine dips won’t hurt either. 

To re-energise

We’re not sure what exactly the secret is, but we don’t care when sandwiches taste this good. This little Notting Hill spot has colourful walls, black booths, and a menu with 10 hefty sandwiches. Aesthetically pleasing, perfectly formed blocks of sandwiches, with the perfect ratio of filling—whether that’s tuna mayo and lettuce, or the T.L.T (turkey, lettuce, tomato)—that require maximum concentration and minimal conversation.

To grab and go

For under a tenner at Jay Dee’s, you can get a takeaway box packed to the brim with charred jerk chicken, rice and peas, cabbage, beans, and carrots, covered in a perfectly spicy and fruity sauce. It’s as delicious as it is generous, and there’s lots more on the takeaway Caribbean menu, from curried goat to saltfish patties. If the weather’s right, walk up the road a minute to Tavistock Gardens, find yourself a spot, and get stuck in.


To treat yourself

Against your better judgement, you’ve ventured to Brick Line after work to go to that designer sample sale. And shockingly, that 20% discount still doesn’t make you rich enough to buy that coat, when it was the price of your first car to begin with. Either way, you’re tired, your feet hurt, and crucially, you’re very hungry. St John Bread and Wine is something of an old-school hero to the hungry, it’s all about nose to tail dining, and their bacon sarnie is one of the best in London. 

To re-energise

Noodles, broth, and beer is a big combination after a long day. Thankfully, given their name, Noodle & Beer does not disappoint. The Sichuan restaurant in Spitalfields makes Chongqing-style noodles (both with and without broth), that combines fantastic, lasso-like, hand-pulled wheat noodles with a variety of traditional xiao mian toppings. The niu-rou mian feels like noodle soup 101 here—combining soft, pink braised beef in a light and tingly broth.

To grab and go

It’s no secret that Dumpling Shack’s sheng jian bao are London’s most reliably tasty soup dumplings. Pan-fried for a crisp bite, packed with pork, and with a slurp of delicious broth—they tick all the boxes. But the other bits on Dumpling Shack’s menu, from prawn-filled wontons drenched in electric chilli oil, to a spring onion pancake that marries your softest and flakiest sweet pastry memories into something deliciously savoury, are also fantastic. They’re part of the slick kitchens setup in Old Spitalfields Market, so swing by, find yourself a place to perch, and get slurping.


To treat yourself

Allegra looks like the kind of restaurant where Bond would drink martinis after getting false intel that Goldfinger was seen hiding out in Westfield Stratford. On the seventh floor of upmarket hotel The Stratford, this restaurant, bar, and sky terrace is one part warmth, two parts flashy with a menu full of things like beetroot tartare, Scottish lobster, smoked aubergine agnolotti, and fig leaf ice cream. It’s a big space that’s perfect for a sophisticated meal or an outdoor date over green chilli and citrus gin cocktails in the summer.

To re-energise

You thought you looked pretty damn good this morning. But that was before you faced off with a 800v lightbulb and more reflective surfaces in a single square mile than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Take yourself off to Hand Cafe for a strong cuppa, and some entirely delicious Greek-inspired brunch food. You’re great. And so are Hand’s spanakopitas. 

To grab and go

Yes, this Philly-inspired spot is located inside—deep breath—Stratford Westfield’s food court. And yes, despite that, it’s pretty great. It doesn’t quite live up to the OG Fitzrovia location, but that’s to be expected given that it’s inside a shopping centre. The food however, is still delicious. A shredded rib-eye steak with obscene amounts of melted cheese inside an Italian hoagie bread roll, served with a whole pickle on the side. Buffalo chicken wings and loaded nachos that are great to share. And honey mustard sauce that we want to be our plus one to all future meals.


To treat yourself

We’re pretty sure that if we went shopping with the female chefs who run this place—otherwise known as the ‘mammas’—we’d end up spending the entirety of our savings after being bombarded with so many ‘bellissimos’ and feelgood air kisses. This place not only serves one of the best cacio e pepes in London, it’s also just generally a lovely, upbeat place to be. Expect excellent regional Italian dishes, affordable set menu options, and plenty of friendly banter from the mammas.

To re-energise

This jaw-dropping Chelsea pub serves quintessential British cosiness, with the gliding confidence and sophistication of a Julian Fellowes dame: “Oh, I’ll have the sirloin in the parlour, be a good man and bring me a glass of port whilst you’re at it, darling.” There’s an open fire, fish and chips on the menu, and deep armchairs that will swallow you whole after a third pint. That said, you can get away with wearing your dad jeans to spend a lazy afternoon befriending the locals’ dogs and merrily gobbling chips.

To grab and go

No doubt an eponym to some of SW3’s wealthier and hungrier inhabitants, Phat Phuc Noodles is one of the most reasonable and tasty places to eat in Chelsea. This little courtyard stall serves noodle dishes from across Asia—laksa, bun, and phở—all for under a tenner. It’s unlikely to be the best version of each you’ll ever try, but it’s the best in the area if you’re looking for a low price, quick, and tasty meal. The laksa is suitably rich, humming with coconut and chilli, and is our usual order.

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