Updated May 2016
There comes a time in a visit to any major city where you are hankering for either a decent coffee or an edible bite to eat that won’t do major damage to your budget. And invariably you are standing in front of the golden arches, any one of its competitors or the local tourist trap knowing you are going to regret the decision later.
With this in mind, here’s my list of the best cafe and restaurants in London with multiple locations. I’m not a big fan of chain eateries as a general rule and this is in no way Michelin starred dining but I wrote this post wanting to save you from expensive soggy fish and chips and burnt coffee.
Mexican street fare is on offer at 8 Wahaca locations across London. Wahaca serves tacos, tortillas and burritos with delicious fillings as well as some more interesting specials. The sharing menu is fresh, tasty and very reasonably priced. If you are in need of a cocktail or some chocolate dipped churros they can help with that too. Yum.
You can’t miss the lively coloured Comptoir cafes throughout London. I love their branding but their Lebanese menu is equally fresh and delicious and a break from European style fare. Serving breakfast through to an early dinner you can grab a snack in the form of mezze, wraps or pastries or try their tagines and roast chicken for something more substantial. I also happen to think they do the best babychinos in London.
Sometimes all you need to get you through another few hours of sightseeing or shopping is a hearty plate of pasta. Carluccio’s has a great pasta menu as well as antipasto, Italian style grills and of course lovely coffee and can be found at 12 locations across central London. Most branches are open from breakfast through to dinner.
Peyton and Byrne
You are likely come across Peyton and Byrne bakeries and cafes as they are located near London’s major tourist attractions. They are even the in-house caterers for some of the larger museums and galleries such as the British Library and National Gallery. The menus vary but expect to find seasonal salads, thick cut sandwiches and delicious sweet treats. They serve decent coffee too.
Pret A Manger
Just “Pret” to the locals, you really can’t go anywhere in London without spying one on a corner. Here the coffee and milk is organic and quite drinkable (depending on the barista.. of course) and the meals and snacks are varied with many healthier options – soups, salads, sandwiches. There is also an extensive breakfast menu. It’s definitely fast food but you can eat well and save your pennies for a splurge at Liberty!
Londoners – are there any of your favourites I have missed?
Where are your go to best cafes and restaurants in London for when you are super hungry and you have no reservation?
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