Our last restaurant guide took you on a tour of British cuisine and although there are plenty of exciting options out there, a trip to London without tasting some international food wouldn't really count as a trip to London. Around 300 languages are spoken here and 37 percent of the population are born outside of the UK, making it one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.
In this guide - compiled by our team of Londoners - your taste buds are taken on a wild ride from the Caribbean islands, via Europe and Africa to India, Korea and Thailand, all within a walk, bus or tube ride from the city centre. Do you have a particularly tasty tip you would like to share with us? Don't hesitate to post a comment below.
Negril is a town in western Jamaica known for its laid back atmosphere. The Negril restaurant, opened five years ago by a Jamaican Londoner is no different, having harnessed some of that chilled vibe and vibrant Caribbean flavours right in the midst of Brixton. The fusion food we know as Caribbean cooking is a result of the diverse cultural heritage of the Jamaican people - descendants of the indigenous Arawak Indians, Africans, European colonists, Chinese and Syrians - and is brought to you at Negril in the form of free range jerk chicken, ackee fruit, saltfish or vegan ital food. Negril also operate a takeaway service in case you're feeling lazy.
Ognisko Polskie or the Polish Hearth Club was founded in 1939 in South Kensington and became an important meeting place for the Polish community in exile during the Second World War. This tradition has been kept alive to this day and Ognisko can now be regarded as a cultural centre with a busy timetable of events, exhibitions, lectures and seminars, running alongside a restaurant that serves beautifully cooked Polish food. On the menu you will find dishes like placki (potato pancakes), pierogi (dumplings) and kaszanka (black sausage with apples and onions). But beware of the vodka 'aperitif', which is simply a carafe of vodka...
Bibimbap is the name of a Korean dish that means "mixed rice" and is served together with sautéed vegetables, chilli paste and soy sauce. It's common to add a raw egg yolk and some sliced meat to the mix. The BiBimBap restaurant in Soho specialises in this signature Korean dish and often has ten varieties on offer rather than one or two as in other Korean restaurants. Tuck into a delicious beef bol-go-gi or kimchi while sipping a Korean beer.
Morito is a tapas restaurant on Exmouth Market in Farringdon. It's the sister restaurant of Moro a few doors down and sports a tiny dining area, bar and kitchen all in one room. It's noisy, fast-paced and serves delicious Spanish small-plates with a modern twist. You need six or seven dishes to share between two people. Don't miss out on the crispy aubergine with whipped feta or, by all means, the slow roasted pork belly, best enjoyed together with a glass of Vermouth. Morito operates a first come, first served service, so be aware that you might have to wait to get seated.
Alexander the Great (£)
With its traditional Greek hospitality and vines growing all over the walls, Alexander the Great makes you feel like you're dining in Athens. The Camden restaurant offers everything from stuffed vine leaves and smoked pork loin to kalamari. Bring a large party and dine like the iconic emperor the restaurant is named after - just remember to book beforehand.
A holy town and centre for pilgrimage in the northern part of Ethiopia has been the inspiration for this tiny family-run and homely restaurant, popular with the locals of Kentish Town. As you might expect, Lalibela serves traditional Ethiopian food in a relaxed setting. The décor is rustic, the dining area dimly lit. The staff are welcoming and helpful without being overly service-minded. The food is full of spices and earthy flavours and all dishes are served with injera, an East African sourdough flatbread with a spongy texture.
That's Amore (££)
There are plenty of good pizza restaurants in London, but That's Amore in Golders Green must be one of the best. The owner, Franco, has been passionate about Italian cooking for 30 years and with this latest venture he has specialised in creating a light and easily digestible pizza dough with yeast especially imported from Italy. Despite the effort that goes into the making the pizza (the dough is also left to rise for 48 hours) the prices are reasonable. Just read the reviews on Tripadvisor and you'll be convinced. As one reviewer recently put it: "I can't say how much we love this restaurant. It's always SO good. The staff are lovely, the food is unbelievably delicious. I had their garlic bread and almost melted into the floor".
Tayyab's in the East End of London is famous for its lively atmosphere and authentic Punjabi cooking. The tables are packed closely together, creating an intimate (and sometimes loud) dining experience. The TimeOut London Guide has featured Tayyab's every year since it opened 1972 and claims the restaurant "should be on the bucket list of everyone living in the capital". Don't miss out on their mixed grill or lamb chops. There's often a queue outside, so make sure that you're early or book in advance.
Opened twenty years ago on Upper Street in Angel, the Gallipoli restaurant has become known for its authentic Turkish and Mediterranean cooking. The colourful lamps hanging from the ceiling, the myriad of pictures on the walls and excited chatter of the dinner guests make Gallipoli the perfect spot for a lingering meal. Tuck into an assortment of meze (there are plenty of vegetarian options) or choose between delicious dishes like lamb kofte and moussaka. The 'Special Meal' deal includes a selection of meze, a main course, dessert and tea or coffee for £19.95 per person.
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