London Bridge is iconic, to say the very least. It also happens to be a foodie heaven thanks to the famous Borough Market nearby.
Unfortunately, with so many tourists coming to see London Bridge all year long, it’s hardly ever quiet and serene. And we all know that food in touristy places tends to lack quality and… well, flavor.
But don’t lose hope just yet! They say that where there is desire, there’s going to be a flame, and this particular flame might belong to some talented chef’s kitchen. We gathered the seven best non-touristy places to eat near London Bridge to satisfy every craving and every occasion!
1. Quick and cheap bites: Wrap it Up!
It’s almost an intuitive decision to head to Borough Market if you get hungry while sightseeing in the London Bridge area. One of the most legendary markets in the whole world, Borough Market will satisfy any craving and kick your hunger to the curb.
Our favorite spot to get a great meal for your buck is called Wrap it Up!. It is a Jamaican cuisine-inspired little store just outside London Bridge station on Borough High Street. For just £15, you can have a meal for two. They offer wraps, rice and salad boxes, burgers and wedges.
2. Vegan: Horn OK Please
Several years back, traveling while vegan could be a challenge. But now it almost seems harder to find non-vegan food than vegan food, especially in London, the hub for trendsetters in Europe. A wide range of options for both vegans and vegetarians can be found on almost every menu, as well as a great amount of restaurants, cafes and bars solely dedicated to these diets.
The London Bridge area is no different; no need to worry about a lack of options. One of our top picks is a little corner called Horn OK Please, an Indian street food stall with huge recognition. Almost every dish on the menu is vegetarian and all can be requested to be made vegan. Try out the delicious and luscious mung bean dosa for a tasty pick-me-up cooked fresh to order!
3. Date night: Côte Brasserie
Sometimes you and your special someone just need to get away from the busy city life for a night and focus all your attention on each other. Date nights are supposed to be relaxed, and it’s hard to unwind among the whirl of tourists in the London Bridge area.
In this situation, a safe bet is a classic French restaurant, where the service is impeccable, the design is timeless and classy, and the food is elegant and simple. If it doesn’t hurt your wallet, even better. Head to Côte Brasserie and you are guaranteed a lovely and memorable evening.
With breathtaking panoramic views of the Thames and the city, this restaurant located in the Hay’s Galleria serves French classics such as onion soup and magret de canard, all cooked to perfection. There is a large offering of French wines, too, and the prices are very reasonable. Enjoy the London skyline inside in the colder months or out at the terrace if it’s warm enough. In either scenario, you’re in for an unforgettable date night!
4. Business lunch: Brigade Bar + Kitchen
A stylish and timelessly classy restaurant environment is a great choice to grab a quick lunch with a colleague or escape the tourist crowds with a business partner for dinner. Brigade Bar + Kitchen’s specialty is grilling and smoking their dishes, creating an impressively diverse menu.
However, we don’t just recommend this restaurant for its food. At Brigade, they collaborate with the Beyond Food Foundation, inspiring change in the situation of homeless people in London. Homelessness has doubled in the past six years, and cannot be ignored further. This foundation helps people in troubling situations to start with a clean slate. The result of the collaboration with Brigade is job training for hundreds of people, and even more are given an opportunity to acquire priceless skills.
As for the restaurant itself, the low light and multiple tables secluded from one another creates an intimate environment, perfect for discussing business or pleasure. And sharing a meal with your friend or colleague in this restaurant—which was converted from a fire station to give it a special ambiance—knowing that you’re supporting a good cause makes the food taste even better, trust us! We strongly recommend trying Forman’s smoked mackerel—it’s divine.
5. Cheap and delicious: Padella
We’re all sort of used to thinking that more expensive usually means better. In the gastronomic world, it’s true more often than not. However, when you manage to find an exception to this unwritten rule, the level of satisfaction from a meal automatically doubles or even triples!
Padella is a tiny space with such limited space that you have to queue virtually for it at certain times of a day (for lunch, join at 12:15 p.m., and for dinner, join the virtual queue at 5:15 p.m.), and you don’t get a choice of where to sit. But it’s worth the wait for the stunning classic Italian pasta dishes.
Plates range from £5–11 each, and come in the perfect size to share with friends. And if your group is rather large, don’t expect to be seated at a proper table—you’ll probably end up being seated in a row. However, it’s all worth it when you finally get to try their pasta. Try our favorite tagliarini or their famous cacio e pepe. Combine it with a tender burrata and flavorful carpaccio appetizers for the perfect Italian feast.
6. Brunch: London Grind
London Grind is the epitome of millennial: it’s pink, it has neon lights signs everywhere you look, it’s trendy and glamorous but not posh, elegant yet eclectic with industrial white brick walls and velveteen luxurious sofas, and just has this vibrant, fun personality which makes you want to come back.
But even more importantly, it has a great brunch served daily till 5 p.m. that will make all your wildest dreams come true!
With plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, it only can get better if you decide to take part in their bottomless brunch, which includes unlimited alcohol for an hour and half for just £14! It’s the perfect offering for a fun weekend gathering with your friends! Among our favorites are their sweet potato harissa cakes served with a yogurt-poached egg.
7. Escaping cold and rain: The Breakfast Club
After a long day of sightseeing, when you can’t even feel your own feet after all that walking, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long line for food, especially when it’s raining and cold outside. Don’t worry, we got you.
This next place has been written about all over, and let’s not try and pretend that you’ve never heard about it, because we know that if you’ve done any research at all, it must be very high up on your London bucket list!
Inspired by the hit 80s movie that’s become a classic, The Breakfast Club started out as a small local cafe offering brunches. However, over time its popularity got so big that more locations were opened. Here, in a soft-lit and brightly colored interior, people are united by their shared love for breakfast foods. Rather small but very cozy, it’s a perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up, a date with a friend you’ve not seen in a while, and, of course, THE place for brunch.
Counting down the days to your trip to London mainly so you can start devouring all the English food in sight? We feel you—that’s how we travel too.
Let’s hang out while you’re in town, preferably on our food tour! Let us feed your curiosity and show you our London.
Maria is a Master of Food Science, an avid traveler and a passionate foodie. Some of her favorite things include cats, Sauvignon Blanc and skiing. Living in London made her a real connoisseur of Earl Grey tea, scones with clotted cream & preserves, and Paddington Bear routes. Her most beloved part of London is Covent Garden, especially Neal’s Yard.