/Tripadvisor Poll Unjustly Shafts London Food

Tripadvisor Poll Unjustly Shafts London Food

Taqueria’s Choriqueso, house made Mexican chorizo rolled inside browned cheese.

I use Tripadvisor occasionally for researching accommodations, but when it comes to food, I cannot think of a worse source of information. I am constantly perturbed by their Rome restaurant rankings, which place some of the most ridiculous tourist traps near the top of the list. Tripadvisor once again offended my dining sensibilities earlier this week I read this news item. According to 3,000 readers, London ‘has worst food in Europe’. This is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. Just because visitors didn’t take the time to research their dining options, doesn’t mean London, one of the greatest places to eat on the planet, should be punished. Here are a few reasons the Tripadvisor poll is rubbish:

Goodman: An American style steakhouse serving huge USDA beef burgers and steaks in Mayfair.

Fernandez & Wells: Three Soho locations (a food and wine bar, a cafe’ and an espresso bar), each serving high quality food and drink that changes with the seasons.

Grilled Lamb chops at Lahore Kebab House, London
Lahore Kebab House: A no-nonsense Pakistani kebab house in East London known for its succulent seekh kebab, spiced lamb chops and fiery curries.

Mangal 2: A Dalston kebab house serving good mezes and great grilled meats.

Pizzetta with egg and spinach at Polpo (Soho, London)
Polpo: Inspired by the Venetian bacaro, this Soho establishment serves reasonably authentic cichetti and an outstanding pizzetta topped with parmesan, spinach and an egg.

Taqueria: Simply the best Mexican food in London.

Galvin La Chapelle: Meticulously prepared French food served in an extravagant building next to the Old Spitalfields Market.

L’Anima: Chef Francesco Mazzei’s contemporary Italian restaurant in the heart of the City.

Greenwich Union: The brewery tap for the Meantime Brewing Company, serving great fish and chips, excellent Angus burgers, and a nice Sunday roast in the heart of Greenwich.

Barrafina: A 23-seat restaurant in Soho serving top-notch Spanish tapas.

Antepliler: Turkish mezes, lahmacun, and kebabs are served in the main dining area and next door, there is offal and künefe.

Bar Boulud: Chef Daniel Boulud’s twelfth restaurant and first foray into Europe brings exceptional charcuterie and sumptuous burgers to Knightsbridge.

The Wells: A gastropub in Hampstead serving good burgers and excellent British food, including roasts and game.

Franco Manca: A Neapolitan pizzeria serving pretty close to the real thing in the Brixton Market.

Other places to check out include Canteen for great British food, Leila’s Shop for breakfast, Monmouth Coffee and Flat White for coffee. And in case you were wondering, this is why everyone’s favorite St. John’s didn’t make the list.


  1. janie July 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    Great post Katie and the next time I’m in London, I know where I’ll be dining. Why can’t people get over that old reputation of the food in the UK being so bad-times have certainly changed!

  2. Tom July 14, 2010 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    Oh, I cannot wait to go to London next year! Katie, you take some of the loveliest pictures of the most gorgeous food. I want to eat this page!

  3. Paul July 15, 2010 at 7:47 am - Reply

    cafe l’anglais can be good 2.

  4. Heather July 15, 2010 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Agreed- this must be based on old stereotypes. The best meal I’ve ever had was at Heinz Beck’s restaurant in London and I’ve had many, many memorable ones elsewhere in the city as well. I can’t wait to go back and check out some of these!

  5. Phil in Normandy, France July 15, 2010 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Absolutely spot on, Katie. 9 times out of 10 these TripAdvisor polls are based on brute ignorance. London is one of the greatest places in the world for food – the quality and breadth of cuisine available knocks Paris into a cocked hat. And as for Athens … ’nuff said!

    Tripadvisor polls are a means of free publicity for the said site, but are no source of useful or reliable information.


  6. Dan July 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Don’t blame the messenger. A poll like this just allows people to express their stereotypical views. It simply says that the folks who market London to travelers need to do a better job of showing how the city is actually one of the world’s premier dining cities.

  7. Christine (Miss Ex) July 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Posted this on Travel News Daily (queued up for this afternoon). Taking on Trip Advisor, AND London food porn – I’m erecting a shrine in your honor.

    Also, I just had fish tacos for the first time. My life will never be the same.

  8. Michelle July 15, 2010 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Some of my best Indian and Thai meals were had in London. It’s a great place to try cuisine from around the world.

  9. Mick_P July 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Well done Katie. People need to catch up. I get sick of hearing Italians here in Rome bang on about the disgusting food in Britain, when they’ve often not even been there, have been recently but ate at the first places they blundered across, or were last there in 1955. The good food isn’t restricted to the capital, either. I reckon you can eat well in most parts of Britain if you seek out the good places. Artisan food production – especially of meats, cheeses, fish, seafood, smoked foods, beers and ciders – even wines – is all blossoming.

  10. shayma July 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    spot on, with bells on. love your list. even chains are good in London- eg. Ping Pong- one of my faves for that ‘hunger-in-between-shopping-fix’. x shayma

  11. Luke August 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    What a shock – a Brit touting British food. Everyone knows British food is abominable, both aesthetically and to the tongue.

    • Katie August 2, 2010 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      @Luke Well, I’m not quite sure which British food you are referring to. Enlighten us? Also, I am not British.

  12. Food Jihadist August 26, 2010 at 11:16 am - Reply

    I am American foodie who thinks that the US is the best place to eat in the world. But London has amazing food, truly incredible. It’s such a melting pot. If your willing to get out of the downtown area you can find superb ethnic eats from around the world.

    • Katie August 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      So true! You have the best name, by the way.

  13. Henning Hofmann October 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I lived near Manchester for 6 years, and hence I think that Im qualified to say that British food really does suck.
    Yes, its obvious that a city with a few million people has a few good restaurants, but this doesnt mean that the food there is good on average.

    I mean look at the food you posted: Kebabs, Pizza and Tortillas.
    No stews, no minced meat…
    Don´t take me wrong, there´s bound to be some good food in London, but the polls asks for one´s “average impression”.
    Also, the British taste is just very different to the continental taste. Too much “mushy or mashed” something, baked into a breadroll and covered in gravery for my taste…
    Still, very nice pictures indeed!

  14. Henning Hofmann October 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Why delete mine, and keep Lukes? 🙂 – So much for tolerating grounded criticism. 😛

  15. Katie October 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Henning, I didnt delete your comment. I just didn’t have access to wordpress to approve it until now. sorry about that!!!

    the list above isnt at all exhaustive and i can certainly suggest places for stews and minced meats. Canteen is a good, moderately priced place for them. For more great british food, head to Great Queen Street in Holborn or St John B&W.

    British food certainly has the reputation for sucking but the past 10-15 years have seen huge strides in the quality and preparation of British food and, while not every restaurant is amazing, if you put a bit of effort into where you eat, there is plenty of excellent food out there, whether it is british or not.

    I havent been to Manchester so can’t comment on the food but surely there are some places doing good stuff?

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