London is truly a cosmopolitan city and melting pot of different cultures, and this is never more apparent than in the food and restaurants it has to offer. Tourists can set about eating their way around the globe, without ever needing to leave London.
We are convinced that you can find just about every type of International food in London, no matter what your craving may be. Long gone are the days of fish and chips and steak pies (although you can still get both of these British specialties around town).
London has blossomed into a true foodie mecca, with all tastes, dietary requirements and wallet sizes catered for. No matter which part of the city you’re visiting, you’ll find enclaves of international food in London that will knock your socks off.
We’ve highlighted the top international foods you can get in London, plus our favorite places to find that cuisine. Enjoy the journey and buon appetito!
Best International Food in London
Indian food is synonymous with London. You can find it in restaurants all over the city. There are certain areas that are known for the best Indian food, however. One of the first places you’ll hear about is Brick Lane. Yes, there are dozens of “Indian” restaurants on Brick Lane, but they are often not the best.
In fact, having lived near Brick Lane for years now, I’ve come to understand that most of the Indian food on Brick Lane is actually Bangladesh food in disguise. If you’re looking for some really great Indian food, here are the restaurants we recommend trying.
This local chain of restaurants are a favorite among Londoners. It’s a great atmosphere – modern and trendy – and the food is delicious. The restaurant pays homage to the Iranian cafes in Bombay, so the food has an Iranian influence.
The black dal and bacon naan are divine. Reservations are typically only taken for lunch. Otherwise you need to wait in line, or arrive on the early side.
Location: Kings Cross, Covent Garden, Shoreditch, Carnaby and Kensington. Website
Originating from Kolkata, this unique Indo Chinese cuisine was invented when the Hakka people migrated to India from the Chinese province of Canton, bringing with them their culinary treasures. They use traditional Chinese cooking techniques in their dishes, but with the spices of India. And let me tell you, it’s divine.
Location: Soho and Covent Garden Website
For gourmet Indian cuisine in a special setting, head to Cinnamon Club, run by Executive Chef Vivek Singh. The restaurant is housed in a historic old Victorian library in Westmister. There’s a nice cocktail club downstairs to enjoy pre or post dinner.
Location: The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU Website
Peruvian cuisine has been quite popular among London’s trendy restaurants. You can find fantastic ceviches and hearty meat dishes that showcase the many flavors and techniques of Peruvian cuisine, alongside some really great Pisco cocktails. These are our favorite Peruvian restaurants in London:
Andina is a Peruvian staple, especially for brunch. They serve food from the Peruvian Andes, with focus on meat dishes like roast chicken, braised pork belly and rib-eye steak. You can also get beautifully plated ceviches and mezcal cocktails.
Location: 60 Commercial Street | Spitalfields, London E1 6LT Website
This is the restaurant that started it all for Peruvian food in London. There are two locations: in Soho and on Old Street. They feature dishes inspired by Lima and the Peruvian coast.
The atmosphere is casual and bright, while the food is beautifully plated with vibrant flavors.
Location: 17 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4RG and 2 Baldwin St, London EC1V 9NU Website
This restaurant can be found in two locations, one in Soho, one in Fitzrovia. The dishes feature Peruvian street food, ceviche and bbq. They’re small, but pack an immense amount of flavor into each bite.
We’ve been to the Soho location, on the upper floor of Kingly Court and enjoyed the dark, rustic atmosphere and the bustle of activity surrounding diners clearly loving the food. Be sure to order the pork belly chicharrones or pork ribs. Reservations are essential.
Location: 18 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2LZ, England and Kingly St, Soho, London W1B 5PW Website
We won’t return to a restaurant unless it blows our minds. We’ve been back to Smokestak more times than I can count. It’s outrageously good bbq, especially the brisket buns. Be sure to go there with an appetite.
We often have to forego the vegetables in favor of plates of smoky meat – the beef and pork ribs are unbelievably good. If you save room for dessert, the sticky toffee pudding is one of the best I’ve ever had. The atmosphere fits the bill too, with its rustic work shed feel. You’ll love it!
Location: 35 Sclater St, London E1 6LB Website
For authentic Chinese food, you can certain head to Chinatown, but there are many other options throughout London that are serving some really great Chinese food, from casual to fine dining.
London’s only Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant. For a trendy Chinese spot, this place really does it right. Be prepared for some of the best dim sum you’ve had outside of China.
Location: 15-17 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 0DL Website
Serving street food from Xi’an, you can find dishes here that aren’t available anywhere else in London. It’s a casual restaurant, but the food is priced right and tasty.
Location:117 Benwell Rd, London N7 7BW, UK
Of course there is a Chinatown in London. And this is probably where you’d go to find Chinese restaurants before anywhere else in the city. While some of the best Chinese restaurants aren’t located here, you can still find good food.
Try the roast duck from Four Seasons, the Chongqing noodles from Little Wooden Hut and the matcha ice cream from Bake.
Location: Northeast of Piccadilly Circus Station Website
There are many choices for typical Spanish tapas in London, but you can also go beyond patatas bravas and padron peppers with Basque steaks. Try these Spanish restaurants:
My favorite location of Tapas Brindisa is in Borough Market on Southwark Street. It’s great people watching and the tapas are good. Be sure to order the gambas al ajillo and huevos rotos – their two best dishes. Location:18-20 Southwark St, London SE1 1TJ Website
If you’ve ever had the Txuleton steak in Basque country (read: San Sebastian), you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find Sagardi Basque Country Chefs restaurant in Shoreditch. Go there for the aged steak and Basque wine.
Location: 95, Curtain Road, Cordy House building EC2A3BS Website
With three locations hovering around Covent Garden and on in Coal Drop Yards, you’re never far from tasty Spanish tapas. All the classic tapas you expect from a Spanish restaurant can be found here, and they’re all reliably good. They don’t take reservations, though and the locations are small so don’t show up with a large group.
Location: 26-27 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3LL Website
There’s always a queue for this fantastic Italian eatery in Borough Market. It’s just part of the game. You get in line an hour or so before they open for lunch or dinner and get your name on the list. They’ll call you when your table is ready. The pasta is definitely worth the wait. We especially like the gnocchi and any pappardelle dish they have on the menu.
Now there’s a more easy-going larger restaurant in Shoreditch that’s a bit easier to get into. You can make a reservation if you’re quick, otherwise they accept walk-ins.
Location: 6 Southwark St, London SE1 1TQ and 1 Phipp St, Shoreditch Website
I hate to admit that it took us a good couple of years to find good Mexican food in London. It’s just not quite what you’re looking for, whether it’s Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican cuisine you’re looking for. But now we’ve found a few good ones to share.
For really authentic Mexican cuisine, just like you’ll find in Mexico City, Mestizo is the best. It’s located near King’s Cross and it’s a pretty small restaurant, but you’ll be completely blown away by the experience. We ordered the Molcajete (pictured above) and it was just like we had in Mexico City. You can also get fantastic Mezcal cocktails.
Location: 103 Hampstead Rd, London NW1 3EL Website
The El Pastor family is a small group of Mexican taquerias in London. They make their tortillas in-house using heritage Mexican corn and the ingredients and techniques are spot on. This is where to go for great tacos, tostados and quesadillas. They also have attached bars at most of their locations, so expect some good Mezcal and tequila cocktails.
Location: Borough Market area, Soho, Coal Drop Yards Website
Turkish cuisine is a major staple in London, with so many pockets of Turkish immigrants all over the city. You can find some really great and authentic places to eat Turkish food.
Perhaps not the best Turkish cuisine in the city, Efes definitely has a loyal following, because the food is always well prepared and there’s a lot of it. Located in five different areas of the city, it’s easy to get a reservation and you can also order it on Deliveroo.
Location: Whitechapel, Fulham, Mile End, Canning Town, Dartford Website
All in all, there are just too many places to eat in London to even contemplate visiting them all. Approaching the choices from an international perspective is the way to go.
If your favorite international food in London didn’t make it onto our list, be sure to let us know so we can add it!
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.