Running Ronin

Two restaurants you really should know about close to Piccadilly Circus



Your quaint looking London Taxi has just dropped you off in lively Piccadilly Circus. Happy to be in such a stunning setting, and in a country where having the Monarchy is actually still cool, you now wonder...

"Where should I go to eat?"

Long gone are the days where all the food in London was terrible and expensive. Now its normally just expensive. So, assuming we will be spending a bit and we dont want to go for a $25 meal at Pret-a-Manger, I suggest the following two venues, one for lunch and one for dinner. Keep in mind, reservations are strongly suggested for both and you will be spending for the experience.

1) WILTON'S (http://www.wiltons.co.uk/home)

Do you feel like trying traditional English food that is actually amazing? Do you want to see how being treated like the Earl of Downton might look like? Go no farther than Wilton's.

Just off of Piccadilly,Wilton's is an elegant restaurant where Members of Parliament, Knight's and other classy people from London go to for their work lunches. The food is mainly protein (great filet, great fish) and their signature dish is the dover sole.

You will need to wear your jacket, and if you dont have one, don't worry! The hostess will fit you with one.

As Zagat puts it:
"One gets the sense King Edward might sit down" alongside "the cast of Downton Abbey" at this "bastion of Britishness" in "refined", "reserved" St. James's digs, a "time machine" "operating continuously since 1742", where "outstanding seafood" (like "excellent oysters") and "incredible game" lead a "superb" traditional menu that's "served with a deft touch" by "respectful" staff; sure, it's "budget-busting", but for a "grown-up", "fine-dining experience", it's "worth it."
Pro tip: if going for lunch, get there early. Like 11:30. Before lunch starts, the maitre d' informs all the waiters of who will be sitting where. He does it in such a precise, gentlemanly and "English" way it will probably remind you of Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey.

2) NOPI (http://www.nopi-restaurant.com/)

The area is Soho, but the city is London. Nopi is right off of Regent street in a well appointed, very white and modern locale with some of the weirdest WCs you will ever see.

That said, Nopi's food is mediterranean fare, its fresh, and its amazing. I would define it as Middle-East meets Greece, you can't go wrong with almost any of the small plates at Nopi. Spectacular for an intimate dinner, it also works for groups that are ok with sharing their plates.

I first discovered this place thanks to Andrea, an Italian expat who knows good food. The long reservation list labels Nopi as a "not-so-hidden" gem that had a English friend of mine stating that it was some of the best food he ever ate in London. So, with a panel of 2 Italians and 1 Englishman recommending it, you can't go wrong.

Pro tip: stick to the small plates and order many of them. They are great, with the duck and the courgettes being a favorite.


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