First night in London for Girls Trip 2022 and anxious to explore our Covent Garden neighborhood, we checked out the shops and cafes at Covent Market. After exploring and admiring the holiday decorations, we stumbled into Punch and Judy pub and luckily found some cozy inside seating. The pub had a “self-serve order at the bar” model, so I served as our waitress, clearing the table and ordering our food. We had to try the classic fish and chip with mushy peas, which we all shared, but the dessert was the star of the night-Sticky Toffee pudding with clotted cream. To. Die. For. Seriously, I need to return to London just to enjoy this again!
I’m not much of a foodie and when Thom and I travel, we eat on the run and rarely make reservations to dine. However, the ladies take their food seriously, so we researched and made reservations for each day. When in London, eat Italian? Sure! La Mia Momma-featured on Stanley Tucci’s show he did in London, which is where he lives, this Italian place in Chelsea was outstanding. Real Italian “mommas” take turns cooking and deciding on menu items from their local regions. Not sure which momma was cooking the night we were there, but my pistachio ravioli and pistachio Tiramisu were “lick the plate clean” good. We went to the Chelsea 257 Kings Road location, but they have several spots. Reservations are a must.
Next up for dinner the following evening was a London staple, the Ivy Mark Grill. Our location in Covent Garden was warm and inviting with delicious food and awesome service. “It’s the IVY, darling!” pronounced our waiter as he gave me a “look” and explained that they would NOT just “throw some vegetables together” on a plate for me for dinner as I had just asked because they had all arrived at the table on separate plates. He whisked away the offending plates and properly plated them for me, so they looked appropriately Ivy classy. All good!
Before the theater, we enjoyed an early dinner at Brown’s, an institution with all the classic British favorites right by our ARBNB. We enjoyed the warm paneling and attentive service. We all tasted from each other’s plates and, as we usually do and shared a fabulous dessert. Gin and tonics are a classic British cocktail. Patti had never tried gin so what better place than London to give it a taste. Gin and tonics all around the table. Cheers!
I would stay in Covent Garden again just for the delicious egg tarts at Pastel de Nata. Coming and going from various adventures, we would stop in and grab a few. You can watch them being made and eat them warm right out of the oven. This was my favorite food in Portugal and China (where KFC had the best!) but I’ve never been able to get them in the US. Yum!
Located just a few steps from the egg tart place was Mr. Foggs tavern where we enjoyed one of our most memorable evenings in London at the Cockney Sing-A-Long. To experience this very British version of karaoke, we reserved our table in advance and got our song sheets along with some cocktails and dessert when we arrived. Packed with patrons singing their hearts out, the friendly song leader with the amazing moustache went from table to table between songs to meet and greet and ask for any song requests. I would definitely go back to Mr. Foggs for a fun evening any time I am in London!
My sister is a hot chocolate connoisseur so on our Girls Trips, so we are always looking for the “best” hot chocolate. Close to Neal’s Yard, a charming colorful side street of shops and cafes, we walked by Hotel Chocolat – Luxury Chocolates and Chocolate Gifts and gave it a try. Oh, lordy! It was liquid chocolate with whipped chocolate mousse topping. Becky was in heaven. We also picked up lots of their house made chocolates (including boozy ones) for Christmas gifts.
Our last night in London, we just wanted to stay close to the ARBNB and luckily one of the hidden culinary gems of London was literally right across the lane from us on Goodwins Court in Covent Garden. Giovanni’s, a family run Italian restaurant with cozy tables overseen by the charming owner, Pino Ragona. We admired the wall of pictures of celebrities who have enjoyed this place, trying to name them all, as we ate our pasta. A few steps home after our fabulous meal and we were off to pack. Perfect ending for Girls Trip 2022. I’m ready to start planning our next trip in 2023 to Paris.
I would recommend Pret a Manger (on every street corner it seems) for everyday food for breakfast or lunch. They have cold options like wraps-my favorite was a spicy chickpea veg option. They also have soups and sandwiches they can warm up. All for under $10 and very tasty. They always seem super busy with the locals queuing up to get takeaway, so the food is stocked daily and fresh. For breakfast, they have pastries galore, yogurts and coffee drinks. Taking a train trip? Stop at Pret for a takeaway lunch on the train so you don’t arrive at your destination hungry. Most trains don’t have food service. Pret is my go-to place in London!
Places I’ve researched and want to go to next trip:
- The George by the Shard traditional British food and great service. Classy.
- Café in the Crypt across the street from the National Gallery (Fish and chips/huge portions/apple crumble and custard for dessert).
- Bertie Blossoms owned by Ed Sheeran on Portobello Road in Notting Hill.
- Gordon’s Wine Bar-the oldest wine bar in the city (in summer snag an outside table along the Thames River) near Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden.
- The Swan near Hyde Park. Pub and restaurant.
- Cahoots Post-war theme speakeasy. Live music Friday-Sunday. Very popular-make reservations.
London is the perfect town for foodies to try everything from classic British fare to any type of cuisine you are looking for. Enjoy the journey!