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London - United Kingdom

Londoners are spoiled with many choices when it comes to dining out. The cuisine of almost any country in the world can be sampled in the capital. Options include Korean, Burmese, Argentine, Vegan, Malaysian, Mauritian, Modern British and Hungarian — all in all, an epicurean feast! Food is a popular hedonistic pleasure, with restaurants emerging as trendy hang-outs, chefs becoming TV stars and cooking books turning into hot bestsellers. Naturally every area and every other road in London has a place to eat, but certain areas stand out among the rest.

Camden This perennially popular neighbourhood teems with great mid-range venues like Wagamama, everyone's favourite modern noodle bar, and Cottons — a favourite for Caribbean cuisine. The famous Jazz Café brings some great blues and an eclectic selection of music to the area.

Chelsea & Fulham This area has a first-rate selection of restaurants catering to the area's wealthy clientèle — but the variety is just as vast as it is in the rest of the city. Enjoy classy Thai at Blue Elephant and join locals for authentic Italian at Chelsea stalwart La Famiglia. For some brilliant Modern British head to Conran's Bibendum and Bluebird. For the gastro-pub experience, join the Chelsea crowd at The Admiral Codrington and sample great, updated British grub like salmon fishcakes and warm liver salad.

Covent Garden Here the simple mixes with the traditional, the substantial with the stylish. Food for Thought on Neal Street is a popular vegetarian hole-in-the-wall that serves hearty portions to students and travellers alike. Traditional English fare is the order of the day at Rules; it always offers a refined and restrained dining experience. Another appealing venue is The Ivy, in the heart of theatreland, where you can do plenty of celebrity watching. Charlotte Street, up the road in Fitzrovia, is also packed with superb restaurants, perfect for business and romance.

Islington Upper Street is swarming with restaurants, bars and cafés; Modern British cuisine is very well represented. You can also find a range of other cuisines, from tasty Turkish at Pasha to spicy Indian at Masala Zone.

Kensington & Knightsbridge Kensington Place is a good spot for lunch. Visit Julie's for a romantic evening, or try Clarkes for a contemporary and elegant experience. San Lorenzo on Beauchamp Place was Princess Diana's favourite spot for Italian and continues to attract many food connoisseurs.

Marylebone Some great eateries, including the elegant Orrery (another Conran venture). For Irish cuisine, try the Ard Ri Dining Room above the O'Conor Don Pub. In St. Christopher's Place, a charming courtyard off Oxford Street, you'll find cafes, Italian trattorias and juice bars.

Mayfair & West End The 28th floor Galvin at Windows inside the Hilton Hotel offers fantastic views of London's nightscape. Have a drink before indulging at the eternally trendy Nobu or Mirabelle. Deeper in Mayfair, enjoy the Michelin-starred modern French cuisine of The Square, probably one of London's finest restaurants. Check out Indian favourites including the pricey Veeraswarmy and Chor Bizarre. If you seek relaxation, visit Momo, where you can sit cross-legged and enjoy succulent dishes from the Middle East.

Notting Hill Home to hip restaurants of all kinds. There is a vast selection of Italian places, like the snug and friendly Osteria Basilico. Tom's delicatessen is popular for weekend brunches, but be prepared for long lines. For something more exotic, try some Caribbean food, abundant at Carnival time at street stalls.

Primrose Hill One of London's best-kept secrets. The hugely popular Greek restaurant Lemonia is perfect for families while Odette's suits intimate, romantic dinners and enjoyment of fine wines. Manna is a great vegetarian restaurant, and Sesame, the whole-food store, has a great café on Regent's Park Road.

Soho & Chinatown One of London's top nightlife areas, there is an incredible concentration of bars, restaurants and cafés here. From Bar Italia and the trendy vegetarian eatery Mildred's to the very exclusive Lindsay House, you can find practically anything in just a few busy blocks.

South Bank Oxo Tower has the hype to match the buzz and a formidable view. Its West London counterpart Thai Square Putney is an architectural delight offering both great views of the Thames and knock-out food to go with them. Terence Conran's Blue Print Café leaves a fine impression with views of Tower Bridge.

The City There is a super vegetarian lunch venue in the crypt of St. Mary-le-Bow called The Place Below. Other options in the area include Futures restaurant, The Eagle gastro-pub and the Filthy McNasty pub if you want a drink. Stylish and formal restaurants, from Conran's Aurora to the trendy Smith's, are abundant.

Hotels are also a good bet for eating out, since they have a pleasant touch of luxury, tip-top service and tables that are often available at the last minute. Afternoon teas are an English tradition that cannot be missed — scones, clotted cream and leaf tea in silver teapots. The Dorchester and Brown's are among the great hotels serving tea from 3p.

You can even find good food at Internet cafés that mushroom all over the capital. Many public houses, besides pumping real ale, are being transformed into gastro-pubs. With such fabulous choice, standards are very high. London is truly terrific on a global scale.
 
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