Making decisions is one of the biggest things I struggle with. Do I want Japanese tonight or a burger? What about noddles or pasta? What happens if one changes my life and the other doesn’t? These are the kind of hard-hitting questions that plague my life. So what if there were restaurants where you didn’t have to choose. Where, if you wanted, you could have a taste of everything!
Enter: the food market. It is one of the greatest gifts that London bestows on us. One door, but multiple restaurants. And we know just where to find them.
1. Market Halls
If you’re ever stuck for a central meeting place, then Market Halls in Victoria always delivers. It’s the best of London’s restaurant and bar scene in one place. Now there are three locations across the city, including Oxford Street and Canary Wharf. From their unique buildings to their diverse foodie offerings, it provides the perfect backdrop for any weekday date night, post-work drinks or family gathering, and you can guarantee everyone will be satisfied on the food front because there’s so much to choose from.
Where: Victoria, Oxford Street, Canary Wharf
2. Mercato Metropolitano
Mercato Metropolitano is a truly wonderful experience. From pasta and pizza, to noodles and burgers, there’s everything you could want here and more. We’re certainly not forgetting the refreshing jugs of cocktails and zingy margaritas. The market prides itself as being London’s first sustainable community food market, and since launching in 2016, has grown from strength to strength. The Elephant and Castle site has a lovable community spirit, centred around local produce, sustainably sourced ingredients and collective action. They’ve also got a new market in Mayfair too.
Where: 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR (and Mayfair)
We don’t know where you’ve been hiding if you haven’t heard of Eataly. It is London’s biggest spot for authentic Italian produce. Here you’ll find restaurants, coffee shops, gelato bars and a wide selection of quality Italian and local food products, all celebrating the Italian way of life. There are more than 5,000 products to peruse, including fresh produce from their on-site butcher, fishmonger and cured meat and cheese counters. There’s also a cookery school and 2,000 wine labels, constituting London’s biggest cellar.
Where: 135 Bishopsgate, EC2M 3YD
4. Bang Bang Oriental
Over in Colindale (where is that you ask? Somewhere in the far off lands of zone 4), there is Bang Bang Oriental, a huge pan-Asian food court. It is the largest Asian food hall in Europe, with 27 individual stalls offering a whole range of Oriental cuisines and seating for up to 450 people. It’s not just food though. The space is also home to Chinese beauty parlours, a dance rehearsal studio and the 300-cover flagship Golden Dragon restaurant. There really is everything to try here from noodles, to dim sum, to… fried intestine. Yum.
Where: 399 Edgware Road, Colindale, NW9 0FH
Calling all the cool kids in town – Shoreditch hosts one of the best foodie extravaganzas in town. You must all know Boxpark by now (it’s been around since 2011), but if not, it’s a shipping container complex next to the Overground station. It’s full of delectable treats from small traders making their way. They also now have two other locations in Wembley and Croydon, so other parts of town don’t feel left out.
Where: 2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6GY (and Wembley and Croydon)
6. Brixton Village & Market Row
Remember when Champagne + Fromage spend up in brixton Market and there was a small protest? Well, you wouldn’t recognise the place now. It’s one of the most exciting foodie plays for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. From the old favourites like Kao Sarn to some new cocktail pop-ups, there are a host of stalls to visit. And whiel you;re there you can also shop for some amazing African prints too.
Where: Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8PS
7. Flat Iron Square
This is the perfect place to meet people after work when you venture into the office. So many stalls and so many craft beers. It makes socialising with big groups really easy. Hidden under some Borough railway arches, they offer up unexpected treats. Sit under one of the heaters on an outdoor table (there are a couple of sit-in restaurants too) and indulge in Good Slice pizzas or some authentic Lebanese cuisine.
Where: 45 Southwark Street, SE1 9HP
8. Seven Dials Market
Seven Dials Market is a busy little place. It has everything from great food to amazing artisanal goodies (bread, olives, charcuterie, booze, flowers, gelato and jam) and even some cute shops to peek your nose into. There are a load of communal tables to sit at, so just place your order and chill with friends until your buzzer goes off and your food is ready to collect. From street-food to restaurant fare, the stalls change every few months, so there’s always something new to see.
Where: 35 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LD