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  • Sinking a Pint in a Traditional Pub: From Tudor coaching inns to literary lounges, microbreweries to indie music taverns, London has a pub for every mood and taste. While Americans bar-hop, Londoners pub-crawl, and with some 5,000 pubs within the city limits, you would certainly be crawling if you tried to have a drink in each one. For an authentic taste of the capital, seek out beers created in London by breweries such as Meantime and Sambrook.
  • "Nose-to-tail eating" in the Shadow of London's Meat Market: St. John, a former smokehouse north of Smithfield, is London's best venue for the serious carnivore. Chef Fergus Henderson can claim to have started the contemporary trend in offal cuisine. His earthy, traditional flavors would delight a reincarnated Henry VIII.
  • Mining the Stalls at Borough Market: The number one weekend port of call for London foodies is Borough Market, a Thursday-to-Saturday fine foods market under the railway close to London Bridge station—not least for the free samples dished out by vendors keen to market their wares. As well as stalls selling everything from wild mushrooms and white port to pastries and homemade sweets, the market also has branches of British cheese specialist Neal's Yard Dairy and the capital's best butchers. It's food heaven, and most small plates cost around £5.
  • Joining the Reinvention of Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental: Drawing inspiration from 500 years of culinary history, with menu annotations to prove it, head chef Heston brings his unique take on food to the capital for the first time. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal takes you on a meticulously researched and skillfully executed journey into Britain's culinary past.
  • Enjoying Fine Food from the Subcontinent: London's first Indian restaurant opened in 1810, and the capital now has some of the best South Asian restaurants in the world. At upscale Amaya, you can enjoy Indian tapas under cascading crystal chandeliers. Over in the East End, at Tayyabs, gutsy Punjabi-Pakistani flavors are dished up at bargain prices in a converted Victorian pub.
  • Dining at Rules: It might even be the oldest restaurant in London, but what's certain is that Rules was established as an oyster bar in 1798. Long a venue for the theatrical elite and literary beau monde, it still serves the same traditional dishes that delighted Edward VII and his mistress, Lillie Langtry, who began their meals with champagne and oysters upstairs.
  • Best for Families: Highchairs and a family atmosphere at Giraffe might get your children started down the gourmet path. Good menus, a casual country atmosphere, and multiple locations make Bill's a family favorite.
  • Best Splurge: If you want some of the best, most exciting, and up-to-the-minute cooking in London, you can't choose better than The Square, where Philip Howard's cooking is as smooth and sophisticated as the setting. Or go for the Tasting Menu (as much as £180) at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon for a meal where tastes explode on the tongue.
  • Best for Romance: Eat in the greenhouse surrounded by plants and odd statues and feel a million miles away from it all at Petersham Nurseries Café, south of the Thames in serene Richmond. Mayfair's Greenhouse is delightful: a fabulous restaurant reached through a quiet garden, where a fountain gently tumbles.
  • Best Service: Under the suave, experienced guidance of career staff (family-run for more than half a century), service at Le Gavroche is the best in London.
  • Best for Sharing: Tapas bars and restaurants have taken London by storm, as sharing becomes the new trend. Tapas Brindisa is owned by Spanish food importer Brindisa, giving it an ingredients' edge over its competitors. Or go for the tempting tasting dishes at the excellent wine bar, Terroirs.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.