A trip on the impressive London Eye is a must in London. Its location is also perfect for exploring the area, which is full of attractions and good places to eat.
Although English cuisine is not well known, London has a large number of good restaurants offering food from all over the world. The wide range of places to eat in the area makes it difficult to choose. In this article I recommend the best options adapted to all budgets and tastes.
1. The best romantic dinner on the Thames at London Showboat
Visiting the London Eye area is a must, but you can also add a cruise on the Thames, what do you think of the plan? The best thing is that you have several options to choose from.
On the one hand, you can take a guided bus tour during the day and book it together with an evening dinner cruise, the London Showboat & Dinner. This is a great experience for those who want to see the area by day and enjoy the incredible night-time views of the most attractive buildings in the British capital.
- Where: Departing from Westminster Pier Victoria Embankment
- Average price per person: £76 - £93
- Lunchtimes: 19:00 - 19:30 depending on the season
- Recommended dish: The menu changes, but if there is lamb you should try it.
Why I like this place: The opportunity to spend an evening on a boat cruising the Thames and enjoying a great meal is not something that happens every day and you have to take advantage of it.
Recommended if... you want to enjoy a quiet, romantic stroll along the river after a day of sightseeing in London.
2. The best traditional pub grub at St Stephen's Tavern
If you've already got your tickets for the London Eye and you've decided to eat in the area, a good idea might be to combine the modernity of the big wheel with traditional British pub food. There is no better place to do this than St. Stephen's Tavern, which opened its doors as far back as 1875.
This pub will not only offer you good food at great prices, especially considering its location in front of Big Ben, but also a good bit of history. Being in the heart of Westminster, not far from Westminster Abbey, this pub has been frequented by a number of British politicians, including prime ministers such as Churchill and Macmillan. In fact, the pub still has a bell that warned MPs that voting was about to start in a few minutes so that they could arrive.
As for the food, the pub's menu is not very extensive and you can only choose from a dozen first courses, as well as various snacks. Although the pub offers vegetarian options, the main dishes are the usual fish & chips and a delicious steak pie (on the menu called Steak & Tangle Foot Pie).
- Where: 10 Bridge Street, Westminster
- Average price per person: £8 - £21
- Dining hours: 12 noon to 9pm
- Recommended dish: The meat pie is really worth the money
Why I like this place: The atmosphere, the history of the place and the traditional pub food on offer.
Recommended if... you want to feel like a British Prime Minister eating fish & chips and enjoying a good pint.
3. A great pizza at La Cucina Di Mamma
If you've already enjoyed the views from the London Eye and are looking for a safe bet for lunch, this Italian restaurant is one of the best options, especially if you're going with children. The restaurant is located just 1 minute away from the huge Ferris wheel and very close to Waterloo station.
One of its strong points, apart from the food, is the great service provided by the friendly staff. If you are in London in summer, I recommend you ask for a table on the terrace. Another very favourable element is the good treatment of the little ones, which makes the restaurant one of the best places to eat with the family.
The menu, although not very extensive, is full of good quality dishes at a very competitive price for the British capital. Highlights include the Pizza Piccante and the four-cheese pizza, but if it's a little chilly you can start with the delicious minestrone soup.
- Where: 3K Belvedere Rd Lambeth
- Average price per person: €9 - €20
- Dining hours: from 12:00 to 22:30
- Recommended dish: Dessert lovers should try the three chocolate tart.
Why I like this place: for the friendliness of the staff and the character they bring to their Italian recipes.
Recommended if... you are looking for good quality food at a good price and you are a fan of Italian food, especially pizzas.
4. Have breakfast at Pret a Manger
Although I'm not a big fan of fast food chains, Pret a Manger is a great option if your timetable for visiting the London Eye requires you to have breakfast before you go in.
Pret a Manger specialises in organic food and sandwiches of all kinds. If you want, you can also have lunch or dinner there, but it's best to go early to enjoy breakfast before starting a long day in London.
Everything they prepare can be eaten on the premises or ordered to take away. They have a wide range of coffees of all kinds that you can accompany with their delicious croissants, baguettes with various fillings or sandwiches called Breakfast rolls. Another of their best-known (and British) dishes is the porridge they serve at breakfast time.
Of course, they also have the traditional English Milky Tea on their menu, as well as a wonderful hot chocolate that is perfect for any London winter's day. All in all, although it might not be part of any food tour of London, this place is a great option to recharge your batteries.
- Where: Unit 4, Royal Festival Hall
- Average price per person: around €7 on average
- Dining hours: 8:00 to 20:00
- Recommended dish: Try the special breakfast porridge.
Why I like this place: for its organic ingredients and the fast and friendly service
Recommended if... you want a quick but tasty breakfast to give you the strength you need for an exhausting day of sightseeing.
5. The best atmosphere near the London Eye at All Bar One Waterloo.
Although you can go for lunch, if you want to enjoy the essence of this pub it's best to dine there. This will also allow you to go up or, at least, see the London Eye at night, a spectacle you won't forget.
The All Bar One Waterloo has an extensive menu that ranges from morning coffee to evening drinks, including a series of dishes and what they call tapas, somewhat different from the Spanish concept. It is also worth sharing a good bottle of wine, always checking the price beforehand.
This pub, which offers many vegetarian options, has on its menu everything from great burgers to hummus, smoked avocado, quesadillas and, of course, fish & chips.
- Where: 1-3 Chicheley Street
- Average price per person: between €10 and €20
- Dining hours: 9am to 11pm
- Recommended dish: The 10oz Ribeye, perfect for those who enjoy meat.
Why I like this place: Good value for money, the variety on the menu and the cosy décor
Recommended if... you want to dine well in a great atmosphere.
6. Try the best burger at Honest Burgers Southbank
After a morning spent climbing the London Eye and visiting Madame Tussauds, for example, few can resist sampling some of the best burgers in the city. Don't think it's the kind you'd find in a fast food restaurant, as the burgers served at Honest Burgers deserve to be considered top class cuisine.
The philosophy of Honest Burgers already hints at their commitment to quality. Since they opened their doors, they have been committed to local produce, from meat to vegetables. For them, it is all about offering the best possible ingredients so that the result is optimal.
This place, moreover, is not only recommended for meat lovers. Their vegan burger option is highly regarded by customers and the portion of potatoes that accompanies it has a spicy and tasty flavour. All this is accompanied by great service, friendly service and a very interesting price for the area.
- Where: 9 Festival Terrace
- Average price per person: between 12 and 18 €.
- Dining hours: from 11:30 to 22:00 (weekends closed half an hour later)
- Recommended dish: The South Bank Honest Beef Burger, a real explosion of flavours.
Why I like this place: the only possible answer is the sensational burgers
Recommended if... you like quality burgers with a touch of originality.
7. Hard Rock Café
Another of the legendary restaurants where you can find great burgers is the Hard Rock Café located near the London Eye area. We recommend that you book in advance for their menu, where you can choose from burgers, meats, salads... and, of course, for the little ones, a children's menu.
And with this reservation you can also access their private museum where you can find personal objects of the most emblematic rock stars, entrance without queues, 2 or 3 courses to choose from... you won't regret it!
- Where: Hard Rock Cafe, 150 Old Park Ln, London W1K 1QZ, UK
- Average price per person: From £30
- Dining hours: Open from 11:30am to 10:30pm
- Set menus: Gold Menu (2 courses) or Diamond Menu (3 courses)
Why I like this place: because it's a classic that combines burgers and rock history
Recommended if... you want to make sure you have a good meal and also visit their private museum
8. Because Japan is not just about sushi: Okan South Bank
When we hear about Japanese food, most of us just name sushi or, at best, ramen. However, Japanese cuisine is much more varied, as the menu at Okan South Bank demonstrates.
This restaurant could easily become one of the places to visit after visiting some of London' s best museums and climbing the London Eye. The founder's philosophy is to bring a little bit of Osaka to the London capital and pay homage to his mother's cooking (Okan actually means mother in Japanese).
The interior has been decorated like a small authentic Japanese restaurant and so has the ambience of the place. The welcoming service and, of course, the flavour of dishes such as gyozas, teppanyaki and, above all, the special okonomiyaki, which is prepared close to the diner, also stand out.
- Where: South Block 1 Belvedere Road
- Average price per person: 12 € - 29 €.
- Dining hours: Opens at 12:00 and food can be ordered until 22:00
- Recommended dish: The okonomiyaki special, which many call the Japanese pizza.
Why I like this place: because you feel like you've been transported to Osaka, as well as the quality of the food
Recommended if... you want to try Japanese food beyond the traditional sushi.
9. In a hurry? Nothing better than a hot dog at Oh My Dog! Hot Dogs Southbank
Whether it's because you're out seeing the city of London neighbourhood by neighbourhood or because you're in a rush to get up the Tower of London, sometimes you have to settle for some fast food. Luckily, that doesn't mean that what you eat isn't good quality, as is the case at Oh My Dog! Hot Dogs Southbank.
If you're on your way to the London Eye or in the vicinity, stopping at this stall is a must. Everything on the menu is delicious, especially their spectacular Hot Dogs. Vegetarians have their options too, as they serve smoked seitan sausages and vegan cheddar cheese.
- Where: Riverside Level Southbank Centre, below Hungerford Bridge,
- Average price per person: €8 - €19
- Dining hours: Between 11:00 am and 11:00 pm
- Recommended dish: The Baconator, a hot dog topped with crispy bacon and Frazzles.
Why Ilike this place: The quality of their handmade buns sets them apart from hot dogs elsewhere
Recommended if... you don't want to be in a hurry to visit the most interesting places in the city to find quality fast food.
10. Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar: the authentic British experience.
On the banks of the Thames and with truly spectacular views of the London Eye, this restaurant is a great choice for dining in the area. At Gillray's you'll feel totally immersed in the British atmosphere, both for its menu of dishes and for a decoration that aims to recall the former grandeur of the nearby Parliament.
The dishes you'll be able to eat are cooked withingredients from English farms, as the restaurant is committed to working only with local and quality products. The friendliness of the staff, always ready to recommend the best dishes, is another of the restaurant's strong points.
The menu is mainly carnivorous, although there are some options for vegetarians. The Rib Eye with cheese sauce, for example, stands out, as well as the inevitable fish & chips.
The result is a place that allows its visitors to spend a few moments of peace and quiet with views, as well as of the Ferris wheel and the river, of Big Ben. If you just want to relax, it's not a bad idea to choose one of the 100 types of gin for a drink.
- Where: County Hall Westminster Bridge Road
- Average price per person: £12 - £59
- Dining hours: between 07:00 (for breakfast) and 22:00
- Recommended dish: The spectacular T - Bone steak, cooked to the exact doneness desired by each customer.
Why I like this place: to be able to eat quality products, especially the meat, in a relaxed atmosphere and with the best views of London is priceless
Recommended if... you want to spend a pleasant time while you eat and crown your after-dinner drink with a good gin.
11. You can't leave London without trying the best fish&chip at Fishcotheque.
I'm not going to say that this place can compare with, for example, the restaurant at The Shard, but I can assure you that its fish&chip is among the best in London. This quality has made it one of the oldest restaurants specialising in this recipe and it also has an interesting retro atmosphere inside.
The fish is of a very high quality and the chefs manage to fry it perfectly, without it being oily at all. The large portions are generous and not too much more expensive than the medium ones.
The restaurant doesn't only serve fish & chips, this very British dish. On the menu you will also find other specialities such as the fish burger and the salmon pie.
- Where: 79A Waterloo Road
- Average price per person: 8 € - 15 €.
- Dining hours: Between 12 noon and 11pm
- Recommended dish: Definitely the fish & chips.
Why I like this place: For its retro atmosphere and the quality of the fish. The frying technique that prevents it from getting oily, which is common in many places, is particularly noteworthy
Recommended if... you don't want to complicate your meal and you're looking for the most traditional dishes in the city.
How tipping works in restaurants near the London Eye
Although the custom of tipping originated in England, nowadays tipping is not compulsory. However, in restaurants it is common to tip if the service and food was to your liking. The most common amount is 10% or 15% of the bill.
Lunch, dinner and opening hours of restaurants near the London Eye
It is well known that in the UK (as in the rest of Europe) meal times are very different from those in Spain. London, as a big city, is more flexible in this respect, but it will still be necessary to adapt to these customs. Generally speaking, the British eat at these times:
- Breakfast: starts around 7:30 in the morning.
- Lunch: on weekdays this would be a small meal taken between 12:00 and 14:00. In restaurants this is the most common time for lunch and many restaurants close their kitchens until late afternoon/evening.
- Dinner: The normal English dinner time is between 19:00 and 20:00.
As I have noted, London restaurants are much more flexible in their opening hours than those in smaller towns. Thus, it is quite easy to find places to dine later in the day, at least until 23:00. However, I recommend that you check the night-time opening hours to avoid any surprises.