Classic England cooking has a bad name, but these 10 dishes are delicious enough to change anyone’s mind. Discover the best traditional foods in London, and our favorite restaurants where you can enjoy them.

Ask anyone what dishes come to mind when they think of English cuisine, and the same ones will come up time and time again. However, finding decent versions of traditional food in London is something else entirely. Believe it from a born Londoner – these are the dishes we order and the places we head to when we fancy a little taste of home.

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Full English breakfast

full english breakfast

A culinary relic of our Anglo-Saxon roots, this dish became popular among all socioeconomic classes during the Industrial Revolution. It’s a pampering dish, perfect for the morning after a big night out or to prepare for a long day at work. Head for a classic “caff” and opt for the full plate: sausage, bacon, baked beans, tomato, fried egg, fried slice, and of course, a hearty slice of black pudding.

Bangers and Mash

bangers and mash

First of all, bangers are sausages, so we can all agree. They are so named because of the way they used to explode out of their skin while being fried. The British have loved pork products for a long time, back to the days when we measured the size of a forest by the number of pigs that could fit in it. Despite recent changes in eating habits, it remains one of the most popular traditional foods in London. Best paired with plenty of butter mash and a rich onion sauce.

Pie and Mash

pie and mash

Originating in London’s East End, pie and mash is the cornerstone of industrial revolution cooking. Meat pies, fluffy mashed potatoes, liqueur (parsley sauce, not alcohol), and, hey, maybe even some jellied eels. Many pie and mash shops remain in their original buildings, providing Londoners with Proustian moments six days a week.

Fish and chips

fish and chips

The history of fish and chips reveals a surprising origin story. The fried fish comes from Jews exiled from the Iberian Peninsula during the 14th century, and the French fries from French-speaking Belgians. The only thing that was done was to pair them for the first time. But they became such a part of the national psyche that they were one of the few things not rationed during World War II. The best place for this dish? A real fish and chip shop, not a pub.

Spaghetti Bolognese


What makes an Italian dish on this list, you ask? We hear you but it doesn’t get any more authentically Italian than Alfredo. It is true that the original Bolognese is a Bologna ragu. But it’s nothing like the sauce we put on our spaghetti (which isn’t the form of pasta it should be paired with at all). After many Italian cooks and tourists have wrung their hands, “spag bol” remains the epitome of English comfort food. It is usually made at home on a cold winter evening, but there are still places where someone makes it for you.