Jetlagged and unsure about where to eat for our first meal in London, Jon and I walked out of our hotel, the Mondrian London, and meandered along the Thames. We passed numerous riverside restaurants but the one that caught my eye was Wagamama. “Your instinct’s usually right,” Jon said. “Let’s eat here.”
I didn’t know what we were getting into, but I have to admit my gut (in more ways than one) was definitely correct about this Japanese-inspired restaurant chain that started in London, and is slowly making its way into the U.S. market.
Wagamama is a good example of how London’s cuisine has changed over the years. When I first visited the city nearly 30 years ago, I remember lots of fish and lots of chips. But with an ever-increasing international population, it’s now very easy to find healthy (and deliciously diverse) cuisine.
A plate of food from Tidbits
With three locations close to the city center, you’re never really too far from a Wagamama. My favorite was the one near the London Eye because it had lots of outside seating. These seats enabled us to watch people stroll by during the day, and enjoy street performers and musicians when the weather was just right.
Wagamama runs as efficiently as an Apple store. If there’s a line, you’re handed a menu while you wait. Once you sit, a server takes your order promptly and the food comes out when it’s ready (in other words don’t expect your rice to be served right alongside your main course). But all is forgiven when you can order gingered-up carrot juice along with agedashi tofu.
Our first meal was so scrumptious we made a trip to Wagamama for our final London meal, too.
Wild Food Café
Located above a courtyard (it’s called Neal’s Yard) in Covent Garden, Wild Food is a small vegetarian restaurant with community tables and food that’s as good for the body as it is for the soul. Green salads aren’t always top of the menu in London, but they definitely are here.
Raw crackers and spicy hummus from Wild Food Cafe
With a selection of fruit and veggie smoothies, raw food, dips, burgers, salads, and more, this felt like the healthiest restaurant in the entire city. When we dined there, we had a coveted spot overlooking the courtyard. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were able to watch all the activities taking place below.
This restaurant definitely wins the award for cutest location. Just off of Regent Street, Tidbits is tucked away in an alley filled with al fresco restaurants. Its main attraction is the salad bar, where the cost of your meal is determined by weight. Though perhaps a bit lacking in protein (by 6:30 p.m. they had run out of tempeh skewers), there were definitely lots of choices for both cold and warm salads. There were so many options I actually found myself holding back a bit. I was paying by weight, after all.
Tidbits has a full bar (of course, this is London) and lots of seating upstairs and down.
Long an institution in London’s Soho neighborhood, Mildreds is a great spot for those considering the path to vegetarianism but haven’t crossed over to the light yet. In other words, you’ll find lots of recognizable items on the menu such as burgers, burritos, and pasta. But they’re all veggie.
Mildreds is open for lunch but is most popular for dinner. You can’t make reservations, so go early or be prepared to wait as it’s a small location.
What’s your favorite city in which to eat healthy?