Hot Dinners recommends

If you're currently stuck in London while all the parents in your office have used the 'school holiday' card and headed off to Cornwall or the Costas with the kids in tow, we have a shred of comfort for you. Thanks to London's global city status, there are some pretty great places to eat here that on a good day could make you feel like you're a million miles away.

Here's our selection of places you should make a beeline for, where you won't have to worry about the crappy Euro exchange rate or renew your passport for.

Close your eyes and you could be in... Spain
bartozino

Bar Tozino
Lassco Ropewalk, Maltby St, London SE1 3PA

Run by Chuse, who hails from Teruel, this Maltby Street stalwart is a small, chaotic joint which brings Spanish bustle (and some brilliant jamon) to south of the river. It's dark and cavernous - expect to find yourself blinking when you step back into the Bermondsey daylight.

What to order: All of the jamon. And if you want you can even book yourself a lesson and learn how to carve it yourself.

Find out more about Bar Tozino

 

jose

José
Bermondsey Street, SE1

José Pizarro's South London tapas joint has been thrilling foodies ever since it opened. And it's that popularity which gives this place its authentic feel - you'll have to stand and wait your turn or eat standing up as you'd do in any seriously packed tapas bar in Spain. So order a fabulous glass of chilled sherry, and enjoy some of the most authentic tapas being served up in London.

What to order: The amazing croquetas.

Find out more about José

 

barrafina

Barrafina
10 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ

As the Frith Street branch moves to the Hart Brothers' Quo Vadis site, our next favourite Barrafina is the Adelaide Street branch. If you're hoping for a seat at lunch, be there at 12 sharpish. Once you're in situ you can slip over to Spanish timekeeping and have a long leisurely lunch, working your way through the various specials.

What to order: The milk fed lamb's kidneys cooked on your own grill.

Find out more about Barrafina Adelaide Street

 

Close your eyes and you could be in France
cassecroute

Casse-Croûte
109 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XB

With Jose just across the way, you could cross Europe in just a few paces from Spain to France by stepping into this tiny 20 seater bistro. The nicotine-coloured walls and red banquettes set the scene for a London homage to the French bistro.

What to order: Bouillabaise, if it's on.

Find out more about Casse Croute

 

Close your eyes and you could be in... Italy
padella

Padella
4 Southwark Street, London SE1

Step inside from the tourist melee around Borough Market and, once you've managed to secure yourself a seat up at a counter, you're just a few minutes away from a plate of the freshest pasta this side of Tuscany. Add to that a glass of very reasonable Prosecco and you'll be surprised on leaving to find yourself still in London.

What to order: Pici cacio e pepe

Find out more about Padella

 

rivercafe

The River Cafe
Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London W6 9HA

Given the current state of the pound against the euro a meal here at London's Most Expensive Italian Restaurant will set you back about the price of a meal at an Italian trattoria plus a Ryanair flight. But it's worth it. Come here on a day when the London sun is scorching the Hammersmith gardens and you could most assuredly be in some lovely Italian riverside spot.

What to order: The menu changes according to what's delivered each morning but you can always be assured that the famous Chocolate Nemesis will be available.

Find out more about The River Cafe

 

Close your eyes and you could be in... Dorset
hix

 Hix Oyster and Chophouse
Farringdon EC1

You may be just around the corner from Smithfield market, but the tiny street that Hix opens out on to, on a good day, can seem like a little oasis, particularly if you come here for a weekend lunch. It may not be the heavenly seaside view from Hix's Lyme Regis restaurant, but the Hix cure salmon is the same on both menus.

What to order: A platter of Brownsea Island rock oysters.

Find out more about Hix Oyster and Chop House

 

stable

 The Stable, Whitechapel
16-18 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1EW

This temple to cider and pizza originated in Dorset, so while the pizza may be the clue to the fact that you're not a stone's throw away from Bridport the massive wall of South Western ciders will help you forget.

What to order: The Cheesy Quaver - pizza with Wookey hole aged cheddar, Dorset Blue Vinney, Dorset Billy the kid goats’ cheese cheddar and Dorset Red smoked cheese.

Find out more about The Stable

 

Close your eyes and you could be in... Turkey
mangal

Mangal
Arcola Street, Dalston E8

This may sound like the kind of imaginative leap that would require artificial stimulants, but sitting in this teeny dining room just off the Dalston High Street while all manner of meat products are grilled to perfection on the ockabasi grill, could certainly make you feel like you'd just stepped in off a back street in Bodrum. Given that it's a BYO (with no corkage) you could go all out and bring some Raki to wash it down with. Or just some decent wine. Oh, and the bread's pretty spectacular here too.

What to order: Bildircin - grilled quails on skewers.

Find out more about Mangal

 

likya

Likya
68-70 Golders Green Rd, London NW11 8LN

This big, bustling halal ockabasi in Golder's Green has a huge coterie of loyal fans - including Arsenals Mesut Özil who swears by their skewered meats.

What to order: Get the LIkya special which includes a bit of every grilled meat with some salad on the side to make you feel slightly healthier.

Find out more about Likya

 

Close your eyes and you could be in... Tel Aviv
barbary

The Barbary
16 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP

Packing all of the smells, tastes and OTT cheeriness of the Barbary coast into one tiny Covent Garden restaurant, The Barbary is a stupidly easy place to go and forget you're in London at all - particularly if you're invited to join in shots of vermouth with the chefs.

What to order: The flaming lamb cutlets.

Find out more about The Barbary

 

goodegg

The Good Egg
93 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0AS

So last time we looked the place you'd naturally go to get Tel Aviv nachos wasn't just off Clissold Park, but this pop-up turned permanent spot has them on their new menu for summer.  Sit out on the pavement or in the garden and soak in the sun and atmosphere.

What to order: Don't leave without having the babka

Find out more about The Good Egg

 

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