Everyone loves lists; bite-sized pieces of information for feeling very organised, ticking off, working your way through, reeling off to others.
Everyone especially loves top lists. Not everyone wants to read 500 words on the latest restaurant. But they might want to know the best place for an expensive client lunch/cheap date/blow-out steak/skinny salads. This is often what I get asked for, me with my own extensive lists of places I have been/want to go/will try and avoid.
I’ve put together a few What Joanna Ate lists. It’s all rather subjective, with the introduction of best etc. being my best. They are by no means exhaustive (especially with my rather central/east/north London bias), but definitely some tips for better eating and drinking in London.
Some of the lists are seasonal, with my top things for each month, along with categories of place/food, and ideas for different occasions.
I hope you find the lists helpful. It’s something I want to focus on more, so do let me know if there are any lists you need to navigate the city better.
Seasonal Lists (with the hottest openings in London for the month and a few seasonal cooking ideas)
- Top 13 of 2013: A re-cap of the year, with my favourite places of 2013 (it was hard to whittle down).
- Top 5 March 2014: This month was all about the opening of Chiltern Firehouse (I didn't quite make it there then), and my visit to the new 8 Hoxton Square. I was cooking with my new book A Change of Appetite (from Diana Henry), lots of purple sprouting broccoli and the lovely produce from The Quality Chop House shop.
- Top 5 April 2014: Masterchef started again on TV to much amusement from in-flat commentary. But when I was out, I was visiting Rotorino and the second Bonnie Gull, just up the road on Exmouth Market.
- Top 3 May 2014: My sourdough starter began life in May, along with lots of spring asparagus and fabulous cocktails in Bethnal Green.
- Top 3 June 2014: Summer was coming, with beautiful red strawberries and raspberries, along with seasonal broad beans and a new restaurant from Corbin & King (of The Wolseley etc.)
- Top 4 July 2014: Second outposts from a few London favourites (Barrafina, Lima and L'Anima), with juicy peaches and nectarines.
- Top 3 August 2014: My birthday month, with sticky cherries, champagne cocktails and an idea for a rather more urban picnic.
- Top 4 September 2014: Figs, native oysters (now there is an R in the month), pop-up pizza and Bethnal Green's new Mission.
- Top 3 October 2014: An autumn harvest of apples and pumpkin/squash, plus a swish new opening.
Occasions/non-occasion Lists (for specific eating reasons, or specific guests - wanted or unwanted) & Types of Food Lists (for when you really just want a big bowl of pasta)
- 5 of the best London restaurants to impress an important client: When you need to impress the big-wig, in places that won't let you down (some with the right level of pomp).
- 5 best places in London for a bowl of pasta: Done wrong, a claggy bowl. Done right, a delicious comforting bowl, either rich and sticky, or light and fresh.
- 4 of the best 1 or 2 item menus in London: For those who don't like sharing or choosing. Some people hate small plates. Or ordering envy.
- 5 of my favourite London shops: Includes the fancy and the more humble, from meat, to cheese, to lots of booze.
- Top 5 pizza places in London: Some sticking to near the simple Neapolitan classic, some a little more deviation. But all delicious.
- 5 of my favourite London tapas bars: Lots of croquetas, ham and some sherry. Perfect places to perch in the city, with beautiful tapas. Pretend you're in Madrid, just a bit colder.
- 5 of my favourite restaurants for eating outdoors in London: A few spots for when the sun comes out and everyone piles outside (often struggling for tables outdoors).