5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London

You have just landed in the never summery city (that’s London by the way) and wonder just what to eat locally. While nowadays London is, of course, famous for many international food options that doesn’t mean that you should skip British offerings altogether. That’s right. It’s not a mirage or a curse. I am indeed suggesting you step foot in those famous pubs and eat locally….

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However before you go out with an umbrella, wellington boots and a trench coat, you, my little adventurer will need a local’s food guide. An English to English translation if you will. Here are some quintessentially British dishes to sample and a rough idea of what they each will entail. So go forth and be brave!

Bangers and mash:

5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London: bangers and mash
Photo credit: I breathe I’m hungry

This is your typical and usually very yummy sausages and mashed potatoes. The Brits do know their meats and there is nothing like this warming and very hard to mess up dish.

Recipes from Simply Scratch and The Spruce to try this at home.

Fish and chips:

5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London: fish-and-chips
Usually battered and then deep fried cod or haddock served with chips… otherwise known as french fries in other parts of the world. If you get lucky, your fish will be accompanied with mushy peas and tartar sauce. When it’s good- it’s great!

Recipes from The Tasting Table and Jamie Oliver to try at home.

Spotted dick:

5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London: spotted dick with custard
Photo credit: Tea and Oranges

The name, well it’s quite unique. The dish, however, is not quite as exotic as it sounds and consists of a pudding with dried fruit served with custard. It’s quite sweet so if you are not into the sugar rush, it might not be your cup of tea.

Recipes from Daring Gourmet and Good to Know to try at home.

Shepherd’s Pie:

5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London: shepherds pie
Photo credit: Foodkourt.com

A meat pie with mashed potatoes, this dish is hearty. So much so that if you combine it with a pint and have my tolerance or lack thereof, you might be headed for a nap. That said, pies are very often the safest way to go in this country and usually delish.

Recipes from Epicurious and Life in the Loft House to try at home.

Toad in the Hole:

5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London: Toad in the Hole
Photo credit: Lady Gouda

Again, in spite of its interesting name, you might be somewhat disappointed by the reality. This dish consists of sausages in pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy. Coronary, here we come!

Recipes from Nigella and The Daring Gourmet to try at home.

How about you? Have a favorite British dish you’d like to share or a great spot where you’ve had one of the quintessentially British dishes described above?

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5 Quintessentially British Dishes to Try in London



  1. Bobbi Lee Hitchon
    May 9, 2013

    Great mix of dishes! I still need to try spotted dick. Sounds a but crude haha. I would also ad A Full English and Sunday Roast. I’m obsessed with Sunday Roast!

    1. Andi Fisher
      May 12, 2013

      @Bobbi Lee, oh yummy, I love roasts!

  2. TheWanderfullTraveler
    May 9, 2013

    These actually look really good and I’ve heard London is no longer stereotyped as having bad food but is becoming or is now a culinary mecca. Can’t wait to one day go. #1 on my list is a good pint #2 is afternoon high tea.


    1. Andi Fisher
      May 12, 2013

      @Murissa, I ate my way through the town and had tons more to try in the short week I was there – you’ll love it!

  3. Marie
    May 12, 2013

    I’m a big fan of fish and chips, and do not ever miss out on an opportunity to reward myself with a big plate whenever I’m in London. I love the Golden Hinde in Soho.

    1. Andi Fisher
      May 12, 2013

      @Marie, for me they have to be really good ones, otherwise I get sick from the oil, I love fish and chips, I am just very picky about them!

  4. Clarisse from Ramblingmuse.com
    May 12, 2013

    @Marie @Andi I gotta agree with Andi on the fish and chips. A good one is great but a bad one can really spoil your impressions…. for a long time!

  5. Daraya
    June 20, 2013

    I love Shepherd’s Pie and I recently got a authentic recipe from my British friend. I’m so excited to try it out! πŸ™‚

  6. Diana C
    June 22, 2013

    I recently made a delicious shepherds pie the other day. It wasn’t all from scratch, but it was tasty. Love a good hearty meal.

    Diana C

  7. Fish & Chips and Shepard’s Pie are two of my favorite dishes. I’ve always wanted to jump “the pond” so I could try them from their native origins. I love that their chips/french fries are almost like chunky hashbrowns. I’d be in love!

  8. Candice
    July 17, 2013

    The Spotted dick actually looks really good to me. I just need to get over the name. πŸ™‚

  9. Lindsay P
    August 16, 2013

    I’d love to try fish and chips, and also the Shepherd’s pie! They both look really good . . . I think now I need to make some Shepherd’s pie for dinner! Maybe next week πŸ™‚

  10. Awesome roundup, Andi, it really doesn’t get any more quintessential than this! And thanks so much for including a couple of my recipes. I lived in England for 7 years just south of Cambridge and man, am I homesick. We’re looking forward to going back next year for a visit and taking our kids with us for the first time. As for the food, while living there I definitely had my share of bad British food, that’s for sure πŸ˜‰ BUT, I also had many outstanding meals as well. I love all of the dishes you listed (agreed, provided they’re made well). A couple more of my favorites are Beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding. My husband also loves Cornish Pasties and mushy peas, which usually accompany the fish & chips.


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