In an exclusive survey conducted by mobility super app FREENOW, London cabbies have given their expert opinion on the top London eateries for traditional British dishes.
More than 300 London black cab drivers participated in the survey, revealing the favoured culinary institutions of those with the best insight. Having completed years of study to know every nook and cranny of the capital city, cabbies are best placed to call out the hidden and not so hidden gems of London’s culinary scene.
The Seashell of London: A Chippy Worth the Ride – When it comes to fish and chips, taxi drivers know where to go and have named The Seashell of Lisson Grove as London’s top spot. Drivers use all their expertise to transport themselves to a seaside retreat in the heart of London with these expert-approved traditional delights.
Scott H., a black cab driver from London, said: “I can’t tell you how many visitors I’ve dropped off at the Seashell of Lisson Grove. I’ve discovered some incredible local spots, but this has been my go-to recommendation for fish & chips. Few places can give you the seaside chippy experience we all crave, like the Seashell. Easily the best fish and chips in London and somewhere that is always worth the journey, no matter where you’ve come from.”
Best Full English Breakfast: A Hearty Start to the Day – The survey uncovered Regency Café as the top spot for a full English Breakfast in the city. It is not just about the food; it’s about the experience and the sense of nostalgia that the establishment offers. These businesses are more than just places to grab a meal. They are a slice of London’s cultural heritage. Regency Café’s popularity among cabbies offers a genuine taste of London and a warm start to any day.
Best Pie and Mash: A London Tradition Served Hot – Pie and mash is a beloved London classic and few places do it better than Manzes Pie & Mash. The East London favourite topped the driver’s list, and their popularity is a testament to the enduring excellence of this traditional London favourite. A journey to these pie shops is like a journey back in time. With the taxi drivers’ seal of approval, these establishments continue to preserve and celebrate the rich culinary history of London, making them a must-visit for locals and tourists seeking an authentic taste of the city.
John H., a black cab driver from London, said: “Manze’s has embodied the heart and the soul of East London for more than 100 years. I’ve been going to Manzes since I was a kid and I’ll still be there as an old man. George, the owner, is old-school and has been running the place since he took over from his parents in the 80’s. No matter how far away, a run to Manze’s will bring back some amazing memories when I treat myself to a proper pie and mash. You might even be lucky enough to run into David Beckham on one of his London visits if you’re there as much as me.”
Carve out a Delicious Sunday at Toby Carvery – With a plethora of delectable Sunday Roasts to pick from, London cabbies have spoken loud and clear, with Toby Carvey, Bromley emerging as a top choice. The Sunday Roast is a cherished tradition in the UK and Toby Carvery’s commitment to serving succulent roasts with all the trimmings has struck a chord with the city’s culinary pundits.
A Tapestry of Diversity – The heartbeat of London’s traditional food scene, Borough Market, reigns supreme as the top market, according to 58% of London’s cab drivers. This historic institution, dating back to 1014, is a tapestry of diverse traders, connecting the entire city to its vibrant core. It is no wonder that it remains the most cherished market among London’s taxi drivers.
The essential late night bite- A London institution- Beigel Bake on Shoreditch’s Brick Lane came out on top as a favoured spot for a late night bite. The 24-hour bakery is known for traditional Jewish-style filled bagels with salt beef and smoked salmon.
Piccolo Bar Gresham St: Mouthwatering sweet treats – If the clientele of a café is anything to go by, the friendly sight of our London cabbies will set your mind at ease. Piccolo Bar on Gresham Street offers the absolute best of Anglo-Italian baked goods and is a top choice for FREENOW drivers to stifle mid-afternoon cravings.
London’s taxi drivers are not just getting you from point A to B; their knowledge of the city and its long history makes them guardians of its traditions, including its culinary delicacies. Their love for local gems, diverse markets, and the simplicity of classic British dishes is a testament to their passion for the culture and cuisine that define London. This guide has been meticulously crafted with the insider knowledge of London’s taxi drivers, making it the ultimate resource for experiencing the best of traditional British food.
Top three results:
Best Chippy: (1) The SeaShell of Lisson Grove – Marylebone, (2) Kennedy’s – Goswell Road, (3) Poppies – Spitalfields, SOHO and Camden
Best Full English: (1) Regency Café – Regency Street, (2) Astral Café – Regency Street, (3) Cabbies Green Sheds – Multiple Locations
Best Pie and Mash: (1) Manzes Pie and Mash – Tower Bridge, (2) G Kelly Pie and Mash – Roman Road, East London, (3) Arments Pie and Mash – Westmoreland Road
Best Sunday Roast: (1) Toby Carvery – Multiple Locations, (2) Hawksmoor – Spitalfields & Borough Market, (3) The Harwood Arms – Chelsea
Best Market: (1) Borough Market – Southwark, (2) Broadway Market – London Fields, (3) Spitalfields Market – East London
Late Night Bite: (1) Beigel Bake – Brick Lane, (2) Kebab Kid – Fulham, (3) Chelsea Bridge Burger – Chelsea
Sweet treat: (1) Piccolo Bar – Gresham Street (2) Greggs – multiple locations, (3) Gails – multiple locations