Kanada-Ya makes the best bowl of tonkotsu ramen anywhere in London. There’s always a line of students from Hong Kong and Japan outside any of their shops (even in the cold – usually a good sign), but it’s absolutely worth the wait. With the totally reasonable prices (just over a tenner for the basic bowl of noodles), it’s a good deal. There’s not a whole lot for vegetarians, so don’t bring them with the hope that there’ll be a veg stock or tofu option. Do go for a casual, no-reservations spot where the atmosphere is full of the sounds of conversation and people slurping noodles. Expect not to linger, but to leave happy.
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Barrafina Adelaide Street is just as good as the Soho location, and just a little bit less crowded. Get your tapas fix.
Parsons is a tiny seafood restaurant in Covent Garden. It’s a sanctuary from the crowds and serves some very nice fish based dishes too.
Yen is a large, upmarket Japanese restaurant on the Strand that specialises in soba. It’s a calm, spacious place to spend some time.
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Peg is a walk-in wine and skewers spot in Hackney from the people behind P. Franco and Bright. It’s a place you want to be.
Dinings is a very cosy sushi counter and downstairs Japanese restaurant that just happens to have some of the best sushi in London.
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Lanzhou Noodle House
It doesn’t look promising from the outside, but Lanzhou Noodle House near Leicester Square makes excellent Chinese hand-pulled noodles.
Compared to other ramen restaurants, Ippudo in Covent Garden has the advantage of a cool-looking dining room, a bigger menu, and more room for groups.
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