I have lived in Toronto for nearly my whole life, which had turned me into a borderline Toronto snob and super skeptical of the food scene in London.

During my first year at Western, whenever my friends and I would get sick of residence food, we would start complaining about how there are no places in London to eat, then after awhile, bus down to Jack Astor’s and dig into our corporate cookie-cutter cuisine.

Then, after one fateful night at dollar beers, my friends and I ventured off into Prince Albert’s Diner and from then on – I was a skeptic no more. Over time, I tried more and more restaurants in London and became less and less skeptical. Here are my favourites.

Pub Food: Beer Town

This place was just an all-around 10/10.

The service was awesome, the atmosphere was inviting and the menu consisted of the exact comfort food that you crave after downing a couple beers. The avocado and bacon flatbread was especially good – the creaminess of the avocado complimented the crispiness of the bacon incredibly.

Beertown has plenty of delicious options that go great with a few brews. Photo via facebook.
Beertown has plenty of delicious options that go great with a few brews. Photo via facebook @beertown.london.

The burgers are all unique and delicious in their own way too. Not to mention that they are huge, so you definitely will not be leaving unsatisfied or hungry.

Fast Food: Globally Local

This one is my personal favourites and go-to whenever I’m hungover or want an ever-so-slightly healthier alternative to McDonald’s. The cool thing about this place is that it’s completely vegan – and even if you don’t identify with that title, you will still thoroughly enjoy pretty much anything on the menu.

Who needs meat to have a good time when you have Globally Local? Photo via facebook @globallylocal.
Who needs meat to have a good time when you have Globally Local? Photo via facebook @globallylocal.

A couple of my friends are the furthest thing from being vegan and can vouch for the Crispy ChickUN Sandwich. It honestly tastes almost exactly like the Junior Chicken from McDonald’s – but it’s bigger. You really can’t lose.

Sushi: Heart Sushi 

A good indicator of how great a restaurant is will usually be based on how busy it is and this place always has a line up for all-you-can-eat lunch.

I heart HeartSushi. Photo via facebook @heartsushilondon.
I heart Heart Sushi. Photo via facebook @heartsushilondon.

They have endless options for soups, appetizers, hand-rolled sushi, rolls, teriyaki, and tempura. You will not be disappointed.

Fine(r) Dining: Garlic’s

This restaurant is a little pricier so-being on a student budget-I was wary at first.

Quite honestly, the pricing isn’t as extreme as some people made it sound. The food and service is also very on point. Their margarita pizza is delicious; the little drizzle of balsamic makes it go the extra mile. The parmesan fries are great too, especially for sharing.

Garlic's makes some next-level pizza. Photo via facebook @GarlicsOfLondon.
Garlic’s makes some next-level pizza… and churros. Photo via facebook @GarlicsOfLondon.

The churros are what brings this place home. The warm homemade caramel sauce that comes with them made Garlic’s go from awesome to heavenly.

Middle Eastern: Shelby’s

Shelby’s is one of those places I didn’t expect to be very good but ends up being one on your go-to list.

Their shawarma fries are one of the most popular items on their menu – and for good reason. The garlic sauce they put on top is incredible, to the point that you will probably be asking for more on the side. Their plates and wraps are delicious too.

Shawarma fries have never looked so good! Photo via facebook @shelbysfoodexpress.
Shawarma fries have never looked so good! Photo via facebook @shelbysfoodexpress.

The really good thing about this restaurant is that it has a wide variety of options (they have burgers too). All around, a restaurant that delivers thorough quality and quantity.

Mexican: Under the Volcano 

Complimentary chips and salsa, I repeat, complimentary chips and salsa. They also add some secret spice to the salsa that gives it an extra and unique kick.

You'll blow your top for Under the Volcano. Photo via facebook @UnderTheVolcanoCanada.
You’ll blow your top for Under the Volcano. Photo via facebook @UnderTheVolcanoCanada.

If that’s not enough for you to give Under the Volcano a try, their enchiladas are also another crowd favourite.

So if you were anything like me and thinking the London food scene was bland – give these places a try and I promise you that you will never end up at a mediocre and over-priced food chain again.

Feature photo via Facebook @globallylocal

2 COMMENTS

  1. Two of these places are chain restaurants and all of these are extremely mediocre. This list makes me a little sad.
    If you want delicious, thoughtful food in London, some places to try include: Wolfe of Wortley, Blu Duby, Milos’ pub, David’s Bistro, Los Lobos, Tamarine, Massey’s, Barakat… hell even Winks is better than all the places you listed.

    -a Londoner

    • Hi JB,

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course and the places you’ve listed are all fantastic establishments. In defence of personal opinion however, and just to reiterate the point of this article, this is a student’s look at how she started exploring more options in the local food community apart from what she encountered day after day on campus. So, these places were stepping stones away from the Western “bubble” and really helped ease her into trying new things in our city. This is an account of her lived experience and with that being said, she is entirely entitled to be honest in this article which we’re very happy did. If you meant to list those places in your comment as suggestions for future travels/tasting, that’s fantastic and thank you for doing so 🙂

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