Category Archives: Kings Cross Maps

SOHO AREA GUIDE: WHERE TO EAT IN SOHO [MAP]
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Soho is such a wonderfully eclectic part of London, and one that perfectly fits the description ‘melting pot’. It has been a key cornerstone of the city’s jazz scene from the 1950s; it was way too cool for school during the Swinging 60s; and it remains at the very heart of London’s theatre scene. We’re not biased, but we believe a visit to Soho during your stay at our King’s Cross hotel is one of the ‘must-see’ activities in London.

Soho has been through countless reincarnations, and today, it’s the location of some of the most sensational eateries to be found anywhere in a city that is already famous for its huge range of restaurants. If you’re wondering where to eat in Soho, you’ll find a selection of internationally inspired eateries is so diverse that you are able to satisfy any international cuisine craving you might have, from Spanish to Chinese or Israeli. Read on for our bumper guide to Soho restaurants you need to try.

Map of Soho restaurants and bars

Map of Soho restaurants and bars

Barrafina

For the best tapas in town, head straight for Barrafina on Frith Street and make it snappy. You can’t book, so be prepared to queue, but you can rest assured that waiting in line is a sociable experience here, complete with drinks and nibbles.

The menu is peppered with quintessentially Catalan and Mallorcan tapas, such as crispy grilled chicken thighs and exquisite octopus. The wine showcases the very best of contemporary Spanish wine making, and can be purchased by the glass, meaning that you can try several. Oh, and did we mention they’ve got a Michelin Star? Cheers!

Barrafina website

10 Greek Street

For super fresh, super seasonal modern cuisine in a relaxed environment, the perfect choice is 10 Greek Street. Convivial and with a carefully curated menu to die for, you can dine out here with style on a budget. The kitchen produces some fabulous flavour combinations that really make an impact, such as truffles and wild mushrooms in courgette flowers, and a subtle but stupendous pea and asparagus chilled soup.

The menu is skewed towards fish, but there’s still plenty of choice for the committed carnivore. Tables are somewhat squished together, making for a thoroughly ebullient atmosphere that is perhaps more suitable for adults than families with kids. You can’t book for the evening, but lunch reservations can be made.

10 Greek Street website

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Ceviche

For perfect Peruvian food, Ceviche on Frith Street is the obvious choice. Here you will find yourself in a little Sohonian South American outpost, overseen by some of the friendliest staff in London. Although it’s only right and natural to want to sample a little Pisco (a moreish Brandy from the region) you might want to put a rain-check on that particular adventure until after you’ve eaten, or you might not get round to food.

Do try the scrumptious namesake of the restaurant, the Don Ceviche (meaty seabass liberally douched in leche de tigre). Dining here is such a cheerful experience that you’ll leave feeling as high as Machu Picchu!

Ceviche website

Koya Bar

If Japanese food is your thing, you will be in seventh heaven at Koya Bar on Frith Street. Small but perfectly formed, it’s easy to imagine you are actually in an udon-ya, so authentic is the experience.

It’s open for breakfast, should you fancy some classic Japanese morning goodies including pickles, miso soup and grilled fish, or a beautifully fragrant broth with overtones of classic English fry up. Small plates are served all day, and this is a great place to stop in for a quick and nutritious snack before you continue to explore.

Koya Bar website

NOPI

Yotam Ottolenghi is the brains behind the wonderful NOPI on Warwick Street, surely one of the best restaurants in Soho. In a similar vein to his super-successful string of cafes, this is a slightly more grown-up setting for seasoned foodies, and the awesome Middle-East/Mediterranean/Asian influenced menu is vegetarian friendly.

You can opt for generously sized sharing plates or stick to the more traditional starter/main combo, washed down with a glass of something from the excellent wine list. Bookings are taken, but be aware that there is a strict two hour per table policy.

For veggie friendly dining options close to home, check out our round up of the best vegetarian restaurants in King’s Cross.

NOPI website

Pizza Pilgrims

Having built up a loyal fan base for its quirky three-wheeled food, Pizza Pilgrims opened the door of its first permanent home on Dean Street in 2013. With a feel of a traditional old style trattoria straight from the streets of Rome, dining here is a family friendly affair with a delightfully retro feel, complete with Italian movie posters from the 1960s, table football and wine by the carafe.

The pizzas are authentically and deliciously Neapolitan, and you can choose from a wide range of classic and contemporary toppings plus desserts straight from Mamma’s kitchen. You can’t book but get there early and you shouldn’t have to wait long for a little slice of Italian heaven.

For a local option for super tasty pizzas, our neighbour Caravan is excellent. You can read more about it in our ultimate guide to King’s Cross restaurants.

Pizza Pilgrims website

Social Eating House

Jason Atherton is a name synonymous with great cooking, and you won’t be disappointed at his exemplary restaurant, Social Eating House. This is an eatery that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite the well-deserved reputation of its chef/patron.

The relaxed yet high-end atmosphere perfectly complements the range of incredibly flavourful, traditional-with-a-twist dishes on offer here. Inventive and always fresh, your palate is bound to be intrigued by the CLT (crab replacing the bacon) or a slice of sumptuous honey cake accompanied by ice cream made from goat’s curd, what else?

For an alternative banging blow-out dinner, try the Gilbert Scott nestled in St. Pancras station. We cover it in more detail in our guide to 4 fantastic King’s lunch venues.

Social Eating House website

Bao

Tasty Taiwanese street food has been given a make-over at one of the food critic’s favourite restaurants near Soho, Bao on Lexington Street. And, as those lucky enough to partake of the deliciously genuine food on offer often exclaim, ‘Bao WOW!’ This is a restaurant with a star that is most certainly in the ascendant, and it attracts a steady stream of hipsters looking for a new and innovative taste sensation.

A ‘Bao’ is a traditional Taiwanese steamed bun, and here you can buy them packed full of different fillings, both sweet and savoury. There are plenty of vegetarian options, and a variety of small eats (xiao chi) that pack a real punch. Bao is diminutive and doesn’t accept bookings, and its popularity is such that a (short) wait for a table is almost inevitable.

Bao website

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Palomar

For a warm Israeli welcome, step into the Palomar on Rupert Street and find yourself enveloped in a fantastically warm and friendly family orientated restaurant. Modern Israeli dishes are the order of the day here, the music is loud and the staff plentiful, so you never have to wait long for anything.

The eclectic (non-kosher) menu is absolutely stuffed with dishes, many of which have a distinctly North African feel. Tapas style offerings sit alongside a plethora of meat dishes, seafood and wonderful yeast bread dipped in plenty of tahini and yoghurt, to name just a few. Undoubtedly, here you will receive one of the warmest welcomes in Soho, if not London as a whole.

Palomar website

KING’S CROSS TO WESTMINSTER: RESTAURANTS AND BARS [MAP]
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Welcome to part 2 of our Westminster area guide. For this installation we’re satiating your hunger after your day exploring Westminster with our round up of where to eat and drink in the area. Whatever world cuisine you are craving, or indeed if you simply need to quench your thirst with a pint of finest ale or an artisan coffee, fear not. The restaurants in Westminster have it covered.

For our guide to how to get from our King’s Cross hotel to Westminster, head to our guide to King’s Cross to Westminster: things to do and getting there.

Map of Westminster restaurants and bars

Map of Westminster restaurants and bars

Restaurants

Bank Westminster

Best for outdoor eating

Set in a conservatory, eating at Bank is a light and airy experience whatever the weather and, on sunny days, it’s possible to dine outside in the pretty courtyard. With a menu that incorporates the best of world cuisine, there’s something for everyone here from juicy steaks to succulent Thai fish cakes and a jaunty wine list with plenty of champagnes to tempt any lovers of bubbles.

Pricing: Starters from £5 – £11, main courses from £11 – £30

For local options for outdoor dining ideas, head to our guide to the best London beer gardens and al fresco dining venues to soak up the summer.

Osteria Dell’Angolo

Best for fine dining

Foodies in the know have Osteria dell’Angelo flagged as a go-to destination for unpretentious but finely honed cuisine from Italy. Friendly service plus a bar area that screams ‘relax’ this is an ideal setting for enjoying a chilled out dinner with stacks of quintessentially Italian charm. Booking is recommended.

Pricing: Starters £7.50 – £11, mains £10 – £14

Osteria Dell’Angolo website

The Cinnamon Club

Best for atmosphere 

A huge old Westminster library may seem a bit ‘out there’ setting for a bang on trend contemporary Indian restaurant, but believe us, it really works. While you don’t necessarily need to flash the cash, if you do fancy pushing the boat out this is most definitely the place to do so as exquisitely crafted, inventive dishes come as standard here. To avoid disappointment, do try and book in advance.

The Cinnamon Club is a great option for vegetarians, but if you’d prefer something closer to home head to our guide to best vegetarian restaurants in King’s Cross.

Pricing: Starters £9-£24, mains £16-£34

Cinnamon Club website

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#TheView @Sky Loft

Best for the view

Sitting proudly at the top of one of London’s most distinctive landmarks, Millbank Tower, The View provides . . .well . . a really good view. British through and through, this is a great place to enjoy a 360degree view of London while enjoying a selection of the finest food our nation has to offer. If you simply want to drink in the view – while drinking, your palate will be amply sated in the attached Sky Bar and glam cocktail lounge.

Pricing £41 and over

Sky Loft website

Lupita

Best if you’re starving

Lupita’s menu is packed full of Mexican favourites presented with a twist. Generous portions and staff who can’t seem to do enough for you combine to make this jaunty restaurant a very happy place to re-fuel. Lupita is a great option if you’re staying at Megaro in one of our Family Rooms with kids, just like the tastiest family-friendly restaurants in King’s Cross your kids will love.

Pricing: Starters £3.95 – £7.95, mains from £5.95 – £16.00

Lupita website

Pubs

Gordon’s Wine Bar

Best for character

One of the most popular pubs in Westminster, Gordon’s has been quenching the collective thirst of Londoners for more than 120 years, and it’s really not hard to see the source of its enduring appeal. Candlelit and characterful, with a decent wine list and scrummy retro-influenced lunch menu, you will feel as though you have stepped into London’s sepia tinted past. In a good way.

Gordon’s Wine Bar website

St. Stephen’s Tavern

Best for beer lovers

Fantastically characterful, St. Stephen’s Tavern stands within a hop, a skip and a jump of Big Ben, just across from the majestic Houses of Parliament. Rub shoulders with politicians and craft ale lovers alike in this, one of the stand-out bars in Westminster. St. Stephen’s stocks a good range of Badger beers alongside a well-designed food menu with an emphasis on seasonal, fabulously fresh produce. Lush.

For more great London boozer options, head to our guide to 4 excellent pubs near King’s Cross worth their hops

St. Stephen’s Tavern website

The Speaker 

Best for Cosiness

This is a no nonsense proper English pub that is snugly positioned in the beating heart of Westminster. Settle down in here with a pint of finest real ale and you might find it rather hard to leave. Never mind.

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Coffee shops

The Flat Cap Coffee 

Best for coffee on the go

The Flat Cap coffee company has built up an ardent fan base of coffee lovers and rightly so. This is some of the best coffee in London, served alongside a range of freshly baked snacks. Caffeine craving? Sorted.

TomTom Coffee House 

Best for Artisan Coffee

Stop by the TomTom coffee house at any time of day and you will receive a warm welcome and, more importantly, a delicious cup of artisan coffee. Egg-based breakfasts are available alongside a menu of tempting snacks, and you can also swing by for a relaxing drink as night falls. Boxes: Ticked.

Looking for a caffeine fix on our doorstop? Try out these King’s Cross coffee shops for size.

KING’S CROSS TO CAMDEN: THINGS TO DO AND GETTING THERE [MAP]
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Camden has been the focal point for all things ‘alternative’ for more than half a century, and it’s still ploughing the same furrow now, albeit with an updated spin. Nowadays the vintage clothing stalls in the area’s famous markets include examples of clothing worn by the punks and New Romantics who swarmed here back in the Eighties, when the location first became cool.

The fashions may have changed but the vibe is still pretty much the same. A centre for music and alternative nightlife, Camden is packed with quirky shops set alongside cafés, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

And even more appealing, it’s super close to get to from our King’s Cross b&b

The California: Camden – things to do King's Cross to Camden things to do Map

Travelling from King’s Cross to Camden

It really couldn’t get much easier to get from us at The California here in King’s Cross to Camden Town, since the two areas are so close. But there are still quite a few different ways of getting there.

The Lazy Way

Head underground at King’s Cross and look out for the Northern Line. Step aboard one of the trains heading north but don’t make yourself too comfortable because you need to get off at the second stop. And don’t panic if the train is departing just as you arrive, as there’ll be another one along in just five minutes.

Prefer to stay above ground? Simply make your way to the bus stops outside King’s Cross Station and look out for the number 214, which also runs every five minutes, although the journey takes a little longer at around 12 minutes, depending on traffic of course.

Bus or train, the price of the journey is £2. Buses won’t accept cash fares, so purchase a ticket before you travel. Most visitors find it useful to buy one of the saver ticket options which can be ordered in advance – check out the details on the Transport for London website.

Read more: Everything you need to know about buses from King’s Cross

The even lazier way

Hail a cab and you can relax and stretch your legs out for the 12-minute ride. It’ll set you back around £9 but you can really connect with the city, particularly if you happen to get a chatty cab driver!

Book direct and save 15% at The California King's Cross b&b

The active way

Depending on the route you choose, and on the speed that you walk, it takes around 15 – 20 minutes to get from the heart of King’s Cross to the heart of Camden Town. Sacrifice speed for scenery and the journey will take longer but will allow you to see another side of this multi-faceted city.

Head north to Granary Square, the regenerated area famous for its street food, café culture and interactive fountains. Head for the canal and then turn left to follow its route all the way to Camden Lock. You’ll find hidden corners of green parks – and even a wildlife reserve – as you pass by, and you can experience a little of the magic of Regents Canal for yourself.

Read more: The best London cycle routes from King’s Cross

Things to do in Camden

Camden Lock is an iconic feature which is well worth a visit. Once a bustling centre for trade, the whole area is still steeped in commerce but these days it’s mostly in the form of markets which are dotted throughout this little part of London.

Some of the markets, such as Inverness Street and Camden Lock Village, are open every day, whilst others such as Camden Stables and the Electric Ballroom Fashion Market, trade only at the weekend. For the most part though, Camden Town is open for business seven days a week, so you’ll always find something to pique your interest. Set aside plenty of time for browsing through the market stalls as it’s astonishing how much there is to see – and buy, of course!

Read more: The best London markets near King’s Cross

The California guide to shopping in London

Luckily with so many great places to eat in the neighbourhood there’s no fear that you’ll shop till you actually drop. Take the weight off your feet at one of the bijou cafes, or eat on the hoof thanks to the many street food traders who gravitate towards the markets.

With its musical roots going back to the 1970s when it first started attracting alternative bands and musicians, Camden has a reputation for being a top destination for a great night out in London. Well-known and even infamous nightspots include DingwallsThe Roundhouse and Koko, where Madonna and Kylie have played small and intimate gigs in recent years.

Arty types have always tended to gravitate to the area. Dudley Moore, Nick Mason from Pink Floyd and the late Amy Winehouse all chose to make their homes here, and fans of Amy still visit The Hawley Arms pub where she wasn’t averse to stepping behind the counter and pulling pints for customers.

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When all the hustle and bustle simply gets too much and you need to kick back and relax, then head for one of the many beautiful green spaces nearby. Just a short walk along the canal will soon bring you to another, more peaceful, world altogether, where you can stop and catch your breath.

Regent’s Park and ZSL London Zoo are just a couple of minutes’ walk away, or you could wander up Primrose Hill and admire the views of the cityscape spread out before you. If even these oases of calm sound too hectic then the residents of Highgate Cemetery certainly won’t be making any noise, and this is a truly beautiful – admittedly Gothic – and peaceful way to while away a few hours. Well we did say this was an ‘alternative’ area!

Read more: The California live music guide

How to get from King’s Cross to Hyde Park and our favourite green spaces

THE CALIFORNIA GUIDE TO WHERE TO EAT IN COVENT GARDEN [MAP]
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Visitors to London will invariably find themselves drawn to the thriving hub of Covent Garden; a mecca for shopping, entertainment, culture and superb dining.

Whether you want a quick coffee and delicious Macaroon on the go; an American style burger and fries; or an incredibly lavish meal for a special occasion, Covent Garden has it all. Vegans, carnivores, veggies, chocoholics, caffeine lovers – everyone gets served with exactly what they want!

Here at The California, we are huge fans of dining in this area. It’s just a short walk from our King’s Cross bed and breakfast and is perfectly situated for theatres, bars, clubs and onward destinations that will lure you out for the night. We are often asked where to eat in Covent Garden, or for recommendations for restaurants near Covent Garden, and these are some of our favourite suggestions.

Prefer to explore the sights and attractions of Covent Garden? Our guide to Covent Garden things to do & how to get there has you covered.

Where to eat in Covent Garden – PDF download

Where to eat in Covent Garden map - The California London

 

Three of our favourite restaurants near Covent Garden

Polpo

This chic little Venetian bistro has industrial style decor and a menu to die for. The fish menu is wonderful and the tapas is a huge favourite with locals and visitors alike – although watch out for the generous portion sizes before you go too nuts with your order!

The restaurant is cosy and dimly lit, perfect for a romantic dinner a deux, or an intimate lunch for friends. It’s another trendy no-bookings venue so be warned that it can get very busy with the pre-theatre crowd; we’d recommend arriving later on to bag a table. Look out for meatballs, spinach pizza, authentic Italian fish dishes, tapas and more, with an enticing drinks menu to tempt you too.

Polpo website

Flesh & Buns

This cheekily named venue is brought to guests from the foodie geniuses behind the highly successful Bone Daddies Ramen and Shackfuyu restaurants. This particular offering is a Japanese Izakaya restaurant and bar.

If you’re wondering where to drink in Covent Garden that is relaxed, quirky and really fun, this is the place for you. The Japanese themed drinks menu is complemented with steamed buns, meats, fish, pickles, vegetables and superb sauces.

Enjoy funky cocktails and Japanese spirits and beers. The Frozen Yuzu Margarita is a particular favourite with the locals. Set to a backdrop of rock and roll music, this venue is particularly popular with the after work crowd and a great choice for a group meal with friends if you’re staying with The California Hotel as part of a group booking.

Read more: The King’s Cross food world map

Flesh & Buns website

Homeslice

Homeslice were part of the London street food revolution way back when and made a name for themselves selling incredibly tasty 20” pizzas by the slice or to share. Covent Garden is their original restaurant (of 3) and remains the best: as demonstrated by the never ending queues snaking along Neal’s Yard in front of their door.

The menu is small but bursting with a veritable feast of flavours and toppings, a mix of the classic and the fresh and the cutting edge. Prosecco on tap and wine served by the magnum (drink as much as you want and pay by the inch) accompanies the pizza, making it a great spot for groups of friends or couples.

If you want to secure a table, it’s best to arrive early and put your name down, upon which you can wait it out in an nearby pub. Or if the weather’s good grab a slice or a pizza to go and tuck in whilst people watching on Covent Garden Square.

Read more: Covent Garden Guide

Homeslice website

Clos Maggiore

This is a very special French restaurant that transforms with candles and sparkling lights in the evening, in a flower-filled glass dining conservatory. The food is of very high quality and the wine list is excellent.

This is extremely popular with couples, small adult groups and business diners, and the quality shows. The restaurant has won no less than three AA rosettes since 2008, and there are over 2,000 wine bottles in the cellar. Definitely book well ahead for a special occasion.

Clos Maggiore website

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Restaurants near Covent Garden with equally awesome wine or cocktail bars

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor has built a solid reputation over the years of serving the best steak in London across it’s 5 sites, but this Covent Garden outpost also has a separate bar selling fantastic cocktails, beers, wines and spirits. The venue is perfect if you are out for a celebration, set in a quiet street between Covent Garden station and Seven Dials.

Head to Hawksmoor Seven Dials for lobster rolls, burgers and of course the incredible steaks cooked to perfection in the restaurant. And if you’re looking for where to drink in Covent Garden the adjacent cocktail bar is well worth a trip even without any grub, with a range of classic and signature concoctions on offer. Thankfully The California is just a short meander home afterwards!

Hawksmoor website

Terroirs

If unusual, artisan and organic wine is your thing, then head to Terroirs. The venue offers rustic French cooking of the highest calibre, with an informal setting and a welcoming atmosphere.

The menu features platters and small plates, and wine is available by the glass or the bottle, with the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff ready to recommend a vintage grape or an unusual wine. This is a great choice for the grown-ups and very friendly and relaxed – perfect for people watching.

Terroirs website

Restaurants near Covent Garden great for breakfast & brunch

Kopapa

When you’re out shopping or simply getting to know the area around our King’s Cross hotel, we recommend popping into Kopapa. The menu is fusion based and it starts with superb fresh coffee and juices, complemented with hearty and energising breakfasts.

Everything is made with the freshest, prime ingredients and there are also lunch and dinner menus if you’re inclined to return. Breakfast is served from 8am in the week and on a Saturday and brunch begins from 9.30am on a Sunday. Kids are welcome here and the crowd is diverse and friendly.

Read more: Where to find the tastiest King’s Cross brunch

Kopapa website

Monmouth Coffee

Monmouth Coffee is very much worth a visit during a busy day sightseeing in Covent Garden. It’s small, independent and very bijou with a wonderful cosy atmosphere that will work perfectly for solo travellers and couples.

Look out for a superb range of artisan and freshly made coffees, complemented with plates of the freshest and most delectable cakes. One of the really engaging things about the Monmouth is that the staff are truly passionate and knowledgeable about the origin, nature and benefit of every coffee on their menu – and just as jazzed by the cakes!

Read more: Where to find the best King’s Cross coffee

Monmouth Coffee website

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Where to drink in Covent Garden

Café Pacifico

Whilst Café Pacifico is technically a Covent Garden restaurant, the demand for space at its lively tequila bar far outstrips that for the adjacent Mexican Cantina. Until you’ve had too many margaritas, that is.

The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, with a party likely to break out at anytime, even early week. Choose from an extensive list of high quality tequilas chased with a bottle of Aguila if you want to go native, or plump for one of their various margaritas and stay steady for home-time.

This is definitely a venue to swing by with friends or as part of a group, which the substantial range of cocktail pitchers, buckets of beer and sharing platters attest to.

Read more: The groups guide to King’s Cross

Cafe Pacifico website

London Cocktail Club

For a night that you don’t want to end in Covent Garden, a great bar to try is the famous London Cocktail Club. It’s designed as a speakeasy and features a lot of leather and a very quirky drinks menu with classic combinations jostling for space against funky fresh creations.

The crowd is trendy, noisy and begins to gather from office closing hours onwards. The atmosphere is fun and it’s also very popular for coming of age birthday parties with cocktail making classes to enjoy. Or just do like the locals and get down before 7pm for some great offers on 2-4-1 orders.

Read more: The California insider guide to…unusual bars in London

London Cocktail Club website