Our vacation last year to Portugal began with a stop in London for a couple of days to see friends. We stayed in the Knightsbridge area of London at the Rembrandt Hotel which was by London standards a pretty good deal in that the rooms are generously sized and a substantial breakfast is included. It is ideally located across from the Victoria and Albert Museum and about a 1/2 mile from Harrods department store.
It had been about 10 years since we visited London and both my husband and I were pleasantly surprised how the dining landscape has changed. It used to be that the only good food to be had in London was Fish & Chips and Indian food. But that has all changed with the influx of immigrants from all over the world. Two doors down from our hotel, was a fabulous Italian restaurant called Orsini Caffe where we had lunch while waiting for our room to come available. The owners are from Naples and they serve traditional Napolese dishes. My husband and I shared an Antipasto with delicious meats and Buffala Mozzarella and a basket of assorted freshly baked breads.
In the evening, we met our friends who live in London, and they took us to a fabulous Indian restaurant called Meghna in the neighborhood of St. John’s Woods. Although the service was not great, due to a staffing shortage. the food was delicious. The next day, we took the underground to the neighborhood of Islington where we had lunch at Ottolenghi, owned by one of the most lauded chefs of late Yokam Ottolenghi. The restaurant in Islington is his largest with small take away locations in other neighborhoods in London.
The lunch menu is simple with a choice of about eight salads and about six mains. All the food is made with seasonal and local ingredients and beautifully displayed in the front of the restaurant as you walk in the front door. We chose 3 different salads each which were all unique in tastes and delicious.
The second evening of our time in London, we met another friend for dinner, who was in town on business, at an Italian restaurant in Kensington called DaMarios. It is an old family owned restaurant and was a favorite of Princess Diana evidenced by photos and oil portraits of her covering their walls. Great Pizzas and Pasta dishes and a fun atmosphere with a retro disco downstairs. Our third day in London, we had just enough time to visit a few sights around town and prepare for our flight to Lisbon in the afternoon for the rest of our vacation.