Part of the joy of travel is enjoying the local cuisine. But sometimes, a person gets homesick. Whether you haven't traveled enough or you've traveled too much, there's no shame at all in seeking out a little comfort food. Here are some places in London to do just that. While there are always chains like Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, or even McDonald's, you don't need our help to find a chain. We've tried to zero in on more authentic affairs if you're in need of the familiar.
- Rox Burger
Rox Burger won TripAdvisor's "Best Burger in London" last year, and it's not hard to see why. Their sauces are homemade, their buns are brioche, and their toppings include sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, fried eggs, and perhaps most adventurously, chorizo. If you can put bacon on a burger, there's probably not really a justifiable reason not to put chorizo, but it's definitely an attention-getter.
Goodman serves mostly meat. It's hard to get more American than that. From the UK to Nebraska to Italy, they source their meat from 30 different suppliers, age it on-site, and cook it in specialty charcoal ovens. There are three locations—Mayfair, "City," and Canary Wharf. Some of the sides are definitely more local than Yank—you don't see "prawns" on a menu that often stateside—but at the end of the day this is a nice steakhouse, which is enough to bring out the Ron Swanson in most Americans you meet.
- Zelman Meats
Zelman Meats is located in Soho. That is to say, the original Soho, in London. It's definitely on the pricier side of life, but you get what you pay for. The owner, Mikhail Zelman, knows a little something about American food. He's one of two co-owners of the Wenrus Restaurant Group, the company that brought Wendy's to Russia. Zelman brought the good word about American food to the UK, but he did so with panache. Goodman, Burger & Lobster, and Zelman Meats are all his, and all of them are widely acclaimed as among the best in the city.
- HotBox London
HotBox is an American BBQ restaurant specializing in rib platters. They'll sell you steak, or a burger, but their mutton shoulder barbacoa and their beef and pork ribs set them apart. In case you're wondering whether it means something that all of the "American" restaurants in London basically serve "giant piles of meat," the answer is yes. Yes, it does.
- The Blues Kitchen Camden
The Blues Kitchen's menu is a lot of what we've already seen for London's American fare—lots of barbecue, lots of burgers. But this bar/diner combo is unique in other ways. Music takes front and center here, from DJs to live concerts to free harmonica lessons. The restaurant also features something like 50 bourbons, which is probably useful to anyone hoping to take a harmonica lesson in front of a bar's worth of people.
- Burger & Lobster
Another Zelman masterpiece, Burger & Lobster at least gives you more choices than Zelman Meats. Specifically, you have three choices—burger, lobster, or lobster roll. Everything costs £20, which means that the burger is heavily subsidizing the lobster. While that may sound cutesy or limiting, it's gone over like gangbusters. The restaurant exploded into a small chain that has now debuted in New York City itself, as of early last year.
This sandwich and burger place includes Mahi Mahi, American pancakes, and even a few vegetarian options amidst the burgers. Originating out of the Hawaiian North Shore, Kua'Aina seems to have actually found as firm, if not a firmer, foothold here in London.
- Joe's Southern Table & Bar
Located in Covent Garden, Joe's Southern serves up soul food like beer can chicken, soft shell crab, short ribs, cornbread, and more. Their newest signature recipe is "sweet tea brined fried chicken with lemon salt and Tabasco honey," which almost doesn't even sound like a real menu item so much as a list of things Southerners eat. If you're looking for heavy comfort food, look no further.
(featured image via Facebook)