About Chris O
Lives in London
Since Aug 2007
Hi. I’m Chris, an American freelance creative living in London. I keep busy working as a blogger, photojournalist, community manager, consultant, curator and more. The opportunities and challenges keep getting bigger, better and more meaningful for me every year! I’m having so much fun. Favorite destinations are many and my list of must-see places to visit seems to get longer the more I travel! I’m a huge fan of Lisbon, Istanbul and Queenstown – to name but a few preferred repeat locations. I also love heading back to the States every chance I find and cannot get enough of the Deep South – Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas – and Hawaii holds a particularly special place in my heart as well. And even though I’ve been based in London for years, it and the whole of Britain still yield myriad wonders for me.
Flea & Street Markets
Neighbourhoods, Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Flea & Street Markets
Flea & Street Markets
With origins which date back to 1014 AD or even earlier, Borough Market is undoubtedly London's most famous food market. It's also the most popular among locals and visitors alike, which can make for a tediously touch-and-go endeavor when passing through, as the crowds here never seem to diminish. Nevertheless, prowling around for curbside dining usually proves a thrill for even the most ardent of food snobs.
Brick Lane is probably most famous for its row of curry houses. Although any wise East Londoner can tell you the better South Asian eateries are just off the main street or nearby. Half way up at the Truman Brewery there are street food fixings for hipsters, an expertly pulled espresso and an eclectic mix of restaurants – from South African braai to Swedish meatballs with a whole lot in between. For all night bagel bakeries head to the northern end of Brick Lane where you'll find some of the most affordable nosh in town (one always seems to have a queue. The other, hardly ever. You can decide which is worth your patronage).
Come Saturday, Broadway Market and its spillover sister markets teem with vendors hawking everything from traditional East End fare to whatever the latest and greatest edible trends from across the globe are at any any given moment. Take away the weekend market stalls and this quaintest of East London street running from Regent's Canal to London Fields still beckons with the city's best coffee (bold statement I know but you try to Climpson & Sons and then disagree with me!), plus a brilliant assortment of pubs and eateries and indie artisans such as E5 Bakehouse and London Fields Brewery making all sorts of amazing treats within deliciously close proximity.
Situated in a leafy and somewhat suburban area of West London, Chiswick is a family friendly community with a village-y feel. It's also a fantastic destination for some of London's best restaurants with one of the most dynamic dining scenes in the entire city. From Michelin stars to whoopie pies and just about everything delectable in between, Chiswick is home to a variety of restaurants and food shops for just about any occasion.
Smithfield Market, the city's ancient meat market located at the south end of this village-y Central London neighbourhood, is still in operation today with a plethora of globally renowned restaurants (such as St John), local gem eateries and a few of London's oldest pubs filling the warren of streets nearby. Boutique hotels with brand name chefs and killer cocktail bars have all but become the Clerkenwell norm and a healthy number of foodie-centric outdoor markets (Leather Lane, Exmouth Market, and Whitecross Street to name but three) hosts throngs of street food enthusiasts as well.
If only for the sake of gawking, keep the massive food halls of the famous Harrods department store in mind for a wander. In addition to its gaga selection of groceries, Harrods hosts more than 30 restaurants and eateries under its roof. From a full on afternoon tea to wood fired pizza, if you have a hankering for it, odds are they cook it here. Just a stone's throw away is rival retail giant Harvey Nichols with its fifth floor wonderland of luxury brand food shop, snazzy cocktail bar, and restaurant and terrace with views over Hyde Park. Delve beyond the department stores and you'll find some of this city's cosiest pubs in Knightsbridge as well as all sorts of indie (if upmarket) artisan food shops.
Local foodies know Maltby Street and her neighbour Rope Walk Market are the places to be for a delectable blend of tradition and trend. Once merely a place where food was stored and/or produced, the area is now among the yummiest with many warehouses and production kitchens opening their doors to the public and newbie ventures taking over disused railway arches to feed the demand of hungry folk now filing in from all over. Just short walk from Tower Bridge or London Bridge with Borough Market and Bermondsey Street within reach as well, it's rightfully earned the reputation as a foodie mecca.
Boasting more than its fair share of celebrated restaurants (mostly along Blandford Street and Marylebone Lane) as well as some of London's best burger joints (Tommi's Meat Liquor, Patty and Bun), Marylebone is home to a popular weekly farmers market, an array of excellent speciality shops (such as La Fromagerie and The Ginger Pig butchery), and the Middle Eastern delights of Edgware Road. The neighbourhood offers easy access to the famous food halls of Selfridges and John Lewis and plenty more for flâneurs keen to continue foraging through the nearby quarters of Soho and Mayfair.
Even when the skies are overcast with cloud, the stars invariably shine bright here. Michelin stars, that is. London's most upscale and exclusive area is the safest bet for the ultimate fine dining experience and the opportunity to taste what's happening in the kitchens of some of the world's most celebrated chefs. Understandably, expectations are as high as the prices and standards are impeccable. Indeed, more than a few heroic chefs from abroad have strode in to open a London outpost here only to leave with their aprons between their legs in defeat. Beyond its many noteworthy restaurants (Nobu, Alain Ducasse, and Pollen Street Social to name but a few), Mayfair is a wonderful destination for historic pubs and Royal Warrant retailers, luxury hotels, and the city's most elegant bars.
No matter what the street food trend or en vogue haute cuisine may be, if Londoners are hip to it then it's bound to be found in Soho. Long known as the epicentre of London nightlife, over the years Soho has transformed into the most promising area to eat as well. Here you'll find the densest concentration of excellent cafes, speciality shops, casual eateries, and upscale restaurants in all of London. During the week, Berwick Street Market offers passers by excellent options for eating on-the-go. And, of course, Chinatown is just steps away on the other side of Shaftesbury Avenue.