Best for a taste of France: Tratra at Boundary
The lowdown: Having recently gone through a restaurant reshuffle at the Boundary, Tratra brings a blend of traditional French cooking with a touch of modernity and a dash of panache to the table. Expect an emphasis on meat, seafood and charcuterie, but keep an eye out for the terrines and cheese plates – they’re the firm favourites on the menu and will soon be yours too.
In the know… It’d be rude not to head upstairs to the Boundary rooftop bar for a pre- or after-dinner cocktail and to take in the beautiful views of east London.
Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High Street
Think old-fashioned family pictures hanging on the wall, a relaxed atmosphere and gigantic portions of pizzas and pastas just like nonna’s.
Best for a taste of Italy: Ciao Bella
The lowdown: Forget about those new, trendy Italian pasta places and strip it back to basics with this no-frills family-friendly trattoria. Think old-fashioned family pictures hanging on the wall, a relaxed atmosphere and gigantic portions of pizzas and pastas just like nonna’s.
In the know… Every night you’ll be able to enjoy the sweet sounds of a live piano player doing his thing while you swirl and slurp your way through your main course.
Nearest Tube: Russell Square
The best of the wurst
The original Bratwurst recipe, dating back to 1432, states workers were to be fined a full day’s wages if caught using anything but the purest, most un-spoiled meat.£69 returnFind flights to London
Dim sum dining
Book in advance for the restaurant’s famed 10-course ‘Taste of China’ menu or the ‘Peking Duck Feast’, both starring some of China’s most iconic dishes.Explore London city breaks
Best for a taste of Germany: Herman ze German
The lowdown: Before you snigger and roll your eyes at the name of this Bavarian sausage chain, you’re actually in for a German wurst treat. Order at the counter and choose from a variety of high-quality wurst either in roll or currywurst form (there’s even a veggie wurst made from seitan on offer), and don’t forget to load it up with extra toppings such as sauerkraut and crispy onion shards. There are various branches, but head to Old Compton Street, for that Soho buzz.
In the know… Order the combo. Get yourself a drink, a wurst the size of your head and a side of fries.
Nearest Tubes: Leicester Square
Best for a taste of Spain: Barrafina
The lowdown: Regardless of the no-reservations policy, you’ll be rewarded with the best seats in the house where you can gawp at the chefs from your counter-table stool at this authentic tapas joint. Don’t hold back, order a range of dishes to try everything out, but be warned you’ll be dreaming of those stuffed courgette flowers and bomba ibérica for weeks to come.
In the know… Head to the Dean Street branch (with its Michelin star status) at lunchtime or the Drury Lane branch where you’re more likely to get a seat.
Nearest Tubes: Tottenham Court Road for Dean Street or Covent Garden for Drury Lane
Best for a taste of China: A Wong
The lowdown: Fresh off their recent Michelin-star win, A Wong serves up some of the most inventive Chinese food you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Expect playful, creative, and big flavours from their dishes such as the rabbit dumplings shaped like carrots, and duck-egg custard buns that are made to look like mandarins. This is an East Asian feast like no other.
In the know… Beat the queues and get there early for the lunchtime sitting to get the best pick of dim sum before they sell out.
Nearest Tube: Victoria
Having grown up on a pig farm in the Ardèche region of France, Stéphane Reynaud has brought his famous roast pork to east London’s Tratra, available in hearty stews and terrines.Find London hotels for foodies
Best for a taste of Mexico: Breddos Tacos
The lowdown: Mexican food is the ‘taco the town’ at the moment and with good reason. The guys behind Breddos make morsels of meat, fish and vegetables sitting on top of either soft little tortillas or perfectly crisp tostada bases a thing of beauty. This is not your average tex-mex or regular carnitas night out.
In the know… The new Soho branch is twice the size of the original, so you’ll have a better chance at nabbing a table. Don’t forget to say ‘hola’ to the mezcals and frozen margaritas for the full Mexican experience.
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Best for a taste of India: Gunpowder
The lowdown: Get intimate with the quality small plates that are influenced by family recipes at this cosy home-style Indian restaurant. Dishes are designed to share, but be physically and mentally prepared for some serious spice that packs a punch. Tuck into winning plates like aloo chaat, Chettinad duck, lamb chops, grilled octopus and soft-shell crab.
In the know… It’s a small and quirky restaurant with only 30-covers, but feel free to leave your number, go for a nearby tipple, and they’ll call you when your table is ready. It’s worth the wait.
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street