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Italian Restaurant Scam at 43 Whitehall, London
It has been a long time, but I'll try to tell you what this restaurant is like. This restaurant at 43 Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square, next to the McDonald's, called S.P.Q.R., is a tourist trap scam. They charge a price that is very high, but not high enough to make it very obvious that it's a scam. The tourists will just think, "oh London must be a very expensive place". I don't think they have the prices for anything listed on the menu. It has a nice picture menu outside to try to entice you to enter.
The prices are very high. £4 for a coffee. £7 for supermarket cake. £20 for a very average pasta. They will say that they don't serve water from the tap and make you buy a bottle. They add a service charge to the bill. They don't take cash. If you don't have cash, you'll have to go to an ATM. If you have Euros, they will exchange it for a really bad exchange rate.
They have changed their name in order to avoid appearing in Google searches and restaurant reviews. Search for S.P.Q.R. and you will find it in tripadvisor along with bad reviews. It used to go by the name Cucina Creativa, which also has bad reviews. It also used to go by the names Borgia and Aotintica. It's only a matter of time before they change their name from S.P.Q.R. to something else also.
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Rock and sole plaice
We went to this restaurant "the Oldest fish and chips in London"
The interior is devoid of charm, and not really comfortable.
The food is ok but prices are too expensives.
about £ 35 dish and beer for 2 persons
Food in the tourist areas
Avoid restaurants in the very touristy areas eg Piccadilly, leicester square. If you are looking for a meal try a couple of blocks away from the area. You can find much more authentic cuisine usually at a much better price
Unique Suggestions: Research... dont pick the first restaurant you see. Have a look at a few menus. They are all in competion with each other.
- Food and Dining
The Rainforest cafe
Overpriced and average food seems to be the theme of reviews on this restaurant. We took our two children a couple of years ago and they really enjoyed the atmosphere although its true your wallet will take a huge hit!!
20 Shaftesbury Ave London W1D 7EU
High food prices
Perhaps Londoners are used to paying high prices but for anyone from provisional England or some overseas countries some of the prices charged for food and drink are extortionate.
My tip is to go to the chains - Burger King, McDonalds, Cafe Nero, Pizza Express etc and pay the same prices you would be ( if you are English) used to paying at home.
Have a look at the photo - would you honestly pay £7.50 for take away fish and chips anywhere else in England!
10% additional charge on your bill is optional
Beware when you are paying your the bill in some smaller restaurants in London. Me and my sister once decided to eat at one of the restaurants in Camden Town, and by the time we asked for a bill, they had a cheek to add 10% on our final bill without our permission. That is really not on and you are not obliged to pay the additional charge, since tipping is optional for parties less than 6 people. I would have understood this, if I had been with 6 people (since many restaurants print that on their menus as well), but there was just two of us. You should refuse to pay for the additional charge, if you're not happy.
Unique Suggestions: Go to a place where you know, you do not have to pay additional charges or tips (if you are on a budget holiday)
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It's a restaurant owned by Hollywood stars eg: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Rambo, er sorry, I meant Sylvester Stallone. It's an expensive place, and it's not like you're ever going to see the stars serving up lunch is it? Mind you, it would be great seeing them in action as the actual bouncers wouldn't it, especially now they are wrinkly old men.
See if Arnie, Bruce and Rambo have the balls to throw you out.
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Avoid American Style Coffee Shops.
The more you use these dumps the more of them will open.
If you like Starbucks (and only your deity knows why!) or Coffee Republic, Cafe Costa, Caffe nero... then please do it at home.
We don't want all these rubbish and expensive outlets coming and ruining our streets.
This is not the set of Friends or Ellen. This is a working city with small shops going to the wall because you can drink "cawfee" like back home and give these parasites their profits.
Fun Alternatives: Look for a small cafe that is not part of a chain.
These guys have a tradition of making coffee..... and that will be gone when you allow Starbucks to move in next door.... and London is full of them!
Be aware of high restaurant bills
During our visit in December 2001, we had a bad experience with having dinner in a good Indian restaurant in Chelsea. I'm sure that the restaurant took advantage of the fact that we were tourists and were not aware of the local customs. I want to tell you our story, so you will not experience the same thing.
We were a party of 8 and wanted to try the indian food. As we did not know this kind of food and had no idea what to take, the waiter suggested us to take a Indian banquet meal. This was really a good idea. We told him, however, not to bring us the most spicy platters. The food was very good and we were pleased until we received the bill; more than £ 400 for 8 people! We discussed the bill with the boss but it had no sense.
What we did wrong:
this Indian banquet meal was not on the menu, so there was no fixed price. We are used in Belgium that if you ask for a banquet meal, you pay a reasonable price because you get smaller portions of the usually main courses, but it seems that what they did in this restaurant, they charged us the full price for everything they brought and this were more than 8 main courses. They brought f.e. 3 plates with bread. Everyone took some bread from 1 plate or another, but none of the plates was empty. They charged 3 times bread. If we had know it (but of course we are stupid tourists!) we had emptied one plate before starting another and give back the full platters saying we did not use them. We did get spicy platters, of course not knowing this, we tried all platters. What we did wrong was not complaining about the spicy one's and giving them back. Of course they charged us the full price for those spicy platters we didn't want in the first place.
So if you want a mixture of Indian food and it is not on the menu be sure you ask in advance what they will charge you and if there is something you don't like or didn't ask for, surely complain about it and give it back before getting the bill!!!
- Food and Dining
Restaurants in Soho
If you like to go in Soho in an expensive, dirty and cheating restaurant prefer:
SCOTTISH STEAK HOUSE
You will reconize it by red seats and shop-windows which shows the cheated tourists eating bad food.
Don't even think about eating here !
Aberdeen Angus steak houses - they only seem to be frequented by tourists who are drawn in by the bright signs.There are a surprising number of them in London (Aberdeen Angus steakhouses that is, not tourists).
Perhaps because it is a chain they presume there is some sort of quality control associated with being part of a chain.
I ate in one years ago and I believe they are still terrible - cold grisly meat and waitresses to match.
The picture is of a prime Aberdeen Angus - I have no idea what animal actually arrives on your plate.
P.S for a laugh look up the reviews of these places in www.londonrestaurantreviews.co.uk
Unique Suggestions: Think of it as a retro 70's experience : a kind of ironic theme restaurant.
Fun Alternatives: Somewhere more nutricious - McDonalds ?
Mr Wu (or any other name) "all you can eat" places
There are a number of places (sorry I can't call them restaurants) in London that advertise a "£10 all you can eat" meal or something similar. Most of them offer oriental food. The idea is to sit you at some table, give you a plate and let you fill it up as many times as you want in a buffet style. So, yes you can eat as much as you want but you will quickly find that the quality of the food is such that you really don't want to keep eating it. All in all, it is not worth the £10 you've paid for.
Unique Suggestions: If you really end up in one of those places, first go to the buffet and take a little bit of everything so that you can taste everything before going back for more of the dish you like best or dislike least.
Fun Alternatives: Go to Wong Kei where the food is cheap and of good quality. Alternatively, go to the nearest pub. Or McDonald's.
Where NOT to eat
Unless you have specific, first hand knowledge that a restaurant around Leicester Square, China Town or Oxford Street is good value or has good food, I would recommend you do not bother! I can't stress this highly enough. The whole area is a conveyor belt of restaurants that couldn't care one way or another if they've overcharged you or served bad food. After all, you'll be gone soon and another tourist will take your place so they can dish out any old muck at exhorbitant prices. That isn't to say there are good restaurants but if you walk into somewhere off the street you're more likely to be disappointed than not.
Unique Suggestions: With that said, there are some good places in China Town. Probably the best bet is to look a little off the beaten path or at off peak times and if the place is still busy then its probably worth investigating further.
Fish and chips
The combination of fried, battered fish and deep fried potatoes is thought to have been introduced to London by the Jewish community, and for many years some of the best sit-down fish and chips came from Bloom's kosher restaurant in Whitechapel (sadly now closed). Of course, everybody expects to find fish 'n' chips in London and the rip-off merchants know this.
If you want good F'n'C, avoid anywhere with tired looking fish waiting in a warming cabinet (the best fish is fried to order). And give a very wide berth to any establishment displaying a Union Jack.
Fish and chips was always resistant to chains, but a national chain seems to be appearing called "Mr Cod". Chains never bring benefits and individuality, only standardisation.
Fun Alternatives: A selection of excellent chippies appears in the Restaurants section on this page.
As haddock is less in demand than cod (it's more a northern thing and as a northern lass myself I think it's a better, tastier fish) it's more likely to be cooked to order. You'll have to wait a while but it's worth it.
The Hard Rock Cafe
This is normally the first port of call for the numerous parties of kids and teenagers on their school trip to London. Mind you, the merchandise seems more important to them than the food.
I didn't go until I had an American friend visit who wanted to go. The food isn't actually too bad if you like that sort of thing.
Unique Suggestions: Ignore the kids.
Fun Alternatives: Just around the corner is Shepherd Market which has pubs and restaurants without hordes of pubescent kids milling around.
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