As some of you may know, I spend the school year here in London and I have done so for a while now. Moving to a foreign city for part of the year has been incredible and continues to be a great experience. When nothing is familiar, you are constantly observing, asking questions and discovering. Many of my friends, or friends of friends, have asked me for “my London” so that when someone is travelling here, or lives here but wants some extra info, it is complied in one place. The first installment of this three-part newsletter will include restaurants, hotels and pubs. The hotels are on the pricey side, but my GOOP girls are doing some research into some more affordable places, which we will personally try before recommending.

    I have no stake in or agenda for any of these places. These are the spots I go to, love, and go back to.



    Blakes Hotel London
    33 Roland Gardens
    London SW7 3PF
    +44 (0)20 7370 6701

    For a while, Blakes was my home-away-from-home in London before I got a flat. It is a super-chic design hotel, but comfortable and sexy. It is perfect for a romantic trip.

    The Hempel Hotel
    31-35 Craven Hill Gardens
    London W2 3EA
    +44 (0)20 7298 9000

    I have been to the Hempel a few times and really responded to its clean, modern feeling. It is in a cool part of London, a bit off the beaten track and it faces a lovely garden. It’s contemporary and minimal, perfect if that is your vibe.

    The Berkeley
    Wilton Place
    London SW1X 7RL
    +44 (0)20 7235 6000

    The Berkeley is my favorite proper, grown-up hotel in London. It is done beautifully and has brilliant services. There is a pool on the roof that opens on sunny days. Right in the center of London (and my old street), this is perfect for the discerning business traveler.


    J Sheekey
    28-31 St. Martin’s Court
    London WC2N 4AL
    +44 (0)20 7240 2565

    When I did a play in London in 2002, I think I ate at Sheekey every night after the show. Incredibly fresh fish, old school British vibe.

    4 Princes Street
    London W1B 2LE
    +44 (0)20 7629 5255

    This is a gem that hasn’t been included in many guidebooks. The Japanese food is impeccable, very traditional and delicious. The spinach salad with spicy shrimp is so good that I usually order two. Also check out Chisou To Go right next door: their fabulous and less expensive lunch spot. Sushi, salads and noodles.

    5 Raphael Street
    London SW7 1DL
    +44 (0)20 7584 1010

    Zuma, in the past few years, has unquestionably become one of London’s best restaurants. The nouvelle Japanese dishes knock your socks off and the sushi chef, Endo, makes the best sushi I have ever had in my life — and believe me, I’ve had a lot. It has a clubby vibe and can get very busy and noisy, but I would sustain almost anything to eat this food.

    Locanda Locatelli
    8 Seymour Street
    London W1H 7JZ
    +44 (0)20 7935 9088

    Locanda guarantees a perfect grown up night out. The room is quiet but very comfortable. The food is light, imaginative and seasonal Italian. Giorgio Locatelli is a real innovator. It is here that I run into London’s most fabulous.

    La Petite Maison
    53-54 Brook’s Mews
    London W1K 4EG
    +44 (0)020 7495 4774

    I’m going to pull the trigger and declare this restaurant as my absolute favorite in London at the moment. It is based on the restaurant of the same name in Nice, so the food has a very southern French soul. Plates come small and to share, so you get a taste of many beautiful dishes. The starters include salads and fish carpaccios that are heaven sent. For the main course, the fish is always perfect, the macaroni with truffles is to die for, and the black leg roasted chicken is so good I started eating chicken again. But make sure you order it when you sit down and order drinks: it takes about an hour and twenty minutes, but it’s well worth the wait.

    Halkin Arcade
    Motcomb Street
    London SW1X 8JT
    +44 (0)020 7823 1166

    Amaya is a delish Indian spot in the heart of Belgravia on charming Motcomb Street. Indian food in London is famous anyway, but Amaya is my favorite. Most of the dishes are grilled so you get all of the layered Indian flavors, but in a lighter way. I love the tandoori prawns, the grilled fishes, the duck and grilled broccoli (amazing, who knew?).

    La Poule au Pot
    231 Ebury Street
    London SW1W 8UT
    +44 (0)20 7730 7763

    Idyllic little French restaurant in Chelsea. Romantic atmosphere and authentic French food that isn’t ridiculously priced.

    11 Jamestown Road
    London NW1 7BW
    +44 (0)20 7428 0800

    Despite this being a chain restaurant, I love getting take-away from this place when I’m on the run. Miso soup, fried shrimp, rice bowls and fresh juices made at the juice bar, it hits the spot.

    The River Café
    Rainville Road
    London W6
    +44 (0)20 7386 4200

    This place hardly needs an introduction. It is a landmark among restaurants everywhere. I am always inspired by the food that Ruthie and Rose cook, and their ability to make cucina rustica so simple and so perfect. It has been recently renovated and now has a chef’s table in a private area. Also, it’s a perfect spot on a sunny day for Sunday lunch as it’s right on the Thames (bring the kids!).

    Made in Italy
    249 King’s Road
    London SW3 5EL
    +44 (0)20 7352 1880

    This noisy, crowded pizza place in Chelsea makes perfect, fresh pizza from wood-burning ovens. I used to live very near and would go before or after the cinema, which is down the street.

    St. John Bread & Wine, Spitalfields
    94-96 Commercial Street
    London E1 6LZ
    +44 (0)20 7251 0848

    If you happen to be wandering through Spitalfields Market, make sure you stop into this innovative and lively restaurant. The menu constantly changes with seasonally available ingredients.

    15 Broadwick Street
    London W1F 0DL
    +44 (0)20 7494 8888

    Dim sum is one of my favorite foods but never before have I had it from a place that takes cuisine so seriously. Each dumpling is more delicious than the next, and the Peking spring rolls are not to be missed.


    The Wells Tavern
    30 Well Walk
    London NW3 1BX
    +44 (0)20 7794 3785

    Hampstead is as charming as it gets with its little streets and chocolate box houses. At the top of the hill sits this lovely gastropub. Great atmosphere and affordable, which in London is like finding the Holy Grail.

    The Grenadier
    18 Wilton Row
    London SW1X 7NR
    +44 (0)20 7235 3074

    My favorite pub in London. I used to live in the crescent that this pub sits behind. It is tucked away in a cobblestone mews and it has great beer and a fireplace.

    The Engineer
    65 Gloucester Avenue
    London NW1 8JH
    +44 (0)20 7722 0950

    Primrose Hill is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of London. The houses are painted in lovely Easter egg colors and the shops are very good. On one of the prettiest corners sits The Engineer, which serves great ales and good, modern British cuisine.

    The goop collection