Are you an American ex-pat desperately seeking your favourite food from home here in London? Perhaps you visited America recently and are looking for a dish you tried there. We've hunted out where you can eat some of the most popular and best-known regional American dishes here in London.
We're sure there are plenty of dishes that we've missed, so let us know in the comments. And if you know anywhere else to get these dishes in London, share that in the comments too. Note: we haven't tried these dishes at all of these restaurants, so we can't vouch for their quality or authenticity.
Where to get New York-style pizza in London
Hails from: New York
What is it? Usually a thin crust, but large pizza, often sold in large slices rather than as a whole pizza. Pick yourself up a slice at:
- Mulberry Street, a Notting Hill pizzeria that's owned and operated by New York's own The Brooklyn Pizza Company, so you know you're getting the real deal. Pizzas are 20" wide (or 10" if you go for the 'personal' option, but where's the fun in that?).
- NY Fold in Soho serves pizzas by the slice, or whole (16" or 20"), and as well as the usual meaty, cheesy goodness, offers a Nutella dessert pizza. We're not sure how legitimately NYC that is, but doesn't it sound good?
- It's a rare occasion that you walk past BoxPark in Shoreditch and don't see at least one person trying to contort their mouth around a slice of the giant 22" pies served at Voodoo Ray's. Other branches in Peckham and Dalston.
Where to get New York cheesecake in London
Hails from: Come on, you've got this.
What it is? Generally, New York cheesecake is thicker, richer and denser than other forms of cheesecake, meaning you'll only be able to eat a small slice at a time. Cream cheese usually features on the ingredients list to achieve this, and sour cream too. Get your fill at:
- Goodman Grill (Mayfair, City, Canary Wharf). We've heard excellent things about the Goodman cheesecake, which is served, unusually, with a strawberry and basil salad.
- Hit up the dessert menu at steak house Smith & Wollensky (Strand) for a traditionally creamy blueberry compote cheesecake, made with a sweet graham cracker crust.
- Otherwise, place an order with Hendon-based English Cheesecake Company for delivery. Don't be fooled by the name — their goods, are pure, American filth. For our money, it's the honeycomb smash or cookie dough cheesecake. Just don't eat it all at once.
Where to get Chicago-style pizza in London
Hails from: Chicago
To the lament of Team Londonist — and much of Reddit, apparently — there just doesn't seem to be anywhere in the capital that does proper, Chicago-style deep pizza pies. If you know any different, for the love of all that is cheesy, get in touch and put us out of our misery.
Editor's note: As someone who's tried deep dish pizza in Chicago, let's just say not all members of Team Londonist lament its absence in The Big Smoke.
Where to get Key Lime Pie in London
Hails from: Florida
What is it? A sweet, cheesecake-like pie with a crumb crust and lime flavoured topping, sometimes topped with meringue.
Mmm, tangy, sweet, Key Lime pie, so named because it was originally made from the limes grown in the Florida Keys. These days, your limes could come from anywhere. Here's where to sink your teeth into a slice (or a whole pie — we're not judging) in London:
- American-style bakery Hummingbird Bakery (Spitalfields, Soho, South Kensington, Angel, Richmond) makes Key Lime Pie to order. You'll see Hummingbird appearing several times in this article, because it's the answer to all your American-dessert problems.
- The Fat Bear (St Paul's) is a little-known restaurant which specialises in regional American dishes — and yep, a zesty, tart and creamy Key Lime pie is on the menu.
- Manhattan Grill in West India Quay serves up Quay Lime Pie, its own interpretation of Key Lime Pie (see what they did there?).
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, the Forrest Gump themed restaurant in Leicester Square, serves a Key Lime Pie which is made from scratch on site.
Where to get Hawaiian Poké in London
Hails from: Hawaii
What is is? A dish of diced, raw fish (usually tuna or octopus)
This Hawaiian raw fish salad has become something of a craze in London in recent years, with several specialist poke restaurants opening:
- Ahi Poké (Victoria/Fitzrovia/Cannon Street/Spitalfields/Fulham) serves up bowls of poké that are meals in themselves. Pick your rice, fish, vegetables, sauce and toppings to get it exactly how you like it.
- Kaia (Bank) is an Asian-Pacific restaurant within The Ned, with poké featuring on the menu among grilled meat, matcha buns, and Japanese afternoon tea.
Where to get Philly cheesesteaks in London
Hails from: Philadelphia
What is it? A long sandwich consisting of thin slices of beefsteak and American cheese or Whiz cheese. Onions optional. They're not too hard to come by in London, at least compared to some of the other dishes on this list:
- Passyunk Avenue (Fitzrovia): We were massive fans of the Liberty Cheesesteak van which used to park up in Spitalfields Market. It no longer exists, opening the permanent venue Passyunk Avenue instead. Cheesesteaks are still the speciality, with traditional and more novel takes on the Philadelphia sandwich. They'll even teach you the lingo to order properly.
- Red Dog Saloon (Hoxton/Clapham/Soho) offers a Philly Cheeseburger — a traditional Philly cheesesteak served on top of a cheeseburger, ripe for anyone wanting a heart attack for dessert.
- Streatham steak restaurant Cattle Grid (second branch in Windsor) serves a Philly cheese steak sandwich — handy if you're looking for something a little lighter than the steaks and ribs on the menu.
- Bloomsbury's Burger & Shake has an all-American menu, with burgers, hot dogs and shakes taking centre stage. The brisket in the Philly cheese steak sandwich is smoked for eight hours to make it extra tender, then served with onions, pickles, cheese and sauces, in a bun.
- It's no surprise that American diner chain Tinseltown is on the Philly cheesesteak action, but if a regular serving just isn't cutting it, you can upgrade to a spicy Philly cheesesteak.
Where to get Pecan pie in London
Hails from: New Orleans or New England, depending who you ask
What is it? A sweet pie of eggs, butter and sugar, topped with pecans and often served at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Tuck in at:
- Brasserie-style restaurant Jackson & Rye (City/Soho/Richmond) has pecan pie on its dessert menu, and if nuts are your thing, there's a peanut butter cup martini on the cocktail menu
- Hummingbird Bakery will whip you up a whole pecan pie (sharing optional) if you order in advance.
- Beverley Hills Bakery in Kensington offers it for delivery.
Where to get Eggs Benedict in London
Hails from: New York — it may have been invented at the Waldorf Astoria.
What is it? A breakfast muffin, sliced in two and topped with poached eggs, ham (sometimes bacon) and Hollandaise sauce. It's not exactly rare in London, but these are some of your finer options:
- The Wolseley regularly tops lists of the best Eggs Benedict in London, and while it's not cheap, it does come served up with a side of luxury.
- Fitzrovia restaurant Riding House Cafe does a Burgerdict, its own take on Eggs Benedict,with poached egg, a beef patty, Hollandaise sauce and a tomato served up in an English muffin.
- For eggs on high, head to Aqua Shard for Eggs Benedict, 31 floors above London.
Where to get Texas toast in London
Hails from: Texas
What is it? Texas toast (aka Texan Toast) is toast made from very thick (and often very square) slices of bread, buttered on both sides and used as a side dish to mop up Southern barbecue style dishes.
- Slim Chickens (Oxford Street) is an Southern American fast food restaurant that landed in London in 2018. Texas toast is sold by the slice as an accompaniment to the the burgers and wings. We recommend getting a couple of the many sauces on offer, and having a dipping sesh.
Where to get Buffalo wings and Buffalo chicken in London
Hails from: Buffalo
What is it? Surprisingly, not the wings from a buffalo (think about it). Buffalo wings are chicken wings topped with what has come to be known as Buffalo sauce, an alarmingly orange variation of hot sauce, usually made richer with butter. Buffalo sauce is now used on more than just wings — plenty of places do excellent Buffalo chicken burgers, a meal beloved by members of Team Londonist. There's no shortage of places to get your Buffalo fix in London, but here are some of our favourites:
- Meat Liquor is our go-to place for Buffalo chicken. The burger is among the best you'll find, proffering the perfect balance of lip-tingling sauce and crunchy chicken. We can only imagine the Buffalo wings are just as divine. To our shame, we've only just discovered that Buffalo fries (topped with crumbled blue cheese and Buffalo sauce) are on the menu too, so that's our next team lunch sorted.
- BrewDog also serves up an excellent Buffalo chicken burger — debate rages between two members of Team Londonist as to whether Brewdog or Meat Liquor is king. Try them both for yourself and let us know. Either way, it's a damn decent burger for somewhere where the food is pretty much an afterthought to the beer.
- The Fat Bear near St Paul's does gluten-free Buffalo wings as a starter, served with the traditional crudites and blue cheese dip. If the standard of the rest of the food here is anything to go by, you're in for a lip-tingling treat.
- Boondocks near Old Street roundabout (sister restaurant to Stax in Carnaby) specialises in Southern American home-style cooking. Buffalo may not be southern, but these wings are worth a punt.
- For more Buffalo goodness, take a look at our guide to London's best Buffalo wings.
Where to get Brooklyn Blackout Cake in London
Hails from: Brooklyn, New York
What is it? Very chocolatey chocolate cake, filled and coated with chocolate custard, topped with chocolate cake crumbs. You like chocolate, right?
- Hummingbird Bakery used to be our go-to for Brooklyn Blackout Cake, but it's not currently on the menu (although the recipe does feature in Hummingird Bakery cookbooks, if you fancy donning a pinny and whipping up your own). We cross our fingers it'll be available again soon.
- Outsider Tart offers Blackout Layer Cake to order, although it'll set you back £5o — alright for a special occasion, perhaps a bit expensive for settling a craving.
Where to get a Cronut in London
Hails from: New York City
What is it? A hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut, beloved by trendy foodies and Instagrammers.
There's only one place in London you can get a Cronut, and that's because it's a trademarked food item. French patisserie chef Dominique Ansel invented it at his New York bakery, before opening his Belgravia outpost and selling the Cronut from there too. Just one flavour is sold each month though, so keep an eye on the social media channels to find out what's on offer.
Where to get a Whoopie Pie in London
Hails from: Maine/Pennysylvania, depending who you're talking to.
What is it? Calling it a pie is a bit misleading. Think two small cakes, or soft biscuits, sandwiched together with cream or frosting in the middle. Traditionally, the cake or biscuits would be chocolate and the frosting light-coloured (like an Oreo), but these days, anything goes.
- Again, trusty Hummingbird Bakery delivers — in fact, we believe they were the ones who brought the Whoopie Pie to London. Flavours vary seasonally, but chocolate and red velvet options are usually available. Head to your nearest bakery for a quick pick-me-up, or order a batch for a party.
- Outsider Tart, the bakery on Chiswick High Road (with weekly markets at King's Cross and Chiswick Business Park), was set up by two homesick Americans who couldn't find their favourite treats in London. Oatmeal, carrot, chocolate and peanut butter are among the whoopie pie flavours available — although they're not all available in store every day.
- Kooky Bakes is another American bakery here in London. The goodies are stocked at cafes all over London, and do include whoopie pies, although there's no guarantee that any venue will have them in on a certain day. To be sure, order them for delivery.
Where to get Louisiana gumbo in London
Hails from: Louisiana — it's the official state cuisine
What is it? A stew, made from meat or seafood, plus celery, bell peppers and onions.
- It's served medium-spicy at The Fat Bear, making for a nice introductory dish for anyone new to gumbo. Choose from chicken, prawns or pork sausages, each served with rice,
- Blues Kitchen (Camden, Shoreditch, Brixton) serves a burnt ends and chorizo gumbo with a bit of a kick, containing Cajun okra, sweet potato, burnt end and chorizo, served with rice and corn bread.
Where to get Jambalaya in London
Hails from: Louisiana
What is it? Jamabalaya is a dish of meat (usually sausages) and vegetables mixed with rice — not unlike paella, but usually hotter. You may see it described at Cajun Jambalaya or Creole Jamabalaya. The main difference between the two is that Creole cooking uses tomatoes and Cajun cooking doesn't. It differs from Gumbo (above) in that filé powder and okra are common ingredients in Gumbo, but not in Jambalaya. In short, it's proper, home style comfort food.
- The Fat Bear serves a seafood creole jambalaya containing prawns, catfish and Andouille sausage.
- It may seem gimmicky, but the Forrest Gump themed restaurant in Leicester Square is one of the few London venues serving Jambalaya. Think chicken, shrimp and pork sausage, sautéed with peppers, onions, and rice in the house spicy sauce.
- Blues Kitchen often comes to the rescue for American ex-pats — in this case, with a chargrilled shrimp Jamabalaya served with rice, spring onions and picante sauce.
Where to eat Waldorf salad in London
Hails from: New York
What is it? Unless you're Basil Fawlty, a Waldorf salad contains apples, walnuts, celery and grapes, in a mayonnaise sauce. You'll find it at:
- The Waldorf Hilton's Homage Restaurant (Aldwych) — unsurprising given it was invented at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The Homage Menu at the London hotel claims to add a modern twist to classic dishes, but unfortunately the salad's only served as a side dish, so you're best ordering something else to fill you up.
Where to get a Cuban sandwich in London
Hails from: Bit of a misleading moniker — it comes from Florida
What is it? A version of a ham and cheese sandwich popular with Cuban workers and immigrants in Florida. Even within Florida, the ingredients vary.
- Jama Havana, a Cuban restaurant in Elephant & Castle, serves the best selection of Cuban sandwiches that we know of in London. For purists, it's got to be the Cubano, consisting of slow cooked mojo pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, sweet yellow mustard and mojo mayo. Vegetarian and vegan versions are available, using smoked bbq jackfruit as a meat substitute.
Where to get lobster rolls in London
Hails from: New England
What is it? A typical New England dish, consisting of a hot dog style bun stuffed with lobster meat and sauce. The sauce usually consists of butter or mayonnaise, lemon juice and black pepper.
- CLAW in Carnaby does comfort food style seafood very well, and that extends to lobster rolls. They're given a bit of a twist, served up with Szechuan mayo instead of the traditional sauce — if it's tradition you're after, stick to the crab roll, which contains Salcombe crab, lemon mayo and dill.
Where to get a Reuben sandwich in London
Hails from: New York City
What is it? Salt beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, tangy pickles and Russian dressing, all between crisp, toasted bread. Mouth watering yet? This sandwich — widely believed to originate from New York, although that has been contested — is best found at:
- Monty's Deli: You'll struggle to find a Londoner who argues with the fact that this is London's best reuben sandwich. If you do find one — they're wrong. Crunchy fillings, soft bread, mouthwatering salt beef. Beautiful.
- The Brass Rail is the oldest restaurant in Selfridges, and prides itself on its hot salt beef sandwiches, particularly the Brass Rail Reuben, vailable by the half or whole and consisting of hot salt beef toasted with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and gherkin.
- Alternatives available at Pickle & Rye in East Sheen and Lower East Side Deli, Shoreditch. Vegan version available at Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner
Of course, this is just the tip of American cuisine. If we've missed your favourite dish and you know where to get hold of it in London, share your knowledge in the comments — you may help out a fellow American food lover who's been searching for it. You might also want to try London's best American diners, and London's best American restaurants.