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 down 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 big slices rather than whole. 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?).
- 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" pizzas served at Voodoo Ray's. Other branches in Peckham and Dalston.
- Londonist writer Ruth Hargreaves also recommends Paradise Slice, a quirky little pitstop near Spitalfields Market. Inside you'll find 20" pizzas available whole or by the slice, plus a pleasantly laid back atmosphere – all bar stools, checkerboard flooring and fairy lights.
Where to get New York cheesecake in London
Hails from: Come on, you've got this.
What is it?: 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 by 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
What is it?: Baked in a high-sided pan, Chicago-style pizzas are also known as deep-dish pizzas for pretty obvious reasons. More like a pizza-pie, or maybe even a pizza-pizza quiche, these bad boys have all the fillings you'd expect from a regular pizza but baked into the dish in copious amounts rather than sat on top. Not for the faint-hearted. Previously it was nigh-on impossible to track down proper Chicago-style pizza pies in London, but a new name has emerged on the scene:
- Enter Japes, a Soho eatery with a firm focus on deep dish pizzas (alongside a handful of salad and pasta options). The Piccante is "a double-meat, double-cheese knockout" says Londonist's Lydia Manch in her review.
Where to get Key Lime Pie in London
Hails from: Florida
What is it?: Tangy, sweet, rich — Key Lime Pie is a baked dessert filled with lime, egg and condensed milk, then traditionally topped with soft meringue. So-named because it was originally made from the limes grown in the Florida Keys, 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, Islington, Soho, South Kensington, Notting Hill, 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 isn't the most refined restaurant on this list but it is mighty family-friendly, plus 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 it?: This Hawaiian raw fish salad has become something of a craze in London in recent years, with several specialist poke restaurants opening:
- Ahi Poké has eateries all over London and 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 is an Asian-Pacific restaurant within The Ned, with poké bowls featuring on the menu among grilled meat, matcha buns, and Japanese afternoon tea.
- If you like your poke bowls as pretty as a picture, try Black Roe in Mayfair. A riot of colours and topped with edible flowers, it's Instagram-perfect says Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves. Good fish-veg ratio too, especially for a starter.
- Formerly a street food roamer, Polu Poke now meets all your lunch needs in the City and Fitzrovia. Unusual toppings and 'pokeritos' (sushi salads wrapped in rolls) make it firmly non-traditional.
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:
- We were massive fans of the Liberty Cheesesteak van which used to park up in Spitalfields Market. It no longer exists, opening permanent venues Passyunk Avenue in Fitzrovia and Stratford 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 and Soho) offers a Philly Cheeseburger — a traditional Philly cheesesteak served on top of a cheeseburger, ripe for anyone wanting a heart attack for dessert.
- 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.
- There are Meatliquor offshoots all over London but wherever you go, the Philly cheese steak sandwich is a dirty favourite.
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 and Richmond) has pecan pie on its dessert menu, served with bourbon and maple syrup — heck yes.
- Hummingbird Bakery will whip you up a whole pecan pie (sharing optional) if you order in advance.
- Beverley Hills Bakery in Kensington offers it (and pumpkin pie) 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, which combines the classic with yet another American favourite — the beef patty.
- 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 is made from very thick (and often very square) slices of bread, buttered on both sides and often, but not always, sprinkled with garlic. Typically used as a side dish to mop up Southern barbecue style dishes.
- Slim Chickens is an Southern American fast food restaurant that landed in London in 2018 and now has two restaurants in Soho and James Street. 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. Read our review.
Where to get Buffalo wings and Buffalo chicken in London
Hails from: Buffalo, New York
What is it?: Surprisingly, not the wings from a buffalo. Buffalo wings are chicken wings topped with what has come to be known as Buffalo sauce, an alarmingly orange variation of hot sauce 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:
- MEATliquor 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 Meatliquor 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. Big news: they also do all-you-can-eat wings on a Wednesday.
- 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.
- Stax in Carnaby specialises in Southern American home-style cooking. Buffalo may not be southern, but these wings are worth a punt.
- Flock to The Orange Buffalo in Brick Lane, Hoxton Square or Tooting for a taste of what they do best: buffalo wings. Fancy living dangerously? Opt for their Snake in a Basket, where one of the eight wings you receive will br turbo-charged with a naga chilli kick.
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?
- Outsider Tart, a Chiswick bakery run by two bonafide New Yorkers, offers Blackout Layer Cake to order although it'll set you back at least £50. Alright for a special occasion, perhaps a bit expensive for settling a craving.
- 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.
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. We're expecting a second branch to open in Covent Garden some time this year.
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.
- 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 and sweet potato. 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.
- Serving up Cuban and Latin American cuisine, Cubana is one of the only places in London to reliably find a Cuban sandwich says Londonist writer, Ruth Hargreaves. Even then it's only on the Cantina lunch menu. Head to Waterloo to sink your teeth into its mix of ham, cheese, slow-roasted pork and mustard, all crammed together on freshly baked Cuban bread and served with a side of plantain crisps.
- Keep your eyes peeled for where Cuban street food favourite Jama Havana will pop up next. It's worth it for a taste of their Cubano sandwich, laden with ham, cheese, pork and dill pickles and best enjoyed with Yucca chips.
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 Seven Dials Market 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.
- What Burger and Lobster lack in variety, they make up for in quality. It's pretty much burgers and lobster on the menu (no surprises there), but what they do, they do very well. Chilled lobster, sliced through with sharp lemon, nestles inside a toasted, buttery brioche bun. Heaven, says Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves.
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, available 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 a vegan version at Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner in Camden.
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.