Subject: London Restaurants
Hi Linda, When I get some time this weekend, I will add a few more of my favorite ethnic restaurants in London to this list, but just offhand, I would highly recommend Mandalay (Burmese) at 444 Edgware Road; 0171 258 3696;; delicious, exotic and varied flavors at great prices, and a very friendly helpful owner/staff. Easy to get to from the Edgware Road Underground on the district line.

Arancia; 52 Southwark Park Road, SE16; 0171 394 1751; Mostly Italian, although more global in style, very, very reasonable for the quality of food, but small, popular, and very hard to get to by public transit, and the neighborhood may be a bit dicey, although I am not local enough to judge this. It is a short taxi ride from Waterloo, however. Call first.

Havelock tavern, on Masbro street, very close to Kensington Olympia Underground (which stops running at 8:45pm, I think) and the Shepard's Bush Stop (10 minute walk). This is a wonderful, energetic pub, that serves outstanding Mediterranean and New British style cuisine (yes, it is cuisine and not pub food!) at great prices. This is my favorite place in all of London, bar none. There are other gastro-pubs which I like, such as the Cow, near Notting Hill, but this place blows the others away in my opinion. It is a very young crowd, no tourists because of the off-beat location, and you wait for a table (fast turnover) and must go up to the bar to order your food and drink which is on a chalkboard which changes every day. Salads are fresh, the fish is wonderful, and they have a nice selection of beers and wines by the glass. This one is worth the walk.

Not far away is a tiny, small, neighborhood Persian place, that in my mind is as good or better than some of the better known ones. It is on Warwick Road, between Cromwell Road and Kensington High Street, which may be Hammersmith Road at that point. This is close to the Earl's Court Tube stop, or the Kensington Olympia stop, and not a bad walk from the V&A. I don't remember the name but I can tell you that it is across the street from the Homebase store, which is huge, like a Home Depot. It is next to a pub, which also serves meals, and it has a brick style oven in the very front where they bake their breads. It is very small, and open very late. There are other good Persian places (as well as grocers) within a few blocks of this, on Kensington High Street and Hammersmith Road, but we have been to this one about five times and really like it. The menu is small, and mostly lamb, although the one chicken dish that they have is amazing, and I have seen some nice fish there as specials.

I have had several good meals in Chinatown in London, but do not have a favorite spot. I'd love to hear from other people about where they prefer. I do know of a great noodle place in Greenwich, but I will have to look up the name of it before referring it. As far as Indian and Pakistani food, I have had some interesting meals in the east end, but they have all been good, inexpensive, but not amazing. I've had better, for half the price in Chicago. I'd love some expert advice here as well.

If you want to spend some money on a memorable meal, most of the fancy places such as Marco Pierre White's, Mirabelle, offer bargains with price-fixe lunches and brunches. It is a nice way to sample some elegant food without spending as much on one meal as you did on airfare. I like Mirabelle better than the Ivy, Criterion, and Gordon Ramsay, but I have been to each one only once, and firmly believe that the beauty of food atmosphere of this elevated status and price is best viewed in the eye of the beholder; In other words, don't trust me, I am not an expert!! I do like the overly touristy Belgo Restaurants, although I am in the minority here, as most foodies and locals think that the quality has gone way downhill as it has grown. Still, how can you go wrong when a meal/cuisine is based around Mussels, Fries, Beer, and Chocolate? I am badly in need of a trip to Belgium.

Last, but not least, even though it is not an ethnic spot, I must put a plug in for Baker & Spice, a wonderful, upscale bakery in Knightsbridge. The array of things available for a take out are inspiring, and they do have a few chairs in front if you want to stop and sit outside and have some coffee with your sweets. They do not have any inside seating, nor do they serve tea (I could be wrong here), but they do have cheeses, olives,and other gourmet items for take-away. Their bread baked with roasted sweet garlic inside is too die for. I love to carry it around with a piece of cheese and nibble on it all day. Plus, it is hard to lose a backpack that has the scent of roasted garlic leaking out!

This is just a start; I urge anyone who is interested, to check out Time-Outs guide to dining in London for 2000. The guide is nicely organized by type of cuisine and neighborhood, and they have a good portion devoted to bargain places (I think that they call it posh nosh for less dosh) Lastly, it comes with little maps that make it easier to locate these places. Happy eating. Jonathan Chimene