Itsu is a pan asian / Japanese inspired chain restaurant all over London and some other big cities in the UK. It's great, varied and cheap, and when you need to find some easy gluten free alternatives then Itsu can be a good place to turn to as chances are you'll find one on most of the big high streets. The chain was set up by the people who first set up Pret a Manger and there motto is "eat beautiful". They try and make food to keep you skinny, "less fat and more bounce". There are also two actual restaurants in Notting Hill and Chelsea where chefs are employed to keep up this ethos and supply you with a proper meal too. As well as gluten free you can find low carb, mayonaise free and lots of other options. Enjoy and be beautiful.
Recommended for Take Out because: Itsus are all over London and offer Japanese inspired healthy take outs proving they don't have to be greasy.
Emma's expert tip: Itsu is a healthy choice which also offers gluten free options. Dine in the restaurants in Notting Hill and Chelsea.
Come rain or shine, the Fleet River cafe always has a busy queue of people waiting as it opens up its lunch menu at 12 noon. In summer, the pretty enamled tables with jugs of fresh field flowers glint enticingly. In winter, the benches upstairs and down bustle with hungry office workers, students and tourists, all stopping in for meals of salads, quiches, frittatas, sandwiches, and of course cake. Mugs of steaming coffee and tea are also served up. The coffee sourced from London's Monmouth Coffee house. The menu changes daily and they often have specials of the week. A recent 'American cake week' allowed many in the Holborn area to indulge their love of peanut butter, oreos, marshmallow and many other delights on the west side of the pond. Tube: Holborn
Recommended for Take Out because: Fleet River is perfectly proportioned for crunchy take out salads, warm quiches, rolls, sandwiches and cakes.
Emma's expert tip: Get their for 12 to get a place high up the queue and that way you have the choice of the best cuts of quiche, salads and cake. Or pop in for coffee and cake later in the day when the lunchtime crowd has moved on.
Leon is not strictly a restaurant, it's a chain of cafes and take out, but you can sit in and eat, and it does have some great gluten free and lots of other "free" options too on its healthy menu. You can find them on most high streets in central London now, dotted around Covent Garden, Kensington, Oxford Street and in the city. They do a roaring trade at lunchtime and breakfast and people love their warming healthy food. They pick and mix from around the world and have great concepts like the "Leon Lunchbox" which will range from Thai green curries to Gobi curries from India. Soups, wraps, salads and sandwiches are always available and they do a great beetroot and chocolate and orange and chocolate brownie. They also have a great range of cookbooks to buy.
Recommended for Take Out because: Leon offers the perfect menu for take out, all of it healthy and tasty and extremely portable.
Emma's expert tip: Leon believes that food should taste good and do you good, great as a cheap gluten free or healthy option around town.
Bodean's BBQ has now been running for 10 years in the British capital. Created by Kansan native Andre Blais and modelled along the best tradition of American barbecue joints, the restaurant serves up a great plate of Americana. Bodean's has won best ribs and best sandwich awards this side of the Atlantic; and if you enjoy the food, you can get yourself a branded cap, T-Shirt or a bottle of secret sauce to take home and recreate the experience at home. Ribs, slowly smoked and covered in sticky sauce are a specialty. Pulled pork, and chicken also feature heavily along with home made coleslaw, burgers, briskets, burnt ends and pastrami on rye.
Recommended for Take Out because: Bodeans makes vacuum packed marinaded meat to create your own barbecue at home. All you need is charcoal.
Emma's expert tip: For those of you who don't want to go to the restaurant, there's an online order form for take away too, so you can eat barbecue in the comfort of your own home.
It's been going since 2006, and is by all accounts a very happy, sunny and relaxed place to work. But as 'Scandi-mania' has been hitting the UK even harder in the last few years, this place has really taken off. Favoured by Scandi ex-pats and scandi food lovers all over the UK who can order their herring whilst sitting in their pyjamas 'if that's the way they roll' and also by all the people who work around Great Titchfield Street who pop their in their lunch hours for cheap delicious food and Scandi delights. A delicious combination of fresh salads, great sandwich combinations on rye, and scrummy cakes, and strong fresh coffee. The perfect place for lunch in the West End.TUBE: Oxford Circus
Recommended for Take Out because: Scandinavian kitchen makes perfect sandwiches, cakes, coffee and salads for lunch take out.
Emma's expert tip: There's always something new to try, and the chalkboard outside are a delight of Scandi humour.
Tucked in a tight cellar in Covent Garden, Food for Thought serves up hearty vegetarian food. This popular spot usually has a queue leading up the stairs and out the door, and there's precious little space inside, expect to share tables, if you can get one, with strangers. Steaming bowls of soup and enormous servings of quiche are served in earthenware bowls and service is cheerful and quick. The menu changes daily, so there's no chance of getting tired of this restaurant, and they even offer their own cook book so you can try all the recipes at home. You leave feeling full, healthy and great. Tube: Covent Garden
Recommended for Take Out because: Food for thought serves perfect sized take out bowls of hearty fare.
Emma's expert tip: Food for Thought is brilliant for vegetarians and non alike. It is seventies London cooking at its best, arrive early for lunch.
You can't say enough about Ottolenghi's delicious cooking, deli, bakery and just about everything he does is magic. Unfortunately there are prices to match, but the food is so inspiring and delicious and amazingly presented that it feels worth it, at least until you realise that you have just paid 4 pounds for one cupcake, or thereabouts. Then you have to gulp, swallow hard and just feel thankful that atleast the prices stop you overeating, which you totally could if the prices were lower. That said, this is quality, and he is generous with his recipes in newspapers in the UK, the Guardian in particular and in his cookbooks, on the website and on twitter.
Recommended for Take Out because: Ottolenghi's offers take out on all its cold salads, quiches and cakes.
Emma's expert tip: One of Ottolenghi's establishments is great for a special treat, or if you are feeling flush, otherwise buy the cookbooks. Genius stuff.
If you think Take Out in London then a Fish and Chip shop has to come in the list of ten. There are great places to try all over the capital, but this one wins number one spot, just because of its clever name. Also the food is great, this is seriously good fish and chips. According to their publicity, they're the third oldest fish and chip shop in London and have been going since the nineteenth century. The restaurant and take away is central enough to pick them up en route to somewhere else, and a great place to stop, sit outside and chill out in the summer. Then once you've refuelled, roll next door to one of the great flower packed pubs for a pint to finish off the British experience. Prices are a little steeper than elsewhere in London, just because of its location, but its worth it, it does one thing, and one thing well. TUBE: Covent Garden
Recommended for Take Out because: When you think Take Out in London, you have to think Fish and Chips. Crunchy salty heaven.
Emma's expert tip: You can take your fish and chips just as far as the outdoor table, or walk with that vinegary warmth down to the river and watch the world go by.
The Modern Pantry's aim is to please and excite the palate by fusing everday ingredients with modern cooking. Their name, as it explains on their website nods at the fact that they are trying to do something new, with the necessities of life, aka bread or food. That 'newness' comes from the fact that they will deliver a pantry food to your home, birthday party or corporate event, but you can also visit their premises in Clerkenwell and partake of their cafe, or their upstairs restaurant. In their deli, or pantry you can buy all manner of charcuterie and the kinds of things that you might like to stock your own pantry with at home. The cooking comes from all over the world, spicy couscous and harissa jazz up roast Cornish haddock, or quails are marinated in red pepper and sumac. Very global, very modern, very British.
Recommended for Take Out because: The Modern Pantry delivers restaurant food to your door, and the bonus, you can go and eat there too.
Emma's expert tip: Follow them on twitter or visit their website to plan for your event with their catering.
Square Pie is the perfect take out. It is open from 10.30-16.00pm Monday to Friday and until 6pm on the weekends, Sunday included. They serve great tasting British food, packed full of fresh and local ingredients. As well as the Spitalfields market venue, they also have outlets in Westfields Stratford city, Bluewater shopping centre and the Excel centre. There is a mix and match lunch menu where you can choose a pie and sides. So much so that they say there are 6000 combinations to choose from. Sweet potato mash is also a new addition to the menus. They do classic British breakfasts, baked potatoes, mushy peas, salads and classic pies with pastry under and above, and naked pies with just a topping to cut down on the carbs.
Recommended for Take Out because: Square pie is great tasting British food in that most portable of things, a pie. Perfect for Take Out.
Emma's expert tip: Square pie also deliver if you can't get to them to buy the take out.