Pie and Mash with Liquor Sauce
Once a staple of London's poor working class, this is traditional cockney comfort food served in century-old restaurants that instantly transport you to another era.
Olympics tip: Find this dish at M. Manze, the oldest pie shop in London, dating to 1902, near Potter's Field (big-screen viewing at Tower Bridge).
Clark's: 46 Exmouth Market; 071-837-1974
Olympics tip: Try a refined take on this dish, the Old Spot bacon sandwich, at St. John Bread & Wine, less than five miles from Olympic Park.
Bar Centrale: 4 Bernard Street; 020-7278-5249
Olympics tip:Find this bread at The Flour Station's Borough Market stall, near Potter's Field (big-screen viewing at Tower Bridge).
The Flour Station: Jubilee Market area of Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Olympics tip: Find this dish at The Greenwich Union, another terrific pub, near Greenwich Park (equestrian events) and the North Greenwich Arena (gymnastics, trampoline, basketball).
The Holly Bush: 22 Holly Mount
Toasted Cheese Sandwich
Kappacasein's sandwich combines shredded Montgomery's cheddar—the king of British cheddars, a nutty, earthy cheese handmade in Somerset—with chopped leeks, onions, and garlic, all melted together between slices of sourdough bread baked by Poilâne, the world-renowned Parisian bakery (which has a London outlet). The sandwich also uses some Ogleshield, a pungent cheese likewise produced by Somerset's Montgomery family, and occasionally a few other local cheeses. Crunchy, gooey, and deeply flavorful, it's living, oozy proof that simplicity triumphs when high-quality ingredients are invited to the party. For more cheesy goodness, try the raclette too.
Olympics tip: Sneak over to Kappacasein's stall at Borough Market (Thursday-Saturday), or its headquarters at the Maltby Street market (Saturday only), near Potter's Field (big-screen viewing at Tower Bridge).
Kappacasein: at Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street.
Olympics tip: Find this dish at its (potential) source at Fortnum & Mason, near the spectator area on The Mall near St. James's Park (road cycling, triathlon, marathon, race walking). Or try the venison Scotch egg at The Harwood Arms, near Earls Court in Kensington (volleyball).
The Carpenter's Arms: 73 Cheshire Street.
The best kippers hail from the Isle of Man and Scotland, but they've long been sent down to London, where they enjoyed popularity on Victorian breakfast tables. The fish is strong and oily, as herring will be, but with a little butter and lemon—and maybe a poached egg—it's brilliant. Look for kippers from the Isle of Man, or Manx kippers, served like these smoky, buttery fish from posh Dean Street Townhouse: grilled, with some butter on top and lemon on the side. No frills, and none needed.
Olympics tip: Find this dish at The Wolseley, near the Horse Guards Parade (beach volleyball) and spectator area on The Mall near St. James's Park (road cycling, triathlon, marathon, race walking).
Dean Street Townhouse: 72-74 Dean Street.
Roast Bone Marrow
St. John is the motherlode. Whatever you order, start with this primal, indulgent signature dish, one of the few always available here: four roasted veal bones, their melty marrow meant to be spread on the toasted sourdough and topped with a pinch of sea salt and lemony parsley salad.
Olympics tip: Find this dish at St. John, about three miles from Victoria Park (big-screen viewing).
St. John: 26 St. John Street.
Olympics tip: Find this dish at The Greenwich Union, near Greenwich Park (equestrian events) and the North Greenwich Arena (gymnastics, trampoline, basketball). Or find it at Rules, near Trafalgar Square (big-screen viewing during Paralympic Games, Aug. 29-Sept. 9).
Rules: 35 Maiden Lane
Olympics tip: Find this dish (make a reservation) at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, located right on Hyde Park (triathlon, swimming, big-screen viewing). Save a few pounds and book for lunch.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge.