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Top Places to Eat During the London 2012 Olympic Games

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by Peter Apps (subscribe)
An East London based journalist, seeking to describe some of my favourite parts of the city. Find me on twitter @peterdapps.
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Dodge the crowds for delicious food at these top local spots
The Olympic park has the biggest McDonald's ever. Westfield Stratford has a range of overcrowded chain restaurants.

But this is the Olympics, the whole world has come to London. They deserve better than a Big Mac or a two-hour wait in Pizza Express. Here is a run down of the better eating spots in and around the main games venues:

Stratford



The best spot to eat in Stratford is Caribbean Scene. A locally run restaurant, this is West Indian food at its finest. Get the buffet deal, and stock up on freshly cooked rice and peas, curry goat, oxtail and of course, freshly marinated jerk chicken. A javelin's throw from the Olympic park, this makes a perfect family meal for fans.



For more Caribbean food, with the added bonus of excellent live entertainment, just opposite Caribbean Scene lies its competitor, Theatre Royal Bar. A good bet if the restaurant is full.

East London has long been famed for its curries, and a local favourite in Stratford is Spice Inn, on the Romford Road. A cut above the average curry house, this restaurant is well loved for a reason. The house specials are worth a try.



Ten minutes further down the same road will bring you to Eastern Palace. The award winning Chinese restaurant is the best in the area. It serves excellent, authentic food at a reasonable price. The set menus provide good value.

For a cheaper, but still delicious, option try Londek Cafe, a Polish cafe offering cheap, homecooked food in huge portions.

Excel



Excel London normally caters to high flying businessmen and celebrity visitors. This means the local restaurants are expensive, fine dining establishments, built for company credit cards. Those on a budget may want to steer clear, but for a luxury meal, the area has a lot to offer.

Zero Sette, in the trendy dockside warehouses just outside the venue is a top-of-the-range Italian restaurant, with an excellent menu including grilled swordfish and tagliolini with salmon, dill & vodka.

Next door, Nakhon Thai offers fine dining Thai cuisine and excellent cocktails. The glass walls offer beautiful views of the dock, with traditional Thai decor making this an extremely stylish place to eat. The food is sensational, and won't break the bank, with a curry dish coming in at around the £9 mark and a side of rice at £2.



The second in the Caribbean Scene chain is a short walk from the Excel centre. A fine dining and a classy dockside bar, this is much more high end than family-friendly Stratford. Stuffed Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas is a favourite, while the Red Snapper and Escovitch Fish dishes are mouth-watering. A good range of Caribbean cocktails are also available.

For those seeking less exotic food, try a steak at the Docklands Bar & Grill in the Crowne Plaza Hotel.


North Greenwich



The 02 arena in North Greenwich hosts a good selection of mid-range chains, from Gourmet Burger Kitchen through to Nandos.

The venue deals with crowds frequently and restaurant staff are used to being full. Booking ahead is however advisable to avoid a wait.

By far the most glamorous place to dine is the Argentine steakhouse chain Gaucho's flagship restaurant. Laid out over three luxurious floors, the trademark cowhide upholstery and ebony black marble walls glitter in the light of more crystal chandeliers than you can count. The food isn't cheap, and isn't very vegetarian friendly- beef, in cooked in a variety of sizes, styles and flavours- but is delicious. Decadent and expensive, but an excellent dining experience nonetheless.

Greenwich Park



Greenwich is a good spot for restaurants and visitors to the area could do a lot worse than simply browsing around the picturesque Cutty Sark area to see what is on offer. But for those who want to know where they're going, here are some suggestions.



Busy and popular, Mexican tapas restaurant Desperados will do an excellent job for families attending events at Greenwich Park. Sizzling and flavoursome, the menu offers a wide, if slightly predictable range of Mexican favourites.

For tourists looking for real British cuisine, and Brits in a patriotic mood, the Admiral Hardy pub is well worth a visit. Offering a Games special three-course buffet, the menu is as British as a rainy summers day. Roast chicken, scampi and chips and shepherds pie are among the mains, while Eton mess and apple and blackberry pie are available for desert.



And for those seeking an even more local experience, look no further than Goddard's pie and mash shop. Pie and mash, for the benefit of tourists, is the staple dish of the East End, a minced beef pie served with mashed potato, liquor (a green, parsley and eel based gravy) and jellied eels for the more adventurous. Goddards has been trading since 1890, and recently re-opened in Greenwich with a 100 seat restaurant near Greenwich station.
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Why? Biggest McDonald's in the world doesn't work for you? Try one of these excellent local restaurants instead
When: During the Olympics and Paralympics
Cost: Variable
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