ENGLAND THE SOUTH BANK
Cantina del Ponte, 36c Shad Thames ( 7403 5403), Butlers Wharf. Tube: Tower Hill or London Bridge. Amazing riverside location and high-quality Italian food. Bargain fixed menu £11 for 2 courses, £13.50 for 3 (available M-F noon-3pm and 6-7:30pm). Pizzas £7-8. Entrees £12-15. Live Italian music Tu and Th evenings. Open M-Sa noon-3pm and 6-10:45pm, Su noon-3pm and 6-9:45pm. AmExMCV.
Tas, 72 Borough High St. ( 7403 7200; Tube: London Bridge) and 33 The Cut ( 7928 2111; Tube: Southwark). Stylish and affordable Turkish food. Stews and baked dishes-many vegetarian-outshine the kebabs. Entrees £6-8. Live music from 7:30pm. Reservations essential. Open M-Sa noon-ll:30pm, Su noon-10:30pm. AmExMCV.
People’s Palace, Royal Festival Hall ( 7928 9999). Tube: Waterloo. Despite the Stalinist name, this is the swankiest of the Festival Hall’s many eateries. Fantastic location with windows overlooking the river. Dinner is pricey (entrees from £13), but luncheon dishes (served noon-3pm) are all £8. Open daily noon-3pm and 5:30-1 lpm. MCV.
Cafe 7, Tate Modern, Bankside ( 7401 5020). Tube: Southwark. On the top floor of Tate Modern; windows on both sides provide stunning views of the city and south London. Artistically presented modern British cuisine. Entrees £8-10. Lunch sandwiches start at £5.50. Open M-Th and Su 10am-5:30pm, F-Sa 10am-9:30pm. AmExMCV.
Cubana, 48 Lower Marsh ( 7928 8778; www.cubana.co.uk.). Tube: Waterloo. Look for the giant salsa dancer. Generous tapas (£3.’50-5) and entrees (£7-10) take second place to the spiky cocktails (£5, 2-pint jug £15). At lunch, get 2 tapas for £5, a 2-course meal for £6, and 3 courses for £8. Happy Hour 5-6:30pm. Open M-Th noon-mid-night, F noon-lam, Sa 6pm-lam. AmExMCV.
Gourmet Pizza Co. Gabriel’s Wharf, 56 Upper Ground (7928 3188). Tube: Southwark or Waterloo. On the embankment, this adventurous pizzeria offers tradition with imagination in the form of pizzas with unexpected toppings (£6-9). Reserve for dinner. Open M-Sa noon-llpm, Su noon-10:30pm. AmExMCV.