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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Enlightened Traveler: London's Charlotte St.

Even if you're a frequent visitor to London, you might not know Charlotte St.

Tucked away a few blocks north of Oxford St. and west of bustling Tottenham Court Rd., it's a quiet byway noteworthy for its many restaurants. These aren't London's finest eateries, though many of them are very good.

That makes Charlotte St. your preferred destination when you don't know where you want have dinner. You can work up an appetite as you stroll the area, inspecting your many options.

No phony Sicilian decor at Mennula,
just simple, up-to-the-minute elegance

One that currently is attracting attention is the recently opened Mennula at No. 10. Sicilian-born chef-owner Santino Busciglio has worked at some of the city's better Italian restaurants, Rosmarino, Zafferano and Alloro.

We haven't been there yet, but we have been impressed by the reviews.

Time Out notes that Busciglio's "style of cooking is much more contemporary and refined than Sicilian home cooking, a fact underlined by this Fitzrovia site also being self-consciously smarter than London's other Sicilian restaurants."

The Independent writes: "There's nothing particularly flashy about Mennula; the lion's share of the work has gone into getting the food right, rather than "the concept"... If you're after simple Sicilian food, lovingly prepared by a talented chef, this is the place to come."

We cannot wait to try it.

The British Museum, Bloomsbury, Oxford St. shopping, Wigmore Hall, and West End theaters are 5-15 mins. on foot from Charlotte St. Goodge St. is the nearest tube stop.

The arty, chic Charlotte Street Hotel is a show business favorite and a luxe place to stay if your budget allows. Even if you are not in residence, you can enjoy a drink in the hotel's stylish Oscar Bar before dinner at Mennula or another Fitzrovia restaurant.

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