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With London’s nicest hotels concentrated in the West End, visitors seldom set their culinary sights much farther afield. But there is good food and drink to be had all over the metropolitan area. Here are some eateries off the tourists’ beaten track that are worth seeking out. MORO: 34-36 Exmouth Market, EC1 (Tel. 7833-8336). This stylish but casual bistro is right at home in Clerkenwell, a neighborhood now studded with new-media offices. Moro serves up Moroccan- and Spanish-inspired meals that may be the best I’ve had in London. The marvelous crusty bread is the first tip-off that the chefs know what they’re doing. Bread this good is rare in London. First courses on the changing menu might include spicy lamb with French beans, or roasted asparagus and green onions with a tangy paste of tomato and almonds. Wood-roasted meats and fish are a specialty. The meat dishes are hearty but not heavy, the fish is fresh, and the spices are never overwhelming. Don’t miss the rosewater and cardamon ice cream if it’s on the menu. This is a truly inspired dessert. Moro boasts an excellent and fairly priced wine list loaded with good Spanish wines that match the food. Dinner for two with a 1995 Rioja Riserva ran about �100 with tip ($150). In London that’s a real bargain for food this special. SABRAS: 263 Willesden High Road, NW10 (Tel. 8459-0340). There is no other reason to go to Willesden Green, a somewhat rundown neighborhood. But, boy, is this modest but award-winning vegetarian Indian restaurant a reason! Order the house specialties and you won’t go wrong, beginning with the mixed plate of starters. The patish “royal balls” are standouts. As are the wonderful dhosas — stuffed, crepe-like pancakes. The descriptions of the main dishes may not inspire — “five varieties of lentils” — but the flavors will. I confess, I was skeptical when I was first urged to try the banana-stuffed aubergines, but I’ve ordered them every time since — not least because they don’t taste like cooked bananas. Even carnivores will find themselves satisfied. The proprietor is justly proud of his restaurant, and of the fact that after more than 25 years, he’s never opened a second branch. He’s also proud of his eclectic background music. Ask him to put on Greatest Hits on the Sitar, and see if you can pick out “Daydream Believer” and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Or, if you prefer, he’ll be happy to pick out something from his jazz collection. Dinner for two with two beers each will run about �50 ($75). It’s well worth the 15-20-minute cab ride from the West End. THE GREEN OLIVE: 5 Warwick Place, W9 (Tel. 7289-2469). Take an evening stroll west from Edgeware Road along Regent’s Canal through Maida Vale, one of London’s most gorgeous neighborhoods, to Little Venice, where the banks are lined with houseboats. A half-block off the canal you’ll find this cozy neighborhood Italian restaurant that serves up consistently interesting meals from a changing menu — not the usual pesto-and-bolognese lineup. “It’s all so flavorful,” food-conscious friends of mine kept remarking the last time I was there. Dinner for two with wine: about �100 ($150). THE HOLLY BUSH: Holly Mount, NW3 (Tel. 7435-2892). What a pub should be — unadorned, cozy, and filled with locals. The added plus here is that it’s in Hampstead, the onetime village that has long been home to writers and artists. Walk up Holly Hill, the narrow street opposite the Hampstead underground station, and you’ll find the Holly Bush tucked away on Holly Mount, an alley to your right. On cooler nights, you’ll be greeted by the scent of smoke from the wood fireplaces. A great spot for a pint at the end of the day; try the relatively rare Benskins brews on tap. No food in the evenings.

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