East London is home to some of the most amazing food, from mouth-watering pizza, to awe-inspiring sushi, our local’s guide has you covered.
Located in a bustling hotspot of East London’s edgy, eclectic and sometimes outright bizarre assembly of characters and happenings. Jones and Sons is rich in its food and charm. It’s not only nailed its cool and industrial aesthetic and re-crafted classic European dishes, but it proved to be the perfect spot to soak in the comings and goings of busy East London.
Stamford Works, 3 Gillett Street, London N16 8JH
Small but perfectly formed, and framed with linen curtains and rows of wine bottles, Little Duck the Picklery invites you in to their fermented wonderland. An open kitchen, combined with a cosy corners by the window, create a scene that is both intimate and inspiring. The menu is listed on a chalkboard, but everything looks so tempting.
68 Dalston Lane, London E8 3AH
This family-run East London restaurant has been wooing both the foodie crowd and locals with its innovative Japanese-Italian fusion. The vibe is cool west village New York meets modern neighbourhood trattoria. The space is shallow and small, framed by vast windows and decorated simply with large fig trees and mellow, lanterned lighting.
56 Dalston Lane, London E8 3AH
Located on the ground floor of the Hart Shoreditch Hotel, Barboun restaurant has a relaxed ambience, serving up Middle Eastern food with interesting flavours and textures. Our friendly waiter was happy to help with our food choices and spent some time discussing the wine list with samples to try. The choice of Majestik Syrah Kalecik, a balanced, medium-bodied Turkish wine with a spicy finish, perfectly complimented our food. We shared three vibrant and very different starters: intensely-flavoured prawn saganaki; beetroot fritters, enhanced by feta foam and mint; red mullet with preserved lemon and hazelnut. For mains, all prepared in a wood-fired mangal – we were spoilt for choice and after much deliberation went for chargrilled butterflied seabream with samphire and wakame seaweed butter and Te Mana lamb rump with burnt aubergine mash. Sides held their own: broccoli with anchovy aioli and spicy batata harra potatoes with lime. Be sure to include the soft, light taboon bread with pale pink cod roe. The food was consistently delicious – all the dishes were very well presented with varied, intense flavours and the portions generous enough too. Somehow we had room for a couple of desserts: sticky date pudding and nutty baklava both served with ice-cream. Finally, an exceptionally good espresso coffee with beans from The Gentlemen Baristas (Coffee Houses we note to visit, in Holborn and Poplar) – served with hot milk on the side – we downed two cups it was so good. Definitely a restaurant to return to before very long.
61-67 Great Eastern Street
London , EC2A 3HU
The menu describes the food as inspired by the late-night canteens of Bangkok and Smoking Goat certainly hits some serious South-East Asian flavour notes on the head. We ordered the chilli fish sauce chicken wings as an appetiser – and my word they were good. The Som Yum or spicy papaya salad perfectly combined the flavours of fish sauce, chilli, dried shrimp and lime to create a dish that would rival the old ladies of Luang Prabang. The smoked brisket and bone marrow massaman curry was a thing to behold, served in a cooking pot with two perfect bits of melt in the mouth bone marrow nestled among a rich curry, perfect for dipping in rolled up sticky rice in. The people behind Smoking Goat know what they’re talking about.
64 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ
The Light Bar shines a light on this historic venue, formerly a Victorian electricity station turned legendary 2000s nightclub, now a modern British restaurant and bar. Serving seasonal dishes with locally-sourced ingredients across three floors and a terrace. Much like its dynamic history, its menu is a product of the ever-changing seasons: Namayasai English Radishes – the perfect prop for dragging through dollops of wild garlic mayo – and the creamy Burrata, Rhubarb & Stepney City Farm Broad Bean Tops. THE crab is a must: Crab Appelletti, draped in rich brown crab chilli butter, alongside a crisp glass of mineral wine. Tip – order extra bread for maximum plate-cleaning-bread-mopping.
233 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6PJ
Gloria is a gaudy welcome change to the restaurants we’re inundated with today, an antithesis to the stripped back industrial décor that fills every crevice of Shoreditch. Yes, the food is good but I say it’s more about the occasion, the atmosphere. Gloria is a big night out. It is somewhere to get dressed up, sip cocktails and savour the food, without worrying that your allotted time slot is up.
54-56 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3QR
Just minutes from Shoreditch High Street, Casa Do Frango offers up the best Portuguese interpretation of the ubiquitous piri piri chicken, Algarve style. The menu is deliciously tempting and is an interesting edit of eye-pleasing sharing plates. Come hungry and enjoy the sharing plates as starters: charred cauliflower (vegan friendly), bacalhau fritters – made with Atlantic cod, potato, tomato and topped with piri piri sauce – and garlic prawns with even more piri piri. The plat de résistance, the piri piri chicken – you won’t be disappointed. You can mix and match the flavours: half chicken with lemon and garlic and a half of the Piri Piri chicken. The lemon and garlic got our vote, along with a scattering of fragrant dried oregano.
2 King John Ct, London EC2A 3EZ
A modern Mediterranean bar, just a stone’s throw from East London’s ever-busy Boxpark. The space is sleek, chic, pretty Greek and balances privacy for each table with the buzz of cocktail drinkers, happy diners and excellent staff. It’s small plates, and the place is much more than a bar that also does food. You can always tell a good place by the standards of their bread basket – and Joan’s is all homemade. A textured triumph of light focaccia laced with rosemary and sea salt, crunchy breadsticks, freshly-baked slices, olive oil and herb butter.
19-23 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
A welcoming yet seriously cool space to enjoy sushi and cocktails. With Eduardo Aguilar at the helm, the former head chef of Bone Daddies, Shakafuyu and Kiri, you can trust you’re in good hands. His style here is a contemporary Japanese, Izakaya-style menu (which means sharing) The fish is, as you’d hope, super-fresh and well-prepared – but even the ‘standard’ rolls are extra-special, like they’ve had a sprinkle of culinary genius upon them. Added to that was the attentive and friendly service. There’s no denying we have some outstanding sushi restaurants in London, and competition is high, but few boast excellent ingredients and creative dishes, served in a warm and friendly atmosphere – and at a reasonable price too.
185 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AB
One of the only Burmese restaurants in London, its name means fermented tealeaves, and you’ll spot more than a few dishes embracing them on this exciting menu. From the deliciously bitter Lahpet Sour infused with gin, Campari and fermented tea leaves to the restaurant’s signature tea leaf salad – with a fried mix of broad beans, butter beans and split peas – you’ll soon find a new way to get your caffeine buzz. Homemade shan tofu fritters, made onsite from split peas are crisp on the outside but melt in the middle. Try the steamed balachaung buns with fried onions, shrimp and garlic, served with a sweet chilli juice. With ingredients imported from Myanmar, intricate details and plenty of flavour – Lahpet offers the perfect insight to Burmese cuisine and purse-friendly prices.
58 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6JW
To those who aren’t familiar with Asian barbecue, the Chinese are fond of skewers stuffed with tiny cubes of meat, while the Koreans prefer to slap their meat directly onto the coals to cook and cut it up after. Yanji focuses on the Chinese style of barbecue offering a variety of meats and veggies to tantalise your tastebuds. At Yanji, the star dish on the menu is the lamb skewers which you cook at your own table barbecue on a self-revolving spit. Once the skewers are cooked to your liking you can move on to the dipping. Yanji offers a trio of dips to jazz up your meat. The most traditional is a chilli and cumin-based powder that will knock your socks off with its intense flavour when paired with the lamb. For those who can’t take the heat there is a non-spicy sesame powder, and a delightful gochujang (Korean Chilli Sauce) laden barbecue sauce which is the perfect blend of tang and spice. So where does the Korean part come in I hear you ask? The Korean dishes come in the form of sides and mains. No Korean meal is ever complete until a side of Kimchi (a fermented spicy cabbage) has been devoured, and the Yanji version was pretty top notch. Other notable sides include the japchae, a sweet potato noodle dish flavoured with sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil which the thirsty noodles soak up like a sponge.
153 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG
A well-established feature and much-loved institution of the East London scene, Dishoom upholds a fine reputation and certain air of exclusivity. Serving delicious Iranian-influenced Indian food with fragrant, delicate flavours and sumptuous combinations of spices.
7 Boundary Street, London E2 7JE
Step into Cecconi’s from the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch and be transported to all-day Venetian brasserie, serving the best of northern Italian dishes in the classiest of settings. The decor is understated elegance, less is more, with wooden tables and chairs, allowing the fabulous food to speak for itself. While you get on with the business of choosing starters, order an aperitif – a Velluto, a cocktail of Bombay Sapphire, Chambord, lemon and Italicus, an aromatic liqueur of bergamot peel, lemons, chamomile, lavender and other botanicals. To eat, expect cicchetti – small snacks or side dishes, typically served in traditional bàcari, or bars, in Venice – and pizza and pasta, washed down with glasses of the best wines Italy has to offer.
58-60 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP
Whether you’re a fan of a simple Margarita or a controversial Hawaiian, there’s always comfort in knowing what to expect from the humble pizza. But, it’s safe to say, Homeslice Shoreditch is shattering the expectations of pizza conventions, one 20″ pizza at a time. With an ever-changing seasonal menu, this trendy spot rolls out the finest flavour combinations for East Londoners to feast on all year round. Having caught sight of a 20” pizza in real life we opt to go for half and half (kudos to you if you’re feeling ambitious to have one to yourself!). If you’re looking for pizzas
with pizazz, then this is the place to go – just be prepared to roll yourself home!
374-378 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT
The chefs at Gunpowder really know what they’re doing – high-quality ingredients are cooked with bright, vibrant flavours and a knowing combination of spices. Its dishes read like culinary poetry: karwari soft shell crab and rasam ke bomb. The problem, of course, with such an enticing small platters menu like Gunpowder’s is that it’s easy to come over with a case of ‘kid-in-a-sweetshop’ syndrome and order the whole sch-bang.
11 White’s Row, London E1 7NF
The Thai food served here is beyond authentic, making no apologies whatsoever to the wimpy Western palate. An easily navigable menu with the suggestion you choose across the different sections.
43A Commercial Street, London E1 6BD
This all-day and night cool curated café/wine bar is housed in a glass pavilion and seats 40 inside and 30 outside. It’s a pretty hub of blonde wood with Pom Pom Factory crafted paper floral table decorations and hanging paper floral branches. At the helm of the kitchen is chef, Lewis de Haas who previously worked at the Shed in Notting Hill and Petersham Nurseries. Immediately order the Dusty Knuckle bread and brown butter (cultured butter from the Estate Dairy), along with the lightest, creamiest and fluffiest burrata we’ve ever tasted – a chilled glass of 2020 Mas De Daumas Gassac Rose from Languedoc is always a good choice. Expect delicious sharing plates such as: braised spring lamb, carrot and kefir lime and pink fir potatoes with confit garlic. Leave a little room for pudding: 70% vegan chocolate pot served with Capezzena olive oil is an absolute winner or try the elevated panna cotta with strawberry, elderflower and black pepper. The service is great and very helpful, together with excellent and knowledgable wine recommendations.
Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, London E1 7NF
A vegan and organic restaurant focusing on all things delicious and meat-free, serves as Instagram-worthy a spot as you’d hope. And – having tried one of their Shawarma (with Persian salad, green tahini, pickles and garlic sauce), alongside a fried avocado taco and turmeric margarita – we can confirm these guys are as serious about their food as they are their decor. From the provenance and health credentials of the ingredients, to the creativity of the dishes using said ingredients. Their dishes are comforting, nourishing and, most importantly, delicious.
144 Commercial Street, London E1 6NU
Pleasant Lady have brought the breakfasts of Beijing to the streets of Spitalfields. With a vendor in the centre of the market, you’ll spot it by the crowds. There’s something so therapeutic about watching the experts freshly make up your Jian Bing. The batter pours onto the hot plate and is swirled around, then topped with a cracked egg, tangy sauce, the herbs and spring onions and crispy wonton. And if you fancy adorning the original with a meaty morsel, they also offer Iberico Char Siu Pork, Cumin Spiced Lamb, or Grilled Miso Chicken. What better way to spend a sunny summer’s day than people-watching while you’re gorging on the champion of all street food?
Old Spitalfields Market, London E1 6EW
A very cool, very buzzy American BBQ restaurant offering tender, low and slow-cooked meat using a one tonne Rotisserie Smoker. We love the quality of food at Hotbox – the meat is so tender and the dishes have so much flavour. There’s an amazing choice of dishes for brunch plus tacos and snacks to warm up your stomach. The Bandit Burger (Dry aged beef patty, smoked short rib, jalapeno, cheese, chimichurri) was epic. We recommend sharing a few dishes so you don’t get food jealousy.
46-48 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6LT
This edgy restaurant brings the flavours of south-east Asia and the Pacific Rim to the streets of East London. Comic-book in style, they bring together influences from Manga, Asian fashion, and pop culture – all adding to the place’s unique, slightly risqué feel. The meat dishes are devilishly moreish, but the vegetable dishes are equally as exciting and delicious. Personal favourites include the grilled broccoli with an apple and onion dressing and fried shallots, as well as some grilled cauliflower with sweet corn, jalepeño dressing, shallots, garlic chips and chives.
29 Commercial Street, London E1 6NE
As bright light floods into a small, perfectly-formed dining room in Whitechapel’s historic gallery, you’d be forgiven for thinking all was well in the world. In previous incarnations, this room has been occupied by the likes of Angela Hartnett, and the then team behind 10 Greek Street. But now it’s home to Townsend, the namesake of the architect, Charles Harrison Townsend, who designed Whitechapel Gallery in 1897. The menu is seasonal, small-plated and small in size, which thankfully means you don’t have to pick and choose too much. It changes daily depending on what produce has arrived in. There’s a refined comfort theme that carries through all the courses. Townsend’s commitment to the joyful, the beautiful and the delicious pays off.
77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX
A remarkably welcoming restaurant where the staff are highly attentive serving simple cuisine that stays true to the traditional style of Greek cooking. Set in a pleasant spot on Wentworth Street, offering an extensive menu with high-quality, fresh ingredients and a wide selection of excellent Greek wines.
56 Wentworth Street, Aldgate, London E1 7AL
Start with the creamy and luscious burrata, generously drizzled with olive oil. Then share a platter of cured meats and cheeses. The cheeses are superb and go perfectly with the earthy-tasting charcoal focaccia – this is where Zia Lucia stands out from the pizzeria crowd. Their USP is their experimental dough options – from the traditional flour dough to an unusual vegetable charcoal black base which gives a unique flavour, as well as aiding your digestion. So it’s ciao to post-pizza bloat! Friendly service, excellent pizzas and a fabulous list of toppings. The locals must be delighted to have it on their doorstep.
Unit 1a, 12 Piazza Walk, Aldgate East, London E1 8ZH
Emilia’s Crafted Pasta is dine in and takeaway at both locations in Aldgate and St. Katharine Docks. Signature dishes include their hearty pappardelle Béchamel Bolognese and creamy Genovese pesto sauce with casarecce pasta. Additionally, Emilia’s has added more flavours of natural gelato to their dessert’s menu including chocolate & hazelnut, creamy mascarpone, Sicilian pistachio and raspberry sorbet, perfect for cooling down during the summer months.
Unit C3, Ivory House, St Katharine Docks, E1W 1AT & 77 Alie Street, Aldgate, London, E1 8NH
Molly’s offers The Museum of Home visitors and locals a bountiful choice of breakfast, lunch or dinner options. Brought to you by the venerable team that own the Anchor & Hope on the Cut as well as the Canton Arms in Vauxhall. This group sets the bar pretty high and delivers the perfect model of gastro pub dining, with menus of well-sourced produce that have ensured business longevity and a very loyal customer base. The thoroughly modern eatery is a skip and a hop from Hoxton Station – the main entrance has a more traditional pub feel, while the other is through a walled concrete courtyard that immediately opens up to a welcome of seamless open glass-fronted space that gave an ‘inside/outside, vibe’. Molly’s offers all day dining from breakfast, lunch and dinner plus freshly made cakes and bakes for those that simply want a coffee or tea meet up – 8am to 10pm.
1 Geffrye Street, London E2 8JH
Founded in Paris 10 years ago, Mama Shelter offers affordable boutique hotel accommodation and terrific homemade food to boot. The ambience is South American and quirky – a lively mix of colourful patterns all work brilliantly together, from woven cushions to plastic woven chairs and kitsch serving plates. It feels casual and community minded. The menu is a fun mix of modern British and French inspired dishes, weaving in ingredients á la mode. We wanted homey food that’s delicious and accessible, with a relaxed vibe in an East London neighborhood spot. And that’s what this is.
437 Hackney Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 8PP
When we were invited to The Fugitive Motel in Bethnal Green we thought we might be getting a good night’s sleep, instead we got craft beer and pizza. In a cool laid-back west coast-style bar, no less. The owners David and Liam are two former musicians who first came up with the concept after travelling along the west coast of America. There are 14 taps in the bar offering a medley of beers from around the world. They are also the first bar we have seen to have espresso martinis on tap so they are ahead of the game in that respect. The seating is made up of comfy, cosy booths with vacancy signs and you can turn them on and off. It isn’t just a bar, however, it’s a restaurant too, and the main feature of the menu is the sourdough pizza. There’s a large variety of pimped-up pizzas including an incredibly indulgent White Pizza, topped with béchamel, mushroom tapenade, charred broccoli, truffle oil and ricotta. It wouldn’t be East London without a few inventive vegan options though, including in this case the eponymous Fugitive, topped with red onion, harissa, cauliflower, gherkins, tahini and chimichurri, and the Vegan Marg topped with vegan cheese. For those not wanting to devour an entire pizza, there are also have a couple of grazing plates like the Antipasti Sharer and Triple-cooked Chips with Truffle Mayo), perfect for sharing.
199 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 0EL
A relaxed brunch spot in the heart of East London’s bustling Broadway Market. They cater well for gluten-free diets as well as veggie and vegan. The vegan breakfast with spicy sweet potatoes, falafel, hummus and avocado with toast, chilli jam, peppers and courgette is delicious.
12 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
This place ticks all the boxes – great venue, fab atmosphere, awesome music and delicious food. They have a new roof terrace too. Try their Vegan Viking pizza or Smokey Bandit.
137 Mare Street, London E8 3RH
With a modern Mexican menu inspired by the owner’s grandmother and funky, industrial-style decor, this restaurant is an artsy mix of old meets new. Interesting posters adorn the walls, and art pieces catch the eye. Kick off with a margarita – try the avocado margarita, made with tequila reposado, homemade avocado sauce, agave and lime or Sandy the Showgirl, made with mezcal, tequila reposado, agave and lavender – all beautifully presented. Totopos guacamole served with nachos, along with romanesco broccoli served with aioli and onion dressing, are as good as they look. Chicken tinga with pico de gallo; grilled prawn with guacamole, and wild mushroom with okra, fennel and mole amarillo – each one a juicy tongue masterpiece. If you have the appetite, go for the whole baby chicken al pastor served with habanero and jackfruit sauce, it certainly packs a punch. If you can somehow find room for dessert then the churros with dulce de leche are a perfect ending… along with another margarita, of course.
143 Mare Street, London E8 3FW
Seasonal, Sustainable, Sensational: All phrases which come to mind when describing Hackney’s eco-friendly restaurant All’s Well. Chef Chantelle Nicholson’s hyper-seasonal menu hasn’t failed to make its mark on the East London dining scene. Delving into the best of British produce, vegetables are made the star of the show in flavour-packed dishes such as roasted wonky carrots served with cashew cream, addictive deep-fried Brussels sprouts and roasted kuri squash tempura. The attention to sustainability goes beyond the dishes – there’s an imaginative cocktail menu, including our favourite, the Fig-leaf Martini. The bar also offers an array of organic wines including bottles from local heroes Renegade.
171 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 3RH
A pizza joint-cum-brewery with beats to see you through to the early morn (well, 1am on Fridays and Saturdays). We love this spot for its earthy interior and cavernous structure. Although it doesn’t seem it, with a craft beer in hand and a human(ish) sized pizza laid out to devour, it really is the best way to see in the weekend. Trust us. Mike’s Garage music makes an appearance every Friday and Saturday with an immersive electronic set like no other. A weekend antidote for all.
Unit 7, Queens Yard, London E9 5EN
Barge East, like so many things in East London is more than just a restaurant – it has a strong community ethos, supporting local business and has sustainability at its heart. Its surrounding sensory organic kitchen gardens supply some of the fresh herbs and vegetables that make their way onto your plate. Amongst the gardens is festoon-lit alfresco seating where an Airstream caravan serves up casual, street food classics with a twist: buttermilk chicken burger or English crayfish roll, served with slaw and panisses (chick pea fries). Brunches are big at the weekends – especially their Flatbread Society brunch. Made with a potato based dough, the flatbread is served with bacon, haddock or lamb. On board Barge East and below deck, you’ll find a cosy and intimate saloon where the cheerful and genious head chef, Stefano Camplone from Pescara, Italy has created a fine dining menu that is faultless and has seasonality at its core. Service at Barge East is super warm and welcoming – the food is top notch without the stuffiness and the vibe is as cool as the crowd who come to dine.
River Lee, Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Lane, London E9 5EN
A gem located just beyond Canary Wharf overlooking the water, Chai Ki is a stylish explosion of modern and experimental Indian food. The interior is edgy yet sophisticated with an industrial aesthetic made inviting with the use of low-level lighting. Its good, honest, earthy food is styled to perfection and accompanied by impeccable staff and elegant cocktails.
Currently offering both take out and delivery, from Monday to Sunday.
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AR
An airy, whitewashed space oftened by large palm leaves stencilled on the walls, rustic style wooden tables and the large rum-filled bar at the far end, just to remind you that you could be in a Caribbean beach bar after all! The menu offers a good mix of dishes without overwhelming diners.
257 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9PT
Modern and funky with a middle eastern vibe flowing through its four different seating areas – the restaurant, The Souk, The Sun Room and the Parisian Terrace. The restaurant is furnished with cosy teal booths and benches, with carefully chosen lighting and music providing a bright and lively feel. The food at Liban is fresh, well presented and tasty, and the service is friendly and efficient.
190 George Lane, London E18 1AY
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