Located on Columbia Road, which has a great flower market on Sunday (Cleo used to live right off this road), 10 min walk from Old St tube station, this place is really special. Excellent home-cooked Italian food, truly some of the best in the city. Very small so usually a wait on the weekends but well worth it.
Cat & Mutton
On London Fields at the end of Broadway market, this is a boisterous pub with good food to complement the many pints you’ll undoubtedly be having.
A lovely cafe on the Regents Canal near Hackney’s Whitmore bridge. Great to stop there on a rare sunny day for a coffee or a spot of lunch.
This small place in Arnold Circus is the epitome of everything that is great about the East End. One of the first really authentic spots that helped rejuvenate the area, Leila’s is an exercise in simplicity from its tables to its food. Go for breakfast and you’ll get great slabs of rustic bread with small dishes heaping with butter and jam when you sit down. Make sure to order the delicious eggs with serrano ham.
Run by Margot Henderson (wife of famed Fergus) and Melanie Arnold, this hidden restaurant inside of the old Rochelle School in Arnold Circus is chic and simple and just utterly cool. Only open on weekdays and just for breakfast and lunch.
Big and bright, this Vietnamese restaurant is a stand-out from the many on Kingsland Road. Excellent pho and also delicious appetizers like a thin, eggy crepe stuffed with beans sprouts and squid.
This place in Exmouth Market is a London classic that serves Spanish/North African food and was started by a couple who used to work at the River Cafe. Great tapas at the bar and maybe some of the best bread we’ve ever had served with the grassiest olive oil. Can be hard to get a table, but if it’s dinner for two you can generally show up and eat at the bar on Fridays and Saturdays without much of a wait. They also now have a small tapas bar next door!
Really sceney spot in East London that serves good French bistro-type food. Great for boozy weekend brunches. It’s an easy walk from here along the canal to Broadway Market or to Victoria Park if you happen to be there on a sunny day.
This place was literally a game-changer in London. And leave it to Nick Jones, of Soho House fame, to make it happen. Located in the Shoreditch House this is a very NYC spot that serves pretty great pizza and small Italian bites. Fun for a rowdy weekend dinner and they’ve now opened a second one in Notting Hill.
Epic Pakistani meat palace in Whitechapel.
St. John Restaurant
The famous, simple, unrivaled restaurant which inspired the nose-to-tail eating craze around the world. If the egg custard tart is on the menu, order two slices. St John Bread & Wine is the sister restaurant in Spitalfields and the lighter menu makes it a good choice for a weekend lunch. Also, the St. John Bakery at the Maltby Street Market is open to the public on Saturdays and offers delicious, homemade donuts filled with either jam or creme fraiche. Get two of those too…
We haven’t been to this place yet on the continuing-to-get-hotter Columbia Road but we hear it’s great. Lot’s of well-prepared meat. Looking forward to trying it next visit.
This Turkish spot on the Bethnal Green Rd serves great mezze and kebabs at cheap prices.
The best kind of English cafe. Bare bones, no frills. Get the full monty: fried eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms and baked beans.
Self-described “Bangladeshi tea room,” this place serves great curries and other Indian-type food.
Located in The Boundary Project, Terence Conran’s hotel/restaurant, the Albion serves classic English food with great ingredients.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake
Go for the legendary bagels filled to the brim with delicious salted beef. Yum.
This Southern Indian place in Stoke Newington serves yummy vegetarian food.
Our friend Marcella loves this cafe in Hackney Central that has delicious home baked goods and sandwiches.
Go here for incredibly authentic Turkish food on the Kingsland Road in Dalston. Light on the pocket too!
This relative newcomer (opened in 2010) near the Highbury and Islington tube station offers a seasonal Italian menu that changes almost everyday. Their simple but delicious food has earned rave reviews.