Turning North: 15 unusual places to eat in North London
East London is a trend mecca, but fun in London extends, North, South and West. We've picked the best London hangouts in the North.
East London is a mecca for all that’s deservedly trendy. But because we know there’s too much fun in London to fit in the East, we’ve picked the best London hangouts at the other points of the compass. This week, a selection of unusual places to eat in North London.
Anyone not venturing beyond Camden Lock is missing a trick, as North London is not only one of the most interesting places in London for people-watching, but is rich with entertainment. Independent theatres, such as the Almeida, the Old Red Lion, the Park Theatre and the King’s Head between them cover respectable classics, original reinventions and the most innovative new writing.
The North presents some of the best places for a night out in London, but with the kind of energetic entertainment on offer, you’ll be working up quite an appetite. Chapel Market does a roaring trade (the cider man giving generous tasters is our favourite draw) for home dining, and for the evening, we’ve selected a few Cool restaurants in London’s North, and a handful of bars, to set you up for a memorable night.
Unusual Restaurants in North London
The Food Lab , Islington
It’s a rare aim among noisy North London Italian restaurants to mimic a country house set in green Tuscan hills, but The Food Lab is trying. Hyperbole aside, the bread and cheese are excellent and the chilled-out atmosphere makes it a favourite weekend coffee spot for locals.
56, Essex Road, N1 8LR
Phone: 020 72 26 1001
Ruby Violet, Tufnell Park
Handmade sorbets and gelato in posh flavours like pistachio, rosewater and cardamom, all fit to rival Gelupo. This handmade Tufnell Park ice cream begins in London’s Victorian Dairy with local, fresh ingredients. It’s all very yummy mummy.
118 Fortress Road, NW5 2HL
Phone: 020 7609 0444
Pizza East , Dirty Burger and Chicken Shop, KentishTown
Soho House 's dirty food revolution launched three confidently cool places to eat in London’s North. The cocktails are great too.
79 Highgate Road, NW5 1TL, UK
Pizza East: 020 3310 2000
Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger: 0203 310 2020
Chicks on Fire , Islington
This surprise hit has a terrible name and an even worse logo, but their Chicks on Fire menu features ‘international gourmet grilled chicken’ which is terrific. It also offers a delicious choice of salad and desserts.
11 Hercules Street, N7 6AT
Phone: 020 3659 7491
The Hawley Arms , Camden
Amy Winehouse counted this old pub among her favourite haunts, and it has become something of a shrine to North London’s prize songstress. As far as cool restaurants in London go, Camden’s Hawley Arms definitely gives the East a run for its money. Steer clear at weekends when it’s rammed, but on weeknights, the roof terrace, juke box and live music programme (which has been known to feature secret acoustic sets from Jake Bugg and the like) make it a Camden nightlife stalwart.
2 Castlehaven Road, NW1 8QU
Phone: 020 7428 5979
St John's Tavern , Archway
St John’s is an awesome North London gastropub with a Williamsburg feel but an ultra-British menu. There is a healthy showing of European regional cooking too, but the style remains cohesive, hearty, simple and unfussy.
91 Junction Road, N19 5QU
Phone: 020 7272 1587
The Old Dairy, Finsbury Park
If you’re eager to visit one of the beer route’s more interesting places in London, real ale pub The Old Dairy, occupying a Grade II listed building, is an essential. With ‘20 breweries supplying our 5 pumps with the best in cask conditioned real ale’ this gastropub prides itself on regularly changing menu of food and beer.
1-3 Crouch Hill N4 4AP
Del Parc, Tufnell Park
Perhaps one of the more quirky restaurants in London, Del Parc’s passion for fine Spanish produce has resulted in an exciting menu with a North African influence. Chef Steve Morrish creates intricate flavours to awaken your tastebuds.
167 Junction Road, N19 5PZ
Fabrizio Pizza , Highgate Hill
Move over Franco Manca; this is now London’s best pizza. A family style, small-scale restaurant, providing traditional, honest Italian food.
34 Highgate Hill, N19 5NL
Phone: 0207 561 9073
The Hollybush , Hampstead
If you’re on the hunt for the best country pub in London, the amazingly old-fashioned Hollybush will surely be a contender, perched on a hill in a higgledy piggledy street in Hampstead. The menu includes hearty comfort food, with dishes changing on a regular basis to make the most of seasonal produce.
22 Hollymount, NW3 6SG
Phone: 020 7435 2892
Smoke ‘n’ Roll at Our Black Heart, Camden
This shamelessly carnivorous meat pop up restaurant has taken over at Camden’s rocker pub Our Black Heart. Expect pork ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket sandwich rolls, smothered in delicious homemade sauces. Read our preview here.
2/3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP
The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
A deliciously fun Irish Pub, Finsbury Park’s Faltering Fullback is thick with ivy on the outside, and a real curiosum. The aesthetics only get better on the inside. The ceiling is decked with dangling ephemera - guitars, planes, trinkets of all conceivable varieties. They don't take table reservations, so practise those greased-lightning reflexes or take a pew at the bar.
19 Perth Road, N4 3HB
Phone: 0207 272 5834
The Library Pub, Islington
A buzzy watering hole that fills up with trendy young things come 6pm most weeknights. Not only a serious contender for the coolest cocktail bar in London’s North, the Thai menu is also top-notch
235 Upper Street, N11RU
Phone: 020 7704 6977
And to quench your thirst, best bars in North London…
69 Colebrooke Row , Islington
If you’re looking for quirky bars, London’s tintsy-tiny speakeasy bar that styles itself as ‘the bar with no name’ is essential. It’s a unique cocktail bar housed in one intimate room with a 1950s Italian café style with a film noir feel.
The Bar with No Name, Islington
69 Colebrooke Row, N1 8AA
Phone: 07540 528 593
The Pineapple , Kentish Town
This olde worlde pub is a CW favourite, with a magnificent Victorian bar and good selection of ale (including Adnams, Redemption and Sambrook’s). Don't be afraid of the locals.
51 Leverton Street, NW5 2NX
Phone: 020 7284 4631
Aces and 8s , Tufnell Park
Pinching the format of the all-American dive bar, London’s Aces and 8s has an amazing rock ‘n’ roll jukebox, and Lou, Jimi and Iggy plastered all over the walls. Live music is a regular in the basement, which has been transformed into a stylish and decadent speakeasy.
156-158 Fortess Road, NW5 2HP
Phone: 020 7485 4033
Knowhere Special, Kentish Town
Knowhere Special is definitely a serious competitor for the coolest cocktail bar in London’s North. This hidden gem is tiny but it’s brimming with an array of vintage charms, as well as daring cocktail recipes.
Click here to read our preview of Knowhere Special.
296 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2TG