Islington has a HUGE amount of restaurants, with the majority of them along Upper Street. But which are the ones you should be paying attention to - here's our list of the best in the area...
Michelin-starred James Cochran has gone back to his roots with 1251, his Islington restaurant which is a much more personal affair for him. Here he's serving up modern British food, made with Kentish produce (and several nods to his West Indian heritage). The restaurant is pitched as a place to try Michelin-level dining in a more relaxed environment.
Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (The Wolseley, Zedel) brought back their Islington grand cafe after an earlier closure and it's been more popular than ever. There's been a shift in the menu away from Alsace and towards more of a traditional French brasserie and it's one of the largest restaurants in Angel too.
Lee Tiernan's Black Axe Mangal has made a small site on Highbury Corner into - in our opinion - one of the best restaurants in London. With metal and rock music blaring out on the speakers, it's certainly unlike much else in town. It's described as 'an unauthentic, bastardised take of Turkish Mangal and Ocakbasi, with global influences.' Post pandemic, it's returned with a new look, and a new set menu that changes regularly while still featuring some of the classics like their squid ink bread.
The Compton Arms has been a tiny Islington mainstay for many years but has really blossomed since its most recent revamp. Originally the home for Four Legs, the kitchen is now run by Reece Moore's Belly - with a daily changing menu that has a focus on British produce.
Delhi Grill is Islington's "Indian Canteen" a London version of a Punjabi “dhaba”. The emphasis here is on Indian street food (on a menu which changes regularly) in a pared-back restaurant that's covered with its fair share of Bollywood posters. Come here with the intention of sharing everything and you'll have the best time.
Seb Holmes' Farang has become a huge Highbury hit, offering some of the best Thai cooking across London, made with both Thai and British produce. Originally a pop-up, it soon went permanent and they've recently added an excellent in-store larder.
Chapel Market might not be the first place you'd think of for top quality sushi, but Head chef Padam Raj Rai was the former head sushi chef at Tsukiji restaurant in Mayfair and he knows his stuff. Plus, you'll get to throw an A5 Japanese Wagyu steak on the stone here and cook it exactly how you like it.
Jiji is from restaurateur Janina Wolkow, the woman behind celebrity hangout Sumosan. Billed as a Japanese/Middle Eastern fusion restaurant, it's a mix of sushi and sashimi with the kind of dishes you'd expect to find in somewhere like the Palomar.
This Spanish restaurant on Upper Street comes from expert jamón producers Jamon y Salud, so you'd be expecting their jamon to be of a particularly high standard (it is). But it's not all about ham as the restaurant does a great line in authentic Spanish tapas, as well as serving up excellent Spanish wines. It's also worth popping in and grabbing a seat on the bar if you just need a snack.
Since they opened, MEATliquor have grown their burger and cocktail empire across London, but all of their locations are places where you can get some of the very best burgers in town. Not to mention some killer cocktails.
Tucked away down Chapel Market this Korean 'tapas' joint is owned by top Korean mixologist Taeyeol Kim, so the cocktails are as good as the food. The menu covers everthing from Korean fried chicken through to kimchi pancakes and tteok.bokki - rice cake stew. Look out for Friday regional Korean specials.
After gaining a reputation for cooking Italian in the much-loved Bocca di Lupo, Jacob Kenedy returned to his US roots with a wonderful Cajun and Creole menu at his Lousiana-themed Plaquemine Lock on Regent’s Canal. If you fancy some deep-south cooking in London, there's little better available.
This artisan bakery in Islington is best known for its pastries - chief among them the maple bacon croissant, but its bread is up there too. Head along here for some great coffee in the minimalist setting and work your way through some excellent baked goods.
Prawn on the Lawn is a fishmonger and seafood bar - with a wine bar on the side. Expect the usual fruits de mer platters and whole crab as well as some more tapas-style dishes like scallops ceviche and their signature dish - the prawn on the lawn which is toasted soda bread with avocado and prawns.
This restaurant on the borders of Islington and Stoke Newington, was the first from the group that also brought us Westerns Laundry and Jolene. As with their other restaurants, there's a regularly changing menu - influenced by Parisian Bistronomy - and it's paired with a carefully selected wine list that's also regularly updated.
This is the Holloway home for critically acclaimed Malaysian laksa specialists Sambal Shiok, headed up by Mandy Yin. The laksa is great, but so are all the other dishes. Look out for regular events there and enjoy the wine list with a focus on Riesling.
Sichuan House on Islington's Upper Stret is all about authentic Sichuan and Chinese cuisine, with a focus on traditional cooking and recipes.
Skal took over the space that was once Rok and have continued offering Nordic cuisine to Islington. The menu features Nordic recipes but with a modern, seasonal twist all in a stripped-back room. The Nordic theme continues with the cocktails and they serve their own home-made aquavit.
This Islington pub/restaurant has a strong emphasis on smoking and BBQ. Alongside the food expect plenty of rotating beers and the outside garden is a surprise oasis just off a busy Islington road.
This bright, friendly neighbourhood cafe really comes into its own at the weekends when it serves up one of London's best brunches. You'll have to fight off every other Islington to get a seat, but it's worth it for dishes like Crispy Pork belly with spring onion pancake, kimchi and scrambled eggs.
This Islington pub is tucked down a quiet side street and remains one of the prettiest pubs in the borough. Run by Nick Gibson, the menu is a modern take on British pub grub. Grab a table in the garden if the weather's behaving itself.
The Gate first started in London over 30 years ago, long before vegetarian and vegan menus became a big thing. They've been serving up quality vegetarian fare for years and have earned a big following as a result. As you'd expect, much of the food is plant-based and there's a strong vegan selection too (and their wine list is entirely vegan).
The Nook comes from Angus and Lale Oztek-Pook who have experience at Zucca, Bernardis and Oklava among others. The food is described as "contemporary European with a Turkish twist" and is paired with a winelist of sustainable, organic, biodynamic and minimal intervention wines. It works as a deli too, so there's lots to take away.
This restaurant comes with the backing of Zhang Chao of Xi’an Impression. The team behind the restaurant are aiming to cover multiple regions of China, all helped by the fact that they have chefs in the kitchen who originate from different regions and bring with them varying experiences and knowledge. Here you can expect an excellent pan-Chinese meal, that just happens to be plant-based too.
Top Cuvee in Highbury sees an ex Dinner by Heston in Melbourne alumni return to London, backed up by a chef from Naughty Piglets. Expect a neighbourhood wine bar with a regularly changing list of both food and wine, as well as cocktails from the people behind Three Sheets.
Probably Islington's most famous restaurant, this Italian affair sees Jordan Frieda, formerly front-of-house at The River Cafe teaming up with chef Tim Siadatan (the same team behind Padella). Expect superlative Italian cuisine and if you're passing by, it's well worth a look in their next-door deli too.
Slightly off the beaten track in Canonbury is this small neighbourhood wine bar, serving up a changing seasonal European menu. The owners are Hugo Thurston and Vinny Burke, who were also behind Shoreditch's Jago.
Owners David Gingell and Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim also run nearby Primeur and Jolene, both also excellent. Here, there's a distinct focus on seafood and the menu changes every day, although if the cuttlefish croquettes with aioli are on there, make sure you order those. In the summertime, you can take a glass of something cold out on the front courtyard and if you're really pushing the boat out, ask for the leather-bound, handwritten, ‘black book’ of fine wines.
This Holloway restaurant (it's just across the road from the Emirates stadium) has won a deserved reputation for cooking up some of the best Shang Xi-inspired street food in London. Yes, that means there's a bit of heat involved here, but their hand-pulled noodles are among the best in town. Their pork/beef "burgers" are not to be missed.
A top Holloway Road pizzeria which prides itself on its dough, 48-hour fermented, and there are also vegetable charcoal, wholemeal and gluten-free options. Combine this with some unique toppings and combinations (including truffle honey) and you've a winning combo. Their next-door pasta restaurant Berto is worth a look too.
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