Updated on 17 February 2023
Once an area that people would call ‘up and coming’, Dalston is now up there with the likes of Shoreditch, Brixton and its neighbouring Hackney when it comes to cool and edgy places to head to in the city.
Frequented by bearded hipsters, doc marten wearing pink haired art students and of course locals who’ve never known anything but Dalston, it is home to cool bars, great music venues, nightclubs and - naturally - great restaurants.
Whether you are after some fried chicken to soak up a night of heavy drinking, an edgy sushi bar to fit in with Dalston’s edgy surroundings or you want some good old fashioned home-cooked Turkish food, there is something for everyone.
Now we must admit a few of the places listed here are a 20 minute walk from Dalston’s main train stations but we’ve included them anyway because we truly believe they are well worth the walk. This is a best list after all so it only makes sense to include the best of the best.
All the restaurants listed below click through to a review by one of our expert critics as well as everything you need to know about each restaurant, from the price and opening hours to menu highlights and images. You’ll be able to make an informed decision on which restaurant you fancy visiting before you even leave your front door and head to Dalston. The best part? After your meal a bar or nightclub is never too far away so that you can make your night out as long as you want it to.
191 Mare Street, London, E8 3QE
This family-run Vietnamese canteen isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing but it doesn’t matter when the food is good and the prices low. A favourite among locals, try the banh-xeo pancakes with smoked tofu and asparagus.
390 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA
Unsurprisingly you’ll find fried chicken in every dish on this menu. Expect tenders with seaweed and chicken burgers with Asian slaw. This isn’t your stereotypically dodgy chicken shop, although great for lining the stomach anyway.
34 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XJ
This family run, no fuss or frills Turkish restaurant specialises in hot and cold mezze including halloumi, hummus and charcoal grilled kebabs all meant for sharing. The ideal spot for a cheap and casual meal.
129 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB
As one of three taquerias in this mini chain, naturally you’ll find sharing mezcal, margaritas, and lots of guacamole here. You’ll want to order a fair few small tacos in soft corn tortilla shells too.
89 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, London, E8 2EB
Headed up by Israeli chef Oded Oren, this Mediterranean inspired restaurant joins many others in the city serving up this increasingly popular cuisine. On the menu you’ll find lamb sweetbreads and ox cheek with hummus.
Arch 338, Acton Mews, London, E8 4EA
Bringing together North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, ex-Ottolenghi chef Josh Katz’s brings flavourful small plates and grilled dishes to the arches of Acton Mews. Expect aubergine sabich with sour cream and wood-roasted prawns pil-pil.
2 Atkins Square, Dalston Lane, London, E8 1FA
This cosy, rustic spot twenty minutes from Dalston Junction boasts inventive vegetarian dishes alongside comforting meaty burger and pasta dishes. Quirky interiors, Craft beers and unique cocktails make it clear you’re definitely in East London.
The Arthaus, Richmond Road, Hackney, London, E8 3NJ
Churning out freshly made pizzas, this cheap and fun trattoria is a must visit for any Italophile. Team your pizza with antipasti and Negronis and you are as close to being Italian as it gets.
95 Kingsland High Street, London, London, E8 2PB
Famous for 22 inch pizzas, only a slice or two is needed to fill you up. The ever-changing menu means when it comes to these New York-style pizzas there is always something new to try.
68 Dalston Road, London, E8 3AH
Referring to itself as a ‘fermenting kitchen and eatery’, kimchi, kombucha and drinking vinegars are heavily featured throughout and available to buy. Seasonal plates include crispy lamb with labneh and braised duck with saffron butterbeans.
428 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA
This cheeky bar and restaurant, named after Pamela Anderson herself, serves up all its main dishes in half a pineapple. From chicken aloha with jollof rice to mumbo jumbo prawns, every dish tastes like summer.
The Bootyard, Dalston, London, E8 3DP
Vegetables lie at the heart of this unique BBQ spot in east London, while all its meat and fish are sourced from regenerative farms and sustainable suppliers. It brews its beer on site too, and the by-products are used to make ferments and hot sauces – pretty neat, right?
52 Wilton Way, Hackney, London, E8 1BG
With a regularly changing menu and dishes that look more like they belong in an art gallery, Pidgin's tasting menus are filled with experimental dishes - but don’t get too attached because things are never repeated.
538 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AH
From the man behind Zetter Townhouse, industrial warehouse décor, intriguing cocktails and inventive sushi dishes are a few of the things you’ll find here. We’ll let you discover the somewhat risqué art pieces for yourself.
58A De Beauvoir Crescent, London, N1 5SB
Set on introducing Venezuelan cuisine to London, Arepa’s menu consists of traditional South American ingredients, think: corn, beans, fried plantain and cassava, to bring both traditional and unique Venezuelan dishes to the streets of London.
56 Dalston Lane, Dalston, London, E8 3AH
Merging Japanese and Italian cuisine, this intriguing restaurant serves food in a small minimal space in busy Dalston. Expect dishes like unagi risotto and black sesame pannacotta. Worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Like to eat in the coolest parts of town? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Shoreditch
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