Best restaurants in Islington

From Coal Drops Yard to Exmouth Market, Islington is home to tons of great little spots that are rife with foodie gems. In fact, when it comes to hunting out the best restaurants in Islington, having too much choice is likely to be more of a problem than finding something that seems up your street. If you need a recommendation that promises to be tasty, but you don’t have time to do the research yourself, then say no more – that’s where SquareMeal steps in. We’ve tried and tested all of the best restaurants in Islington, from Modern European eateries to speakeasy cocktail bars, to create a definitive must-try list for the area, whatever cuisine you fancy. Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Updated on 07 November 2018

Looking for somewhere small and intimate with atmospheric lighting and a killer cocktail menu to impress a first date? Islington’s got just the thing. Fancy a hearty Sunday roast in a stylishly rustic pub, preferably with a cosy armchair and open fire? Yep, we know one of those in Islington. Peckish for tasty tapas you can pick at all evening, with an authentic feel and vegan options? Guess what – Islington has one of those too. You may have noticed a pattern forming, but this chic North London borough has a lot going for it, boasting some of the most delicious and beautifully-designed restaurants in London. Our list spans not only a range of cuisines, but also caters for different budgets and has options for every occasion. Whether you’re planning a special birthday dinner for a friend or just need somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat, browse our carefully curated list of the best restaurants in Islington to point you in the right direction, before your stomach starts rumbling.

Laki Kane

Laki Kane

144-145 Upper Street, London, N1 1QY

Come for the tropical décor and stay for the delectable small bites at this quirky, concept-led cocktail bar on Upper Street. Although experimental drinks are the venue’s main focus (try the rum making experience and live your tiki dreams), we think anyone would find the steamed scallops topped with fried garlic or the deep fried crispy tofu skin served with peanut sauce, hard to turn down.

Bars
Oldroyd

Oldroyd

344 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0PD

You’ll find this local restaurant in the quaint Camden Passage, offering food that looks fancy, but in a relaxed, paired-back environment. We love the stylish navy walls and minimalist lighting nearly as much as we love the menu, which features dishes such as grilled aubergine, pickled and roast shallots, almonds and whipped garlic and braised oxtail croquetas and chilli jam.

£30 - £49
Modern European
The Drapers Arms

The Drapers Arms

44 Barnsbury Street, London, N1 1ER

This friendly neighbourhood pub is the perfect Sunday afternoon haunt, with a beer garden out back for when that English sunshine decides to show itself. Inside, we love the bright green bar (which is just asking for a spot on your Instagram) and the monochrome floor. Food wise, it’s hearty grub all the way with stand-out dishes including suet crust salt beef pie and a mean Sunday Roast.

£30 - £49
Gastropub
Panzo Pizza

Panzo Pizza

50 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE

When you’ve got a hankering for pizza, this much-loved Italian on Exmouth Market is the perfect place to carb-load. Think homemade tomato and basil sauce, every kind of cheese you could imagine and unique concoctions like a pumpkin cream base.

Under £30
Pizza
Berber & Q Shawarma Bar

Berber & Q Shawarma Bar

46 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE

Thought eating your kebab ‘in’ had to mean your shoes sticking to the floor and eating from a polystyrene box? Well, not at Berber & Q. This Middle Eastern restaurant cooks shawarma rotisserie style and specialises in slow-cooked meats over charcoal and wood, combined with delicious-sounding vegetarian dishes like blackened aubergine, charred tomato with lemon yogurt and freekah. Oh, and the botanical-inspired décor is right up our street.

£30 - £49
North African
Middle Eastern
The Dead Dolls House Islington

The Dead Dolls House Islington

181 Upper Street, London, N1 1RQ

This three-storey townhouse on Upper Street is split into four themed rooms (sanctuary, aviary, ballroom and parlour), which can be hired privately or play host to the venue’s selection of day to night menus. From bottomless brunch at the weekend to Sunday roasts, this place has it all.

£30 - £49
British
Chick

Chick 'n' Sours Islington

62 Upper Street, London, N1 0NY

“Next level” fried chicken is the order of the day at this relaxed restaurant in Angel. Chick ’n’ Sours serves up a selection of seriously flavoursome chicken-based dishes, such as drumsticks and thighs with seaweed crack and pickled watermelon, or the ‘Disco Wings’, which are smothered in spicy Kung Pao. Come here to feast so hard, you’ll probably need a lie down afterwards.

Under £30
International
1251

1251

107 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN

This two-time Michelin star-winning restaurant offers a plethora of dishes from the garden, land and sea to create a British twist on tapas, at surprisingly reasonable prices. Lead by Chef James Conran, the menu also takes inspiration from his dual Caribbean-Scottish heritage, using a wide range of ingredients.

£30 - £49
International
Prawn on the Lawn

Prawn on the Lawn

292-294 St Paul’s Road, London, London, N1 2LL

Prawn on the Lawn is the place to go in Islington for super fresh seafood, with a seasonally changing menu and a dedication to working with sustainable suppliers. Try the signature titiular dish and share a platter to really experience it. 

£30 - £49
Fish
Primeur

Primeur

116 Petherton Road, London, N5 2RT

Housed in a former garage space, this intimate restaurant is effortlessly cool. Its non-flashy approach and ever-changing menu of small plates, combined with chic interiors, make it a great neighbourhood spot to go with friends. 

£30 - £49
French
Moro

Moro

34-36 Exmouth Market, London, London, EC1R 4QE

Tapas restaurant Moro on Exmouth Market is somewhat of an institution. It was opened in 1977 by husband and wife team Sam and Samantha Clark after an inspiring trip to Spain, Morocco and the Sahara, all of which is reflected in the menu. Since then, they’ve opened two more restaurants both named Morito in a neighbouring location and in Hackney, which have a dedicated following. In other words, you simply need to try the original.

£30 - £49
North African
Tapas
Spanish
The Old Fountain

The Old Fountain

3 Baldwin Street, London, EC1V 9NU

This cosy pub stands out from the rest thanks to luxe touches and an indulgent menu, which is laden with the kind of fare that makes you hungry just reading about it. We’re talking about starters like porky sausage roll and Macsween’s haggis scotch egg, alongside mains such as seasoned aubergine and courgette steaks and sausage and mash.

Pubs
Trullo

Trullo

300-302 St Paul's Road, London, London, N1 2LH

There’s nothing worse than style over substance, so we’re big fans of Trullo’s no-fuss feel. From the gorgeously rustic wooden floor (each pane made unique by marks and texture that haven’t been buffed out) to the cool industrial lighting overhead, the (still very appealing) environment leaves the food to take centre stage. And boy does it. Pick from dishes like wild line-caught seabass on the charcoal grill or appardelle with beef shin ragu – it’s Italian but not as you’ve had it before.

£30 - £49
Italian
Smokehouse Islington

Smokehouse Islington

63-69 Canonbury Road, London, London, N1 2DG

The clue’s in the name with this barbeque specialist which promotes working with small, family-owned farms and sustainable suppliers in the UK, but also takes inspiration from far-flung locations, such as Argentina and Korea. If you really want to see what Smokehouse Islington has to offer, we suggest checking out the ‘feasting’ menu.

£30 - £49
Gastropub
Hot Stone

Hot Stone

9 Chapel Market, Angel, London, N1 9EZ

If you’re looking for somewhere that’s serious about sushi, Hot Stone has some accolades under its belt that are sure to impress. One of the only restaurants in the UK to serve freshly grated wasabi at the table and certified Kobe beef on a 400 degrees Celsius heated hot stone, this place is dedicated to practising authentic Japanese cooking.

£30 - £49
Sushi
Japanese
Homeboy

Homeboy

108 Essex Road, London, London, N1 8LX

If you’re looking for a light bite and a good time atmosphere, the Irish hospitality at the heart of Homeboys will serve you well. This lad pad-ish bar focuses mainly on cocktails (its founders have been at the helm of the likes of Callooh Callay and The Dorchester) but make sure you check out the boxty (Irish potato pancakes) and the 'Traditional Irish Stew'.

Under £30
Bars
69 Colebrooke Row

69 Colebrooke Row

69 Colebrooke Row, London, N1 8AA

If you’re want to impress, 69 Colebrooke Row could be just the place. This speakeasy-style bar is made all the more exclusive by its ambiguous façade (it has no real name, and is only recognisably by a lone outdoor lantern). Inside, the drinks are experimental and the small snacking menu compliments them perfectly, drawing on European influences like mini Saucisson and Jamon Iberico.

Bars
Rotunda

Rotunda

Kings Place, 90 York Way, King's Cross, London, N1 9AG

Carnivores assemble; Rotunda is a meat-eaters heaven. The restaurant specialises in beef and has its own farm in the heart of Northumberland, where grass-fed cows roam the fields and are delivered straight to diner’s plates in the freshest of fashions. Located near King’s Cross station, its central location and sleek modern design make Rotunda the perfect place for a post-work dinner and drinks.

£30 - £49
British
Westerns Laundry

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, London, N5 1PB

Westerns Laundry is the kind of place a very cool friend would take you to. Light and airy with doors that fold out onto the street, this spot is ideal in summer because of its outside-inside feel, but also thanks to the fresh-as-can-be seafood menu.

£30 - £49
British
Fish
Frederick

Frederick's

106 Islington High Street, Camden Passage, London, N1 8EG

Frederick’s may have been around for an impressive 50 years, but it still feels like one of Islington’s best-kept secrets. The menu is extremely varied and takes inspiration from all over the Mediterranean, but we particularly like the extensive wine cellar and hidden garden.

£50 - £79
Modern European
£30 - £49
The Gate Islington

The Gate Islington

370 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NN

The Gate is reknown vegan and vegetarian restaurant which serves up a great vibe as well as fantastic food. It follows the already well-loved Hammersmith original and a branch in St John's Wood, meaning the name comes complete with a dedicated following – and for good reason. Make sure you try the beetroot cheese burger. 

£30 - £49
Vegetarian

Willing to cast your north London net a little wider? Then you should check out our list of best restaurants in picture-perfect Primrose Hill.