Islington is that quaint little district that links the hipness of East London with the hustle and bustle of Central. Most overlook the area as a place only famous for its proximity to Arsenal FC's hallowed ground but for those that know - Islington is a dream spot - for both living and dining. Here is our collection of the best restaurants to try in Islington.
Two sites on Upper street not too far from each other and both offering the same menu is the result of the popularity of the French bistro style restaurant Le Mercury. It serves up cheap, well executed French food at a fraction of the price you would expect to pay. The interior is cute and cosy, perfect for date night or dinner with friends and you know when the bill comes it wont break the bank. Be sure to book ahead when visiting on a Friday or Saturday as both restaurants fill up quickly.
TryThisFor... Best Late Night Restaurants | French Cuisine | Islington Restaurants | Lunch & Dinner | Weekend Brunch | Theatre Dining | Date Night | Restaurant & Cafe | Vegetarian Cuisine | Great Value (£15 - £30)
Venue Page Here | 140a Upper Street, Islington N1 1QY | 020 7354 4088
THE PIG AND BUTCHER
Another Islington gastropub, The Pig and Butcher is the third venture from the owners of The Princess of Shoreditch and The Lady Ottoline. Housed in a beautiful building dating back to the the mid 1800’s, they have created a concise menu that offers a range of breeds such as White Park cattle, Iron Age pigs and Hebridean lamb. Their vegetables come from Kent and their fish from the South Coast. Inspired by rustic farmhouse tables across Europe, the food at The Pig and Butcher is perfectly uncomplicated and pleasingly simple, they also encourage sharing lots of their small plates or a single big plate. On Sundays, they offer classic roasts served with all the trimmings and very generous portions, which we’re sure no-one will be complaining about.
TryThisFor... London's Best Roasts | British Cuisine | Comfort Food | Seasonal Menu | Lunch & Dinner | Weekend Brunch | Meat Eatery | Vegetarian Friendly | Steaks | Craft Beer | Gastro-Pub | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 80 Liverpool Road, Islington N1 0QD | 020 7226 8304
Yotam Ottolenghi is the master of clean eating. With the freshest of ingredients worked into Mediterranean meets the Middle East inspired dishes, the team behind these successful restaurants and delis pride themselves on creating vibrant dishes that you won't forget. His locations encourage socialising; tables are canteen style and you feel as if you're part of a convivial family all dining together. Try the roasted beetroot with pistachio salsa and goat’s curd or opt for the pork necks, pigs’ ears and yuzu puree (an East Asian citrus fruit) and make sure you have the kumquat and passionfruit mocktail - you’ll be feeling wholesome again in no time.
TryThisFor... Best Healthy Restaurants, Mediterranean Cuisine, Client Lunch, Mate Date, Date Night, Islington Restaurants, Vegetarian Friendly, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Weekend Brunch, Theatre Dining, Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 287 Upper Street, Islington N1 2TZ | 020 7288 1454
PRAWN ON THE LAWN
Situated in Highbury and nestled amongst a variety of cute cafes and shops is Prawn on the Lawn. Doubling up as a fully licenced fishmonger and restaurant; you can pick out what you like and have it prepared for you there and then, as tapas style fish dishes. They only have an A1 cold food licence so as a result there’s no hot food however the menu includes brilliant dishes such as the Scallop Ceviche (chilli, coriander and passion fruit), Seared Tuna (spring onion and soy and split Langoustine with lemon thyme and olive oil). Larger dishes such as Fruits de Mer platters are also on offer all sourced directly from day boats and fish markets in Devon and Cornwall.
TryThisFor... Seafood Cuisine | British Cuisine | Mate Date | Light Bites | Date Night | Breakfast | Lunch & Dinner | Neighbourhood Restaurants | Saturday Lunch | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 220 St.Pauls Road, Islington N1 2LL | 020 3302 8668
Fast earning a big reputation in Islington is Smokehouse. The chef is Neil Rankin, who used to work in the kitchen at popular Upper Street Bar; John Salt and previous to that did a stint at Pitt Cue Co. Smokehouse is on trend with the fusion of flavours; you will find essences of French bistro dishes and even elements of Korean flavours and they smoke all their meat on site so it has truly been through the best processes by people who know their stuff. The menu features Ox cheek bourguignon, smoked duck served with kimchi, hash cake and fried egg and smoked pork bellie with tattie scone, black pudding, apple and beurre blanc. Their Sunday lunch menu is equally as if not more epic with cuts of pork, lamb, beef and duck followed by a rum and raisin rice pudding or smoked strawberries with cream cheese mousse and almond praline.
TryThisFor... BBQ Cuisine | American Cuisine | Meat Eatery | RIbs | Steak | Pulled Pork | Burgers | Mate Date | Great For Groups | Alfresco Dining | Lunch & Dinner | Weekend Brunch | Sunday Roast | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 63-69 Canonbury Road, Islington N1 2DG | 020 7354 1144
A strong contender for tapas in Islington is without a doubt La Farola. The bare brick walls and dim lights evoke a comfortable and relaxed ambiance that invites you in and sets the scene for a really great meal. Sharing between 5 or 6 dishes between two in total you can choose a couple of ‘Picoteo’ (snacks), maybe the salted sardines or the chargrilled ciabatta with olive oil and tomatoes topped with cured ham. To follow perhaps order a couple of Jamon Iberico or some young Manchego (pasteurized ewes cheese) served with quince jelly and savoury biscuits. Their selection of fish tapas includes black ink risotto, dip-fried boquerones with roasted garlic alioli sauce or if you fancy some meat try the oven roasted lamb or the grilled beef fillet.
TryThisFor... BBQ Cuisine | American Cuisine | Meat Eatery | Ribs | Steak | Pulled Pork | Burgers | Mate Date | Great For Groups | Alfresco Dining | Lunch & Dinner | Weekend Brunch | Sunday Roast | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 101 Upper Street, Islington N1 1QN | 020 7359 7707
Just off the busy Highbury and Islington station roundabout is a bustling, vibrant, casual Italian restaurant called Trullo. Opened in 2010, it serves up reasonable unpretentious food at really decent prices. They make their own fresh hand-made pasta which is rolled minutes before service and the menu includes dishes cooked on an open charcoal grill with fish and meat cooked over burning coals. Try the Pappardelle with beef shin ragu or the poussin with baked cannellini beans and nduja butter.
TryThisFor... Italian Cuisine | Modern European Cuisine | Comfort Food | Pasta | Sharing Dishes | Seafood | Vegetarian Friendly | Date Night | Dinner With Parents | Client Meal | Post-Work Dinner | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 300 - 302 St Paul's Road, Islington N1 2LH | 020 7226 2733
Established in 1969, Frederick’s is a family run restaurant bringing a little bit of glamour to the area. Entering through a small bar on the top level of the restaurant, the bright airy space is instantly absorbed and creates a sense of calm. It’s a great place to pop in for a cocktail and some bar snacks if you aren’t in the mood for dinner. It is quite smart, and also quite pricey, but it’s a restaurant that will leave you with fond memories and a lighter wallet. With pan fried froie-gras and hay smoked duck breast as starters and whole baked sea bream or cote de boeuf, you know its going to be good.
TryThisFor... British Cuisine | Comfort Food | Modern European | Client Meal | Date Night | Seafood | Vegetarian Friendly | Restaurant Bar | Lunch & Dinner | Saturday Lunch | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | Camden Passage, Islington N1 8EG | 020 7359 2888
The Albion is a perfect gastropub, serving up award-winning food to Islington locals. With its cosy interior and wisteria adorned beer garden, The Albion provides the ideal setting for a lazy Sunday afternoon whatever the weather. The menu features traditional British fare but it’s the Sunday roasts that have given The Albion it’s claim to fame – winning the Observer Food Monthly award for Best Sunday lunch in 2009. There is a seasonal element to the menu, which in the summer, features a wide range of meat, fish and vegetables cooked fresh on their barbecue. The Albion also offer a whole suckling pig for 10-15 people, perfect for a special occasion and not something you often find on offer from a traditional gastropub.
TryThisFor... London's Best Roasts | British Cuisine | Comfort Food | Seasonal Menu | Lunch & Dinner | Weekend Brunch | Meat Eatery | Vegetarian Friendly | Steaks | Gastro-Pub | Great Value (£15 - £30)
Venue Page Here | 10 Thornhill Rd, Islington N1 1HW | 020 7607 7450
THE DOLLS HOUSE
Taking over the former ‘House of Wolf’ site, The Dolls House is a multi-faceted / multi-story restaurant, bar and club on the ever-trendy Upper Street. Having proven to be hugely successful at their Hoxton site, The Dolls House’s second site, with it’s seemingly never-ending supply of floors and rooms, has enough room and character to provide forms of entertainment. As well as being a restaurant, café, bar and club; The Dolls House also has multiple private dining rooms (each with their own bar), a members area (one of the coolest and well designed rooms you’re likely to find, an espresso bar and a stage for live music. Open seven days a week, and with a very fun Sunday Roast Jazz session, Dolls House is a super spot.
TryThisFor... British Cuisine | Modern European Cuisine | Restaurant | Bar & Club | Member's Club | Sharing Food | Meat Eatery | Sunday Roast | Live Music | Dinner & Dancing | Great For Groups | Date Night | Late Night Restaurants | Reasonably Priced (£30 - £40)
Venue Page Here | 181 Upper Street, Islington N1 1RQ | 020 7288 1470
Fish and chips has gone posh thanks to Des McDonald’s plaice (sorry, we can never resist a pun) in Islington. A bustling, busy bar that sells cocktails and cockles, expect more than a soggy unloved piece of fish here. Whether you’re after old school scampi or feeling more decadent with the monkfish curry, we say you won’t be disappointed. The window seats are great for people watching, just maybe watch what you’re doing with that battered sausage.
TryThisFor... Seafood Cuisine | British Cuisine | Light Bites | Lunch & Dinner | Date Night | Client Meal | Saturday Lunch | Brunch Cuisine | Great For Groups | Post-Work Dinner | Great Value (£15 - £30)
Venue Page Here | 189 Upper Street, Islingotn N1 1RQ | 020 3227 0979
Your supposed to never judge a book by its cover and in this case you would be foolish to do so. Set in an unassuming, slightly lacking, shop front Afgan Kitchen has long been a favourite with Islington locals. The menu is as straight forward as the interior with just three meat dishes, one fish and four vegetarian. All feature fiery spices in the form of heart stews served with lots and lots of yoghurt and mint. Its recommended by most to visit as a group and share a selection of the dishes between you therefore theres room to eat more.
TryThisFor... Afghan Cuisine | Meat Eatery | Vegetarian Cuisine | Seafood Cuisine | Great For Groups | Post-Work Dinner | Sharing Dishes | Great Value (£15 - £30)
35 Islington Green, London N1 8DU | 020 7359 8019