15 Of The Best Restaurants In Islington
15 Of The Best Restaurants In Islington

15 Of The Best Restaurants In Islington

Islington has long been one of the capital’s destination neighbourhoods – and right now its restaurant scene is a big reason to pay it a visit. From cool new arrivals to classic spots, here are the places we love…
By Heather Steele

Best For Pasta:


The sister restaurant to super-popular Padella, Trullo’s simple, chic interiors make it an oasis of good taste, but the food is the real star. Expect fresh pasta rolled to order, and the intoxicating smells of fish and meat cooked over burning coals. The menu changes every day, making it hard to pick a handful of go-to dishes, but right now we’d go for Cornish monkfish carpaccio with blood orange and fennel; ravioli of wilted trevise and Westcombe ricotta with sage butter; roasted Chioggia radicchio with mozzarella, chickpeas and grilled chilli dressing; and the poached quince with vanilla custard and almond praline.

Visit TrulloRestaurant.com

Best For Something New:

Auld Hag

Auld Hag is London’s first Scottish deli. Newly opened, The Shoap sells filled Glasgow morning rolls, scotch pies, shortbread, Dundee cake and coffee made with beans from the Isle of Skye’s Caora Dhubh Coffee Company. Soon, The Shoap will be open for drinks and Scottish snacks in the evening, including slow-cooked Aberdeen Angus beef mince on a toasted piece of plain loaf; Ayrshire langoustines with garlic butter; and crispy pink firs with grated Isle of Mull cheddar.

Visit AuldHag.co.uk

Best For Malaysian:

Sambal Shiok

Mandy Yin is one of the few Malaysian chef-owners in the UK, having founded Sambal Shiok in London in 2013. She takes inspiration from her childhood growing up in Kuala Lumpur, so expect to sample her signature curry laksa, penang assam laksa, Malaysian fried chicken, prawn fritters, spiral curry puffs, flaky roti canai, beef rendang, golden fragrant clams, sambal mapo tofu – and the perfect steamed rice. 

Visit SambalShiok.co.uk


Best For Sushi:


In an old pub on the Essex Road, Akari is great for a quick midweek dinner. A bit of a hidden gem if you’re not familiar with the N1 postcode, this relaxed small-plates restaurant offers prime spots at the bar to watch the chefs prepare your sushi. Our favourite dishes are the tuna tataki and miso black cod.

Visit AkariLondon.co.uk

Best For Thai:


Farang started life in 2015 when chef Sebby Holmes began trading at street food markets across London out of the back of his car. A year later he took up residency in Farang’s current home in Islington as a pop-up. After rave reviews, he took on the space permanently and since then it’s gone from strength to strength, having been inducted into the National Restaurant Awards top 100 and awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Don’t know where to start? We recommend the feasting menu (think whole sharing crispy seabass dressed in a coconut and mandarin dressing), washed down with a watermelon spritz. We also love its signature (and well-named) crying tiger chilli beef noodles – a cold noodle salad with bags of heat and flavour.

Visit FarangLondon.co.uk

Best For A Fun Experience:


Caravel is a restaurant and bar from Fin and Lorcan Spiteri – the sons of Sessions Arts Club's Jon and Rochelle Canteen’s Melanie Arnold. On the banks of the Regent’s Canal, a short walk from Islington, the brothers have restored an old working barge with the help of Holborn Studios. The result is a stylish 40-seater dining room with an open kitchen. Lorcan’s menu is inspired by his time at Quo Vadis, Oldroyd and Studio Kitchen. Expect to sample dishes such as sesame prawn toast with spiced tartare; white crab tagliatelle with fennel and garlic; and roasted hake with confit potatoes and curry sauce. Desserts nod to Lorcan’s childhood favourites – look out for blood orange jelly with honeycomb, joined by almond cake with salted caramel ice-cream. Make sure to leave time for a cocktail at Bruno’s, the team’s floating bar on the next barge.

Visit CaravelRestaurant.com



Best For Drinks:

The Nook

The Nook is a wine bar, deli and record shop from husband-and-wife team Lale and Angus Oztek-Pook, who both previously worked at Allbright, The Mash Inn, Arthur Hooper’s, Bernardi’s and Kyseri. Serving sustainable modern European dishes with a Turkish twist, The Nook sources produce from across the British Isles and Mediterranean, showcasing the best independent producers. The wine list champions London urban winery Renegade alongside a mix from Georgia, Armenia, Italy, France, Austria and Spain. The affordable pouring selection includes eight white and red wines, plus a smaller amount of rosé and orange wine, all of which rotate.

Visit TheNookLondon.co.uk

Best For Something Different:

Little Georgia

Little Georgia comprises two authentic restaurants where you can enjoy traditional, homemade Georgian dishes – think chopped beetroot salad and khinkali dumplings. Little Georgia Islington is the bigger of the two and is licensed, offering a selection of Georgian wine and chacha grape vodka. New to Georgian cuisine? We suggest a mezze platter alongside Georgian staple khachapuri (a delicious cheese bread) and chkmeruli – pan-fried roasted chicken served with a pecan and walnut sauce.

Visit LittleGeorgia.co.uk

Best For Seafood:

Prawn On The Lawn

Islington’s original Prawn on the Lawn is as special as its Cornish seaside sister. Open Tuesday to Saturday for casual lunches and seafood dinners, there’s a small plates menu that changes every day depending on what’s arrived fresh from Cornwall and Devon. Amid the next-level seafood, don’t miss the crushed spiced potatoes. Best of all, the team are part of the Tip for Trussell initiative in support of The Trussell Trust. A discretionary £1 donation to every restaurant bill raises funds for more than 1,300 food banks across the UK.

Visit PrawnOnTheLawn.com

Prawn On The Lawn
Prawn On The Lawn

Best For Sunday Lunch:


Regular readers will know we love this pub. This Islington dining room still has its original wood panelling and a bar lined with dimpled glass tankards. Owned by the Noble Inns group (also behind The Pig & Butcher and The Princess of Shoreditch), it champions small, British suppliers and breweries – which explains why there are 20 London beers on tap. There’s a focus on wood-fired cooking and smoked meats, with diners choosing from the à la carte menu and one of the best Sunday roasts in London.

Visit SmokehouseIslington.co.uk

Best For Veggies:

The Gate

Plant-based pioneers since 1989, The Gate now has two restaurants in London: Hammersmith and Islington. At both, the aim is to deliver inspiring vegetarian and vegan food. Menu hits include avocado and beetroot tartare; crispy fried tofu marinated in maple syrup and soy sauce served with a quinoa, avocado and tomato salsa, and a coriander and lemon dressing; and teriyaki aubergine. 

Visit TheGateRestaurants.com

Best For Pastries:


An Islington institution, Pophams redefines the traditional bakery and coffee shop with pastries full of unusual flavour combinations. Now with a second site in London Fields (which turns into an excellent pasta restaurant come evening) and a third in Victoria Park, the group offers the likes of danishes filled with coconut custard and raspberry, or nectarine and ginger custard. On the savoury front, we’re huge fans of the Marmite and cheese swirls. Excellent coffee comes from local roaster Ozone. 

Visit PophamsBakery.com

Prawn On The Lawn
Prawn On The Lawn

Best For Date Night:

Westerns Laundry

The team behind Westerns Laundry and Primeur opened popular bakery Jolene in Newington Green in 2018. While the popularity of the latter has gone stratospheric, we still adore Westerns Laundry in Islington. Dimly lit with pops of colour, it serves up daily changing pasta dishes (a recent bowl that caught our eye featured gnocchi with smoked eel and marjoram) and – as you’d expect from the same crew as Jolene – properly made pastries and puddings like rhubarb arctic roll with meringue.

Visit WesternsLaundry.com

Best For Brunch:


For brunch with a French twist, head over to the Bellanger at the weekend for buttermilk pancakes and crepes. With art-nouveau décor, booth seating and polished wood panelling, there’s an irresistible Parisian-café ambience which provides a charming backdrop to everything from breakfast to late dinners. The all-day menu features brasserie classics such as crab linguini, aubergine parmigiana and steak frites. Sandwiches, salads and eggs multiple ways are also offered along with a choice of desserts and ice-cream coupes to finish.

Visit Bellanger.co.uk

Best For Gelato:


With sites in Islington and Covent Garden, Udderlicious is a popular haunt for vegans (the vegan Oreo flavour is eternally popular) and non-vegans alike. Everything’s freshly made in store, and one of the parlour’s highlights is the fact visitors can vote for which flavours they’d like to eat each month (this month’s combinations include banana-caramel and rhubarb and fig). The team, led by husband-and-wife Raj and Raj, can also make ice-cream cakes for birthdays and celebrations.

Visit Udderlicious.co.uk

Western's Laundry
Western's Laundry

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