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Islington restaurants

Find the best places to eat in Islington from Upper Street's stretch of suppers and beyond

Britta Jaschinski / Time Out
There's plenty to please the sophisticated palate in N1. Turkish delights in Antepliler, or some of the best London gastropubs. Check out Time Out's guide to the best restaurants in Islington. Think we've missed out a great restaurant in Islington? Let us know in the comments box below.

Afghan Kitchen

Not much changes at this long-running restaurant overlooking Islington Green. The two-floor premises are bright and clean, with spring-green and grey paintwork, simple blond-wood tables and stools, and no decoration beyond a few pot plants. The menu of Afghan home cooking is equally straightforward: eight dishes (three meat, one fish, four vegetarian) of which the focus is hearty, warming stews that feature plenty of yoghurt and mint. Spicing is subtle rather than fiery.

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Angel

Almeida

Critics' choice

The route between the Almeida theatre over the road and this D&D London restaurant is a well-trodden one: visit of an evening and there’s an exodus before curtain-up. The pre-theatre menu here, then, is often just that – and is excellent value at £17 for two courses, £20 for three. Those without a show to rush to can take more time over the sophisticated cooking, which is broadly modern French with a few excursions around Europe and Britain.

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Barnsbury

Antepliler

There are two very different Anteplilers in north London. The Green Lanes branch is a straightforward, functional canteen, but this time we visited the Upper Street restaurant, which feels like it’s been lifted straight out of a lifestyle magazine. Blue neon mosaics on a black background, making the venue resemble an Ottoman-themed nightclub, are an acquired taste. Thankfully there’s nothing showy about the food, some of which originates in Gaziantep province, near the border with Syria.

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Barnsbury

Duke of Cambridge

Critics' choice

Located on an Islington corner site, this well-established gastropub has a USP as ‘Britain’s first and only certified organic pub’. Its care for ingredients stretches to a strict fish policy, ensuring only UK fish caught through sustainable fishing with minimal discards are used. A big, often buzzing outer room for drinkers leads to a welcoming, bare-bricked dining room, lit by a large skylight. The blackboard menu features dishes that encompass both gastropub staples, such as moules frites, and more creative dishes – perhaps pan-fried scallops with cauliflower purée and wild garlic. 

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Islington

Elk in the Woods

Having started out as a bar, the Elk presents more of a gastro face during busy lunchtimes, but regulars to this Camden Passage haunt aren’t discouraged from ordering up a Cucumber Martini (with Hendrick’s gin, £8) or Tobia Rioja and occupying a wooden table for a while. Elk in the Woods is also a place for a quality breakfast, with the likes of duck egg with asparagus, sausage and toast dippers, and over-the-top sandwiches: veal doorstep, or rare breed lamb burger in torteno roll with grilled courgette and mint jelly.

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Angel

Frederick's

The slightly ritzy plush of Frederick’s entrance cocktail bar, the surprising spaciousness of the dining room beyond, the striking 1980s artwork, the lofty conservatory and pretty hidden garden alongside – all come together to convey the idea that a meal here is a bit of a treat. Food has sometimes come second to the overall experience, but lately the kitchen seems to have picked up extra verve.

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Angel

The Gate

This is a class act, with a modern and airy interior featuring an open kitchen/bar and big industrial lights under which to examine the menu. There are plenty of à la carte starters and mains and, for the indecisive, a great mezédes menu – one plate for £4, three for £10, five for £15. Every dish was beautifully presented, with a little dish of aïoli, pepper coulis or harissa to complement the leading flavours: halloumi skewers; artichoke tempura; crunchy balls of couscous, feta and mint; tortilla with tasty beetroot and goat’s cheese filling.

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Angel

Isarn

Slinky, contemporary decor, with dark wood and oversized lampshades, gives Isarn a polished, expensive image, but the menu is surprisingly wallet-friendly. Set lunches, which come in a bento box, are good value, and include a selection of spring rolls or fish cakes, curry, rice and fruit. Don’t expect authentic Thai fieriness or superb cooking, but do sample some of the more unusual dishes, along with stalwarts like curries and pad thai – all stylishly presented.

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Barnsbury

Little Georgia

While lacking the intimacy of the Bethnal Green original, Islington’s Little Georgia still stimulates interest in the under-documented culture of Georgia, with old telephones, traditional drinking horns and graphics-heavy political posters bringing originality to the otherwise standard jade green and cream interior. The menu is identical in both outlets (owner Tiko Tuskadze makes the dishes for the two restaurants in the N1 kitchen), and is a pleasing introduction to a cuisine that has influences from Europe and Asia.

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Pentonville

Ottolenghi

Critics' choice

Hit cookbooks have made this flagship branch of the burgeoning Ottolenghi empire a point of pilgrimage for foodies the world over. Those Americans brunching nearby are as likely to be tourists as local émigrés from the banking sector, and back in the US they’ll rarely have seen french toast as fat and fluffy as found here. Made from brioche and served with crème fraîche and a thin berry and muscat compote, it makes a heady start to the day and, regrettably, tends to prevent further indulgence in tempting muffins and pastries. 

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Canonbury
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Comments

9 comments
mark j
mark j

went to griller 66 in Stamford hill, had a REALLY nice lamb curry. Hope this new venture does well, certainly deserves to based on the food!

Timothy Smith
Timothy Smith

Memsaab Fine Indian Dining in Islington off Holloway Road on Westbourne Road is a great little hidden gem with quite surroundings which makes it ideal for romantics and couples as well as groups to enjoy great food at great prices. The decor and interior is simple yet classy and appealing with on the ball staff whose service skill is second to none. The variety of Indian food makes it a difficult choice but what ever you choose you will not be disappointed. Highly recommended place for any food lovers.

Frank Hawk
Frank Hawk

Le Sacre Coeur; a lovely French restaurant. The service and decoration there are both amazing. The place is decorated in a typical French style- tables covered with checked table cloth and lovely flower pots. Restaurant is not big but atmosphere is cosy and relaxing. Le Sacre Coeur is the quintessential French restaurant, humble in character but high quality home style cooking.

Chika
Chika

3Course a new restaurant on Essex Road in Islington. We were surprised its not on Time Out. The place is new, and we have been for their lunch, weekend brunch and just tried the evenings, all have been just so refreshing. Could not believe all menus are different and so fresh with balanced diet on each plate with a scandinavian influenced menu. Just thought we would pass this on.

Claire Ottley
Claire Ottley

Please review Food Lab - 56 Essex Rd London, N1 8LR. Their website isnt up and running yet, however this place is a local gem! Its a Cafe, Deli and Restaurant, run by Liliana Tamberi. It's rustic Italian food, she owns an Olive grove in Tuscany and cooks with it and sell it by the bottle at Food Lab. The menu has a delicous Italian cooked breakfast that consists of roasted veg, scrambled egg, the most amazing Tuscan saugages, fried egg, homemade tomatoe beans and fresh focaccia. Homemade pasta, eat in or take away in glass jars. Salad bar that can be taken away in glass jars, home made preserves, pickles all on the menu and for sale. Everything I have tasted seesm to be bursting with flavour, with a really homemade rustic style. The waiting staff are predominantly Italian with little english, however it does seem to make the dining expirience more authentic! Lol. Please go and review this one off orginal spot that seems to be doing so well. Thanks .

Sean
Sean

HOW can the reviews in pne of the most subscribed London Guides, in one of the most diverse/popular food & drink destinations in London, be so dismally out if date...? Good luck with the Compass or S&M... long gone. Poor, poor effort Time Out...

Zoe Restaurant
Zoe Restaurant

Hi guys, I think you are missing on one great restaurant called Zoe on main drag of upperstreet , islington. They are ranked on #61 in 10,870 restaurant in London on trip advisor and that's how we found them. Fabulous food and good service .serves French Mediterranean food and excellent wine to accompany. You should add them to your list of upperstreet restaurant

Deirdre Walker
Deirdre Walker

Roots, indian resteraunt, in Hemingford rd, barnsbury islington, is wonerful, the food superb , the service fantastic, and the leafy barnsbury area,perfect. Food not too hot either ,very delicate, tasty food. friendly place, good wine from India .sunday lunch a great find , seats outside and child friendly.