London's best gastropubs

Discover pubs in London with something special on the menu

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Time Out’s critics have anonymously eaten at and reviewed scores of the finest pubs serving good food all over London. Here we pick the best of the best – and our list of gastropubs is regularly updated. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Anchor & Hope

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Once there was just St John, then former St John chefs started to create their own restaurants using the same template – head-to-tail ingredients in simple but artful combinations, served up in a relaxed setting. The Anchor & Hope, which opened more than a decade ago, is still showing how it’s done. Handy for both the Young and Old Vics, it consists of a straightforward pub divided by a heavy central curtain from a dining room. Bookings aren’t taken, so most evenings you

  1. 36 The Cut, SE1 8LP
  2. Main courses (Mon-Sat) £12-£20. Set lunch...
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Eagle

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Widely credited with launching the food-in-pubs revolution when it opened in its current form in 1991, the Eagle has long since passed into both legend and middle age. Still, if some of the kids it inadvertently spawned put half as much effort into their food as the Eagle, ‘gastropub’ might not have become such a dirty word – this high-ceilinged corner room remains a cut above the competition. Nothing’s changed since last you were here: the globetrotting mains are still

  1. 159 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AL
  2. Main courses £5.10-£15
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Empress

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4

‘Yorkshire fettle, radicchio, grapefruit and fennel salad now on,’ chef Elliott Lidstone had tweeted. And what a treat: a salad that, as salads seldom do, seemed much more than the sum of its parts with grilled radicchio, pink grapefruit, wafer-thin fennel, plus tiny capers and parsley, and the more subtle British version of feta. Crisp slivers of pig’s ear with apple sauce was a world-beating bar snack to match the local beers on a terrific drinks list. Half a hollowed-out

  1. 130 Lauriston Road, E9 7LH
  2. Main courses £12-£17
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The Gun

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Typical of the ETM chain, the Gun is an attractively spruced-up pub, with attentive staff and stiff prices. The focus is on making both diners and drinkers feel at home. The restaurant menu is available throughout – not just in the smartly dressed dining space – and there’s a standalone bar menu too. The handsome bar counter is lined with real ales (Adnams bitter is a regular, and there’s always a guest ale), but also offers cocktails and a global wine list. Cooking is

  1. 27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS
  2. Main courses £12.50-£28
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Cat & Mutton

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘Hell is other people,’ Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote. And he’d not even tried to get a table for dinner in Hackney’s Broadway Market on a warm Friday night. Every table in every venue on the street is heaving, and drinkers are spilling on to the pavement. Making your way to the bar counter and back in the Cat & Mutton takes navigational skills that would challenge a spawning eel. Yet we found it – the last free table, home to the most hotly anticipated, no-bookings

  1. 76 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ
  2. Meal for two with drinks and service: around...
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Bull & Last

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

For a place with such a good reputation for its food, the Bull & Last is refreshingly pubby: heavy wooden furniture, velvet drapes, stuffed animals and old prints decorate both the bar and the upstairs dining room. The latter is a calmer and cooler place to eat than the ground-floor bar, and allows diners to focus on dishes such as king scallop carpaccio with pink grapefruit, crème fraîche, coriander and vinaigrette or pig’s cheek with watermelon pickle, basil and sesame –

  1. 168 Highgate Road, NW5 1QS
  2. Main courses £14-£34
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Old Red Cow

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

The old red cow herself, if she wasn’t apocryphal, probably didn’t have a pleasant visit to this pub’s manor – Long Lane was an ancient cattle route to Smithfield meat market. You can see the cupolas, domes and reliefs of London’s temple of butchery through the front windows of this refurbed Victorian site, which no longer uses its antique ‘Ye Olde’ prefix and has turned its focus to serving very good beer. New owners haven't mucked about with The Cow’s exterior,

  1. 71 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ
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Harwood Arms

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

The Harwood Arms looks like a pub (albeit an upmarket one) with its large windows, cream walls and green panelling, widely spaced scrubbed tables and bar counter proffering a couple of real ales on tap – but, really, it’s a restaurant. And a much sought-after one at that, so expect to book, provide credit card details and be given a two-hour time slot. Prime British produce is key, with a mounted deer’s head reminding diners that game is a speciality (vegetarians, take

  1. Corner of Walham Grove and Farm Lane, SW6 1QP
  2. Main courses £19-£22. Set lunch (Tue-Fri)...
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Crabtree

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Situated on a fine stretch of the riverbank between Hammersmith and Putney bridges, this vast Victorian venue is within shouting distance of Craven Cottage, the homely home of Fulham Football Club. It's been given a grandiose, gastro-tastic going over, and is the latest feather in the bow of posh boozer specialist Realpubs. We've also been mightily impressed by two of their other venues recently, The Queen Adelaide in Shepherd's Bush and The Pembroke in Earl's Court. Housed

  1. Rainville Road, W6 9HA
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Horseshoe

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

‘Home of the Camden Town Brewery’ reads the menu. But yes, this is the heart of Hampstead – presumably Jasper Cuppaidge, the thirtysomething Australian who runs both this cheery pub and the brewery (which has moved from the pub’s basement to close-but-no-cigar Kentish Town), thought naming a beer label after one of London’s poshest neighbourhoods might alienate more drinkers than it would attract. You’ll find the full range of Camden keg beers here (Ink, a moreish

  1. 28 Heath Street, NW3 6TE
  2. Main courses £8-£26
More info
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