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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Hibiscus

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

Chef Claude Bosi opened a gastropub in Fulham in 2012 to go with his other one in Wimbledon, but he clearly hasn’t taken his eye off this flagship restaurant. There’s no à la carte (unless you really want it), so choose three, six or eight courses – and marvel, as the extraordinarily composed dishes arrive on your table with military timing. On a ‘Taste of Spring’ menu, almost everything included a potentially unusual combination of fruit/savoury flavours – a single

  1. 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA
  2. Set lunch £34.953 courses. Set dinner £87.95...
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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

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  1. 27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS
  2. Main courses £12.50-£28
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Jugged Hare

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

After years of very thin pickings, the Barbican has recently acquired not one but two classy gastropubs. This, and the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms (opened in 2011) are both part of Ed and Tom Martin’s ten-strong empire. The Jugged Hare was once called the King’s Head; it’s been handsomely remodelled, with a lovely oak floor, red leather seating and more than a scattering of stuffed and mounted animals. The bar is an idealised version of an old drinking haunt; pints of

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  1. 49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA
  2. Main courses £12-£27. Set meal (5.30-6.30pm,...
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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

  1. 71 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ
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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
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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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Princess of Shoreditch

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Neil Rankin has now joined the Princess of Shoreditch and the menu has since changed. The review below refers to the previous menu. - The Food and Drink Editors, July 2014 Up the spiral staircase from the bustling downstairs bar, the dining room at this 250-year-old corner premises is a good-looking, cosy space. A dozen linen-clothed tables – candlelit at night – are served by a small team of young, efficient staff. Choosing from a menu that included wild boar scotch egg,

  1. 76-78 Paul Street, EC2A 4NE
  2. Main courses £11.50-£19. Set lunch (Tue-Fri)...
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