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Back in 2012, when pop-ups were springing up faster than Olympics refuseniks, pop-up Rita’s caused something of a stir with its winning mix of quirky bar food and inventive, alcohol-heavy cocktails. It’s now found a permanent home in a long, thin two-floor space on Mare Street between a launderette and one of Hackney’s ubiquitous fried chicken shops, and has wisely retained the trademarks of its first outing; friendly, un-attitudey staff serving an odd but appealing international cuisine mix that takes in spiced noodles with pig’s head ham, fried cheese, meatloaf with onions, and crispy roast duck. There’s a partyish feel to sharing such unusual combos, and some impressive cooking: notably in Rita’s signature fried chicken; in a dense, deep fish stew; and in a starter of ox tongue with a black bean puree.

A couple of party poopers – soggy pepper squid and hot soy ginger hot wings, both slathered in gloopy sauce that bore few traces of heat, ginger or pepper – tried to spoil the fun on our visit, but were shouted down by elements zinging on the plate and a quirky feel carried through to drinks like a Frozen Rita – a tequila Slush Puppy with hibisucus and lime – served in a paper cup, and prosecco served in an old-skool tumbler. Rita’s has clearly found its proper place; the night after our visit a friend Instagrammed a pic of her dulce de leche beignets with foie gras, which sum up Rita’s: it shouldn’t work, but it does.



Venue name: Rita's
Address: 175 Mare Street
E8 3RH
Opening hours: Meals served 6-11pm Tues; noon-2.45pm, 6-10.45pm Mon-Fri; 11am-3.45pm, 6-10.45pm Sat; 11am-4.45pm Sun.
Transport: Tube: London Fields rail ; Bus: 55, 48, 277, 26, 106, D6
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £70.

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
2 people listening

Horrible greasy and expensive with too loud music and bad staff

Agnes J

Went to Rita's for lunch. The food was tasty, but portions are tiny and SO overpriced. Don't go if you are hungry!

chris b

Mugged & Hungry on Mare Street.  When professing to offer an "American style dining experience" It's worth remembering that Americans enjoy.  1. Value for money 2. Generous portions 3. Down to earth friendly service & 4. Tasty food. Only ONE of the above were evident during my visit.


one of best in hackney.

fast line minicab service 02085332727


Best restaurant in London! Have been a few times and always have a great meal. Specials are always different and compliment the main menu. Good atmosphere too.


Fun and friendly with a Southern take on good old British breakfast and more exotic fare for lunch and dinner.