The Diner

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46 Love It
© Jitka Hynkova
Camden Town

The Camden branch of this popular chain was packed when we went for lunch, and the loud soundtrack (Johnny Cash, the Stones) made conversation difficult. Even more difficult was figuring out the appeal of the place, with its dark walls distinctly un-diner-like and its menu that reads like nothing you’ll see in US diners.

This chain is basically about burgers, breakfast and booze – with a section of hot dogs and a few sandwiches and salads thrown in. We could live without the authenticity if the Diner’s food were better. In our two sandwiches, grilled cajun chicken breast and the ‘Diner Po Boy’, made with soft-shell crab, execution was woeful: stiffly breaded crabs had little taste of their own, and the fillings of swiss cheese (leathery), dill pickles and ‘heirloom’ tomatoes (both wilted) didn’t make much impact.

The chicken sandwich was marginally better, but again the filling were lacklustre. Coleslaw was way too sweet. Fries were the high point, crisp and hot, and service is sweet and smiling. Perhaps the burgers and dogs are better, but in all it’s hard to see how someone who had eaten in a good American diner would want to eat at this Diner.

 

Venue name: The Diner
Contact:
Address: 2 Jamestown Road
London
NW1 7BY
Opening hours: Meals served 10am-11pm Mon-Thur; 10am-midnight Fri; 9am-midnight Sat; 9am-11pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Camden Town tube
Price: Main courses £5.20-£9
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|12
1 person listening
Joe_greenway
1 of 1 found helpful

Very friendly staff, warm atmosphere and good sized portions - I ate there last night and haven't been able to eat since!

jutney
Tastemaker

The Diner has good service, something that is not that common in London; but a good burger is not that hard to find and that is not a place for that... People in my table who ordered hotdogs seemed to be much happier than the ones who ordered burgers – I might try the hotdog if there is a next time.

The very confusing menu design with too many options seems to be trying (too) hard to impress, but I’d definitely prefer less options that are better cared for...
The cocktails were all very sweet, and the milk shake ‘cocktails’ were (less surprisingly) also too sweet: they seem to be alcoholic drinks for people who don’t like alcohol. 

Kemi O

The food is great, and it definitely as that American feel with the jumbo portions. It does get very busy, and the waiting time can be a little long, but if you're not in a rush, then it's a cool spot to get some good grub.

Poppy L
Tastemaker

I’m a big fan of The Diner and it always does the trick! However having recently visited the Camden branch for the first time I was a bit disappointed. There is a peculiar layout with one of the tables facing the front door (and its frustrated queue). The food is as good as the other branches, with brilliant corndogs, wings, burgers and milkshakes, but the staff didn’t take our order for 30 minutes and we considered leaving at one point. The toilets were a 6/10!

Scott P

Great place to eat for a quick bite to eat. I have to get their chilli fries every time!

London Aficionado
Tastemaker

Anyone who’s ever been in a real American Diner (and I’ve been in several) will tell you it’s a unique experience. I’ve yet to find anything that matches it over here. So, when I first became aware of The Diner back in 2005, I was of course very intrigued. I decided to make a trip to the Ganton Street branch, off Carnaby Street, to try them out. That was my first time. I thought I’d pop back there again last week, as I hadn’t been for quite some while. It’s a bit clichéd, with its red leather seating, bar stools and 50s faux-ambience. I go mainly when I have a craving for pancakes, which I particularly loved in the states. The picture I posted of my Lumberjack Breakfast on social media drew more than one reaction of ‘that looks awesome!’, but in reality it wasn’t really in the same league as the equivalent I’ve tasted in US Diners. Filling enough though. As for drinks, there were too many tinned beers behind the bar for my liking (sacrilege!) and the beer selection in general was quite pricey, at an average of £5.00 for mainly 330-355ml servings. The service was brisk and friendly though. No complaints there. But the bottom line is, if you really want the true American Diner experience, nothing beats the real thing. And, you get big city/small town America outside your Diner window! There’s just the tiny problem of the airfare …

Kemi O

The Diner is a pretty cool spot, with an 'amercanised' feel to it. The food is sumptuous and extremely filling. This one is definitely a fave.

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Sublimely average. You have to order your chips separately to your burger, you have to eat out of a basket...it doesn't do anything like a real diner. Very average.

Mr K

It almost seems to me, like people in Camden eat here simply because it's called The Diner and 'diners are retro'. It hasn't got much to do with a real diner, some attempts at american food, but definitely wouldn't classify this as THE Diner. There is a few really tasty dishes however, great taco salad and a reasonable cobb. Breakfast is better than anything else (all eggs are pretty good). All in all for UK diner standards this is a great place yet incomparable to any US diner. As the Time Out review said, one could deal with the non-authenticity. However, the service is completely dysfunctional. It takes way too long for anyone to take a drink and food orders let alone getting the bill and waiting for the card machine. One of the cases when the 'optional' service charge already added to the bill really grinds your gears.