Just north of Finsbury Park station and straddling the Islington-Haringey border, Stroud Green Road is a relatively undiscovered gem that still has the feel of a real neighbourhood. Despite being the main bus route up to the lofty heights of Crouch End and Muswell Hill, this high street is so much more than a thoroughfare. Londoners are flocking to it in increasing numbers, and not just because the hipsters have discovered the delights of Rowans bowling alley as a pseudo-ironic party destination. Stroud Green Road is one of the best streets for eating out in north London and, unlike other foodie hot spots (we’re looking at you, Upper Street), this one is fairly free of chains. With eateries to suit all cravings and wallet sizes, you could spend a waistband-expanding day and night here, falling in and out of restaurants, cafés and pubs until you need to take a nap.
Great scoffing opportunities aside, take a short stroll from the station and you’ll stumble across streets of beautiful Victorian houses and a sprawling, leafy park so peaceful that you could almost forget you’re in the capital.
What really makes this area special is the community, with its impressive mix of nationalities, ages, families and Arsenal fans all living alongside each other in harmony – and feeling smug about being so near well-connected transport links.
A pint in the massive multi-tiered secret garden at the Faltering Fullback. Tucked just off the main road, it’s the ultimate sunny spot for a beer and some cheap Thai food.
Real ale at the Stapleton Tavern. This friendly locals’ favourite has great food, fun movie nights and tough quizzes (with appropriately hefty cash prizes).
The handmade pasta at Il Piccolo Diavolo, two minutes up from Stroud Green Road, is just like mamma used to make. Delicious daily specials will send you into a carb-induced delirium.
Huge portions of delicious and affordable Turkish food at Petek.
Dolsot bibimbap from Dotori. This tiny Japanese and Korean restaurant is deservedly packed out every night.
Any of the massive, bready delights from Max’s Sandwich Shop. Get your hands messy with a meal-in-itself sarnie.
The special thali at Jai Krishna. This no-frills BYO vegetarian Indian restaurant serves up sizeable portions of cheap and cheerful grub.
A swankyish meal out at Season Kitchen. As the name suggests, the food is as seasonal as possible, well-sourced and slightly pricy, but damn fine.
Explore the 110 acres of Finsbury Park. There’s more to it than Wireless Festival. Stroll around the boating lake, tennis courts and café, then chill in one of the many surprisingly peaceful spots.
Catch a gig at endangered independent music venue the Silver Bullet.
See a play at the Park Theatre. This neighbourhood theatre attracts some noteworthy productions.
A whole new look at Pak’s Cosmetics. There are three branches of this wonderful haircare, beauty and wig supermarket.
Lovingly handpicked vintage and mid-century furniture at MoseyHome.
A late night takeaway bagel from the Happening Bagel Bakery. Forget Brick Lane – real breadheads go straight to Finsbury Park.
If you only do one thing…
Drink boozy slush puppies at Rowans bowling alley. Relive your youth smashing out strikes, warbling along to karaoke tunes or just getting down to some sexy R&B on the small, sticky dancefloor.
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