Candid Arts Café

Restaurants, Mediterranean Angel
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Candid Arts Café
© Heloise Bergman

Expect all manner of highbrow, bohemian conversation at this informal café close to Angel tube - it's part of the Candid Arts Centre, a progressive charity gallery with an emphasis on helping recently graduated artists and designers as they make their way in the world.

You'll find a fair few of them at the café. If they're tucking into the larger mains then it'll be dishes such as vegetarian lasagne, spinach and ricotta pie, Greek salad or salmon fillet with salsa, rice and salad. Simple soups, sandwiches and salads complete the savoury output.

It's perhaps most popular, though, as a coffee and cake kind of spot. Cheesecakes, apple crumbles, pecan pies and carrot cakes do brisk business alongside a variety of coffees and teas, as well as a selection of smoothies. 


Venue name: Candid Arts Café
Address: Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street
Opening hours: Meals served noon-10.30pm Mon-Thur, Sun; noon-11pm Fri, Sat.
Transport: Tube: Angel tube
Price: Main courses £4.90-£13. Set lunch £5.90 bento box.
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Average User Rating

2.4 / 5

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I have been going to Candid Café for nearly 20 years and the reason I keep going back is that there is nothing like it. Anywhere. It is a hidden gem and it is at the top of an arts studio in the back streets of Angel. I love it because it is super chilled out and it is made for sitting and chatting or quiet time away from home. There is a large sofa area with a huge painting of Venus lording over the room, lounging in her shell. It’s a room of shabby decadence. Like a place in a fairy tale where one revives and purchases a potion or two. With all that the café does have it’s failings. The chairs are well over 20 years old and are not the most comfy. The chairs are rickety and I fear that my rather round ass may break a chair, should a lean to the wrong angel. The food is nothing to write home about either. They also have stopped the BYOB in the eves. I say this with a heavy heart as I am mega fond of this place. I wish they would put some money into it and hire a decent chef or just someone who likes cooking! There is so much to this place and I still have it as my go to for catch ups with chums. I do this because it is just lovely and a coffee and slice of cake there is a good as any. This place could be great. 


You would never just walk down the street and "bump" into it, as the Candid Cafe is a hidden gem just off Upper Street. On a Saturday afternoon, all cafes in Angel were packed, with even queues outside, so getting to Candid was a safe haven. Up a few set of stairs, you end up in this cosy, cafe where there are small tables, sofas as well as a huge central table perfect for sharing. There is a large selection of teas, some cakes (gluten free and I'm afraid not great) and nice decoration (although it's a bit dark up there. and we need to be open-minded!). The food is really not good, so I would recommend for coffee/tea time rather than lunchtime. 


Candid Arts Cafe should really be on the top of my workday lunch spots. With shabby-chic decor, armchairs, warming comfort food and plenty of cake, the odds are stacked in its favour. Unfortunately, it just repeatedly fails to deliver on its promise. 

The dining room is very pretty, especially on a sun-soaked day, but unfortunately it offers only a veneer of comfort. The furniture veers a little too far towards shabby - the chairs lack cushioning and some tables wobble so much you'll be lucky if your food doesn't end up in your lap. The artwork is interesting and adds an eclectic charm, but the large (and rather well-endowed) nude on the end wall can be off-putting when you're chowing down. 

All of this could be forgiven if Candid Arts offered brilliant food. I admire the variety on offer - from a number of hot meals to salad and sandwiches (including those served on gluten free bread), and there'll always be something to take your fancy. Ultimately though, a more focused menu could lead to better quality. My chicken and chorizo stew had a lovely smokey flavour, but the chicken was chewy and the chorizo was present only in taste - I didn't actually find any. For £8, my small plate (accompanied by rice and salad) seemed meagre, and I left hungry. 

Perhaps I should've had dessert, but on a previous occasion my chocolate cake was so dry it's unfortunately put me off any of their baked goods. 

Candid Arts Cafe has a laudable premise and so much potential - I just wish they'd improve the quality of their food!


Just around the corner from Angel station and its hundreds of restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes, this little treasure is perfect if you're looking for a bit of quiet in one of the most vibrant parts of the city. The cosy decor is fantastic: destroyed armchairs and sofas, paints covering the red walls, candles and flowers on every table. It simply feels like home. They offer a choice of hot and cold drinks (get in there hot chocolate!) on top of deilicious cakes and simple lunch meals. Perfect to work, go on a date, enjoy a nice book or catch up with your best friend.

Tucked away down a side street and up one flight from street level, Candid Arts Cafe gives the impression of being a cafe that only those in the know are lucky enough to find. It's relatively spacious with lots of light, hard wood floors and decorated with patterned fabrics hanging on the walls. Smells of incense and there's no wifi so while it might be good place to read a book or chat with friends, if you've got work to do that requires Internet, you're out of luck. Mismatched couches and long wooden tables give this place a hippy charm but I'd say it's better on warmer, sunny days when you can take full advantage of the sunlight streaming through the large windows making it feel like a garden cafe. If you like the hippy vibe, I guess it would be perfect any time of year, but it lacks the cosy homey appeal in winter that this reviewer is craving.

0 of 2 found helpful

A cafe only accessible by two flights of steep stairs! I'm a fit 33 year old and it taxed me! And half way up the stairs - I squeeze past a group of ladies gathering or queuing outside the toilet. Nice touch! If this is the entree, I'm so looking forward to the main course! I nearly turned back at this point. Through two awkward doors and I'm met by a couple of teens on a sofa with a guitar and a half comatose "Hi". Who's this? A stoned waiter or have I gatecrashed a kids' sleepover? The cakes are in museum cases! Are they that old? They look OK, but no idea what they are. Eventually I get an order taken and I almost trip down some narrow, bitty steps and I'm in the main room that looks like a storeroom that's made a temporary effort. Not too bad, but bits of the ceiling on my table didn't fill me with joy. Eventually I get served by a less than conscious waitress that clearly would rather be somewhere else and right now they aren't the only one. Rubbish coffee and dead cake (you guess?). I left as quick as I could. This is a desperate place and you just know, with the way London is right now, that if I came back in 6 months it will be a fancy apartment development. This is a shame and given the opportunity, a disgrace. Avoid - there are great places to eat coffee and cake in London, this isn't one of them and you don't have to risk being killed by vast numbers of arrogance cyclists as you do getting here.