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Islington restaurants

Find the best places to eat in Islington from Upper Street’s stretch of restaurants and beyond

Kris Piotrowski
There’s plenty to please the sophisticated palate in N1. Turkish delights on Upper Street, poshed-up gastropubs and modern European brasseries. Think we’ve missed out a great restaurant in Islington? Let us know in the comments box below

The best restaurants in Islington

Afghan Kitchen

This long-running restaurant overlooking Islington Green is so well loved it has never had to change much. The two-floor premises are bright and clean, with spring-green and grey paintwork, simple blond-wood tables and stools, and no decoration beyond a few pot plants. The menu of Afghan home cooking is equally straightforward: eight dishes (three meat, one fish, four vegetarian), with the focus on hearty, warming stews featuring plenty of yoghurt and mint, and subtle rather than fiery spicing.

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Angel

Antepliler

The Upper Street branch of Antepliler is certainly glitzier than its more functional Green Lanes counterpart. Obviously, the Islington location called for something more memorable, hence the neon-blue mosaics on glossy black walls, and chunky chandeliers dangling from every ceiling. This Ottoman nightclub style might be an acquired taste, but the menu, which specialises in dishes from Gaziantep, is an instant winner – think braised lamb atop smoked mashed aubergine, and koftes slow-cooked in pomegranate sauce.

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Barnsbury

Bellanger

Venue says: “A relaxed, all-day, traditional French restaurant on Islington Green. Join us for a simple cup of coffee with cake or enjoy a 'grand repas'.”

This Islington-based Wolseley spin-off from Corbin & King, with its polished wood panelling, smoky mirrors and flattering lighting, is a gorgeous art nouveau homage to the Alsatian brasseries that proliferated in Paris during the Belle Epoque. The abundance of cosy booths ups the atmosphere ante, while the food is simple, yet flawless: try the excellent veal schnitzel, or the towering choucroûte, and finish with the amandine, a three-nut ice cream smothered in butterscotch sauce. Service, as ever, is also impeccable.

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Islington
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Elk in the Woods

This cool yet rustic bar-turned-restaurant is still the haunt of choice for locals wanting a leisurely martini, seasonal cocktail or glass of bubbly after work. It’s hard not to be tempted by the menu, though: all-day breakfasts range from homemade granola with poached pears and yoghurt to pancakes stacked with smoked bacon and homemade blueberry ice cream; specials on the dinner menu include juicy onglet steaks with herbed mushrooms and veal jus.

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Angel

Frederick’s

Venue says: “Frederick's is a family-run restaurant and bar in Angel, Islington. Fixed price menu from £15.50 for two courses, cocktails and a fab garden”

The slightly ritzy plush of Frederick’s entrance cocktail bar, the surprising spaciousness of the dining room beyond, the striking 1980s artwork, the lofty conservatory and pretty hidden garden – all these factors combine to convey the idea that a meal here is a bit of a treat. Menus change with the seasons, with the likes of pan-fried scallops on celeriac risotto topped with shaved truffle in spring, and gourmet barbecue dishes courtesy of a Big Green Egg in summer.

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Angel

The Gate

This award-winning vegetarian restaurant is a class act, with a modern, monochrome interior, open kitchen, huge windows and on-trend industrial-style lighting. Every dish is beautifully presented, with bespoke condiments to complement the leading flavours: think couscous-and-feta fritters with spiced carrot dip, heirloom beetroot tart with flaky pastry and a creamy herb sauce, and cheese-filled aubergine schnitzel with fiery horseradish cream. Friendly staff accommodate food allergies and intolerances with practised ease – an added bonus if you’re dining with a group [there’s always one ;) ].

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Finsbury
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Isarn

Despite its longevity on the Islington scene, this long dining room still has a slinky, contemporary look thanks to its timeless black-and-white interiors and warm yellow lighting. It may look expensive, but its menu remains surprisingly wallet-friendly. Set lunches (bento boxes filled with curry, spring rolls, rice and fruit) offer particularly good value, while the à la carte mixes stalwarts such as pad thai with more unusual dishes (whose fiery spice has been dialled down for tender Western palates).

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Barnsbury

Little Georgia

While lacking the intimacy of the Bethnal Green original, Islington’s Little Georgia is still a happy find for anyone craving the hearty Eurasian cuisine of Georgia. The colourful dining room is stuffed with vintage Georgian artefacts and plastered with vintage political posters, while the menu, whose dishes are made by owner Tiko Tuskadze on site, is full of classics such as khachapuri (cheese-filled bread) and tabaka (spiced poussin with plum sauce and rice).

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Pentonville

Meat Liquor N1

It may have opened a branch in respectable N1, but this punk burger chain’s only concession to its neighbourhood location is the lifting of its embargo on taking bookings (hooray!). Otherwise, it’s business as usual: grungey, warehouse-style interiors (the walk to the heavily graffitied loos can feel a little apocalyptic), signature dishes including the celebrated Dead Hippie burger, fried pickles and calorific mac-and-cheese, plentiful cocktails, and music so loud you might as well be in a club. In other words: great fun.

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Barnsbury
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Oldroyd

Venue says: “Oldroyd offers a daily-changing European menu built around the best seasonal British ingredients.”

Tom Oldroyd, who was chef-director of Russell Norman’s tentacular hit Polpo from the beginning, knows a thing or two about feeding Londoners so well they want to come back every day for a week. At his deceptively laidback solo debut, with its fresh blue-and-white decor, the concise menu isn’t limited to Italy: smoked-haddock croquetas and goose rillettes share space with truffled gnocchi or caviar-flecked shrimp-and-clam tagliatelle – all delicious. Wines and cocktails are also seriously good – plus (joy!) you can book.

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Angel
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Find more Islington restaurants

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By: Tania Ballantine

Comments

9 comments
mark j
mark j

went to griller 66 in Stamford hill, had a REALLY nice lamb curry. Hope this new venture does well, certainly deserves to based on the food!

Timothy Smith
Timothy Smith

Memsaab Fine Indian Dining in Islington off Holloway Road on Westbourne Road is a great little hidden gem with quite surroundings which makes it ideal for romantics and couples as well as groups to enjoy great food at great prices. The decor and interior is simple yet classy and appealing with on the ball staff whose service skill is second to none. The variety of Indian food makes it a difficult choice but what ever you choose you will not be disappointed. Highly recommended place for any food lovers.

Frank Hawk
Frank Hawk

Le Sacre Coeur; a lovely French restaurant. The service and decoration there are both amazing. The place is decorated in a typical French style- tables covered with checked table cloth and lovely flower pots. Restaurant is not big but atmosphere is cosy and relaxing. Le Sacre Coeur is the quintessential French restaurant, humble in character but high quality home style cooking.

Chika
Chika

3Course a new restaurant on Essex Road in Islington. We were surprised its not on Time Out. The place is new, and we have been for their lunch, weekend brunch and just tried the evenings, all have been just so refreshing. Could not believe all menus are different and so fresh with balanced diet on each plate with a scandinavian influenced menu. Just thought we would pass this on.

Claire Ottley
Claire Ottley

Please review Food Lab - 56 Essex Rd London, N1 8LR. Their website isnt up and running yet, however this place is a local gem! Its a Cafe, Deli and Restaurant, run by Liliana Tamberi. It's rustic Italian food, she owns an Olive grove in Tuscany and cooks with it and sell it by the bottle at Food Lab. The menu has a delicous Italian cooked breakfast that consists of roasted veg, scrambled egg, the most amazing Tuscan saugages, fried egg, homemade tomatoe beans and fresh focaccia. Homemade pasta, eat in or take away in glass jars. Salad bar that can be taken away in glass jars, home made preserves, pickles all on the menu and for sale. Everything I have tasted seesm to be bursting with flavour, with a really homemade rustic style. The waiting staff are predominantly Italian with little english, however it does seem to make the dining expirience more authentic! Lol. Please go and review this one off orginal spot that seems to be doing so well. Thanks .

Sean
Sean

HOW can the reviews in pne of the most subscribed London Guides, in one of the most diverse/popular food & drink destinations in London, be so dismally out if date...? Good luck with the Compass or S&M... long gone. Poor, poor effort Time Out...

Zoe Restaurant
Zoe Restaurant

Hi guys, I think you are missing on one great restaurant called Zoe on main drag of upperstreet , islington. They are ranked on #61 in 10,870 restaurant in London on trip advisor and that's how we found them. Fabulous food and good service .serves French Mediterranean food and excellent wine to accompany. You should add them to your list of upperstreet restaurant

Deirdre Walker
Deirdre Walker

Roots, indian resteraunt, in Hemingford rd, barnsbury islington, is wonerful, the food superb , the service fantastic, and the leafy barnsbury area,perfect. Food not too hot either ,very delicate, tasty food. friendly place, good wine from India .sunday lunch a great find , seats outside and child friendly.