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Casa Pastor
Sam Ashton

The best restaurants in King’s Cross

Discover the top restaurants, cafés and gastropubs around King’s Cross

Edited by
Leonie Cooper
Written by
Time Out London Food & Drink
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Once upon a time, the only reason to grab a bite at King’s Cross was if you were waiting for your train. But this once-grimy post-industrial area has undergone an impressive regeneration, and these days it’s packed with fine restaurants. Be it the lofty, warehouse-sized joints around Granary Square, the trendy cafés in Coal Drops Yard or the hip little spots around lower Pentonville, there’s something for all tastes (and budgets, high or low). Check out our list of the best, below. Or dine further afield by trying out the best restaurants in London

The best restaurants in King’s Cross

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • King’s Cross
  • price 3 of 4

Parrillan is the smart outdoor spin-off from the peeps behind neighbouring Barrafina and is something special. DIY cooking on a parilla (grill) is what you’re here to do, Spanish-style. The seafood, from shimmering scallops to fabulously fresh red prawns, was stunning. Don't forget the para picar; with the likes of pan con tomate and ham croquetas bringing a touch of sunshine to this al fresco rooftop restaurant.  

Barrafina King’s Cross
  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • King’s Cross
  • price 3 of 4

Spanish mini-chain Barrafina has been breaking foodie hearts ever since it first arrived on Frith Street way back in 2007. This branch, on the upper level of Coal Drops Yard, comes with outdoor seating to soak up the sun and, in a Barrafina first, there are even two tables for four inside. Don’t miss the eggy, gooey tortilla and the classic croquetas filled with rich, Spanish-style blood pudding.

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Itadaki Zen
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • King’s Cross

Japanese, vegan and organic? What’s not to love? And, rest assured, we do love this cool little miracle near King’s Cross station. Only the slurping of noodles disturbs the place’s zen-like tranquillity, as punters dip into a virtuously healthy menu that makes the most of a few key ingredients (expects lots of tofu and seaweed). Laidback staff go with the flow, while zealous foodie workshops, art exhibitions and live music make Itadaki even more lovable.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Global
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

Another small-plates spot in Coal Drops Yard, Hicce is right above a shop called Wolf & Badger. That might not seem like the nicest place to dine, but this slick, industrial-style space from Murano-trained chef Pip Lacey has oodles of atmosphere and a vibrant, snacky menu that we love. Expect things like goat’s-cheese-stuffed peppers and lamb adana kebabs, and don’t skip the bread. The delicately yeasty beer version is to die for.

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Dishoom
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • King’s Cross

Whirling ceiling fans, vintage Indian magazine ads and other retro wheezes set the scene for some post-colonial romping at this swish London take on an old ‘Irani café’. It’s all very design-conscious and slick, but there’s no arguing with the food – a spicy all-day repertoire running from bhel pooris to biryanis. Expect crazy queues in the evenings (check booking restrictions), though the basement bar is a godsend.

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • King’s Cross

A Spanish-Mexican eatery located on the 10th floor of The Standard hotel. Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias has created a buzzing mid-century lounge filled with cacti, succulents and terracotta tiles. Decimo’s wide-ranging menu invites diners to begin with small plates all tapas fans will recognise – tortilla, jamon, croquettas – before moving on to a more than substantial second half featuring meat, fish and a range of vegetable mains.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

Eat as many tacos at you can at Casa Pastor, a massive Mexican restaurant at Coal Drops Yard from the team behind the much-loved El Pastor in Borough Market. The addictive, slightly chewy corn tortillas are made in-house: order a bunch of them, topped with the likes of juicy pork shoulder and pineapple, and lightly battered sea bass, then feast on some crispy, sugary churros with warm chocolate sauce for pud.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Caledonian Road
  • price 2 of 4

Another gem on Caledonian Road, Kaki is a spacious, low-key Sichuan restaurant where the food is spicy and the servings are huge. Go hungry, with a group of pals who like to eat, and feast on hot delights like chilli-fried chicken served over numbing peppercorns, and frog legs with four kinds of chilli. Not so much of a lunch spot, but the perfect, buzzy place to wind down after work with a meal and a couple of drinks.

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Casa Tua King’s Cross
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • King’s Cross

This low-key neighbourhood Italian is a lovely place to linger over a light lunch and a good coffee thanks to its handful of pavement tables and exceptionally friendly owner. Opt for delicious fresh pasta, or just stop in for an aperitivo, as they bring a tasty array of snacks to your table.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • King’s Cross

Compared to some of its other branches, the King’s Cross offshoot of Caravan is a grandiose urbane proposition – all concrete floors, girders and exposed pipework. The industrial-themed interior isn’t built for intimacy, but it still has a laidback buzz and great people-watching opportunities. As expected, this outlet boasts welcoming, efficient staff and a menu of what it calls ‘well-travelled food’ – ie plates of global fusion ranging from lamb ribs with chermoula to Burmese chicken salad.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Gray’s Inn Road

A trip to Paris on the Eurostar might be the best way to indulge in an oh-là-là French café experience, but what’s the next best thing? A trip to King’s Cross and a visit to this endearing little café – a mere boule’s-throw from the Eurostar terminal. Aux Pains de Papy already has a loyal following of office workers seeking their daily bread and satisfying lunchtime sandwiches, but it’s also worth seeking out for patisserie and boulangerie.

Coal Office
  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • King’s Cross
  • price 3 of 4

Fan of The Palomar and The Barbary? Then you’ll love Coal Office, a swish Tom Dixon-designed spot in Coal Drops Yard with some of this city’s best Middle Eastern food. Everything is bold and memorable here: expect delights like fennel with a yoghurt-harissa dressing and seriously good puds like rice pudding with flavours of mango and kaffir lime.

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Morty & Bob’s
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • King’s Cross
  • price 1 of 4

The only thing you need to know about Morty & Bob’s is that it serves grilled cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s the reason to go: for this street-food-stall-turned-café’s golden, gooey, oozing cheese toastie, cut into halves and stuffed with lovely things like onions, spicy ’nduja sausage, or mushrooms and truffle. Aside from that, this cosy all-day spot in Coal Drops Yard does stellar speciality coffee all day, along with fresh lunches and bar food at night.

Granger & Co
  • Restaurants
  • Fusion
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

The King’s Cross outpost of Aussie Bill Granger’s all-day sunny-side-up eatery references just about every on-trend fad and fashion on the current foodie agenda: small plates, grains, Korean riffs, Hawaiian-style poké bowls, Thai curries and all sorts of other multicultural stuff. Granger is also known for giving good brunch, and this spot has the added bonus of in-demand alfresco tables on a quiet piazza.

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The Lighterman
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

Spread over three floors, with a canalside terrace thrown in for good measure, this swanky crowd-pleasing gastropub/bar doesn’t do things by half. The cooking’s sound (if unsurprising) and the kitchen shows off all the right moves: expect wood-fired grills, organic spelt flatbreads and chips in weeny metal baskets, plus the usual (new) suspects – crispy squid, superfood salads, trendy burgers et al. ‘Handy’ sums it up. 

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Kimchee
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

A large, low-lit Korean spot in that slightly corporate new bit of King’s Cross by the Google offices, Kimchee is a good option for a quick, no-frills lunch or dinner if you can’t be bothered waiting for a table up the road in Coal Drops Yard. Try the greasy, thick udon with fiery fried chicken or the crisp-edged tofu stir-fried with pork and topped with sour, you guessed it, kimchi.  

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