The best restaurants in Shoreditch
Music exec-turned-restaurateur Martin Morales hasn’t put a foot wrong since he launched Ceviche Soho and we went collectively loco for pisco sours. This Shoreditch spin-off is a hoot: built on the same foundations as Ceviche (upbeat music, exotically zingy dishes and plentiful routes to a pisco-induced hangover), it changes the record slightly, adding Andean (do you know your Peruvian from your Andean cuisine?) dishes, street food, and a superfood slant. Close-set tables, sharing plates and a lively vibe put it firmly in Shoreditch’s ‘pleasure’ rather than ‘business’ camp.
Possibly the only hip restaurant in London where the customers sport more tattoos than the staff, this biker café/boutique/barbers makes two-wheeled petrol-heads mainstream. You don’t have to roar up to these arches on a custom-made motor – everyone is welcome – but if you do, you can shake off your leathers and savour a flat white, or tuck into generous portions of good food (the likes of charcuterie platters, huevos rancheros, superfood salads and veggie shepherd’s pie alongside more predictably ‘biker’ dishes).
Hats off to this dinky French bistro for its trend-bucking decor: this is a rare chance to dine out in east London sans the all-pervasive bare bulbs and battered brickwork aesthetic. Instead, we get richly coloured murals and gilt-framed mirrors on the scuffed plaster walls, spider plants dangling from the ceiling, and soft globe lighting, all of which prepare diners for a menu that mixes Marseilles with the Maghreb (cuisine from northwest Africa). Most dishes hit the mark, the service is lovely, and the vibe is winningly romantic.
Venue says 40-day dry-aged beef menu every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in Blanchette. Check our Instagram or website for tasters.
This fresh pasta specialist buzzes with activity as its pasta-makers deftly roll and fold their product behind the counter of the small, whitewashed venue. Most people buy by weight to take away, although there is a sit-down ‘tasting area’ further back. The monthly changing menu offers just a handful of ‘folds’ with seasonal toppings, but the signature dish of agnolotti cavour – ravioli filled with pork, beef and spinach bathed in sage butter – is always available. The only gripe? Parmesan costs extra.
This modern British restaurant is unusual for many reasons: on its no-choice menu, Isaac McHale, who was one of the first restaurateurs to make diners pay for their meal upon booking, cooks seasonal ingredients that other chefs ignore in surprising ways. Located in Shoreditch Town Hall, the sparse, utilitarian dining room makes a focus of its calm, collected open kitchen – every plate produced is a thing of straight-to-Instagram beauty. This place gets better with each visit.
This vegan canteen suits its shipping container setting in Shoreditch’s Boxpark down to a tee – inside, a friendly, community feel prevails despite the area’s hipsterishness. The cheap, upbeat menu has fun making bowl food brilliant: dishes with names such as ‘Rainbowl’, ‘Da Infamous’ and ‘High Grade’ – the latter comprising veggies stir-fried with hemp oil and covered in a sweet BBQ sauce that recalls the scent of marijuana – are filling, healthy and all under a tenner. Not just for vegans.
Wherever a branch of this slick Iran-via-India ‘café’ shows up, you’re guaranteed a fun time, and nowhere more so than at Dishoom Shoreditch. The vast dining room, overseen by an army of friendly staff, is split into stylistically different sections – a Bombay-esque railway café here, a colonial era verandah there. The menu is the same throughout: start with exotically spiced cocktails, then move onto inventive Indian small plates, with Dishoom signatures such as the black dal, and Shoreditch specials including the slow-cooked lamb raan.
Neapolitan-style pizza might still reign supreme in London – think pillowy sourdough bases and spare scatterings of quality ingredients –but the good people of Homeslice are making a serious claim to the crown with their gargantuan New York style pies. The 20-inch pizzas here are made for sharing (or gorging), while toppings are genuinely well-considered: think kimchi, porcini cream and basil or spiced lamb with savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt alongside standard margherita and salami numbers. You can get ’em by the slice too.
James Lowe was once a pop-up partner of Isaac McHale, and, like at McHale’s Clove Club, the no-choice, four-course dinner menu at Lowe’s cutting-edge solo restaurant goes big on foraged, oft-forgotten finds (dulse, verbena, ransoms), unusual cuts (monkfish liver, mutton breast) and very British ingredients (Jersey oysters, game, Neal’s Yard cheese). Lowe worked under Fergus Henderson, and it shows: the clinical all-white dining room shares St John’s minimalism, while the beautifully presented dishes are dazzling yet restrained.
With casual counter seating for the cool kids, plus elegant marble tables for grown-up business meetings, this smart, contemporary gem has one foot in each of Shoreditch’s clientele camps. Chef Selin Kiazim gives Turkish-Cypriot ingredients and dishes a modern, fusion spin: think smoky cocktails made with Cypriot brandy, or lahmacun flatbreads topped with marinated octopus, ricotta, herbs and honey, that you roll up with crunchy salad. The buzz is lively, the staff are lovely, and the prices are gentle on the average wallet.
If ‘Friends’ was still relevant, Joey and co would have ditched Central Perk for somewhere like Pizza East by now (although they’d be the oldest people in here). It’s very New York: a former warehouse with a rustic feel thanks to wall-to-wall wood and long shared tables, serving Italian-American nibbles, luxury pizzas, brunches and great cocktails. This being a Soho House venture, serious money was thrown at everything, from staff training to creating the exact right vibe – which explains the queues.
What d’ya get if you meld the small-plates creativity of Bocca di Lupo; the top-quality ingredients of River Café; the peripatetic, borrow-from-the-Med-and-Middle-East approach of Morito; and an ex-kickboxer chef who trained under Theo Randall? Popolo, that’s what. The food at this teeny-tiny Rivington Street joint is stunning, too. Check out the deep-fried olives, agnolotti pasta parcels filled with veal shoulder and the two-day-marinated bavette with chimichurri and you’ll see what we mean.
Venue says New wines? Come and find out as we have some delicious raw wines from our special suppliers.
A handsome pub downstairs, an elegant restaurant upstairs, The Princess reigns supreme in east London by being all things to all people. In the faintly regal dining room, the modern, seasonal menu is admirably free from gastropub clichés: starters include crab corn dogs with gochujang mayo; mains range from cod with hispi cabbage and beer sauce to pork chops with whipped lardo and apple ketchup. Drinks are just as interesting and the Sunday roasts are worth a journey east.
Margot Henderson’s awfully well known ‘hidden treasure’ is a dinky, discreet, restaurant located in the bike shed of a former school. Inside, things are prettily low-key, with white walls and jugs of flowers on the tables; on warm days, snap up sought-after spaces in the allotment-cum-yard. Simple Brit dishes on the short, daily menus include pea and mint soup, duck offal and bacon skewers, or boozy, oozy Welsh rarebit. This is heart-and-soul dining that should really cost more – not that we’re complaining.
Raising the steaks in the capital’s meat market is this vast London branch of a highly respected Basque steakhouse chain. You’ll need to dig deep for the taste of the Basque Country that Sagardi offers – this is pricey even by City standards. However, a meal here is a sound investment: the signature txuletón, for example, is expertly grilled over oak until smokily charred on the outside and perfectly pink in the middle, and there are wines aplenty with which to pair it.
The clue’s in the name: this former street-food sensation built its reputation on having its own smoker and knowing exactly what to do with it. Now, at its industrial-styled permanent site, it’s serving barbecue 2.0 and putting that smoker through its paces. The must-order dish is the moist, smoky, sweet and salty beef brisket, served in a bun with bone-marrow butter and barbecue sauce – it’s insanely hyped but insanely good. Dress up, but in forgiving clothes (there are no skinny options here).
Shoreditch can be a real drag in the evenings, the textbook hordes of cool kids coming in wave after ‘Walking Dead’-style wave. But lo: head to Tratra for some subterranean solace. Set in the basement of the Boundary Hotel, French chef Stéphane Reynaud’s first London joint is a meaty marvel. Cheap it is not, but when the food’s on point – think eel-topped sable biscuits, killer charcuterie and main plates of brown butter-doused sweetbreads – it’s seriously formidable. Factor in a couple of bottles of claret, naturally.