A digital media hub that nudges up against the City, Shoreditch is home to both hipsters and high-rollers, and its mix of eateries reflect this dual identity. Chic hotel restaurants and culinary destinations best visited on expenses cater to the suited and booted, while Cali-style cafés, new-wave Brit restaurants and dude-food dives supply hipsters with plenty of east-London Instagram fodder.
The best restaurants in Shoreditch
A modern café for style-conscious locals, Albion blends the bucolic and the urban, its tables heaving with freshly baked breads and cakes, its doorway flanked by baskets of vegetables, its on-trend white and wood interiors an orgy of laptops, beanies and beards. The all-day menu namechecks nearly every much-loved Brit dish imaginable: from the full English to bacon baps, kedgeree to devilled kidneys, and rabbit pie to Welsh rarebit. It’s expensive for a self-proclaimed ‘caff’, but modestly priced for a quality pit-stop.
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.
Venue says: “Spread across four Victorian railway arches, we offer a great vibe, welcoming crowd and freshly prepared food from our open kitchen.”
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.
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.
Clubby, smart, yet still somehow cool, this Spanish-Portuguese stalwart of the Shoreditch scene works well for both business and pleasure. In the main dining room, the moody, dark-wood interiors are brightened up with framed vintage tourism prints and starched tablecloths on the round tables; the more casual bar area has stools at high tables and a snack menu. There are no disappointing dishes here, but if in doubt, there’s a reason the charcoal-grilled solomillo ibérico has never been off the menu…
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.
Find more amazing restaurants in London
The ultimate guide to eating out in London – you’ll find it all: zeitgeist-defining celebrity haunts, simple but stunning food from some of the world’s most exciting chefs, Michelin-starred restaurants with starched linen napkins and places where you’ll have to eat with your fingers.
Flour to the People
A small bakery-cum-café in Battersea, specialising in sourdough bread and Neapolitan pizza. Head along for a freshly prepared breakfast, where even the butter is home-made. The wine list is small but inexpensive, and there are plenty of options for pizza toppings. They're on sourdough bases, and range from traditional margheritas, diavolas, capricciosas and neopolitanas to the more unusual option of English breakfast. A vegan option comes with seasonal vegetables. And for dessert? How about a pizza with vanilla Ice cream and nocciolata crema di cacao e nocciole? (Posh Italian Nutella, basically.)
Venue says: “We are starting a revolution! Handcrafted baked goods and fresh ingredients for the people! Join us for breakfast or brunch.”