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Olympic Park area guide

Keep busy in E20 with Time Out's guide to restaurants, bars, pubs and things to do around the Olympic Park

As London's newest postcode, E20 (playfully shared with the fictional Walford of ‘EastEnders’ fame) is as shiny and culturally anodyne as you'd expect. Some of the gleaming rows of modern apartment blocks were used by athletes as accommodation for the 2012 Olympics, so you never know; your room might be the one in which Usain Bolt celebrated his 100m victory with the Swedish handball team and some cardboard boxes. Westfield is just a hop skip and a jump away, packed full of eateries with a smattering of bars, too. Not forgetting the specially landscaped park and wetlands are a lovely, wildlife-rich place for a serene wander. Get in now.

Restaurants in Olympic Park

Jamie's Italian, Stratford
Restaurants

Jamie's Italian, Stratford

When Jamie's Italian was first conceived, the starting point was to re-create what Italians are most proud of - fantastic, rustic dishes, using recipes that have been tried, tested and loved! Jamie talks about "feeling Italian" and in Gennaro Contaldo, we can tap into real thing. A great mentor for our young chefs and someone who, as a boy growing up in a tiny fishing village on the Amalfi coast, learned how simple, fresh ingredients, prepared and cooked with love and passion (a phrase he uses every day - and means!) become truly great dishes. So of course we wanted to serve exceptional food. But our aim was also to create an environment with a "neighbourhood" feel, inspired by the "Italian table" where people relax, share, and enjoy each other's company. Jamie's Italian was designed to be accessible and affordable, a place where anyone is welcome and everyone will feel comfortable, no matter how much you spend or how long you stay.

Busaba Eathai
Restaurants

Busaba Eathai

This chain of budget Thai eateries is experiencing a growth spurt and Westfield Stratford is one of the latest. Patrons are seated around large communal tables, and the menu offered includes a decent variety of salads, soups, stir-fries, curries and noodle dishes. The old favourites are worth returning for, such as a soothing, galangal-rich tom kha noodle soup with chargrilled chicken and slippery glass noodles, or aromatic pandan chicken.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Café  Football
Restaurants

Café Football

At Café Football, they serve a bracing chilli-vodka and apple cocktail called the Fever Pitch. It’s appropriate because Nick Hornby’s 1992 study of football, masculinity and identity politics is often cited as the moment the game turned middle class. Café Football feels like the latest chapter in that story, marking the point where the gentrification of the beautiful game and the foodie-fication of Britain collide with the thunderously unapologetic wallop of a Roy Keane reducer.  Backed by Fergie fledglings Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, Café Football offers postmodern pub dishes with the help of chef Michael Wignall, whose day job is running a fine dining restaurant in Surrey. The self-consciously tweaked variations on heartily traditional fare – the chicken is  ‘in a basket’ (their quote marks) – is surrounded by football kitsch ranging from racks of boots to menus in the shape of team formations. These days, deep pockets are required of anyone  (middle-class or otherwise) planning to seriously follow the people’s game. Café Football isn’t cheap either: you won’t get much change out of £100 for a meal for two. Some gambits were successful. The Boss burger, an almost gratuitously laddish medley of brioche bun, beef pattie and chilli-infused pulled pork, was as vigorous and insistent as a half-time bollocking from Sir Alex; and the chips, cut so chunkily that they resembled fish fingers, were supreme.  A set meal called the KP’s King’s Road Platter (named, confusingly, afte

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Cabana Brasilian Barbecue - Westfield
Restaurants Book online

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue - Westfield

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online
See all restaurants in Olympic Park

Things to do in Olympic Park

ArcelorMittal Orbit
Things to do Buy tickets

ArcelorMittal Orbit

The curly-wurly red scaffolding tower lords it over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from its position right alongside the Olympic Stadium. Designed by the artist Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond, it stands 114.5m (376ft) tall – with lifts (and a 455-step staircase) up to two platforms from which you take in the interesting, if not entirely spectacular, view ­– The Shard, St Paul’s and the Wembley arches are all very much on the skyline. There are also two of Kapoor's entertaining distorting mirrors inside and some newly installed digital telescopes so that you can get closer to the views.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Buy tickets
Copper Box Arena
Sport and fitness

Copper Box Arena

This sporting venue, home to the handball, modern pentathlon fencing and goalball events during the 2012 Olympic Games, can seat up to 7,500 spectators. The building, which was the first of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park venues to open to the public, gets its name from its arresting exterior appearance; the sustainable design is clad in copper, which will develop a rich colour as it ages. The Copperbox is equipped to host a range of sports including basketball, wheelchair basketball, handball, volleyball, netball, fencing, badminton and gymnastics. It is now home to a number of resident clubs including the London Lions Basketball Team (book tickets for their fixtures here). The venue is also open to the public who can use the gym facilities, take part in exercise classes, including yoga, pilates and box fit, and visit the café.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars

Bars and pubs in Olympic Park

Howling Hops
Bars and pubs

Howling Hops

‘The UK’s first dedicated tank bar’, says the inscription on the wall. Beer geeks, prepare to get excited by the row of big gleaming steel vats in the taproom of this Hackney Wick brewery. Everyone else, all we need to know is that by cutting out the bottles, cans, pipes or kegs of traditional dispense, we can drink the freshest beer possible. A couple of other brands have given us tank beer in pubs before (Pilsner Urquell, Meantime), but no one has done it with such a statement of intent. Hops were originally put in beer partly for bittering and flavouring, partly because of their antibacterial properties. Howling Hops uses these dried flowers in great abundance, which means the quicker they can be drunk after production the better. So the American Pale XX explodes with the characteristics of the classic US hops Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Citra; Riding Ale (Columbus, Cascade, Galena and Nugget, if you’re interested) is a 3 percent pale ale that also comes with a ton of hop flavours (and, without condoning drunken cycling, is probably light enough to have a half of then ride home). It’s all great, from the Victorian stout to the rye IPA; and, in groovy new label and container designs, it’s also now being bottled here, so look out for it in a fridge near you. Howling Hops was until recently made in the bowels of the Cock Tavern, a Mare Street sister pub to the estimable Southampton Arms, so it has a great pedigree. There’s food too – simple stuff like sausage baps, roa

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Tap East
Bars and pubs

Tap East

At last: a bit of competition for the Queen Vic. For years, that nuclear sub has quenched the thirst of generations of ‘EastEnders’ almost unchallenged in its fictional district of E20. Fictional, that is, until someone decided to plonk a stadium, swimming pool and shopping mall in the lower Lea Valley, thus requiring a new postcode. This mall is, of course, Westfield Stratford City, E20. To their credit, its planners could have just given the green light to another Slug and Lettuce, but instead the people behind the The Rake pub and Utobeer stall in Borough Market have opened a brewpub here with a huge beer selection (there are plenty of chains too, if that’s your thing). And we’re pleased to report that Phil Mitchell probably won’t be happy – it’s a worthy rival. A new-build pub in a shopping centre will always seem like a relatively sterile proposition compared to a historic hostelry, lacking as it naturally does the reassuring imprint of those countless fags smoked, pies munched and pints supped. Tap East is not immune to this, but the evident commitment to exciting beer provides incentive to visit retail nirvana. (More comfy seating would perhaps be welcome too.) The advantages – for the owners at least – of opening a bar like Tap East in a shopping centre are clear. You get a shiny new space, untainted by previous owners, and plenty of room to set up brewing equipment. There are no obligations to buy through a big pub landlord conglomerate, and there’s guaranteed footfa

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Print House
Bars and pubs

Print House

A bar and restaurant on the banks of the Three Mills Wall River Weir in Stratford. Expect a modern-European food menu, draught beers, cocktails, club nights, pop-up events and roasts on a Sunday. 

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
King Edward VII
Bars and pubs

King Edward VII

On the other side of the Stratford Centre from the ever-expanding transport hub stands a sea-green storefront topped by a hungover image of sleep-around monarch Edward VII. He may have approved of what lies within: even today, this old but sympathetically renovated pub is divided by ornately tiled walls and frosted-glass dividers. The sunken front bar fills with the banter of workers from the London 2012 site, while the dark-wood saloon bar, the back room and the verdant rear patio hum with the chatter of young professionals. Catering to the latter means that the pub now lays on pumpkin, carrot and kidney bean curry and couscous, a wine of the week and the reassuring strum of a guitar on open-mic Thursdays. Regulars can still look forward to a pint of Eddie’s Best – brewed for the pub by Nethergate – or Bombardier, with whiskies such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Glenlivet providing a late-night chaser. At the risk of damning it with faint praise, this is easily the best pub in Stratford.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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