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Spitalfields area guide

Right between the City's new money and the charm of the East End, Spitalfields boasts the best of both worlds

Straddling the City and the East End, Spitalfields sits right in the middle of two very different sides of London. It's a contrast keenly felt, with expensive restaurants close to good old Cockney-knees-up boozers, and wine bars alongside purveyors of pie and mash. But there's a lot more to Spitalfields than such a simple reduction. From Old Spitalfields Market and curries on Brick Lane to boutique shopping, communal art and the glorious Christ Church from Nicholas Hawksmoor, it's one of London's loveliest neighbourhoods.

What are your favourite Spitalfields haunts? Let us know in the comments.

Restaurants in Spitalfields

Hawksmoor Spitalfields
Restaurants Book online

Hawksmoor Spitalfields

This Spitalfields steakhouse has wooed much of London since opening in 2006; word-of-blog has only served to create an even bigger buzz around the restaurant and its food. A case of the emperor’s new clothes? We think not. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Poppies
Restaurants

Poppies

Poppies’ pick and mix assortment of shiny British kitsch – including a jukebox, mini red telephone box and a monochrome photo of heart-throb Cliff Richard – makes it look like a simulation of a fish and chip shop. The food on the plate is also better than the real thing. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
L'Anima
Restaurants Special offer

L'Anima

Designer Claudio Silvestrin’s showcase modernist restaurant is highly memorable, though not perhaps entirely as intended. At peak times, noise in the glass, porphyry and limestone interior can be overwhelming, and staff have to dance round the large white leather and chrome chairs to catch anything softer than a bellow. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Special offer
Wright Brothers Spitalfields
Restaurants Book online

Wright Brothers Spitalfields

Wright Brothers has everything a good seafood bar needs: fresh catch, fresh ice, sunny service and cool marble counters. The owners are also shellfish merchants and oyster farmers, so the many oysters, crabs, prawns and lobsters on offer are all tip-top. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online

Spitalfields highlights

Old Spitalfields Market
Things to do

Old Spitalfields Market

Though not everyone is a fan of the recent redevelopment of Spitalfields (particularly those pushed out by the rising rents), the market has been afforded a new lease of life. The East End stalwart now comprises the refurbished 1887 covered market and the adjacent modern shopping precinct. 

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Dennis Severs’ House
Attractions

Dennis Severs’ House

Dennis Severs’ House is a time capsule attraction in which visitors are immersed in a unique form of theatre. The ten rooms of this original Huguenot house have been decked out to recreate snapshots of life in Spitalfields between 1724 and 1914.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars

Bars and pubs in Spitalfields

The Golden Heart
Bars and pubs

The Golden Heart

Landlady Sandra Esquilant, regular Tracey Emin and Lady Di are given equal profile on the walls of this traditional Truman boozer, a hangout for the arty crowd and Shoreditch flotsam and jetsam. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
The Horse & Groom
Nightlife

The Horse & Groom

London’s trend for pub-clubbing continues apace in this revamped Shoreditch spot. During the day, it’s a good old East End boozer, but at night, the two-floor space turns into a disco hotspot. Thanks to some quality programming, some of the scene’s best DJs, including the likes of Fabric’s Craig Richards, Secretsundaze’s James Priestley and the legendary Greg Wilson, have played in one of the pub’s three rooms. 

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Water Poet
Bars and pubs Book online

Water Poet

Buried away off Bishopsgate in a cobbled corner close to Spitalfields Market where city suits and Shoreditch collide, the Water Poet is a multi-tasking gem with a bar, restaurant, cool pool parlour, a downstairs theatre and a super-duper sun-trap of a beer garden.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
Bars and pubs

Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

For a so-called ‘secret’ speakeasy, there’s been an awful lot of publicity about this new basement bar beneath the new Breakfast Club in Spitalfields. According to the booze bloggers, in order to gain exclusive entry, you need to embark on clandestine correspondence with a chap called Henri who gives it the big hush-hush and may, if you’re lucky and tap the side of your nose, reveal the covert entrance to cloak-and-dagger drinking den. 

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

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