With close to 20,000 restaurants in London, spoilt for choice is almost an understatement when choosing where to grab a quick bite, sit down for a five-course dinner, or a location for a friendly get-together.
This list of the 12 best restaurants in East London will cover hotspots for vegans and vegetarians, artisan eateries, budget locations with mouth-watering options, quirky and niche spots and fine dining options for visitors who want to taste the best of London.
Being on a budget doesn’t have to limit your options for eating out in East London. The Beigel Bake Bakery on Brick Lane has become somewhat of an eatery icon for its unique business model, which has seen it stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week since the 70s. Night or day, there is always a queue at the door for the delicious traditional Jewish-style bagels, which start from just 90p. If you want to sample the best of the menu, shell out £7.81 for the highly revered salt beef bagel, best served with peppery mustard. For vegetarians, the avocado bagel and hummus bagels are as appetising at £2.98 a pop! Beigel Bake defies the norms of after-hours eateries; whatever the time of day, the food is equally as appetising!
Hailed as London’s original good-time restaurant, All Star Lanes in Hackney is undoubtedly one of the most fun restaurants in London. With its kitsch 50s theme and access to a bowling alley and karaoke bar, it is a hotspot for students looking for somewhere laidback to relax. All the mains, including cheeseburgers, vegan pasta, chicken and waffles, classic mac and cheese and pepperoni pizzas, cost £6.50. Save room for the deserts that will allow you to relive your youth; sample the infamous gelato paw sticks or classic shakes for just £3.50!
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club isn’t just a cult 80s film, not since The Breakfast Club in Hoxton opened its doors in 2009. If you always sleep through breakfast serving hours at most restaurants and miss out on the fry-ups, you will have until 3 PM on a weekday and 5 PM at the weekend to sample the pancakes at The Breakfast Club! The Classic All American Breakfast consisting of world-famous pancakes, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fried eggs, and maple syrup costs £15.50; for an extra £2.50, you can add rib-eye steak to the dish! Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
Details | 2 – 4 Rufus Street, London, N1 6PE
After achieving cult status amongst critics and fans of vibrantly cultured food as a pop-up eatery, the Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant, Bubala, now has two permanent locations in Soho and Spitalfields. With weekday lunch plates starting from as little as £4 and set dinners starting from £39pp, there is something for everyone at this quaint and relaxed vegetarian and vegan-friendly joint, which knows how to champion natural and organic produce. Even the wine menu is definitively au Naturelle! If you are tired of uninspired and processed vegetarian and vegan food, Bubala may just become your new favourite spot.
Details | 65 Commercial Street, London, E1 6BD
If the atmosphere is just as important as the quality of the food, Temper Shoreditch is unparalleled. Sample rare stakes in the temper bar, where you will be set for the entire evening with the soundtrack provided by the regular DJs, opt for a bottomless brunch of barbequed meats or head to the trendy joint on a Sunday for a traditional family-style roast. The smoked goat tacos at £16 are all the trend with customers looking for a light bite, while those with ravenous appetites can tackle the Three Beast Feast of aged beef roast, roasted pork, and smoked lamb shoulder (£35pp).
Details | 78 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JL
Described as a plant-powered vegan paradise, Love Shack is the number one East London restaurant on any vegan or vegetarian list. Chill out in a beanbag or a hammock as you sample the smoothies, cocktails and 100% plant-based menu, which strongly focuses on gourmet mushrooms. There are even five options on the mushroomy drinks menu starting from £4. As a bonus for dog lovers, Love Shack welcomes 4-legged patrons! The Good Karma Shawarma Flatbread with all the vegan trimmings is a popular choice at £11.50. If you tend to stick to smaller plates, there is a great selection, including Oyster Mushroom Buffalo Wings and No Sin Duck Pancakes, costing £8.50 a plate.
Details | Arch 298 – 299 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9HA
Grand Trunk Road
East London has no shortage of Indian restaurants, but few are as world-famous as Grand Trunk Road, named after Asia’s longest and oldest trade route, which inspired the plates as much as the name. You will need to pay Michelin-star prices to dine here, but the warm vibe and upscaled cuisine made from the finest ingredients won’t leave you with buyer’s remorse. There are five menus to choose from, including the recently launched Winter Warmer Menu, served from Friday – Sunday. A two-course meal will set you back £18.50 per person, while a three-course serving will allow you to sample a Saffron-infused rice pudding or a hot chocolate brownie with masala-infused chocolate drizzle will cost £22.50.
Details | 219 High Road, London, E18 2PB
Since 2004, Bistrotheque has been lauded as a premier brunch and dinner hotspot in Bethnal Green. A warehouse may not seem the ideal setting for a restaurant, but the white tablecloths beneath the industrial-style ceiling make for a uniquely Instagram-able atmosphere. The menu also finds the perfect balance between class and quirk between its sweet and savoury options. Try the Banoffee French toast for £18, or spice things up with Half Peruvian spiced chicken in Green Sauce for £22.
Details | 23 – 27 Wadeson Street, London, E2 9DR
After winning an Open Table Dinner’s Choice Award, Bombetta is always bustling with avid fans of Italian food looking for a relaxed atmosphere to sample artfully unpretentious food with a cocktail or two. Due to its popularity, booking a table is highly recommended. Once you are through the door, you will be sampling elevated Italian plates which range from familiar favourites, such as Tagliatelle with slow-cooked braised beef (£17.50), to slightly more acquired tastes. The pig head bruschetta at £8.50 a plate may sound like a bush tucker trial challenge, but don’t be fooled by the cut; it is just as appetising as the signature Truffle Bombetta dish of pork with truffle pecorino and white truffle paste, wrapped in Prosciutto (£17.50).
Details | 1 – 5 Station Approach, London, E11 1QE
For a special occasion, when only a Michelin-star restaurant will suffice, sample some of the cuts at St John in Spitalfields, which was placed at number 55 on Restaurant Magazine’s list of top 100 restaurants in the world! Few of the top restaurants in East London can top the restaurant’s critical acclaim as one of the most prestigious British restaurants. There is a rich selection on the supper menu for smaller parties, including Roast Mallard, Sour Cabbage and Trotter for £29. For larger parties, the feasting menu, which contains a full roast pig for up to 22 guests for £700, is perfect for an ultra-lavish treat!
Details | Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4AY
Fish and chips are a staple dish in the UK. If you want to take your seafood dining to the next level, head to the Michelin star spot, Cornerstone in Hackney, founded by the revered chef Tom Brown, who takes a produce-led and uncomplicated approach to his signature dishes. The Chef’s Selection costs £75 ahead; if your budget does not stretch that far, choose staples from the menu, such as the crab bun with bitter leaf kimchi and English plum hoisin, priced at £26. The décor also defies the atmosphere of most seafood restaurants with its modern and minimalist design, which has seen it become a trendy spot amongst foodie-revellers.
Details | 3 Prince Edward Road, London, E9 5LX
La Dame De Pic London
La Dame De Pic London is home to the world’s most decorated female Michelin-starred chef, Anne-Sophie, making this French restaurant one of the most bespoke outside of Paris. With the Journey Tasting Sample Menu coming in at £140 a head the price tag is high. Yet, no list of the best restaurants in East London would be complete without mention of this reservation-only restaurant, perfect for special occasions. On the sample menu, nine dishes will be served, including Cornish Crab with Madras Curry, Vietnamese Coriander and Burnt Lemon Condiment, and Limousin Veal, Marinated in Black Garlic and Miso, paired with Smoked Artichokes.
Details | Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ