No list of markets in London is complete without Borough Market. As touristy, crowded and expensive as it has become, Borough remains the place to go for speciality ingredients, such as Spanish ibérico bellota ham and Mexican guajillo chilli. The queue outside Monmouth Coffee is one of the great constants of life in London, as is the mass of people around Kappacasein’s raclette stand. But Borough Market has such a variety of food stalls that you’re hardly missing out if you opt to avoid these vendors. If you’re a fan of Spanish food, head to Brindisa for a succulent grilled chorizo sandwich and wash it down with a beer from Utobeer, which sources some of the best and hardest-to-find brews from around the world. On your way out, if you’ve still got cash to spare, stop by Mini Magoo for a selection of organic granola and muesli to eat on the go.
If you’re looking to avoid long queues and plodding tourists, hop on the Jubilee line to Bermondsey, where Maltby Street Market has settled in among the railway arches of Southeast London in the Ropewalk. Running wholesale business on weekdays, Maltby Street Market boasts an incredible array of top-notch food sellers, including Natoora, Neal’s Yard Dairy and Little Bread Pedlar. On Saturdays, the market transforms into a lively gathering of local foodies selling some of the freshest food in the capital, from urban beekeepers The London Honey Company to beer on tap from The Kernel Brewery. Have brunch inside the railway arch at Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s American breakfast-inspired café, and then pick up a single-origin flat white from the friendly baristas at Craft Coffee.
Brixton Village is emerging as one of London’s great foodie hotspots. Here you can find Brixton mainstays like Honest Burgers and Franco Manca, which serves a wide range of sourdough pizzas. Some of Brixton Village’s best-known and tastiest food stands include Colombian restaurant El Rancho De La and Mama Lan, a London supper club that opened in the market in 2011.
This hugely successful Saturday market on the edge of London Fields in East London nearly disappeared in the early 2000s, but a resurgence has led to new food stalls and a clientele passionate about all things local. Some of the best of vendors at Broadway Market include Violet Cakes, which sell a range of sweet treats like cupcakes and whoopie pies, and coffee specialists Climpson & Sons. Once you’ve filled up on coffee and cake, browse The Broadway Bookshop’s shelves for your new favourite read.
The younger sibling of the ever-popular Broadway Market, Netil Market has developed a following of its own since opening in 2011. Netil Market offers not only the usual London market fare of vintage clothing, furniture and jewellery; it also features stalls selling excellent handmade works by local artists and designers. For a traditional Taiwanese street snack, pop over to BAO. As its name suggests, this restaurant is the master of bao, a bite-size treat that consists of slow-braised pork belly wrapped in a fluffy steamed-milk bun.
Brick Lane comes alive on Sundays when most London markets fold up their stalls for the weekend. Located along an East London street famous for its Bangladeshi restaurants, the Brick Lane Market is a favourite among arts students, bargain hunters and the curious. With roots that go back to the 17th century, the modern market is centred on The Old Truman Brewery, which houses stalls selling antique furniture and clothing, as well as food from around the world. The area surrounding the brewery is home to several other markets – the Sunday UpMarket, the Backyard Market, the Brick Lane Food Hall, The Tea Rooms and the Vintage Market – that together sell a motley collection of just about anything you could ever want. Brick Lane is also the Sunday home of the The Rib Man, who specialises in succulent spicy ribs.
Exmouth Market is nestled among Clerkenwell’s narrow winding lanes, and teems with restaurants that cater to London’s young professionals. An after-work favourite, Exmouth Market is also minutes from Sadler’s Wells Theatre, one of London’s pre-eminent performing arts venues. Caravan Restaurant/Roastery serves one of London’s most relaxed brunches, set amid ultra-tasteful decor. You’ll find other first-class restaurants here, such as The Eagle gastropub, as well as pop-up food stalls offering gourmet food. Scandinavian-run Freebird serves tightly wrapped burritos with ancho peppers and refried beans that satisfy any cravings for Mexican food. At nearby Leather Lane Market, Daddy Donkey vies for attention with its variety of burritos. Otherwise, Spanish restaurant Moro’s stall draws a loyal weekday lunch crowd with its authentic Moorish street food.