Dalston is one of London’s hippest neighbourhoods – and that shows in its wealth of great dining options. With an international feel and a refreshingly relaxed approach, this part of town is the place to be for high-quality dining without the stuffiness. From casual street food to more upmarket spots, we’ve asked our local insiders to recommend their favourites.
On what is an otherwise rundown part of the neighbourhood on Kingsland High Street, bright yakitori restaurant Jidori stands out. Take a seat in the minimalist interior for a range of Japanese-inspired dishes cooked over a kama-asa charcoal grill and enjoy the aromas of traditional skewer dishes cooking as you wait. The menu covers small plates and mains, with plenty of vegetarian dishes available. For those who want to explore a range of options, or you just can’t decide, tasting menus start at a very reasonable price. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
Looking for a fun spot to start your evening? This taqueria’s menu of mouth-watering Mexican classics will go down a treat. Expect tacos, quesadillas and more with all the classic toppings – barbacoa beef, shredded pork and chicken and a good number of veggie options, too. It’s bright, casual and has a great range of happy-hour deals, making it the perfect place to catch up with friends and grab a margarita or two before heading off to the next bar. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan
The Picklery is a fermenting kitchen and wine bar with an intimate yet communal ambience. If you’re keen to understand how your food is made, you’ll love Little Duck’s set-up. The restaurant is centred around a large table where diners can watch as kitchen staff prepare each course. The menu, featuring pickles and ferments, changes frequently to keep things seasonal. If braised duck with ibérico tomatoes and fideu or braised beetroot, bulgar wheat, dill and onion seed yoghurt sound tempting, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
Relaxed, friendly and one of the few places in London where you can find traditional Ethiopian vegan food, Andu Café is an affordable alternative if you’re in central Dalston. By affordable, we really mean ridiculously good value for this part of London – with filling, tasty main platters starting at £7. The restaurant also runs a bring your own booze (BYOB) policy (with a small fee for corkage), so if you find yourself needing a treat on the wrong side of payday, Andu Café is the place to be. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan
Sleek and innovative Snackbar offers high-end grub with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and trailblazing flavour combos. There’s nothing like it elsewhere in Dalston, making it a great option for a memorable brunch with that special someone. The menu covers Asian and European fusion and revamped café classics. If you’ve ever wanted to try a kimchi quesadilla, or wondered what a McMuffin might taste like if made by trained chefs and upmarket ingredients, it’s worth dropping in. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
The leafy bar-restaurant at the Kingsland Locke hotel pops with tasteful neon, while synth-pop pumps from the speakers. Head here for a modern take on kebabs, with toppings such as roasted aubergine and pork shawarma; we recommend pairing the skin-on fries with indulgent camembert sauce. But it’s the beer that steals the show, made according to 500-year-old Bavarian traditions at the chrome-filled basement brewery. Ask for a tour with the Bavaria-born beer sommelier, Helen, who will guide you through tasting one of six ever-changing brews ranging from crisp lagers to yeasty wheat beers. The aromatic Jim and Tonic gins are also distilled on-site.
Located in a low-key residential street in Hackney, Pidgin offers Asian-British fusion and a relaxed neighbourhood vibe. Food is based around a four-course tasting menu that changes each week, and the chefs pride themselves on having never repeated a dish in three years. So, if there’s something you fall in love with, savour the moment – you’ll only have one chance to enjoy it. The menus consistently offer innovative flavour combos and plenty of excitement, so there’s always something new to go back for. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
London – specifically the East End – is not short of street-food options, so BúnBúnBún’s ability to stand out in a crowded field speaks for itself. You’ll find the usual Vietnamese delicacies on offer here, but what BúnBúnBún really specialises in is traditional bún salads. With generous helpings of vermicelli noodles, topped with a protein of your choice and finished with roasted peanuts, crispy shallots, pickles, herbs and tangy fish sauce, it’s truly sublime. Casual, affordable and perfect for a spontaneous meal out, it’s everything a good street food-inspired restaurant should be. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan
Sarah Gillespie contributed additional reporting.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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meet our Local Insider
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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