You’ve spent a cool, fashionable day doing cool, fashionable things in Shoreditch. Gallery opening? Long day at your next big-thing tech start-up? Or perhaps you’ve just come to explore: to drink up the sights and sounds of the place to be seen in London. Regardless, being this trendy is hard work and requires sustenance. Luckily, Shoreditch has plenty of restaurants and a buzzing food scene to explore, and we’ve got our local insiders to recommend their favourites. From high-end Michelin-starred fare to more homely, casual offerings – we’ve got it all.
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Nobu Hotel Shoreditch
Nobu Hotels are known as some of the finest luxury places to stay in the world. The restaurants they serve up also match those incredible standards and the distinctive property in Shoreditch is one of those spots you want to be seen in. The dishes here originally came from the mind of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and are influenced from his Japanese roots as well as travels through Peru. Given the surroundings you might expect the cuisine to be formal, which it is, but its not ‘stuffy’. There are fun twists on classics and a mix of hearty plates and light bites. The signature cocktails are also playful, blending a wide array of ingredients to great effect. If you’re looking for a brunch option, Chef Sandi Richmond has curated a menu that is guaranteed to get your weekend off with a bang.
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A Japanese-inspired Izakaya sounds like the perfect dining option in Shoreditch, and Apothecary East is just that. Its smart interiors aren’t all that obvious from the cool frontage, which initially just looks like a great drinking spot. As soon as you walk through to the spacious seating area you’ll realise you’re in for a treat. The food is served up in rapid fashion from the extensive menu and if you have any prior familiarity with Japanese food you’ll know what to expect. The beef and seafood options are spectacularly good and all the staff here know exactly what every dish tastes like. We’d go with their recommendations for food and signature cocktails too.
Dinner cooked by renowned British chefs in a candlelit old-school bike shed is as individual as London dining experiences get. Rochelle Canteen is headed by Margot Henderson of French House fame, who steers clear of modern trends, such as foam and molecular cooking, to focus on the simplicity of the seasonal ingredients she uses. The grilled harissa quail is a must, and the fact you’re eating in a refitted shed only adds to the ambience. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
Found on the ground floor of the infinitely fantastic Mondrian hotel (formerly the Curtain), this all-day restaurant and bar blends casual Japanese eats with wonderfully fresh and inventive cocktails. Of the latter, the Largerita is a fiery mix of IPA, mezcal and sake served with a chilli strip and a banana leaf. For something a little cleaner, take your senses on a stroll through a fragrant field with the Wild Meadow Sour. Soak it all up with one of Christina’s outstanding Japanese-inspired sandos. The hot chicken sando is the perfect example of a typical dish done right: salty, cheesy, tender chicken with a Nashville hot-chilli kick, stuffed into white-bread fingers and all exploding with flavour. Or go full decadent with the wagyu katsu sando. The beef is butter soft and marbled like a monarch’s bathroom, while the katsu flavour simultaneously punches you in the face and cradles you in its arms. Recommended by local insider George Clode.
Where better to taste London’s street food than Butchies, which has grown from one couple’s simple dream to make the best fried-chicken sandwich in the capital? The brand has built a cult following since starting as a food truck in 2013, and with accolades of “London’s best chicken burger” raining down on them, it’s easy to see why. There’s nothing complicated here, just beautifully juicy chicken with the right amount of crunch and a house sauce to die for. Recommended by local insider Huda Awan
Michelin-starred Lyle’s offers a creative, artfully presented tasting menu that uses traditional British produce to make something contemporary and fresh. There are no à la carte options here, so be prepared to push your palate. The menu changes frequently, but you can be sure that you’ll be presented with an exciting array of dishes that showcase the best British ingredients on offer. Think Jerusalem artichokes with egg yolk and cured pork, baked cream and harbinger rhubarb and much more. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
Without an industrial-chic barbecue restaurant serving mouthwatering, slow-smoked meat dishes, no list of east London eateries would be complete. And Smokestak is the best of the best in this category. The classics – beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs – are legendary among the local crowd, though you could opt for something more unusual too – crispy ox cheek with anchovy mayo isn’t exactly a standard for your run-of-the-mill barbecue restaurant. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
Expect noise, spice and an excited hubbub of chatter at this lively restaurant in a former fabric warehouse. You’ll find local ingredients transformed into regional Thai-inspired dishes on the sharing-focused menu, with highlights including the gaeng gari jay curry and grilled partridge with herbs and shrimp paste. An unusual cocktail is a must to wash it down; try the nang tani – a mix of dried banana-infused rum, cognac, coconut tea syrup and lime. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
There’s a vibrancy to Michelin-starred Leroy that more pedestrian upmarket options do their best to avoid. Here though, it works. First-class, friendly service and a busy open kitchen create a convivial atmosphere – and with a reasonably priced set lunch menu, it’s more accessible than most fine-dining options this side of town. Food (according to the website) is “thoughtful but not showy” while the wine list has “has everything from the classics to the crazy”. Recommended by local insider Chiara Miele
Andulusian chef Dani García has brought Spanish gastronomy to the streets of Shoreditch via his innovative restaurant BiBo, on the lower ground of the Mondrian hotel. Dishes such as gooey iberian ham croquettes, fluffy oxtail brioche buns and fresh avocado drizzled with coriander pesto come beautifully presented from the open-kitchen tapas bar. There’s an equally impressive cocktail menu here too, featuring creative takes on classic favourites. Recommended by local insider Jess Dellow.
Unity Diner, London’s largest vegan-only restaurant and mocktail bar, offers a tempting menu of meat-free treats, including small and large plates, burgers and hot dogs. No alcohol is served on the premises – in its place is an innovative mocktail menu and a large selection of zero-percent wines and beers. It’s also entirely plastic-free and donates all profits to Surge, an animal rights organisation supporting UK rescue sanctuaries. As a haven for animal lovers, your dog is welcome to come along too. Recommended by local insider Alyson Parkes
Bubala is perfect for a casual meal out with relaxed mood lighting, Mediterranean-inspired green tiles and wooden decor. The menu is entirely vegetarian, inspired by Israeli and Middle Eastern flavours. Prices are super reasonable and the quality you get for your money is incredible. Check out the cocktails too. Recommended by local insider Chiara Miele
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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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