Where To Eat And Drink In Borough Market
The best stalls and spots to eat and drink at London’s famous Borough Market.
If you live in London, you’ll end up browsing Borough Market at least once a year. It’s just a fact of living here, like crying on the Central line, or being intimidated by a pigeon.
Accepting this inevitability means that you also need a plan of attack before you head to the market. Ideally, you’ll be able to get to all the best stuff without joining any old queue because you’re worried that you’ll miss out, and you’ll minimise the time you spend sandwiched between French tour groups. Here’s our guide to make sure that happens.
The chorizo roll at Brindisa is one of London’s best sandwiches, full stop. All you need to know is that there’s some sweet pepper, some spicy chorizo, and rocket in a white bun, and that you definitely won’t be mad that you ate it. Double up on the chorizo if you like to live dangerously.
Speaking of sandwiches, we love the cheese toastie at Kappacasein. If you want to keep your hands kind of clean, get the new potatoes with melted cheese instead. It’s open from Thursdays to Saturdays, and there’ll be a line at all times of day, but it moves fast.
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We’re a nation of pastry lovers, so stopping by Porteña for a few empanadas is essential when you’re in Borough Market. This Argentinian street food spot has three, go-to meat numbers—beef, chicken, or chorizo—as well as two vegetarian options—provolone and caramelised onion, and spinach and ricotta. They’re spicy, delicious, and great value.
We’re big fans of alliteration. But we’re even bigger fans of this stall. Gourmet Goat serves Mediterranean dishes made with seasonal vegetables and British meat, shockingly, including a lot of goat. Although it serves everything from slow roast veal salads to bulgar wheat pilaf bowls, the kid goat kofta pitta is what you really want to get involved in. We challenge anyone to come here and try this bad boy without entering a very serious, entirely sincere, slightly obsessive conversation about tzatziki.
Horn OK Please
Horn OK Please is named after a phrase seen on the back of cars and trucks in India when overtaking, and you’ll understand the relevance of this name as you try to slyly overtake a daydreaming tourist in front of you. The reason being is this spot’s moong daal dosa—a spiced potato and lentil-filled pancake served with channa chaat—is really quite brilliant. It’s gently spiced (although you can ask for a hotter version if you fancy) and is one of the best vegetable-filled meals you can get in the market.
Monmouth Coffee The Borough
Monmouth has some of the best coffee in Borough (if not all of London), and its filter coffee is especially good. Just try to get here early in the morning or mid-afternoon if you want to avoid the peak time queues. It’s especially nice to stroll around with a hot cup of caffeine while fantasising that you might actually do something with those expensive vegetables you just bought.
Hobbs Roast Meat
If you’re able to walk away from Hobbs Roast Meat without apple sauce on your chin and pulled pork down your top, then you’re doing it wrong. This roast meat spot serves baguettes, wraps, and buns full of things you’d usually find in a roast. Think roasted pork, stuffing, turkey breast, and cranberry sauce all crammed between bread. You might be tempted to try out the salt beef and the roast loin of pork, but resist the urge. This place believes in big portions—you’ll only need one.
You can get freshly shucked oysters at Richard Haward’s in the market, and you’re going to want to do that. Grab a seat and order a few along with a chilled glass of wine. For feeling like a baller on the cheap, this is pretty much unbeatable—just don’t take a date if you’ve promised them a slap-up seafood meal.
We like to hit this Indian place up when we’re in the mood for something wholesome. And the vegetarian street food dishes like papdi chaat and pau bhaji always do the trick. Rest assured that it’s all excellent and know that there are plenty of vegan options too.
A market isn’t a real market without doughnuts, and the ones at Bread Ahead are properly good. If you bring a box into work, you’ll pretty much be guaranteed a raise. Your boss said so.
The pad thai at Khanom Krok is the kind of dish that pops up in your psyche every time you’re hungry and within two miles of Borough Market. ‘Could just swing by, right? A few prawns would do me good, after all. I haven’t had any noodles in the last four, maybe even five, hours’. This Thai spot serves Bangkok-inspired street food, and although it’s named after a coconut snack called khanom krok, which is their most popular dish, there’s also mango and coconut sticky rice on offer. And that pad thai.
Barrafina Borough Yards
Spanish tapas mini-chain Barrafina has its winning formula of stool seating, counter eating, and croquetas and tortilla snacking down to a tee. The London Bridge location has all the hallmarks of the city’s pan con tomate empire—sleek, shiny furnishings, friendly service, a bustling open kitchen—but lacks a little of the big-hearted, Long Lunch energy of its Soho siblings. Nevertheless, it’s a very useful place to know about to escape the chaos of Borough Market. Plus it’s within the same building, connected by a warren of corridors, to Bar Daskal—a fun spot for wine and cocktails pre or post dinner.
When you walk into Borough Market, one of the first things you’ll see is the massive beer and wine stall. What you might not notice is that the owners also have a pub behind the market, which is where you should go if you want to do some serious beer drinking. It’s a tiny bar but there’s a small outdoor bit for warm days, and the staff are freakishly knowledgeable about their craft and proper ales. The Rake is a perfect escape while your other half is cooing over some wild mushrooms.
There are enough stalls at Borough that you could spend an entire day there if you tried to hit each one. But the market also has some very good sit-down restaurants that are worth slowing things down for, and Elliot’s is one of them. Elliot’s is a wine bar/cafe with French and Italian-influenced sharing plates like wood-fired pizza, quality meat and fish cooked on the grill, and zingy, creative salads.
Don’t let the weather put you off—the ice cream at Gelateria 3BIS tastes just as good in the rain as it does in the sunshine. The stracciatella and hazelnut flavours are our favourites, and the answer should be ‘yes’ if they ask if you’d like some chocolate sauce. Wandering around the market with one of these is a pleasure, especially if you happen to be around when the crowds thin a little.
Whenever we want to get away from the crowds for a meal that doesn’t involve standing up, we head to Padella. Here, you can sit at the bar and eat handmade pasta for under a tenner, that’s as good as any in London these days. Get the pappardelle with slow-cooked meat, or the ravioli with herb butter and goats’ cheese. Although you can grab a seat, there’s still a chance you’ll have to queue, but unlike half of the stuff at the market, the food here is actually worth it.
Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House
Wright Brothers is our favourite spot to perch with a beer and a pint of prawns, because it feels like you’re in Borough Market without having to deal with the craziness of the market itself. It overlooks the stalls and specialises in seafood, so you can get everything from a snack to a full-blown seafood tower if you’ve had a bit too much to drink/have lost a bet. Sitting here in the sunshine with a cold drink is a quintessentially London experience, and perhaps the one thing we’d unequivocally travel to Borough for.