The Best Pubs For Good Food In London Right Now

24 pubs for when you want to eat as well as you drink.
A woman's hand reaching for a chip with one hand and holding a pint of Guinness in the other.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

A good pub is like a beloved best friend. They’re always there for you. You still like them even when they’re a bit smelly. And they’ll never judge you for getting completely smashed or wearing your ‘workout clothes’ for an entire weekend. That’s why we love them, even though some of them have some pretty mediocre food. But not these pubs. From an 18th-century Soho spot serving terrine, to excellent Thai food at a Paddington boozer, these are the pubs where you’re guaranteed a great meal. And if you’re specifically after a Sunday roast, we’ve got a guide for that too.

When the weather's good, check out our guide to London's best pub gardens.


photo credit: Jake Missing



$$$$Perfect For:Catching Up With MatesClassic EstablishmentDate NightDinner with the ParentsDrinking Good WineImpressing Out of Towners
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Few London pubs are as well-known as The French House in Soho: this place is a classic and the French food very much follows suit. While the downstairs of this drinking institution is still kept to just that, walk up the creaking 18th-century stairs and you’ll find a red-walled, yellow-lit dining room. This place is made for consumption. Specifically terrine, steak, coffee mousse and, of course, wine. You’ll be leaning over the table and stage whispering conversations before you know it.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The upstairs dining room at The Devonshire is the kind of place we’d like to be during a balmy spring day, perusing a handwritten menu of comforting British classics—lamb hotpot, creamed leeks, sticky toffee pudding—while the rain may or may not be drizzling outside. Come for one of London’s best pints of Guinness, some of the city’s best British food, and to mop up leftover gravy with duck fat chips. If you don’t manage to book the dining room, the downstairs bar of this Soho spot is a charming, crowded place that feels very Dickens-meets-Mad Men. There’s a reduced bar menu down here, with snacks like toasties.

For a pub named after a giant predatory bird, this old-school Farringdon joint is actually pretty laid-back. It’s got a simple dining room with lots of mismatched wooden chairs—but don’t let the casual feel fool you. This place serves some truly excellent classic Mediterranean dishes, and whether you come for lunch or dinner, you need to get involved in their bifana. The steak sandwich is basically a whole meal between bread. Be warned, this place is popular and for larger table bookings (between five and 10 people) you’ll have to give them a call.

The George is a delicious and decadent take on a pub. The downstairs bar is Fitzrovia’s usual mix of slurring suits and those trying to ignore the slurring suits, while the upstairs is an OTT velvet boudoir of a dining room. The room gives off an energy that mixes the Tudors and the posh bit of the Titanic while the staff, who are friendly rather than fawning, will encourage you to eat foie gras and British classics turned fancy like breaded langoustine and chips. Indulgent? Yes. Silly? Certainly. The Sunday roasts? Very good.


The Baring has the feel of a serious restaurant that just so happens to be in a polished pub space. But come here in between service and you can sink a few jars at a clean-cut bar full of fellow Islingtonites. Really though, you should be booking a table for lunch or dinner, as the food has the potential to be excellent. The modern European menu spans cloud-like ricotta gnudi to crispy chips with garlic mayonnaise. Well-heeled families tend to fill the room in the day, especially given their great Sunday roast, but come night the lights dim and things feel altogether more intimate.



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The Plimsoll in Finsbury Park was once an Irish boozer that let Guinness rightfully rest and had Arsenal playing on the projector. It’s now the kind of pub that lets Guinness rightfully rest while serving a whole lemon sole and more elegant British food from the kitchen. The bar area is still ideal to perch in with a pint but make sure you book ahead if you want dinner in the week (there’s a limited menu on weekends) because the popularity of their famous cheeseburger hasn’t waned.

If you’re looking for a great, reasonably priced wine list and a damn near perfect Sunday roast then St John’s Tavern should be at the top of your list. You’ll also find oysters, pickled cockles, and potted shrimp on the menu in the spacious and woody dining room at the back of the Archway pub. They serve solid plates of British food like a whole plaice with brown shrimp butter, or a suckling pork shoulder and quince sauce to share. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the croquetas if it’s on, or the desserts. Both are consistently excellent.

The Clarence Tavern is another gastropub from a lineage of excellent London gastropubs. Older siblings the Anchor & Hope and the Canton Arms are two of the most consistently great pubs for food—that still maintain a feeling of comforting pub-ishness. The Clarence on Stoke Newington Church Street is somewhere that feels like it’s been making roast brill, slow-cooked lamb shoulder with dauphinoise, and other modern European-leaning dishes forever. It manages to make lots of effort seem effortless, and it’s as good inside as it is outside.

Some pubs stay with you for much of your life, like a compliment your art teacher once gave you, or a particularly ratty but sentimental pair of pyjamas. The Drapers Arms is one of those. It’s an Islington stalwart that’s suitable for drinking, dining, and drowning your sorrows. The food is European-leaning, comforting stuff. Baked camembert, sardines on toast, pies, chops, and the like. It’s stuff you could make at home but often can’t be arsed, and is never as good as this.

The Compton Arms is a little boozer off Upper Street that used to be frequented by Arsenal fans and is now frequented by Arsenal fans, as well as those seeking very good food. The residencies in the kitchen are generally very enjoyable and the current one, Tiella, is a delicious and homely selection of Italian small plates. It's just as good for hunks of bread with honey and chilli-drenched sheep's ricotta, as it is for big plates of polenta and cuttlefish. Book ahead whatever you do, especially if you want a seat in the pub garden.

A pub, a pint, and a great big plate of roast beef overlooking Hampstead Heath is what you need, we need, everyone probably needs. The Bull & Last is easily the best gastropub around the Heath (though if you’re just looking for a pint and a pork bap, The Southampton Arms is down the road) and its menu is hard to resist. Influences jump from Europe—seafood bouillabaisse—to Japan—oyster mushroom tempura with soy and miso—to Britain—north Essex prime rib. But it all manages to hang together. The scotch egg is strong, the fish and chips chunky, and the setting lovely.


If someone asked us to describe the Marksman in one word, we’d say “Dickens”. This old-school Shoreditch spot has been around since the Victorian times, with a proper mahogany bar, those little scallop lamp shades, and a modern dining room serving British dishes upstairs. These days you’ll find food like St Austell mussels, devilled crab fritters, and some of the best savoury pies in London. Their three-course Sunday roast menu is always a good idea.

Spitalfields isn’t an area lacking when it comes to food or drink, but The Culpeper is one of the few places that combines both very well. This is a very modern pub, in that it’s not just a pub. It has a rooftop, an upstairs restaurant, and also rooms to stay in if you have a few too many Sicilian punch cocktails. Food-wise, the bar is where you come after work for a few drinks and European-leaning snacks—crab arancini, salami, smoked mackerel pâté. The restaurant is a little more burrata and risotto with the family or a date.

Some pubs require tactics. Bar positioning. Table grabbing. What to order and what not to order. The Duke of Richmond in Dalston is one of these. Although you can have a full slap-up meal in the dining room, we think it’s best used as a beer and burger place because it’s extremely good at both. The more casual dishes on the modern European menu, from a béarnaise-loaded burger to a crab and chip butty, are ideal boozing snacks and can also be ordered to their outside terrace.


The Waterman’s Arms is a riverside pub that sits on a pretty, leafy corner of Barnes, and it does the best Sunday roast we’ve ever had—and yes, we’re including our mum’s in that. The lamb shoulder is the sharing roast to go for. It’s a feast-like centrepiece of tender, perfectly cooked meat, best eaten between alternating bites of crispy roast potatoes and braised, garlicky greens. There are a couple of starters that should be on your table too—a curried scallop that we think about on a weekly basis, and fresh, sweet datterini tomatoes on taleggio toast. They’re also served during the week as part of the modern European menu.

Wandercrust oversees the kitchen at The Pelton Arms and specialises in Neapolitan-style pizzas, and the margherita and American Psycho are the two you should order. The dough is chewy with gorgeously blistered crusts, and slightly soupy in the centre but just strong enough to eat without a knife and fork. This Greenwich pub has a comfortable, old-fashioned feel, but if it’s full, The Crown is a short walk away. It also slings pizzas and although Wandercrust’s are better, we reckon The Crown is the nicer of the two pubs. It’s also got the best beer selection in Greenwich.

EastEnders superfan or not, most people know that a pub is always at the heart of the action. At the Canton Arms on the South Lambeth Road, you won’t find any balding, perma-angry brothers or pints being thrown. But you will walk into a boozer that feels a little like it’s from another era. Where old boys toddle in for a glass of red and a haggis toastie, and families get together in the front bar, in the back dining room, or wherever they can fit. The food is a touch European and a touch British—think a plate of peach and stracciatella, only combined with a pint.

Anchor & Hope is not only the name of our eventual sailor rom-com, but it’s also a cosy boozer in Southwark that serves some pretty amazing Mediterranean meets British food. From the outdoor picnic tables to the smoky dim lighting, this place feels like your quintessential British pub plus three cheese and hazelnut soufflé, crab beurre blanc, and chopped octopus salad. Once you’re sufficiently full and buzzed, go for a stroll along the South Bank and reminisce over how good that baked poppyseed cheesecake was. It’s great for dinner with out-of-towners.

Ah, The Camberwell Arms. That smell of butter in the air. That big old-school dining room. Those inevitable three pints you weren’t planning on but oh well, you were just having such a nice time. This spot in Camberwell does have excellent food, from huge pork chops to banging pasta dishes, but it still very much feels like a boozer where no one’s going to judge you for getting through two bottles of wine on a Tuesday. The seasonal British menu changes daily but whatever they’ve got going on on their blackboard, you know you’re in safe hands.


Crisp Pizza W6 is a pop-up inside Hammersmith pub, The Chancellors, and it does the best thin-crust, New York-style pizzas in London. On the 360 days a year when it’s too cold to sit outside, the small, dimly lit pub makes for a perfectly nice room in which to eat an excessive amount of pizza. But you’re not here for interiors. You’re here for gravity-defying slices that somehow hold a rich tomato sauce, heavy with basil, and a perfect distribution of melted mozzarella. Just know that you’ll have to pre-order in advance for weekends, but it’s all very laid-back when you do eventually get here.

This show-stopping pub on the King’s Road is glamorous on the eye but simply delightful when it comes to the British food. The ham, egg, and chips is one of our top 10 pub meals, and a massive golden brown chicken kiev served with a shaved fennel salad manages to feel both reserved and decadent at the same time. There’s pie, steak, and grilled fish on offer too, but whatever you do, make sure you get extra chips on the side—they’re excellent. There’s also an unmissable trifle which is a brilliant ‘80s dinner party throwback.

From the outside, The Heron looks like the sort of pub that doesn’t so much indulge in lock-ins as live by them. It’s a wide bungalow-like spot in Paddington that’s full of football, fellas, and fantastic Thai food downstairs. The restaurant space is the budget karaoke room of your birthday dreams. It’s a not-often-seen combination of pink walls, neon lights, and TVs flashing lyrics, plus food that will blow your socks off. If it sounds slightly bizarre, that’s because it is. And if it sounds brilliant, that’s also because it is.

You might think that a pub called The Cow would specialise in beef, but you’d be wrong. Plot twist: this upmarket pub and dining room near Notting Hill actually specialises in seafood. One of the go-to orders here is oysters and Guinness, but you’ll also find a £99 seafood platter and fresh crab tagliolini on the menu. When it comes to the space, it looks like it was designed by a super-fan of both Moulin Rouge and The Apprentice. Basically, it’s a bit luxurious, a bit retro, a bit French, and a lot of bright red leather.

The Harwood Arms in Fulham is about as close as you can get to being an upmarket restaurant while still being a pub. It’s on a little street that feels more Cotswolds than city. Once inside, you’ll find neutral walls, deer antlers, sophisticated furniture, and a posh 1920s bar that we absolutely cannot picture Peggy Mitchell standing behind. You can expect dishes that are a touch European but with a big focus on British ingredients—like a lasagna of rabbit shoulder, apple parfait with shortbread, and plenty of things involving fresh game.

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