The 13 Best Restaurants In Camden guide image


The 13 Best Restaurants In Camden

Camden is home to many places you don't need to visit, but these restaurants are worth checking out.

Much of life in London is built on the reassuring foundation of mistakes. That 2am text message, mistake. That 2.2x surge charge Uber home, mistake. That 8:45am snooze, mistake. Everyone makes mistakes in London and one of them might well be spending more than five minutes in Camden’s Cyberdog. All in all, this corner of NW1 is a bit touristy and a bit tacky but everyone has at least one good (slash messy) memory here, so you can’t help but be fond of it. And if you don’t have a happy memory of it, then that’s where these restaurants come in.


Trap Kitchen Camden

Sometimes you just need to get down and dirty with a couple of lobster tails. Trap Kitchen in Camden understands this. That’s why their seafood bucket comes with a pair of throwaway gloves. On the menu of soul food-inspired classics, the star of the show is their XXL lobster tails that are so meaty and so perfectly juicy that we think about them at least four times a day. The ground floor has the kind of intimate, sink-into-your-seat booths that will have you ordering two more rounds of cocktails just to stay another half hour. Upstairs is where we’d go for a date night that starts with BBQ chicken wings and ends with a nap. It’s a popular place—they’ve got a cult following on social media—so book ahead and come with an empty stomach and a willingness to get messy.

Our favourite place in Camden is The Farrier. Now you might think that suggesting a Camden Stables pub as the area’s go-to is a bit of a cop out but this modern boozer has a lot more going on than pints and people-watching. A rustic converted horse hospital—yes, really—the cosy barn feel makes it perfect for cuffing season kisses and casual group gossip sessions over huge braised steak pies and a round of cider-soaked mussels. There’s nothing slap-dash about the cooking and the menu reads like a who's who of quality seasonal British ingredients. Outside of Jersey royals and fresh Cornish crabs, you can also expect natural wines, negronis featuring local gins, and 28-day-aged beef as part of the hefty Sunday roast menu. 

This Caribbean restaurant on Kentish Town Road has one of the best Sunday roasts in the city. The jerked beef number at Guanabana has the perfect ratio of rich jerk gravy to everything else. A bite includes a little bit of everything: spicy, tender jerked beef (obviously), the edge of a crispy roast potato, a caramelised baby carrot, a piece of sweet plantain, and an unevenly cut corner of a beautifully deformed yorkshire pudding that’s soaked in gravy. It’s a laid-back spot that’s good for small groups, where you can see the chef chaotically put out plate after plate of roasts and, during the week, other Caribbean-inspired dishes like a peppery jerk chicken alfredo, or a lamb curry that feels home-cooked. 

Camden Town is pretty full on. Lots of people, lots of shuffling, and lots of CBD-infused Doc Martens. If you’re looking for respite from it all, head to Lemonia on Regent’s Park Road. This family-run Primrose Hill classic has been serving mezze and souvlaki to the young and old of north London for donkey’s years, and it’s a big old restaurant that’s perfect for groups but also full of solo diners at lunchtime. You won’t be stunned but you will be very satisfied.

Much like when you go on a first date and find out they have an Amazon Prime subscription and a pet collie, we knew we’d be seeing a lot more of Namaaste after our first visit. A local favourite, this Indian restaurant serves a stupidly moreish yoghurt and pomegranate tokri chaat, and an apricot kofte zardaloo we’d pay double its £12.95 price tag for. Between the exposed brick walls and cream leather banquette seating, it has a bit of a ‘90s upmarket feel, but with food this good, it’ll work just as well for date night as for dinner when you’ve got family in town who need entertaining.

No other spot around Regent’s Park Road captures the totally effortless, slightly bohemian, down-to-earth, but also ridiculously rich style of this corner of NW1 quite like this casual and reasonably priced all-day cafe. Greenberry is where we come to eat an excellent plate of mushrooms, truffle oil, and a poached egg for brunch when we’re trying to pretend we live in one of the pastel-coloured terraces around the corner on Chalcot Square. And it’s where you should come for a daytime or evening meal when you’re trying to convince the person you’re dating that you’re a serious, understated person with good taste in salads.

Lume is the kind of low-lit, low-key neighbourhood spot that makes you want to live within walking distance, and find a way to make sure that the staff never let anyone else sit at your corner table on a Sunday night. The food here is broadly Italian with Sardinian influences, and pasta dishes like the excellent handmade mafaldine and the linguine with smoked eels and bottarga, set it apart from most other neighbourhood restaurants. The other thing that sets it apart is the extensive wine offering which is among the best we’ve had at a restaurant in this part of town.

The smashburger is a special thing. Especially to those (erm, us) who have never been big fans of the ultra-thick beef patty, it means finally having all the right ratios. And BUK’s special burger is not only halal, but it has some seriously outstanding ratios. A thin but substantial, flattened beef patty, a double portion of melted American cheese, plenty of that creamy, chilli house sauce oozing over the patty, and sweet caramelised onion to top it all off. This burger laughs in the face of the Big Mac. And we laugh in the face of anyone who hasn’t been to this laid-back burger spot in Camden and tried it.

Mildreds is a reliable vegetarian restaurant in Camden Town. This place is super bright, airy, and has a busy, upbeat feel that makes it perfect for everything from a low-key business lunch to a chilled catch-up. We’re big fans of the coconut-loaded Sri Lankan kiri hodi with roasted cashews and Mildreds also makes a mean pickle and ponzu gyoza. You can swing by for an entirely vegan or vegetarian brunch at the weekend, but be sure to book ahead—the £10 bellinis and buttermilk pancakes make it popular.

Nothing makes us feel quite as comfortable as a restaurant like O Tino. It has football playing silently on a screen in the background, and a jar of homemade hot sauce that creeps up on you like a cat burglar holding a flamethrower. It’s a simple Portuguese spot making tasty home-cooked food. Seafood soup with whitefish and prawns. Juicy and charred chicken slathered in peri-peri sauce. Casual, comfortable, and good-value, O Tino is a great little neighbourhood restaurant.

La Patagonia is a friendly Argentinian grill restaurant on Camden High Street that’s a good spot to know about when you find yourself in the area around Camden Town tube station and want to get clear of the vape clouds as soon as possible. You should get involved in one of the steaks, and whether you go for the top of the range lomo or a rump and chips for under £25, you’re not going to have much room for anything else. Of course, you shouldn’t let that stop you from ordering some of their excellent empanadas, a side order of humita—a comforting corn, cheese, and béchamel side—and several glasses of malbec.

Every area needs a casual and cool pizza joint and Lost Souls Pizza just happens to be themed around a cult 1980s vampire film. No judgement here. Well, there’s potentially one too many ‘bloody tasty’ puns on the menu but still, it has cheap and cheerful cocktails, a big heated back garden, and the charcoal pizza is very decent. It’s a great spot for a catch-up over ‘80s tunes, or a weekend dinner and drinking session, but the absinthe bar downstairs is where you want to be for an early-in-the-game date night.

Here’s what we think happened. A few years back someone had some form of pagan ritual in Camden and somehow, ice cream got mentioned. That’s literally the only reason we can think of why every time we go to Camden with an out-of-towner they decide they want ice cream. And when that inevitably happens, head to Chin Chin Laboratories by Camden Market. Although there isn’t much seating, this place makes excellent ice cream involving nitrogen and, we don’t know, science. But it tastes excellent, especially the burnt butter caramel flavour.

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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The 13 Best Restaurants In Camden guide image