No other road in London manages to combine the oxymoron that is London’s most beautiful Wetherspoons, incredible laksa, £5 cinema tickets, Neapolitan pizzas, the greatest and most farcical football team on the planet, and the UK’s smallest B&Q - incidentally opened by Arsenal legend Martin Keown - but the Holloway Road does. And it does it effortlessly. Undoubtedly one of north London’s most grubby and great stretches, here’s what you should eat on it.
FOR A HANDHELD SNACK UNDER £5
Handheld food is undeniably the best type of food - followed closely by food on a stick - and in the perfectly crisp but soft shape of a lahmacun from Lahmacino, you’ve got one of north London’s best handheld snacks. The Turkish restaurant specialises in freshly made lahmacun and gözleme, hand-rolled right in front of you. A handful of pickled cabbage salad is essential and chilli and garlic sauce is also welcome. That said, this lahmacun is good enough to enjoy on its own.
SOME EXCELLENT KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN
The Holloway Road is a big road. 1.9 miles, to be precise. At its top end you’ll find GoBong - an excellent little Korean restaurant. The KFC here is very good. Crisp and moist and, importantly, some’s still on the bone. Heat levels vary though we’d recommend going ‘Inferno’ if you want a proper kick. Homemade kimchi is an excellent bit of crunch to have on that side that’s heavy on tart and tingliness, which is just how we like it. Otherwise, the menu has bibimbap, pajeon (Korean pancake), udon, and other bits too.
There’s no lack of good chicken in these parts: Sambal Shiok’s Malaysian fried chicken with peanut sauce is a go-to, and there is, of course, also a Sam’s Chicken outpost, if you’ve got hot wings on your mind.
FOR WHEN YOU NEED A DOUBLE-CARB FIX
Sometimes, in fact, quite a lot of times, one carb just isn’t enough. Take pasta and bread, noodle and dumplings or, in the case of a gyros, flatbread and chips. There are a couple of gyros and souvlaki options on the Holloway Road, but it’s Greek Mama that comes out on top. Technically, their pork yeeros could also fall under the ‘handheld’ option, though this thing is a proper double-fister. Filled with tomato, tzatziki, onion and juicy chicken shaved right off that glorious rotating rotisserie plus, of course, chips - the kind that are really circular wedges of deep-fried potato - all wrapped up in a blanketed flatbread.
Another Greek option a little further up the road is Koutoukaki Souvlaki or you can swing by El Rincón Quiteno for some pastry and potato in the shape of an empanada or a salteña from the Ecuadorian spot.
A BOWL OF ONE OF LONDON'S BEST LAKSAS
Sometimes a bowl of something warm, spicy, and absolutely loaded with the smell of shrimp is the only thing that will do. Thankfully, Sambal Shiok is right here. There have been countless grey days and shivering nights when all we have craved is a bowl of their special laksa. It’s packed with king prawns and poached chicken and, once you get to know your own optimum amount of coconut milk to add to the fiery, shrimpy broth (FYI snivelling is absolutely essential), then you’ll understand that this is one of north London’s most rejuvenating and comforting bowls of food.
If you’re looking for a different type of noodle then Xi’an Impression and their hand-pulled biang biang noodles is of course opposite the Emirates Stadium, or you can swing by Hing Yip and make your own at home.
FOR THE VEGAN AND VEGETABLE LOVERS
Keren View Vegan Restaurant
One of the best things about Holloway Road (of which there are many) is that it caters to all types of people, from those looking for a cheap pint at The Coronet, to Arsenal fans wanting a pre or post-match Neapolitan pizza. For vegans and vegetarians, it’s particularly good, and Keren View should be top of your list. The Eritrean spot has been around for years and after a portion of injera and a choice of dishes with it - we recommend dnish (stewed potato and peppers with chilli) and brsen (stewed brown lentils with kale) for sure - you’ll understand why.
Or you can always grab a little sweet something from Cookies & Scream, a great little vegan and gluten-free bakery. Otherwise if you’re willing to turn a corner onto the Seven Sisters Road, then Mao Chow have a spot in Nag’s Head Market.