The Best Restaurants In Brixton
From wickedly flavourful West African food, to smoky and saucy jerk, to Japanese hand rolls and natural wine bars. Here's where to eat in Brixton.
Brixton gets plenty of richly deserved restaurant credit. But it’s also an area of London that needs its heritage and restaurants to be protected and preserved. From brilliant neighbourhood Caribbean and Colombian restaurants, to a masterclass in flavours from one of the city’s best West African restaurants, to natural wine hangouts and Japanese hand rolls. Brixton is a mix of the old and new that represents every side of London.
It’s rare that a soup changes your life. That’s what we thought anyway, until it happened to us on a stormy Tuesday night. Fine. It wasn’t stormy. We’re being dramatic. But, the point is that Chishuru’s groundnut and spiced peanut butter soup is so warming and so tasty, that a little theatrics are in order. Ever since first eating at the West African restaurant in Brixton Market, we’ve caught ourselves daydreaming about the spiced hibiscus in the fried milk dessert, the peanut ice cream that comes with caramelised baobab mousse, and the glorious spice factor of the goat shoulder smeared in ayamase sauce. Chishuru might be tiny and have a small menu, but it leaves a big impact.
El Rancho De Lalo
El Rancho De Lalo’s may have moved to a bigger and shinier space off Brixton Hill, but it still has the same wonderful Colombian hospitality. Chicharrón, steak, and a lovely, varying selection of meat and carbs are going to arrive at your table and you’re more than likely to be very happy with all of them. Portions are bulging, the room is usually full of families and friends, and its £2 empanadas are one of the best snacks around.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
Londoners are so accustomed to queuing that when we see one we think nothing of it. Some queues tell a story though, and the one that snakes out the door of Healthy Eaters every day is one of them. This homely Caribbean restaurant on Electric Avenue is a local favourite for obvious reasons. You can see people cooking huge batches of curried goat or jerk sauce in the back, trays of freshly baked patties come out like clockwork, and generous portions of lunch or dinner are brought to you on a plate for just £7 if you decide to eat in.
photo credit: Charlie McKay
Seaweed is the ultimate vehicle for rice. At Temaki it’s also the perfect vehicle for some BBQ eel that we would ghost a BBQ chicken wing for. We truly mean that. Honestly, the affordable temaki here is so good that we no longer accept handshakes, just otoro handed over from the chef. A sleek, minimalist restaurant hidden in Brixton Market, this is the kind of low-key, counter-only spot that you desperately want to drag that person you’re seeing to, just so they know that you’re very, very—once more for luck—very cool.
Fish, Wings & Tings
If you’re heading to Brixton specifically to find Caribbean food, Fish, Wings & Tings is a good place to start. The vibes are chill and the food is solid. Jerk chicken, curried goat, and saltfish fritters are on the menu, with deliciously sweet mango sauce served with all dishes. On a warm sunny day, there is nothing better than finding a spot on the outside benches with a few of your mates, ordering some food and cocktails, and just hanging out.
Nanban is a Japanese-influenced spot that was first opened by MasterChef winner Tim Anderson back in 2011. He’s no longer part of the setup but Nanban is still a reliable destination for rich ramen, crunchy chicken wings, and more. Inspiration comes from near and far on Nanban’s menu. Things like Indo-Caribbean ramen broth, ackee and saltfish fried rice, and scotch bonnet honey all feature. It calls itself ‘Japanese soul food’ that’s firmly grounded in Brixton. We call it a great all-rounder.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
If you like big portions of tasty yakisoba and small prices, you’ll like Okan in Brixton Village. This Osaka-style Japanese spot doesn’t have a lot of seating, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in pork belly okonomiyaki, thick yaki udon, and its excellent signature king prawn and squid yakisoba. Everything here is under a tenner and comes with a proper serving of bonito fish flakes, seaweed flakes, and Japanese mayonnaise, so it’s perfect for a quick sit-down situation or to takeaway. If you’re able to grab a table here in the evening, get involved in the sides and the plum wine too, and enjoy the buzz of the open kitchen.
Eat Of Eden
Eat Of Eden has one of the largest patio areas at Brixton Village, makes purely vegan food, and serves the largest single person combo platters we’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing is huge. It does come in at a hefty £19.50, but it’s really good. You can choose seven items from an extensive list, but you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t get the pumpkin and sweet potato curry, the fried dumplings, and the seaweed fritters, and you’ll probably be taking a lot of it home with you. If you want something smaller (and cheaper) they also serve meals with a curry/stew, a grain, and a side for around £13.50, plus wraps.
Are you a sucker for fairy lights and linguine vongole? Yes? Same. Chances are you’ll be into Bellefields in Brixton. A casual five-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of the station, this Mediterranean spot’s secluded cobblestone courtyard is prime date night material. The trees are covered in twinkly lights, the wine is served with a smile, and the £11.50 grilled octopus is a one-way ticket to a place we like to call Pretending We’re Not In London. Inside you’ll also find a lovely setup with green banquette seating and plenty of Matisse motifs to keep your catch-up or low-key birthday dinner feeling classy. None of the food here will have you writing love letters to burrata but it is all reliably affordable and, importantly, satisfying.
Naughty Piglets is a brilliant neighbourhood restaurant that anyone would be chuffed to have down the road from them. It serves little sharing plates of creative French food, paired with natural wines, and it’s the sort of place that will both impress a date and make your mouth happy. We love its intimate atmosphere and genuinely friendly service, and even if you’ve crossed London to get here, they’ll make you feel like you’re part of the neighbourhood. Order the crème caramel for dessert.
Beb’s is a homely Indian restaurant that serves an excellent range of curries, including some Goan specialities, in a caf-like room with red gingham tablecloths. Whether you’re eating in or taking away, friendliness and comfort is the number one priority. Rose tea will be offered as you wait, complimentary cassava cake will come out, and the distinct feeling that maybe, just maybe, you would like to be adopted by this lovely couple will occur. The food will also make you feel all warm and fuzzy: lamb xacuti is rich and spiced, and even if you’re just popping in for some samosas, they too are expertly made. Needless to say the big BYOB sign is also very welcoming.
If you’re planning on being around the main strip in Brixton, your first idea probably won’t be to hike all the way up Brixton Hill to this straightforward Caribbean spot. It’s worth it though. Not only for the menu of comfort food classics like saltfish fritters and jerk chicken with rice and peas, but also for its calm terrace which is great for large groups.
We’re entirely on board with the sentiment of this cool coffee spot on Brixton Hill and pretty much everything else about it. As well as pastries, sandwiches, and bacon baps, this place has excellent coffee and one of the cutest hidden gardens in London. Inside you’ll find a sort of modern lumberjack dream, with lots of oak, plants, and the smell of fresh coffee beans. Just be warned, although it’s a great spot for a catch-up or getting some work done, it closes at 4pm in the week.
You might miss Santafereño if you aren’t looking out for it. But you should look for it, and then stop in for some decent Colombian food. Yes, it is a bit basic inside; yes, the music’s a bit loud; yes, the telenovelas on the TV in the corner are a bit distracting if you’re trying to talk to someone. But it’s also kind of great for all the same reasons. The mains may seem a bit on the pricey side, but good luck getting through an entire plate of meat or rice. Do what the locals do and take home half of the lunch deal in a box and a blue plastic bag. The pastel de yuca (cassava cake stuffed with beef, rice, and peas) or the empanadas are the best value and most tasty £1.20 snack you will get in south London.
We’ll keep this simple. Other Side Fried makes one of the best chicken burgers in town, and you should definitely consider getting one if you’re at Pop Brixton. Even if you’re not in Brixton, you might consider jumping on the tube to get in on some crunchy, juicy chicken action. The buffalo and signature honey butter burgers are both ridiculous.
KaoSarn serves satisfying Thai food from a small cafe in Brixton Arcade. We like to hit it up when we get cravings for comforting South East Asian food, and it’s also good for an afternoon pick-me-up. The moo ping pork skewers are a winner and make sure the minced chicken larb salad is in your order too.
If you like tapas, then you’ll like Boqueria, which does Spanish food that you could confidently feed to your mate from Barcelona. Except maybe don’t literally do that, as they’ll probably slap you if you try. All of the standard dishes like tortilla and calamari are proper and perfect for a casual hang with a couple of Estrellas. Although you can kick it up a notch for an occasion, as there are dishes like suckling pig and killer seafood specials on the menu as well.