The 11 Best Restaurants In Clapton

Clapton has a load of great options, from wine bars to dumpling spots, and they’re all within 10 minutes of each other.
A bowl of beef noodle soup from Hai Cafe.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

When it comes to food and drink, Clapton has things like dumplings, sourdough pizza, and piles of pancakes you’ll dream of for weeks. On top of that, they’re all just a hop and a skip away from each other, so a good option is never far away whether you’re in Upper Clapton, Lower Clapton, or somewhere in the middle.

If you're around east London and looking for spots in Shoreditch, Dalston, or Stoke Newington, we've got guides for those too.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDrinking Good WineCatching Up With Mates
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This tight-knit Malaysian spot has gone from street stall, to pop-up, to food hall concession to small but superb restaurant. At Mambow, flavours dance around Malaysia and Singapore, from five-spice pork and prawn bean curd rolls, to sensational Sarawak black pepper chicken curry, to fiery otak-otak prawn toast. It’s all deeply flavoured, aromatic, and enlivening stuff. The music is pumping, the wines are juicy, and it’s the kind of food that will have you scraping the plastic plates clean and doing a little jig. Not that there’s much room for that, mind.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The wine bar formerly known as P. Franco is a remarkably similar space since its phoenix-like return. Guest chefs are still on the induction hobs in the middle and plenty of pouting Clapton locals cram in like sardines to pick on a tin of just that alongside a biodynamic lambrusco. It’s fair to say the space is no less hectic in its new guise but, for an aspirational dinner party-ish atmosphere without a sulphite in sight, few do it better.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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Every hour feels like golden hour at Leo’s, a carefully curated Italian bar, restaurant, and aesthete’s daydream on Chatsworth Road. The bar area is decorated with vintage advertising and hanging newspapers, and the espresso machine hisses all day long. While in the skylight-lit back dining room with crisp white tablecloths, porchetta crackles over wood-fire from the open kitchen. The food ranges from excellent pastas to OK mains but, given Leo’s makes you feel as good as it looks, so-so plates can be swept beside the mid-century skirting.

The cupboard-sized spot on Lower Clapton Road is a family affair that’s quietly making some of east London’s best Vietnamese food. Its bánh mì are delicious submarine-sized six-inch wonders—short and crunchy baguettes filled with spiced pork belly or lemongrass chicken along with head cheese, pickles, and a black sesame seed spread. The warming yellow curries—full of soothing carrots and pumpkin, and paired with tofu, vegetables, chicken, or king prawns—are among the most flavourful Vietnamese curries we’ve had in the city. FYI, it’s walk-in only.

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

$$$$Perfect For:LunchTakeaway

People’s Choice, a Caribbean takeaway off Chatsworth Road, is an expert in smoky and charred jerk. Its oil drum BBQ stands and smokes proudly outside of the luminous yellow shop and, when the sun is shining, don’t be surprised to find regulars pitched up on the pavement digging in. If you’d rather somewhere greener, pick up some patties, jerk, and curried goat and wander down to Millfields Park to enjoy. Guinness punch isn’t optional.

Bake Street’s weekend menu is the stuff of legend. The bakery and brunch spot is on the Hackney Downs side of things but, wherever you are, it’s worth seeking out. This isn’t your standard neighbourhood cafe. Lamb birria tacos, Nashville-style hot fried chicken sandwiches, and crème brûlée cookies are all on the menu—each one as moreish as the last. It’s a turn up and grab a spot kind of place, with a handful of tables outside. Frankly, seating is optional but the Makhani fried chicken bun is not.

Fun restaurants are hard to come by, but fun restaurants with good food are even more elusive. It’s an oh-so-rare combination that too often weighs more heavily on one side than the other. At Lucky & Joy it feels even. The neon-hued space is just as vibrant as the food, be it roasted sprouts packed with punches of lime, chilli, and coriander or moreish cold sesame noodles that will hook you after one bite. This is a good-time Chinese-influenced restaurant, and if you come in numbers on a Friday night, you’ll see in Saturday morning in the best possible way.

There’s a shop in Clapton that bears an uncanny resemblance to a high street supermarket. Locals fondly refer to it as ‘Fake Sainsbury’s’. It’s a pillar of the Upper Clapton Road, and so is the pizza restaurant bang opposite it. The sourdough pies at Sodo Pizza are consistently up there with the best pizzas in London. They’re the kind with a crisp base and crusts that taste of a lot more than dough. Plus the candlelit space is an extremely reliable (and cost-efficient) casual date or dinner location.

My Neighbours The Dumplings is a dumpling restaurant, and a bloody fine one at that. The har gau (prawn) and shu mai (prawn and pork) are the sort of things you could very easily eat on a daily basis. The casual spot is artfully scruffed-up, with lots of hanging lanterns and neon signs, and a warm atmosphere that lends itself to midweek catch-up dinners. There’s also a bar downstairs which means you can make an evening of it. And that sounds like a good idea to us.

If eating foods that are considerably bigger than your face is something that appeals, then you’re probably going to like Yard Sale. The Clapton location has a few stools, so getting food to go is your best option. The pizzas (always get the 18-incher) are delicious and good to share between two. Pretty much everything, including their cheese and Marmite pizza bread, is great. Just don’t forget to get the homemade chilli oil and garlic dip.

At Uchi you’ll sit on a wooden stool, hear the reassuring clink of your Asahi on the industrial metal tables, and order a load of sashimi, nigiri, and sushi rolls. The menu is vaguely izakaya-inspired: dotting around from sushi, to yakitori, to tempura, alongside pickles and whatnot. It is, by and large, all solid. The sashimi options are only salmon and tuna, but the yakitori goes from meat, to mackerel, to aubergine. The back area, with curtained-off dining rooms complete with sunken cushioned seats, is great for a group celebration.

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