The 12 Best Restaurants In Spitalfields

Sheng jian bao, gooey Detroit-style pizza, and more.

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Turn right out of Shoreditch High Street Overground, under the bridge, and past the guy playing The Weeknd on the windpipes, and you’ll be in Spitalfields. Once known for its community of artists, Spitalfields is now, basically, one big street art tour. Every day, crowds take pictures of an inexplicable stencil of some relatively major royal in stilettos giving the v sign. Someone, somewhere, is turning in their grave.

It’s OK though, because if you can ignore the tourists and often manic vibe, Spitalfields has one of the best selections of restaurants in London. Let this guide expertly lead you around that person setting up their tripod in the middle of the pavement and to some excellent food instead.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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This Detroit-style pizza place serves mozzarella-covered, marinara-heavy pizzas that have a fluffy, focaccia-like crust we’d happily nap on. A single £4.99 slice of its Red Stripe is enough to fill you up, but the dough is so chewy and pillowy, with a layer of cheese and a river of rich marinara on top, that we're willing to bet you'll want a whole pie. Come here for a foolproof lunchtime spot, get a slice or two while perching on one of their stools, and feel smug that you’ve secured one of the best pizzas in London.

There are multiple reasons why we quickly fell in love with Noodle & Beer. The first is the name. It speaks to us both personally and profoundly. The second, third, fourth, and all the rest were very much food-related. The thick (perhaps even worthy of two cs) tian-shui mian udon is unlike any udon we’ve had in London. Full of bite, it sits in a slurpable pool of a sweet, nutty, and Sichuan pepper-filled sauce. The other dish that occupies valuable real estate in our brain is the lang-ya tu dou—handmade crinkle-cut chips wok-fried in chilli oil with onion and pepper. They are simply some of the best chips in all of London

photo credit: Stefan Johnson



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What can we say about St John that we haven’t already? Not much. Apart from that Bread and Wine is one of the best restaurants in London, not just Spitalfields. A tad more casual than the St. John Street original, the menu at Bread and Wine leans more sharing. Think devilled crab in a curried sauce with coriander, or crispy pig cheek salad with sweet shallots. Come with family, for a group meal, or, if you work near here, use any excuse to escape the office and have a top-tier lunch. Specifically the Welsh rarebit.

Whether you’re a flexitarian, humanitarian, or disciplinarian, you should be eating in Bubala, a vegetarian restaurant on Commercial Street. Everything on the Middle Eastern menu at this understated spot is delicious, from the charred laffa flatbread and dips, to the scoop of tahini, date, and tangerine ice cream. It’s affordable too: you can have an excellent meal for under £30, or get the Bubala Knows Best set menu for £40 and try a little bit of everything., And the bar is a great option too if you want to book for a few plates and a bottle of wine.

It’s no secret that Dumpling Shack’s sheng jian bao are London’s most reliably tasty soup dumplings. Pan-fried for a crisp bite, packed with pork, and with a slurp of delicious broth, they tick all the boxes. But the other bits on Dumpling Shack’s menu—prawn-filled wontons drenched in electric chilli oil, a spring onion pancake that marries your softest and flakiest sweet pastry memories into something deliciously savoury—are also fantastic. This spot is in Old Spitalfields Market, so swing by, find yourself a place to perch, and get slurping.

While Brick Lane is famous for its Bangladeshi curry houses, our must-visit South Asian restaurant is a five-minute walk away. Gunpowder’s take on Indian classics is something everybody should be trying. Think tamarind soup shots, moreish okra fries, and venison doughnuts—plus, the kind of snug, wraparound wood panelling that makes us think of post-soft shell crab naps. 

To some, Ottolenghi is a nobody. To others, he’s the man who introduced chucking some pomegranate seeds onto a salad. To Planet Organic goers, he’s a deity to be worshipped. Whatever you think or don’t think about him, the restaurants that bear his name are a damn fine chain of kind-of-healthy spots to grab a celeriac skewer. Head to the Spitalfields one for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s as reliable as they come.

We’re known for a lot of things in London. Mainly pints. And queues. And the two together. But there are probably other things as well. Dumplings are something we’re not so well-known for, but My Old Place is one of London’s better options, and a very good choice when you’re looking for a no-nonsense Chinese restaurant in Spitalfields. Come for a quick and cheap lunch: make sure to order the dumplings, dan dan noodles, gong pao chicken, and be pleasantly surprised by the bill.

For the more passionately carnivorous, there’s Hawksmoor Spitalfields, the OG of the all-powerful steak chain. The bar downstairs is an ideal pre- or post-date drinking spot. Upstairs, the steaks are reliably tasty, as are the chips . Also, don’t miss out on a full-fat Old Fashioned if you want a truly decadent experience.

Few things are better than getting a drink or two, being overcome with sudden and dramatic hunger, and finding yourself in a pub that also offers some pretty good food. The Culpeper is just that. This pub/restaurant/hotel has a very inviting bar menu, from picky bits to main courses of pasta. And the restaurant upstairs has a slightly larger selection with sharing plates of whole fish or big bits of meat with sides. It’s an easy choice for an unplanned meal.

This old-school Chinese restaurant off Brick Lane can be a bit of welcome respite from some of the trendier spots in the surrounding area. This is a white tablecloth, big menu with pictures kind of affair. The hot pots are excellent and much-needed for 90% of the year, and the twice-cooked pork in chilli oil with buns is one of the tastiest (and biggest) things you can get for under a tenner in London. This is a great spot for a catch-up with mates, a last-minute dinner, or anything really.

As well as Dumpling Shack, there are also a load of other restaurants and mini-kitchens where you can sit in at the bar or take away food in Old Spitalfields Market. There are plenty of top options, from Yum Bun’s hard-to-resist pillowy bao to Fen Noodles—the hand-pulled noodle offshoot of Dumpling Shack—and it’s a real destination for lunch or a casual, quick dinner.

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