London’s Best Food MarketsOur guide to London’s best food markets and street food vendors.
The days of London’s markets being hubs for fruit and veg, dodgy Rolexes, and lots of things for a pahnd are dwindling. Nowadays it’s food, food, food, and there’s a lot to choose from all over London. So we’re here to guide you on the ones to go to—because nobody wants to spend six quid on a bang average mac ‘n’ cheese—and make the most of a day wandering, eating, and eating some more.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
A destination for out-of-towners, a playground for people who get excited by blocks of cheese, and home to some of London’s best market stalls. Borough Market in London Bridge has got excellent cheese toasties from Kappacasein, Indian lentil-filled pancakes from Horn OK Please, famously tasty doughnuts from Bread Ahead, and so much more. Bring some friends, divide and conquer, then come together at the benches in the centre for a taste of everything.
Welcome to one of the best weekend hangout spots in all of London—Maltby Street Market is so good that we come no matter the weather. The narrow street is packed wall-to-wall with excellent food vendors and the odd antique store. Besides excellent food options like steak and chips from The Beefsteaks and plenty of space in the area to perch with a drink, it’s bookended by some excellent restaurants, including small plates specialist 40 Maltby Street. Plan to get here kind of early at the weekend and spend at least a couple of hours eating your weight in doughnuts (St. John Bakery is close by).
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
If you were to wander down Tooting High Street, you might have no idea that there are a bunch of buzzing street food spots and cocktail bars tucked inside this huge hidden indoor market. Enter through a simple alleyway that opens up into a maze of good times, loud music, and cold pints. Whether you opt for a big charcuterie board at The Tapas Room or a bowl of burrata and truffle tortelloni from Mamma Mia, the prices tend to be very agreeable. Plus, with all those options it’s an excellent shout for a date with someone whose full allergy profile you don’t yet know or as a last-minute option for those of us who thought that date night was next week.
Camden at the weekend is like every embarrassing adolescent moment you’ve ever had, rolled into a few hundred metres of tattoo parlours, goth stores, and vape cafes. But wander over to Camden Market Stables, which, while still completely mobbed at the weekend, has some pretty excellent food options. Queues curve around the huge igloo tables with people waiting to get their hands on the TikTok-viral Asador and the moreish Funky Chips. On a busy day, grab a snack from one of the other stalls (we like the excellent beef birria tacos from Meat Head Mexican) and wait your turn, because both the Argentinian steak and the masala fries are worth the wait.
Ingeniously nicknamed Bitecross Street (can you see what they’ve done there), this weekday, lunchtime-only street market in between Old Street and the Barbican has become a standard for workers nearby. It’s a global affair which includes old-time burrito makers Luardos, Brazilian flatbread makers Beiju, and an array of stalls from Italian pasta to Indian street food.
Is there a better nighttime place to hang out with great food and drinks than at POP Brixton? We don’t think so. It’s a neon-lit complex of shipping containers packed with street food vendors and mini restaurants, hawking everything from Greek souvlaki and Japanese comfort food, to Caribbean macaroni pie. You’ll come here and never want to leave. It’s awesome for a group, and an excellent plan of action would be just to rock up to Brixton at the weekend with a few friends and bounce from one stall to another all evening.
In warm weather, Mercato Metropolitano, between Borough and Elephant and Castle, just makes sense—it’s a good spot to rock up at the weekend with a few friends and eat and drink in the sunshine. On top of the usual craft beer, burgers, and hot dogs, there’s an Italian slant (clue’s in the name) and as well as a gelato spot and Italian sandwiches, there’s a grocery where you can pick up some fancy cured meat and cheese. Give it a visit when you want something a bit more chilled out than the usual street food scene.
There was a time, when we grew up, that going to Spitalfields was like entering a hurricane of the most London kind. There were smells, sounds, and socks falling from stalls everywhere. If you were eating you were getting a bagel from Brick Lane. Nowadays things are very different. And the food is better. Spitalfields Kitchens has some of the best grab and go food in London. Top spots like Fen Noodles and Dumpling Shack have stalls here. While Yum Bun, Sood Family, and Wheelcake Island are delicious options.
Ten or 15 years ago, you would’ve been delighted to get a jacket potato with beans down Leather Lane. Nowadays, you’ll probably have a hard time choosing whether to go for the purple mash or some polenta with your lunch. This market has gone from a clothing to a food mecca. Daddy Donkey burritos were one of the first and now have permanent residence, while Marrakech Grill’s rice boxes are sure to fill you up, especially if you’ve been to the Craft Beer Co up the road for a sharpener beforehand.