LDNGuide

The Best Restaurants Around Hackney

The best restaurants in Hackney, around London Fields, and along Hackney Road.
A spread of dishes from Campania & Jones on a marble table.

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

There are a lot of love/hate feelings around Hackney, but you can’t deny that great new restaurants have continued to open here and old-timers have continued to serve brilliant food. Here’s our guide to the best places to eat around Hackney, from Mare Street, down Hackney Road, and around Victoria Park.

N.B. We have separate guides if you’re looking to eat around Dalston, Stoke Newington, or Clapton. And if you can’t understand why there aren’t any Shoreditch restaurants here, that’s because Shoreditch is also important enough to merit its own guide.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

BBQ

Hackney

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCatching Up With MatesDrinking Good Beer
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

Lagom is making one of the best burgers in London right now. It has a crispy crust, a bun so buttery you have to wipe your hands after every single bite, and a much-needed smear of sharp, vinegary slaw. But there’s more to love about this industrial, dimly lit barbecue restaurant inside Hackney Church Brew Co.. Big boisterous groups pile into the pew-like sharing benches, swilling pints and throwing blistered pork bites back like popcorn. Expect big flavours, big end-of-the-week energy, and even bigger chicken wings.

Towpath is a seasonal, summer-only cafe where you’ll likely have to wait for a seat alongside other seasoned table grabbers in their best linen fits. This charming spot along the Regent's Canal is pretty much entirely outside and it has a strong case for being one of London's most dopamine-inducing spots. Come on a sunny day and nab a seat (alongside a plate of tomatoes on toast), or stop by for a midweek meal if you don’t fancy tackling the weekend brunch hours. That said, it’s worth it, whether for breakfast or a sun-dappled lunch of radishes and taramasalata followed by hearty, herby lamb meatballs with couscous.

The burgers from Bun & Sum’s original Mile End spot made it onto our Best Smashburgers guide. So if you’re craving something lacy-edged and meaty, you can’t go wrong here. You'll probably have quite a wait between ordering and your collection buzzer pinging. But persevere for a stool—these excellent halal burgers are best enjoyed freshly smashed and sizzled, while nodding along to the bumping hip-hop/R&B playlist. Add a portion of fall-off-the-bone sticky ribs and cheeseburger fries showered with small pieces of those crispy patty edges, and you’ll be glad you were patient.

With tinted windows, flash cars parked outside, and a vibe that doesn't pick up until the late hours of the night, Eko is the epitome of a Nigerian lounge bar. The Homerton spot hosts weekly live music on Friday nights with afrobeats vibrating through the restaurant alongside the occasional Nigerian funk rendition. Waiters bring out piping hot plates of chewy but tender asun goat meat and gizzard and, while vegans aren't specifically catered for, there are mammoth plates of delicious spicy jollof rice and soft cassava fries.

Ombra feels like the dinner party everyone aspires to be at. Candlelit tables sink bottles of natural wine while puncturing puffy gnocco fritto and crunching into deep-fried courgette flowers mid-anecdote, while dates share slabs of indecently decadent tiramisu. There are luxurious, When Harry Met Sally-inspired bites of food, and then there is Ombra’s tiramisu. Cream-heavy but as light as a cloud, showered in brilliantly bitter chocolate that tastes like it’s 99.9% cacao, and with a perky hit of coffee. It’s excellent, and this easy-to-like restaurant is one of the best Italian spots in London.

Papi, in the ground floor of a London Fields apartment block, brings big house party energy and creative, European-leaning small plates. The menu is full of fun and nostalgic dishes, like the cheeseburger-inspired tartare with a red plastic bowl of hot fries, but also elegant plates of smoked rabbit kielbasa. This is where to go for disco balls, Polaroid photos in the loo, and an extensive wine list. 

A churchyard isn’t a conventional brunch spot, but Bad Manners isn’t a conventional place. The Mexican kiosk, set among the gardens and gravestones of St John at Hackney church, slings excellent breakfast burritos, plus hearty egg, bacon, and hash brown tacos. The simple seating setup is alfresco and open to the elements. If it’s glorious out—great. Get in line with locals, order from the hatch, and find a table from which to people-watch. But if it’s grim outside, get your foil-wrapped breakfast to go.

Sometimes you’ve just got to give the people what they want. And in the case of Broadway Market’s whippet-walking residents, they want handmade udon. Koya’s location here feels like a no-brainer. That’s because it’s a tiny spot open from 10am on weekends for English breakfast udon and donburi bowls, all the way to 10pm for tempura and curry udon bowls, kara-age, and a load more. Given its in-and-out space, this Koya outpost isn’t as comfortable as the others but nonetheless, it’s a very useful spot in the area.

When your gut tells you that you should go for the onglet with peppercorn sauce and chips, you listen. Just as we’d listened when it told us to come back to Cafe Cecilia for lunch, having had a black pudding breakfast there the same morning. Despite its location, in a slick new build with cool marble white interiors, there’s an unmistakable warmth about Cafe Cecilia. It’s in the fizzing green peppercorn sauce, it’s in the present and always-pleasant staff, and it’s in a menu that leads with Guinness bread and butter.

Dom’s Subs makes killer sandwiches with an Argos catalogue amount of filling. The insides range from mortadella, bresaola, and more cold cuts, to Thai ground chicken, or tenderstem broccoli with confit garlic. The vehicle is a freshly baked, soft but crisp sub and together, you have a handful of the best kind. There are a couple of seats inside but your best bet is to get a sandwich to take away.

Tomi’s Kitchen is a restaurant on Morning Lane making hearty West African food to eat in or takeaway. It’s an excellent spot for a quick and delicious lunch or dinner, and stopping in here for a plate of stewed beef with jollof rice, beans, and plantain is always a good idea. If you’re going rice-heavy, make sure you get a ladle of fried tomato and chilli sauce. Together they’re the perfect mix of savoury, salt, spice, and all that other stuff food programmes on Netflix talk about.

Arguably the definitive East End caff, E. Pellicci manages to juggle being both a tourist destination for those seeking a glorious, coronary-inducing fry-up (featuring both bubble and squeak and hash browns) and a stalwart for those who have been coming here for donkeys. If you’re looking for a more low-key experience in terms of busyness, come in the week. Although Nevio (owner, son, front of house) and his family always make sure Pellicci’s is a lively place to be.

Bánh Mì Hội-An is a tiny Vietnamese cafe 30 seconds from Hackney Central that makes big, extremely satisfying bánh mì. There are a few stools but it’s predominantly takeaway only, and whichever option you go for, you’ll find that the char siu is sweet, the pork belly chunky, and the bread is the perfect equilibrium between soft and chewy, and crisp and flaky. The noodle salads and phở are perfectly decent, but it’s the bánh mì you should be focused on.

Every Sunday the world and its dog descends on Columbia Road Flower Market to have “£1 A POT” shouted at them while they shuffle up and down, gripping a fern like a pillow on a hangover. It’s a worthwhile destination during the week too, to eat at Brawn. The modern European restaurant was one of the first to do small plates, funky wine, and trendy posters—and it’s still one of the best. Come for a lazy lunch with a friend and polish off a carafe alongside oysters, ravioli, and the inevitable tiramisu order, or do the same with a date or your dad.

Unless you’re the kind of person who pops to the shop in a Ferrari and boils their pasta in a pot full of Voss water, then you probably don’t think of tasting menus as particularly good-value. So it’s a welcome surprise to find that Casa Fofò, a casual Hackney tasting menu restaurant that draws inspiration from around the world, offers both good value and a good atmosphere. The eight courses change daily and at £68 for the whole lot, it makes for an excellent date night that’s out of the norm, at a fairly normal price.

London is really good at Italian restaurants and Campania is one of the best around. Its picturesque setting off Columbia Road and old dairy shopfront makes it seem like someone made a Campania filter, and optimised it for cobbles, candlelight, and pasta. The food here is good, particularly the pappardelle and sage butter gnudi, and it pretty much suits any intimate occasion. If you can get a booking.

In our mind Bistrotheque is one of the original ‘trendy’ Hackney restaurants, even though the pedants among us say it’s just across the border in Tower Hamlets. The fact it’s still going strong shows that they know exactly what they’re doing. And more importantly, they’re good at it. This all-white warehouse is equally lovely on a bright day, or for an evening with your better half. Food-wise it’s modern European, and you can get anything from posh fish and chips to steak tartare.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

OpenTable logo

One of the trailblazers of small plates eating with their original Exmouth Market location, Morito has continued doing what they do best on the Hackney Road. The tapas approach means that you can keep going if you aren’t satisfied, or just have a few bits and bobs. The Spanish and North African-inspired menu changes but it’s hard to go wrong. Roast quail, seafood rice, any croquette and cheese fritters are excellent. Sitting at the counter is perfect for a couple, or bring any friends or family you want to modestly impress. Its brunch menu is excellent too.

A daytime butchers and nighttime restaurant, Hill & Szrok is a good little place if you get a hankering for a bit of meat. There’s a very nice atmosphere, thanks to the fact you’re all sharing one big marble island, and there are artfully hung bits of meat here and there. The menu is brief: starters like rillettes, cuts of meat like chops and rumps, and sides like buttered Jersey royals. It’s a good place for a catch-up with friends, unless they’re vegetarian.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

The definition of a gastropub has broadened in the last couple of decades. What was initially defined by lamb shank and creamy mash has grown into something else where you’ve got more chance of getting a celeriac crisp than a salt and vinegar one. The Marksman is part of this pub-cum-restaurant thing, and it makes some seriously delicious food. This is about classic British dishes done well. Enormous pies to share, crispy skin duck breast, brown butter tarts, an excellent Sunday roast. It’s a restaurant that looks like a pub and we are very into it.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

The 18 Best Restaurants In Shoreditch image

The 18 Best Restaurants In Shoreditch

From an iconic British restaurant to homely Vietnamese, open-fire cooking, and more.

The East London Brunch Guide image

17 of the best places to eat brunch in east London.

A bowl of beef noodle soup from Hai Cafe.

Clapton has a load of great options, from wine bars to dumpling spots, and they’re all within 10 minutes of each other.

Infatuation Logo

Cities

2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

FIND PLACES ON OUR APP

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store