The Best Restaurants Around Hackney guide image


The Best Restaurants Around Hackney

The 17 best places to eat around Hackney, London Fields, and Hackney Road.

Hackney, Hackney, Hackney. Remember when everyone was talking about you being full of dickheads? Well, that’s over now. We’re in a post-dickhead time. Kind of. Yet, Hackney is still cool. The kind of cool that you hate but still enjoy. And during all this love/hate business, great new restaurants have continued to open, or old-timers have continued to serve brilliant food, all on a pretty much incomparable scale to any other borough in London. Here’s our guide to best places to eat around Hackney, from Mare Street, down to the 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.


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Perfect For:LunchTakeaway


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We’ll be the first to admit that recommendation websites have biases. Everyone has favourites, after all. So you’ve more than likely heard or read or even consumed the falafel pitta from Pockets’ little stall in London Fields at this point. But that doesn’t mean we won’t stop going on about it, nor that we won't be eating one on a weekly basis. Living nearby helps, but we can’t stress enough how worthwhile the queue or journey for this gorgeously layered, heavily sauced, springily soft falafel pitta is. 

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 third location feels like a no-brainer. That’s because it’s a tiny spot open from 10am daily for English breakfast udon and donburi bowls, all the way to 10.30pm with tempura, fish curry noodles, kara-age, and a load more. Given its in-and-out space, this Koya outpost isn’t as comfortable as the others, but it’s a very useful and welcome addition to the area nonetheless.

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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 the new daytime London Fields restaurant for lunch, having had a black pudding breakfast there the same morning. Despite its location in a slick new build and its cool marble white interior, there’s an unmistakable warmth about Café 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.

A takeaway-only spot that you’ll find yourself taking away from repeatedly, 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, and other marinated vegetables. The vehicle is a freshly baked, soft but crisp sub and together, you have a handful of the best kind.

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. The suya is decent and there are other staples like efo-riro and ayamase stew too. If you’re going rice-heavy, just make sure you get a decent ladle of fried tomato and also 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 caf, 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) of the most English variety, and a stalwart for those who have been coming here for donkeys. Though probably not since it opened in 1900. If you’re looking for a more low-key experience in terms of busyness, come in the week. Though Nevio (owner, son, front of house) and his family always make sure Pellicci’s is a lively place to be.

My Neighbours The Dumplings, alert the press, specialises in dumplings, and they are absolutely what you should be spending 20-odd quid on for dinner if you’re around Victoria Park. Or a bit more if you fancy some sake too. The prawn har gau and pork and prawn siu mai are essentials: plump and packed, like a carry-on suitcase with a month’s worth of clothes inside. Plus they’re only £6 a portion.

Bánh Mì Hội-An is a tiny Vietnamese cafe 30 seconds from Hackney Central that makes big, extremely satisfying bánh mì. We enjoy them so much we wrote a love letter to one. It’s takeaway only and whichever option you go for, you’ll find that the char siu is sweet, the pork belly chunky, and the bread itself is the perfect equilibrium between soft and chewy and crisp and flaky. There are other things on the menu too, like noodle salads and phở. Both are perfectly decent, but it’s the bánh mì you should be focused on.

This is Pophams’ second location and the cafe, bakery, and dinnertime pasta spot is perfectly Hackney-fied. The whitewashed space is filled with long sharing tables, beautiful ceramics in neutral tones, flowers in delicate little vases, and flickering candles. Come in the evening for delicious handmade cappellacci, and be back happily munching bacon and maple pastries come the morning.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

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Every Sunday the world and its dog descends on Columbia Road to have “a pahnd a pot” shouted at them while they shuffle up and down the flower market gripping a three-foot fern like a pillow on a hangover. After this, most people go to the pub, but really they should be going to Brawn. It’s a confident and casual sharing plates restaurant where you can just as easily come for a lazy lunch with a friend and polish off a carafe alongside some oysters, ravioli, and the inevitable tiramisu order, as you can 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, you probably don’t think of tasting menus as particularly good value. So it’s a welcome surprise to find that Casa Fofó, 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 £62 for the whole lot, it works out to under a tenner a course. Not bad. It makes for an excellent date night that’s out of the norm, at a fairly normal price.

Turns out 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 for your phone camera, optimised for cobbles, candlelight, and pasta. The food here is good, particularly the pappardelle and the gnocchi, 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, whatever that means, so you can get anything from posh fish and chips to steak tartare.

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. It’s one of our favourite places to eat in London: the tapas approach means that you can keep going if you aren’t satisfied, or just have a few bits and bobs. The menu changes but it’s hard to go wrong. Roast quail, seafood rice, any croquette and cheese fritters are excellent. Oh, and the roast cauliflower salad. You’ll be happy whatever. Sitting at the counter is perfect for a couple, or bring any friends or family you want to modestly impress.

A daytime butchers and nighttime restaurant, H&S 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. Maybe less so the latter but it’s fun. 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.

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. It’s hard to say whether these are really pubs. The Marksman is part of this pub-not-pub thing. Whatever it is, it makes some seriously delicious food. This is classic British grub done good. Enormous pies to share, crispy skin duck breast, brown butter tarts. This is a restaurant that looks like a pub and we are very into it.

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