LDNGuide

The Best Restaurants In Shoreditch

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

The Best Restaurants In Shoreditch guide image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Shoreditch, what are you? Are you a workplace or a playground? Are you the vortex of creativity, commerce, and cool that came to symbolise the future direction of an entire city, or are you a sell-out? Has the party moved on? Are you all washed up, are you done?

These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves when we go out to eat in Shoreditch. And having eaten there a lot, our overwhelming conclusion is that as far as food goes, it remains the only neighbourhood in London that can really rival Soho. Love it or hate it, the Shoreditch restaurant scene isn’t going anywhere. And the spots on this guide will tell you why.


THE SPOTS

Bibo Dani García  review image
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Bibo Dani García

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Bibo is a rare restaurant. Not because it makes enormous pans of perfect paella. Or because its little croquettes wear little jamon hats. Not even because it’s a good-time restaurant with both a DJ and big let’s-get-boisterous booths. No, it’s a rare restaurant because it does all of these things—and it’s actually good. This restaurant is great at taking a classic crowd-pleaser and dressing it up in its Friday night glad rags, be it chorizo served on soft brioche buns with a quail egg to accessorise, or a perfectly cooked tortilla decorated with artsy squiggles of brava sauce. Yes, you’ll get bougie content here, but you’ll also get great food.


This British-powered, Italian-influenced spot made its name in Soho and now its first permanent restaurant in Shoreditch is officially The Place To Be. With oaty interiors and hanging lights, it’s brought its porky and crabby cacio e pepe goodness to a bigger, buzzier, and more boisterous crowd with consummate ease. Book early, settle in, and don't miss that pig skin ragu whatever you do.


There are some things that London and Londoners never tire of. Things like free beer, free wine, and more free beer. And excellent pasta restaurants. Officina 00 is one of those. We’re not saying that a single, flying saucer-like raviolo bergese stuffed with mushroom and egg yolk will change your life, but we are saying that your life will be much sadder, and much less truffle-covered without it. In fact you’ll be sadder without pretty much every plate of pasta here, from the pork occhi to the pappardelle, and at around £15 a plate, it’s one of Shoreditch’s best (value) restaurants.


Since opening, Brat has established itself as one of London’s perma-hottest restaurants. That isn’t just because of its open fire cooking approach, which produces the glorious blackened bread with burnt onion butter, that carefully basted beastly whole turbot, or one of London’s first burnt cheesecakes. But also because the windows rarely open and it gets quite toasty in there, up high on Redchurch Street. No, we kid. It’s because this is quite simply an elite restaurant. Full of natural atmosphere and simply done, fantastic food.


Between jiaozi, momos, pierogis, manti, knedle, ravioli and, well, who knows how many more, you're rarely left wanting when it comes to a dumpling in London. The latest addition to your personal list will be the mushroom barak from Sohaila. The Lebanese-inspired restaurant on Shoreditch High Street is good for many reasons. Firstly, it’s run by Fat Macy’s, a social enterprise that provides Londoners living in temporary accommodation with training programmes to help them move from hostels into their own homes. And those chewy dumplings are one of the standout dishes. Delicious filled parcels aside, the restaurant makes for an intimate dinner space ideal for sharing chewy flatbread with chilli butter-laden labneh and a bottle of something funky from the decently priced list.


Molly’s Cafe is a space in Hoxton connected to the Museum of the Home where lots of other people—family people, hungover people, excited people, romantic people, solitary people, sultry people—are sitting and smiling and enjoying a rudely rich ice cream sandwich in total contentment. It’s an all-day affair. As good for a bacon sandwich as it is for a mid-afternoon negroni, a gooey lunchtime onion and parmesan tart, or a ham and comté croque for the kids. It feels canteen-like in the best possible way. A casual place for second, or 700th, dates as much as it is for solo sandwich goers.


Rochelle Canteen is a brilliant and unique British restaurant in Arnold Circus, a quiet garden off of the high street. You’ll find it by wandering around and looking for a small blue door marked ‘Rochelle School’. Ring the buzzer for the canteen and you’ll enter a hidden garden with a path leading to the restaurant itself. The menu is excellent (everything from soup to salad to suet crust pies and sundaes is fantastic) but the feeling of discovery is a huge part of the Canteen’s appeal. While it’s open all week for lunch, you can also sneak a cosy dinner in during the latter part of the week.


There was a glorious inevitability about Bao bringing their tried and tested restaurant formula to Shoreditch and thankfully (but equally unsurprisingly) their noodle shop does not disappoint. Unlike previous iterations, it’s warming beef and vegan noodle soups rather than fluffy bao which are the main event, though these are of course still on the menu. But the real stars of the show are the small plates. Grabbing a stool here with a plate of spiced crispy tripe and a steaming bowl of Tainan-style noodle soup either solo or with a friend will quickly become your go-to Shoreditch move.


Ozone is known as a coffee shop at the top of Leonard Street. It’s known as a coffee shop since roasting coffee is what they've made their name doing but, really, this shouldn’t be the case. Ozone is very much a restaurant: from the global menu that spans kedgeree to arancini, to the massive space where you can pitch up solo first thing in the morning or hunker down in a booth from lunchtime to 5pm when it closes.


For some of the absolute best pho anywhere in London, Sông Quê should be high on your list. It’s usually slammed with families and ravenous assorted Shoreditch groups, most of whom have been coming here for years, and the dining room has the feel of a bustling canteen. We love the banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) and the grilled quail is also very good, but the steak, flank, and tendon pho with tofu is what we come for.


With three locations in Shoreditch, the City and Soho, Kêu is probably London’s most recognisable Vietnamese mini-chain. Don’t let that make you think that its standards are iffy though. In actual fact, Kêu isn’t just reliable, it’s consistently delicious. Their Hoi-An Deluxe bánh mì combines ham, roast pork belly, sliced head cheese, chicken liver pâté and a gravy-ish sauce that’s heavy on pork and sweet onion flavour. Bread-less stuff is great too: the rice and roasted meats or lemongrass curries make for an always-delicious midweek meal.


You ever get those days where you smell a bit whiffy and all you want to do is sit in a dimly lit room and eat meat off a metal plate? No. Okay. Well, that day will come. And when it does, go to Smokestak. This is the best barbecue restaurant in London. The brisket bun is perfect. It’s ergonomically designed to sit in your hand like a really cute small pet that you will eventually eat. Everything else is good too, like salt-baked beetroot or charred greens. Plus, you come out smelling all lovely and smoky.


Despite being right there, right there on Redchurch Street, not a lot of people seem to know about Burro e Salvia. And that, we think, is just how they like it. The small handmade pasta restaurant has a changing menu of just 15 or so dishes, five of which will be pastas. Be it the signature beef, pork, and spinach agnolotti with butter and sage or a seasonal autumn truffle-piled bowl of passatelli. Despite being in the middle of Shoreditch, it’s a low-key spot and that’s why you’ll like it.


Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a place with any kind of relative serenity in Shoreditch. But through all the bustle and ball pits and streams of beer, there’s Leroy. This wine bar is a great spot when you’re in the area but also looking to escape the area. It’s very easy to get comfortable here, thanks to the room, the wine, and the steady amount of tasty little plates you can pick on.


If you were to pick ten Londoners at random, line them up, and demand they tell you what their favourite restaurant is, chances are at least two of them would say Padella. We suggest you don’t actually do that because it’s arguably quite creepy, instead just trust us when we say this excellent handmade pasta restaurant creates near-cult-like feelings of devotion over the pici cacio e pepe. Affordable, casual, and home to many a top negroni, this big spot isn’t quite as charming as the OG spot in Borough Market, but it’s still perfect for big pasta cravings and pappardelle-fuelled catch-ups. Plus, unlike the walk-in only spot in Borough Market, a limited number of tables here are available to book.


A faux-Italian trattoria plonked in the middle of Old Street and Shoreditch serving pizza and pasta under punny names should, by all rights, be everything you love or hate in the world. It’s a Marmite restaurant. Yet Gloria, with its ridiculous carbonara mixed in a parmesan wheel, and its desserts that are dramatic in both looks and flavour, will (potentially) charm you. OTT Italian accents and all. Just remember to try and book a table.


Oklava serves fantastic and creative Turkish food. You’ll want some flatbreads and grills, and definitely some of the vegetable dishes—like the whole roast cauliflower—as they’re as good as any of the meat plates. Over-ordering can be a problem as much of the menu is absurdly good. But that’s what we call ‘a good problem’.


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