We’re not going to get involved in any park wars, but we will say that Regent’s Park is particularly versatile. So large that it dips into central and north London, and home to a viewing hill that anyone who has stayed in London for a significant amount of time has found themselves on at 2am for no apparent reason. Because there are 395 acres of greenery in this park, we’ve split this guide up by north, south, east, and west sides of the park. From Camden to Marylebone, here are the best spots to eat near one of London’s biggest parks.
Lemonia is a Primrose Hill stalwart and you can virtually roll here from the top of the hill. This old-school Greek restaurant is a good-times place that’s less about the food and more about the people you’re with. That said, the hot and cold mezze is reliably tasty and there’s a load of grilled meat and fish to choose from as well. Primrose Hill types have been coming here for years so it’s safe to say, children are very welcome.
No other spot around here captures the totally effortless, slightly bohemian, but also ridiculously rich style of this corner of NW1 quite like this casual and reasonably priced all-day cafe. It’s where we come to eat an excellent plate of wild mushrooms, polenta, and poached egg for brunch when we’re trying to pretend we live in one of the pastel-coloured terraces around the corner on Chalcot Square. And it’s where you should come for a daytime or evening meal after a stroll in the park when you’re trying to convince the person you’re dating that you’re a serious person, with good taste in things.
Mildreds is a reliably friendly and tasty vegetarian restaurant in Camden Town. This place is super bright, airy, and has a busy, upbeat feel that makes it perfect for everything from a low-key business lunch to a chilled catch-up. We’re big fans of the Sri Lankan curry with roasted cashews, and they make a mean mushroom gyoza. You can also swing by for an entirely vegan or vegetarian brunch at the weekend, but be sure to book ahead—the cocktails and waffles make it popular.
La Patagonia is a friendly Argentinian grill restaurant on Camden High Street—a good spot to know about when you find yourself hungry after accidentally walking the whole of Regent’s Park and end up in Camden Town. You’re probably going to want to get involved in one of the steaks, and whether you go for the top of the range lomo or a rump and chips for under £20, you’re not going to have much room for anything else. Of course, you shouldn’t let that stop you from ordering some of the excellent empanadas, a side order of humita (a comforting corn, cheese, and béchamel dish), and several glasses of malbec.
Honey & Spice
You know those picnics you plan when drunk? The ones where one friend is going to grill peppers and make a broad bean hummus, and another is going to marinate chicken for 48 hours in a sauce passed through three generations of their family. And then you all wake up the next day and buy some hummus and Doritos from Tesco with a side of Berocca? Skip the supermarket and head to Middle Eastern deli Honey & Spice on Warren Street (sister store to Honey & Co) instead for all of those dream mezze dishes you want to make for a picnic but never do.
Murger Han does indeed serve some pretty great murger—a traditional Chinese snack involving slow-cooked meat in a flatbread—but it also serves a lot of other things. There are clay pot dishes, dumplings, soup, and some excellent biang biang noodles that you should definitely get involved in. It’s less than a 20-minute walk to the park, making it perfect for a laid-back dinner with a couple of friends, a speedy lunch, or to swing by mid-afternoon for some top Xi’anese dishes.
Roti King is a cult Malaysian restaurant in Euston that specialises in roti canai—soft, flaky flatbreads served with a bowl of delicious curry. The basic one is £6, but the tender mutton version is worth the extra £1.50. They also serve great versions of Malaysian hawker stall staples like char kway teow, nasi goreng, and a proper laksa for £9. Hit it for a tasty, no-frills meal with a few mates, though be warned there can be queues at peak hours.
Five minutes from Regent’s Park station is Fischer’s, a Viennese-inspired brasserie which produces schnitzel that’s even crisper than the breeze coming out of its air-conditioning unit. It’s part of the same restaurant group as The Wolseley, so the service is slick and the room is like a Wes Anderson set, minus Bill Murray. Crispy schnitzel aside, there’s a pretty good selection of herring and a very nice pancake dessert.
A somewhat ridiculous restaurant in a Grade I-listed building near Regent’s Park, Chameleon serves a menu of great Tel Aviv-inspired sharing plates alongside a whole lot of high-energy OTT glamour. Whether you go for brunch and tuck into the signature ‘cowshuka’ while a knock-off Ricky Martin serenades you, or head here for a big-deal birthday dinner in the self-anointed ‘God’s Garden’, you’re bound to leave very tipsy and questioning whether you now have tinnitus. That being said, the secluded garden is truly lovely and we can’t fault the strong cocktails, or their undeniable commitment to a grandiose sesh.
This spot on St John’s Wood High Street is an absolutely faithful reproduction of someone’s slightly faded memory of a cafe they visited in Paris when they were on their French exchange. In fact it’s so faithful a reproduction it would feel like a naff theme restaurant if it wasn’t actually quite good at what it does. Granted, we’ve never seen a ‘super green salad’ on offer in any of the legendary cafes on the boulevard Montparnasse, but, if you want to catch up with friends after a day in the park or take your grandparents out for a decent steak frites with béarnaise sauce and a frankly excellent salted caramel éclair, you could do far worse than this place. Plus, it’s only a five-minute walk from the park.
Panzer’s has been in St. John’s Wood since 1956. Opened by two refugees from Austria and former Czechoslovakia (Mr. Panzer and Mr. Vogl respectively), it quickly became a favourite for Jewish deli goods and, since then, has established itself as a legendary delicatessen. It’s also a personal favourite of ours for picnic essentials because of its proximity to Regent’s Park (an eight-minute walk). The smoked salmon is essential (the only question is whether you go dry or oily) as are the bagels, but there’s also an excellent sushi counter these days (from Sushi Atelier), and all the other bits you could need for a respectable spread.