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Where To Eat If You’re Going To The Football

The essential pre- or post-match meals.
Where To Eat If You’re Going To The Football image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The 2023 football season is in full swing, and with seven London clubs gracing the Premier League, there’s more opportunity than ever to see a game. Traditionally, pre- and post-match sustenance at the football is of the liquid, burger, or pie variety. But the modern football fan is more discerning, and every London stadium has excellent restaurant options within walking distance.

THE SPOTS

Wembley Stadium

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Gujarati

Wembley

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCatching Up With MatesCasual Weeknight DinnerVegetarians
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As fine an idea as a foot-long hot dog in a hollowed baguette seems, pre-match meals needn’t be a last-minute affair. For those who want to make a trip to Wembley truly memorable, start with a meal at Asher’s Africana. The cash-only vegetarian Gujarati spot is a relaxed, buzzing place serving buttery rotis and warming potato and aubergine curries. Booze and meat aren’t necessary when food is this satisfying.


Lining your stomach, pre-match, is one of the wisest things you can do before a big game at Wembley. And sitting down for a Goan feast at Cross Restaurant is one excellent place to do it. There’s plenty to please a group—from bhajis to biryani—but it’s the deep-fried seafood thalis, paired with pungent red curry, rice, and pickles, that are a must.


Emirates Stadium

This box-sized Chinese restaurant is a stone’s throw away from the Emirates Stadium, and a meal here can be paired with a wander around The Armoury, the club shop that’s directly opposite, before or after. But odds are that if you’re not already wearing Arsenal colours, you will be by the time you get involved with Xi’an Impression’s fiery red chilli oil. The bouncy hand-pulled biang biang noodles are particularly good.


Two minutes from the Emirates is Wolkite—a wonderful, low-key Ethiopian spot ideal for lunch or dinner. It specialises in kitfo, a dish of raw minced beef mixed with warm spiced butter and seasoned with mitmita (chilli powder) that’s best paired with an ice-cold bottle of crispy St. George lager.


London Stadium

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

For a truly authentic West Ham experience, a plate of pie, mash, and liquor is essential. And for any fans of football firm films, where punches are thrown and pies are noshed, G Kelly on Roman Road is an aesthete’s dream—all art deco fittings and luminous green parsley sauce. If beef pies aren’t your thing, there are wholesomely British servings of apple crumble and custard as well.


Options around the Olympic Park are improving every year, but Crate remains one of the most reliable crowd-pleasers. The Hackney Wick brewery sits on the canal and is a 10-minute walk to the London Stadium. There are plenty of beers, as you’d expect, and a menu of mega-crispy, thin crust pizzas. 


Stamford Bridge

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

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Chelsea’s die hard fans tend to sit in the Matthew Harding stand, and that rowdy mob might not approve of a King’s Road pub. But once they try the ham, egg, and chips, few can argue with The Cadogan Arms—chandeliers and all. The gastropub is on the swisher side of things if you’re after a sit-down affair, although its bar menu is equally perfect for opportunistic walk-ins.

Ask a Londoner where to find reliably delicious pizza and Santa Maria’s name will certainly pop up. The Neapolitan pizzeria is 10 minutes away from The Bridge and a firm favourite among fans. Good-value pies are an easy win, and there’s a vegan menu too.


Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsTakeaway

For those who have no problem leaning against a counter, takeaway container in hand, Peppers & Spice is essential pre-Spurs match. The Caribbean takeaway makes a rich oxtail stew and tender jerk chicken with just a hint of smokiness, primed for fiery homemade jerk sauce on the side. Queues can build up, but arrive an hour or so before kick-off and it’s very much worth it.


True Craft is a 10-minute bus ride away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the converted pub-cum-pizza joint is a civilised choice for a sit-down meal before or after a three o’clock kick-off. The sourdough pizzas are excellent—including the parma ham-topped ‘Totten-Ham’ pie—and there are plenty of pale ales on tap.


Selhurst Park

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

$$$$Perfect For:LunchTakeaway

A hefty clearance from a Crystal Palace centre-back could see the ball land on Tasty Jerk’s roof. That’s how close this smoking Jamaican jerk spot is to Selhurst Park. A takeaway box of charred jerk pork belly or chicken isn’t just an option if you’re coming to watch The Eagles—it’s essential. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on their homemade sauce.


Craven Cottage

Watching Fulham at Craven Cottage, which sits on the Thames and is about as old-school as they come, is one of the best football experiences you can have in London. And dinner at Pure Indian Cooking afterwards will top things off. Tandoor-grilled malai chicken is superb and the dal makhani is one of the best we’ve ever had. Book the Indian restaurant ahead with confidence.


If you’re seeking a more pint-driven evening than dinner at fancy Italian spot River Cafe up the road, a few drinks and some fish and chips at The Crabtree is just the ticket. The Thames-side pub serves a familiar menu of classics—burgers, steak sandwiches, sticky toffee pudding—and it’s a scenic 10-minute wander from Craven Cottage.

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