Camberwell is a pretty small area of London. Despite that, it’s got a huge number of places worth travelling down the road or across the city to eat in. There’s excellent Sichuan, Kurdish, Ethiopian and, well, pub food - as well as lots of other options, from Neapolitan pizza to a very good chippy. Conveniently, quite a few of them are also within a few footsteps of each other, so use our guide for anything from a big group dinner to a solo wrap for under a fiver.
It doesn’t matter whether the distance is ten footsteps or ten miles, The Camberwell Arms is an establishment worth travelling to. The front bar area has the faint ale-on-wood aroma that every pub should have. It’s perfect for a few pints, some scotch bonnet on toast, and a bowl of chips. The more sit-downy back area is the place to pitch on an overcast day, or any night, and fill up on the ever-changing menu that ranges from handmade pasta to prehistoric-looking pork chops. The Sunday roasts are also tip-top.
Smack bang in the middle of Camberwell Church Street is Silk Road, a cash-only spot specialising in Xinjiang cuisine. It’s most famous for its enormous plates of hand-pulled noodles with chicken and their change-eating £1 cumin lamb skewers. Although we’re not sure it’s as good as it once was, Silk Road is still a go-to London Chinese restaurant. So if you’re in the area with friends, you want to check it out.
Wuli Wuli is an unspectacular looking cash-only restaurant serving some spectacularly tasty Sichuan food. If you’re trying to decide between Silk Road and Wuli Wuli, you should know that unlike Silk Road, this place is open for lunch. This is valuable intel, because once you eat the saliva chicken here, you’ll want it day and night. And the same goes for their dan dan noodles, and their steamed dumplings. Food-aside, Wuli Wuli is a no-brainer group dinner spot, especially as it’s such good value.
Lots of Camberwell’s go-to restaurants are located within a very short sprint or a very lazy stroll of each other. This is convenient if you’re a) lazy, b) very hungry, or c) both. You’ll want to travel away from this strip to get to Nandine, because this Kurdish restaurant is a must visit. It’s a family run cafe and restaurant serving up a range of delicious mezze for all diets, as well as some excellent brunch dishes. If you’re into fresh dips and salads, and stuffing it all in your mouth using a warm bread vehicle, then you’ll love this place. Even better: it’s open day and night on the weekend
The value of having a first-rate pizza restaurant close to where you live, especially one that’s as good for a solo day-time panuozzo sandwich, as it is for spritz-and-bufalina-filled group dinner in the evening is, well, invaluable. This is exactly what Theo’s brings. We’d argue that this Neapolitan spot makes the best pizzas in London, and we’d objectively state that it makes the best chilli sauce of any pizza restaurant we know. If you haven’t got to Theo’s already then the only thing we can suggest is for you to stop reading this. Seriously. Stop.
Zeret Kitchen is inconspicuously placed on the corner of an estate, next to a newsagent. But it’s a restaurant that deserves attention. Lots of attention. Come 7pm, this buzzy neighbourhood Ethiopian spot is filled with families, couples, and friends, all of whom are artfully, and some not so artfully, sharing an enormous silver platter of injera bread with any number of lentil or chickpea stews. The food is delicious. It’s tangy from the bread, and spiced and smokey from the stews (or meat if you eat it), and is some of the most enjoyable and tasty communal eating you can do in London. There’s also a section of the menu for solo eating, and, frankly, the portions are enormous - just how we like it.
We have dreams about opening up a cafe like Camberwell’s The Pigeon Hole. We’d bake, and we’d read a lot of Paulo Coelho novels between serving customers coffee, saying things like ‘everything happens for a reason’ whilst pressing orange juice. This place is about as cute as a cafe can be without being run by an army of croissant making kittens, and it’s perfect for catching up over excellent cakes, reading one of the cafe’s books over baked eggs, or getting a little work done with coffee. It’s a small spot with limited seating, but there’s also a couple of picnic tables out front.
We like ourselves a bit of bread here at The Infatuation London. White bread. Brown bread. Flat bread. Injera bread. You name the bread, we eat it. If you’re anything like this, then you’ll want to know that FM Mangal, a Turkish grill spot on Church Street, has got some seriously good (flat)bread. It’s warmed over the grill and covered in a secret mixture of what we can only describe as smoke, fat, and spice. Needless to say, you’ll be eating several bowls of this. Also needless to say is that it goes very well with their kofte, roasted onions in pomegranate, and whatever else you want to pile on top.
If your idea of a classic coffee spot involves lots of exposed light bulbs, strong coffee, modern art, and the ability to buy a T-shirt with the cafe’s name on the front, then Daily Goods is a classic. On any given day you’ll find a bunch of freelancers, someone reading on the sofa, or someone scribbling in a notebook in the window of this Clerkenwell spot. Although it’s a pretty popular place, you can usually find somewhere to sit with your laptop and a latte.
Every area in London needs a place that sells freshly made, £3.50 wraps, filled with falafel, fresh salads, and the undying love of their makers. Camberwell has exactly that in Falafel and Shawarma. This is a simple place that makes delicious and fantastic value food, and it’s open from 10:30am to 10:30pm daily. If you’re not after a wrap or shawarma, you can upgrade to the mezze plate for a quid more and either be on your merry way, or grab a seat to eat in.
All we know about our neighbours is that they really enjoy listening to LMFAO at 11pm on weeknights, but you won’t find any of that funny business at Good Neighbour. This wine bar on Church Street in Camberwell only has charcuterie, small plates like wild boar ravioli, and enough candlelight to make for a super romantic date night. There’s also a quiet and casual terrace out back for drinking on sunny days.
Every neighbourhood needs a reliable chippie and that’s exactly what Camberwell has in Fladda. The fish is flakey as it should be, and the batter is the kind that shatters like ice, if ice were crispy and delicious when tipped in homemade tartare sauce. If it’s chips you’re after, we’d give these a solid 7.5/10, but it’s their bag of fish bites (cod or haddock) with chips for a fiver that’s more than likely to get you in here if you’re wandering or stumbling past.
This neighbourhood café in Camberwell has all the things you want from a great little coffee spot. Local artists’ work for sale on the walls, breakfast, light bites, plenty of plugs for your freelance needs, and some really great coffee. They grow fresh produce out in their back garden, and it’s the kind of rustic, casual place you can picture an actual lumberjack living in, or, at the very least, a few bearded artists with a penchant for timber. As well as your café classics like avo on toast, there are daily salads, frittatas, and £12 sharing boards.