Where To Eat Near King’s Cross
The best places to eat in and around King’s Cross.
King’s Cross feels like one of London’s busiest areas. Getting a desk at the British Library is akin to getting into Berghain. Hordes of people wait, willingly, inside a train station to get a picture with a non-existent fake platform. Hordes of people wait, impatiently, to get on a train home. Plus the students. They’re everywhere. And then, after all of that lot, you’ve got the ones who are there to eat and drink. Thankfully there are a decent amount of places within ten minutes of the station for those people to choose from. The best of them are in this guide.
Dim Sum & Duck
Dim Sum & Duck on King’s Cross Road is the best all-round Cantonese restaurant in London. That’s not hyperbole, that’s just us being very honest about the fact that we’re one exceptional Dim Sum & Duck xiaolongbao away from making merch. A casual space serving melt-in-your-mouth duck and glistening mountains of beef ho fun that will elicit a not-so-casual reaction of love, satisfaction, and oh, we don’t know, obsession, this place should be at the very top of your King’s Cross agenda. Just be warned that when it comes to the quality of their dim sum, the secret is very much out so you might have to queue for a table.
Café Bao is a little King’s Cross spot from the iconic London mini-chain, BAO. Unlike their other spots, this place is less about a confit pork-packed sit-down meal and more about picking up some delicious sweet stuff wrapped up in equally delicious steamed dough. Think cute peach-shaped red bean white chocolate bao, molten seasonal specials, and our personal favourite, the salted egg custard sad face bao. If you’re more in the mood for savoury they’ve also got a short menu of their signature baos that you can sit down and enjoy in their warm and deeply cool—hello, it’s BAO, what did you expect—dining area.
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Decimo is the kind of loud and proud, evening-only restaurant that you go to for a big, cool birthday, or to lean against the DJ booth in a velvet tux hoping to get discovered by the person that signed Grimes. On the tenth floor of The Standard, this flashy restaurant with skyline views isn’t just for people watching and rubbing shoulders with London media types, you’ll also find some pretty great cocktails and Mexican-inspired food here too. Expect big prices, but for the pork tacos and buzzing atmosphere, it’s totally worth it.
Lina Stores King's Cross
When you first walk into this pastel-coloured spot in Coal Drops Yard, it might be hard to accept that it’s a real restaurant rather than some form of pasta fantasy dreamed up by Italy’s answer to Martha Stewart, or someone high on Parma Violets. Between the mint green walls, cute retro deli feel, and excellent handmade pasta, it’s hard to resist this place’s charms. If you happen to work in the area, you’re in luck - at their deli counter you can buy everything from rich bombolino, made-to-order sandwiches, to £6 pots of pasta classics to go.
In a world where tube strikes exist and meticulously disguised sociopaths wander freely around dating sites, we always welcome a pleasant surprise. Say, an old school pub that just so happens to be serving some great tapas in a warm, candlelit setting. The Norfolk Arms still has its Victorian tiled exterior and retro stained-glass windows but it’ll work for countless 21st century dining dilemmas. Catch-up with that uni friend it’s taken four months of WhatsApp strategising to find a time to meet? Order the trio of dips, a garlic-packed seafood option of your choosing, and settle in. Third date with that person you’re finally calling by their name rather than Sociopath TBC? A shared bottle of Rioja over candlelight will do the trick. In the mood for a pint but can’t hack another sticky floor? The Norfolk Arms has got you covered.
Dishoom King's Cross
The only place beginning with a D with longer and more consistent lines than Dishoom is a theme park that serves giant turkey legs to families looking to hug an adult in a mouse costume. None of that goes on at Dishoom King’s Cross, but you will have to wait a while for your chicken ruby or bacon and egg naan. The good news is that the food’s worth the wait.
There’s something a little slick and soulless about the latest Barrafina location. The bricky metallicness of the whole place feels very Heathrow Terminal 5 but, thankfully, most of the food stands up even in this odd atmosphere. The move here is not to have a blow out meal, but a few plates - the tortilla for sure - and a glass or two of wine. It’ll probably still add up a bit, because this place isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s the best way to approach Barrafina’s gleaming counter.
For all the cold hard cash packed into Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard, it’s actually Caledonian Road where you want to head to for a meal around here. Kaki is a Chinese restaurant where the menu options go into triple figures. Don’t let that put you off though, because this is a restaurant you want to come back to a couple of times. The food moves around different regions of China, meaning you can try everything from a hot pot or meatballs, to mapo tofu. There’s also one huge round table, lazy Susan and all, that’s ideal for a big group.
Londoners are in a pretty fortunate position when it comes to Thai food. Quantity and quality wise. Supawan, at the bottom end of Cally Road, offers some of the best in the city. It’s a pretty understated restaurant, with a simple and comfortable set up that suits small groups as well as large. That’s where the understatement ends though, as the food is quite the opposite. This is slap in the face stuff. Not literally, but flavours from things like the crispy rice salad and stuffed chicken wings hit you hard and happily.
Arabica King's Cross
King’s Cross is packed full of restaurants that tend to be, well, packed out. That’s why it’s important to always have a restaurant like Arabica in your metaphorical restaurant backpocket. A Middle Eastern spot with a laidback feel, it’s perfect for kids, solo diners, or grown-ups who are just in desperate need of a baklava soft serve sandwich after work. Basically, any situation where dipping freshly baked pita bread into some hummus is going to help. You should also know that they have some proper knockout dishes from the charcoal grill in the open kitchen. We’re talking chicken and pistachio shish, tender lamb kofte, and herby whole fishes that should be paired with one of their crisp, zingy Portuguese wines for full factor 50 summer energy.
The German Gymnasium
Although the German Gymnasium is bang opposite King’s Cross station, and often completely chocka, this enormous building is still a reliable and convenient choice for a quick bit of currywurst or schnitzel. Crowds often congregate downstairs, probably next to something rose or gold, so we recommend heading to the galleried section upstairs for a bit of air.
Happy Face is a very big, very-child friendly all-day pizza spot in the basement of one of those slightly nondescript buildings that have popped up behind Kings Cross. Unless you’re the type who takes offence at simple things done well, there is very little to offend you here. The wood-fired pizzas are as light and doughy as they should be, and the tomato sauce on the £6.50 margherita is as sweet and rich as you’ll find anywhere in London. All of which makes this place well worth a visit before or after a film at the Everyman upstairs, or if you’re at Granary Square or Coal Drops Yard looking for an inexpensive meal.
Caravan King's Cross
If you’re looking for an enormous space with exposed brickwork, baked eggs, and high enough ceilings for a loud debrief of the night before, look no further than Caravan. There are a few of these non-stop cafe-restaurants in London, but the King’s Cross one is our favourite day-time one. In summer, it’s an excellent spot to sit outside on Granary Square, but, if the weather’s not so hot, there’s plenty of room inside too.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
The Lighterman is one of those places that’s a bit occasion specific. Not in a fancy way. More like in a ‘you’re only going to use it in a very certain way’ way. That way involves its huge terrace and canal-side location. Meaning this is a couple of pints and some jamon type of place. It gets pack out in the evening, so use it as a pit stop to keep you going before having a full meal elsewhere.
If you’re looking for something a bit more lowkey, that also involves meat and wine, then try Pepito. This little Spanish restaurant is ideal as a casual date spot, or for a little get together with friends. Basically anyone you’re comfortable taking the last slice of jamon from. It’s a pretty solid option for when you want a bite and a drink. Or even a flight of sherry.
Beer + Burger
Beer and Burger is a casual burger spot down the side of the Granary Square Waitrose, and if you’re willing to rub shoulders with (thankfully fast moving) hordes of local workers on a weekday night, it’s as good a place as any to grab a quick drink and a bite. They have 20 beers on tap, so whether you’re here with a crowd of friends for several rounds and some food, or popping in for a solo cheeseburger and some deep fried jalapenos on your way home, you almost certainly won’t regret it.
Sometimes the seat in Pret next to the plug point just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you need a bolthole—for work or conversation—that offers a little bit more comfort. That’s exactly what Spiritland offers King’s Cross. This trying-to-be-cool-but-actually-quite-nice cafe and bar is ideal to pitch up in for an hour or two. The food is fine - don’t expect anything to blow you away - but the music and relaxed atmosphere make this an excellent place to know about in the area.
There are many ways to physically exert yourself for ten minutes. Make of that what you will, but our favourite way is to walk for 10 minutes, from King’s Cross to Roti King behind Euston. This Malaysian restaurant is one of London’s finest cheap eats. The regular roti canai costs just a fiver, while the meat and fish options are £1.50 on top of that. Be prepared to queue as it’s no reservations. But it’s definitely worth the wait.
Granger & Co.
This Australian cafe has a couple of other locations in London, and they all serve healthy-ish salads, sandwiches, and all sorts. It’s a pretty safe option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Especially if you or whoever you’re with is more vegetable leaning. It can get seriously busy at brunch time on the weekend, so be prepared to queue.