With hundreds of old-timers and new openings jostling for your attention, it can be tricky to suss out the best restaurants in East London.
Gone are the days when the capital’s food scene was fiercely guarded by the West End; East London has emerged as the culinary capital with options ranging from casual to high-end.
Considering the diverse population of the East End, the restaurant offering is a myriad of British and international eateries. Whether you’re seeking vegan, veggie, halal, or gluten-free options, there are tons of places to eat.
Because nobody wants to roam the streets with an appetite, we’ve rounded up the best places to eat in Shoreditch, Whitechapel, Hackney, and beyond.
Map of the Best Restaurants in East London
Take a Food Tour of East London
This region of London is so packed with international and British cuisine, top restaurants, and award-winning chefs it can be hard to choose where to even begin.
While we hope this list of restaurants helps you on your trip to London, sometimes taking a tour allows you to sample a lot of restaurants in a short period of time.
These are our top picks for getting to know the best restaurants in East London on a tour:
- Private East London Food & Walking Tour: This food and walking tour will stop at all of the absolute best restaurants in East London and since its a private tour, you’ll get the full attention of your knowledgeable guide. This is the ultimate option for foodies who want to know all of the insider tips for eating in London as well as explore some of the cool sights around East London. Book that tour here.
- Shoreditch Food Tour: This tour will take you to all of the best spots around the East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch. The tour aims to show you places that most tourists don’t know about and also to teach you why this is such a wonderful and essential part of London. This is a nice combination of trying amazing food while also getting a better understanding of what it’s like to live in this hugely growing neighbourhood. Book it for yourself here.
- East End Food Tour: This tour will take you to six locations around East London where you’ll sample 10 different dishes of food. This is where you’ll have some of the best curry restaurants in all of the UK, and incredible bagels and desserts, too. This is one of the best value-for-money food tour options available. Book this food tour here.
14 Best Restaurants in East London
This guide to restaurants in East London is broken down according to the neighbourhood. Even if you’re only spending one or two days in London, a tube ride east is totally worth it to eat at one of these places.
Best Restaurants in East London – Shoreditch
This is where you’ll want to head in East London if you’re near Shoreditch!
1. Rochelle Canteen
Starting with this pretty Shoreditch eater, Rochelle Canteen is one of the best restaurants in East London for a leisurely lunch date.
Housed within the old bike shed and garden of a former school, the restaurant provides a calm sanctuary from the busy streets. The seasons dictate the menu, with cooking inspired by modern British and European styles. You can always expect an offering of meat, seafood, and veggie dishes – anything with lamb comes with a seal of approval. Top-quality ingredients you can taste are sourced as locally and sustainability as possible.
Do factor in room for dessert, the kitchen rustles up yummy fruit tarts as well as cheese boards for savoury palates. Naturally, you’ll want to wash it all down with one of the carefully chosen wines. As with the food, these are selected to suit the season.
2. Vegan Yes Shoreditch
Owned by an Italian-Korean couple, Vegan Yes Shoreditch draws together the cuisine of both countries.
This is one of the best vegan restaurants in East London for healthy food. As much as possible, the kitchen team avoids heated oils, refined sugars, and preservatives. Instead, the emphasis is on raw food and probiotic-rich kimchi.
Four different types of kimchi (red, viola, yellow, and green) form the foundation of one menu, while the main fuses other Korean specialities with Italian favourites.
Mauro and Min are frequently spotted in the restaurant and are always down for a chat about the menu. Furthermore, you can paw through their cookbook over a kombucha or glass of Chianti – they’re available to purchase in the restaurant if you like what you taste.
3. The Princess of Shoreditch
Technically a pub, the Princess of Shoreditch is one of the best places to eat in Shoreditch for a Sunday roast.
This upscale gastropub occupies two floors of a Georgian townhouse, with high ceilings, big windows, and fireplaces there to set the mood. The team partners with the finest British farmers, butchers, greengrocers and fishermen to create seasonal dining.
Sunday lunch is served over two or three courses, with the option to choose beef, chicken, pork, fish, or nut roast as the main. These are fully garnished with all the trimmings, and you can pick between a starter or pudding.
An à la carte menu is available during the week alongside an excellent array of wines, beers, and spirits.
Best Restaurants in East London – Hackney
Headed to Hackney? These are the best restaurants in this region of East London.
4. Buen Ayre
There’s no need to fly across the Atlantic for steak, Buen Ayre is one of the best Argentinian steak restaurants in East London.
Located at Broadway Market, Buen Ayre brings Latin American asado to Hackney. Items cover sirloin and rib-eye steak as well as sausages and ribs. In general, plates are designed for two guests to share but there are options for solo diners.
Whatever steak you choose, you can complement it with a bottle of Argentinian wine, spearheaded by Malbec varieties. Servers are on hand to provide recommendations based on your food order.
Although meat is the natural go-to, the restaurant has a couple of plates for vegetarians. This is a laid-back spot to eat, with an upbeat atmosphere – perfect for families, groups, or couples.
5. Crate Brewery and Pizzeria
Right on the banks of the River Lee, Crate Brewery and Pizzeria is one of the best restaurants in East London for a low-key slice and beer.
Once a print factory, later a squat, the canalside joint has been spruced up as a hipster pizzeria specialising in stone-baked pizza with a crispy, thin crust.
Toppings include the classic Margherita alongside sage and truffle, sweet potato with stilton and walnut, and Middle Eastern lamb. Craft lager and ale are served by the pint, half pint, or jug.
You can visit Crate on foot in conjunction with a walk around Victoria Park or the towpath. However, you can also stop off here via kayak! Renting a canoe from Moo Canoes in Limehouse is one of the more unusual things to do in London. There is a dock outside where you secure the boat.
Next to Hackney Wick, Cornerstone by Chef Tom Brown is one of the best seafood restaurants in East London.
Menus change on the regularly to reflect availability. However, you can always expect a spread of oysters, mussel pate, and white fish served with greens. When available, hake Kyiv and sea bream tartare are fine choices.
Although, if your budget covers it, the tasting menu (with a wine pairing option) is the recommended choice at Cornerstone. This is priced at £7 (around $93) per head or £140 ($174) with wine.
Although not a fussy place, the food and atmosphere are more upscale at Cornerstone. It’s a great contender for a special occasion or date, with advance booking recommended.
Best Restaurants in East London – Cambridge Heath/Bethnal Green
If you are near Cambridge Heath or Bethnal Green and even if you’re not you’ll want to be to enjoy these awesome East London restaurants.
7. Love Shack
With eclectic interiors, garden hammocks, and great vibes, Love Shack is one of the coolest vegan restaurants in East London.
The plant-based menu features a mix of “burgers”, curries, salads, and sharers. The oyster mushroom “duck” pancakes and Malaysian laksa are standouts.
However, the chef prepares a weekly special main and dessert that you should check out before committing. Love Shack also has a small but perfectly formed breakfast menu, consisting of a vegan-approved full English and a nutrient-packed smoothie bowl.
Drinks range from green juices and matcha lattes to mushroom-based coffee and builder’s tea. From time to time, Love Shack hosts live music events and craft markets. It’s always a great shout for a cocktail or beer in the evening, even if you eat elsewhere.
8. Sager + Wilde
Built into the railway arches by Bethnal Green Station, Sager + Wilde is a sleek restaurant focusing on Mediterranean-British cooking.
Wholesome yet artistically presented, plates revolve around fresh pasta, light seafood dishes, and crisp salads tossed with nuts.
Fig focaccia is a firm favourite – if they have that on the day, order a portion to nibble at while you peruse the main menu. Flavours are enhanced with the natural wines stoked in the property’s wine cellar, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for personal recommendations.
In addition to the internal dining hall, the restaurant has patio seating for the summer season. Sager and Wilde also have a wine bar in Hackney, by Columbia Road Flower Market.
Best Restaurants in East London – Whitechapel
Get yourself over to Whitechapel to sample these standout East London restaurants.
A short stroll from Tower Hill and the City, Grounded is one of the top vegetarian-friendly halal restaurants in East London for brunch.
Traditional English breakfast – with a twist – is available with halal meat and veggie options, alongside omelettes, pancakes, sourdough toasts, and French toast. Eggs are organic and all ingredients are super fresh. Besides the main kitchen menu, you can cast an eye over freshly made sandwiches, pastries, and oven-baked treats at the counter.
The coffee is particularly good at Grounded, they source their beans from Exmouth Coffee Roasters and roast it on the premises. Furthermore, Grounded has a lovely vibe, with woody booths and emerald-green panelling.
Located in the Leman Locke Hotel, the founder of Alter drew inspiration from global street food culture to deliver one of the most unique vegan restaurants in East London.
The menu is heavily drawn from the Asian continent, with typical items including Chengdu-style street tofu, shiitake dumplings, and khao-soi noodles. However, they also excel at their signature pizza – pizza as you’ve never seen it before!
Overall, the idea is to order small plates to share, and there is a wonderful group menu for larger parties.
For pudding, don’t miss the steamed peanut sugar bao buns. With bases including sake, mezcal, and absinthe, the cocktails at Alter pack some punch and tease out the flavours from the kitchen.
11. Patisserie East
Sited within the London Muslim Centre, Patisserie East is one of the top halal restaurants in East London for deli-style fare and baklava.
Open early until late, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and delicious desserts. Start your day with a halal full (or small) English breakfast or go lighter with pancakes.
Served sweet or savoury, these are available as French crepes, fluffy American-style stacks, and waffles. Elsewhere, Patisserie East is known for its house-cured salt beef deli sandwiches and burgers.
Furthermore, Patisserie East really is responsible for some of the best baklava in London, noted for hitting just the right level of sweet. You can box up a portion to enjoy later if the main dishes fill you up.
Best Restaurants in East London – Spitalfields
One of our favourite neighbourhoods in East London, Spitalfields is a haven for amazing restaurants and pop-ups.
12. Cinnamon Brick Lane
When you’re seeking Indian food, Brick Lane no doubt springs to mind as one of the best places to visit.
Cinnamon Brick Lane is widely regarded as the best East London Indian restaurant.
In fact, the place has earned accolades and awards to prove it. The menu – more like a brochure – is massive, with dishes inspired from across the country. However, the emphasis is on Northern Indian cuisine.
Traditional curry dishes include madras, dansak, bhuna, jalfrezi, and kurma with your choice of meat, seafood, or vegetarian.
Tandoori grills, biryani, and thali platters are available alongside a mountain of side dishes. Cinnamon is endlessly busy, so consider booking if you are in a larger group, especially on weekends.
Sheba is another award-winning Indian restaurant in East London that also prepares Bangladeshi and Pakistani food.
While Cinnamon comes out tops for curry-based dishes, Sheba’s focus is on tandoori, shashliks, and seafood, with the Bengal lamb shank standing out as the key speciality.
However, the kitchen also offers an extensive curry menu served with fluffy rice or soft naan bread with the right degree of chewiness. Bear in mind that both Sheba and Cinnamon operate a bring-your-own-booze (BYOB) policy, in keeping with most of the Indian restaurants in East London.
Modelled on the traditional, family-run Andean eateries, this picantería and pisco bar is one of the popular Peruvian restaurants in East London.
Andina serves imported native ingredients alongside local produce to provide the tastiest dining experience. Starters include the moreish toasted corn nuts and seafood bites.
Ceviche is, naturally, the star of the show at Andina with a score of different options including tuna, sea bass, and salmon. However, there are plant-based equivalents for vegans. Seafood also rules the main menu, with grilled octopus and prawn tamale being the kinds of dishes you’ll want to come back for.
The restaurant offers brunch at the weekend, consisting of sweet pancakes and Peruvian breakfasts such as a poached egg with corn cake. For a special occasion (or, just because!) you can upgrade to the bottomless brunch menu, served with pisco sour, Prosecco, beer, or house wine.