Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Spitalfields
Hardens guides have spent 31 years compiling reviews of the best Spitalfields restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 81 restaurants in Spitalfields and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Spitalfields restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Spitalfields Restaurants
. Sichuan Folk
Chinese restaurant in Whitechapel
32 Hanbury St - E1
Sichuan hot pot is a big deal at this often “outstanding” Brick Lane café – an excellent “cheap ’n’ cheerful choice”.
Thai restaurant in Shoreditch
12 Hanbury St - E1
2021 Review: The “lovely Thai food” at these reliable cafés is “impressively authentic given that they are a chain” – “excellent value” and “fast”, if occasionally let down by “iffy service”. Founded in 2008 by Saiphin and Alex Moore, who inherited the name of their first East End site, the group has 18 branches in London and expanded to Liverpool, Manchester, Reading (delivery only) and Leeds following the sale of a majority stake to US investors. The couple also have two spin-offs, Lao Café in Covent Garden and the new Chinese noodle bar Hoh Sek in St Katharine Docks.
. The Rib Man
Burgers, etc restaurant in Shoreditch
Brick Lane, Brick Lane Market - E1
‘Holy Fuck’ hot sauce is just one of Mark Gevaux’s unique contributions to the London street food scene. His Sunday stall – selling ribs from outdoor-reared pigs sourced from Norfolk and Suffolk farms – has only just, as of September 2021, returned to Brick Lane post-lockdown, but fans know that he also pops up at his beloved West Ham’s home games, and items are available to buy online.
Fish & chips restaurant in Spitalfields
6-8 Hanbury St - E1
“Proper fish ’n’ chips” is the order of the day at this self-consciously old-school trio from Pat ‘Pops’ Newland, an 81-year-old East Ender with a lifetime in the trade behind him. The fish arrives daily from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, and 1950s memorabilia adorns the walls. Sceptics say it’s “not bad, but expensive for what it is”.
. Flat Iron
Steaks & grills restaurant in Tower Hamlets
88-90 Commercial Street - E1
“If you want a good steak that’s half the price you’d pay at Hawksmoor or Gaucho, then this will do nicely!” – so say fans of this “always busy and dependable” chain, which added a Bevis Marks branch in October 2020 and opens a ninth 90-seater venue near Borough Market on Clink Street in late 2021. The success of the formula is its “straightforward” menu (“the simplest I have ever seen in a restaurant: five or six steaks, six sides, no starters, no puddings, but a delicious soft salted caramel in a cornet on the way out”). “Are prices creeping up though...?” – ratings dipped this year with more reports of the “good, but nothing special” variety. (Btw ‘Flat Iron’, aka ‘featherblade’, is a cut known for its tenderness, flavour and affordability).
. St John Bread & Wine
British, Traditional restaurant in Shoreditch
94-96 Commercial St - E1
“The food is typical St John” – although the ‘nose-to-tail’ eating is in a small plates format – at this “noisy and crowded”, characteristically austere Spitalfields canteen: the long-running offshoot of Fergus Henderson’s iconic Smithfield venue. “My go-to venue for when I don’t know where else I fancy – more accessible and casual than its big sibling, with ‘big’ St John the pick for a celebration or blow out”. Top Tip: “the madeleines remain unbeatable. Always order half a dozen on your way out”.
. Chez Elles
French restaurant in
45 Brick Ln - E1
“Like a rip in the fabric of space-time, transplanting a perfect Paris bistro to Brick Lane” – just the job for a quick French onion soup or plate of snails.
. Andina Spitalfields
Peruvian restaurant in Spitalfields
60-62 Commercial Street - E1
2021 Review: “Quite stunning food at a consistently high level”, led by “fresher-than-fresh ceviche” and other “flavoursome dishes”, earns improving ratings for Martin Morales’s small Peruvian group, inspired by the cooking of the Andes. “Fabulous to visit” – “the room is permanently sunny – or is that just the pisco sours?”. The Notting Hill venue includes a bakery.
Middle Eastern restaurant in Spitalfields
Old Spitalfields Mkt - E1
2019 Review: “Pittas of pleasure” – “Mediterranean/Israeli street food of the best type (vegetarian, fresh and bursting with taste)” – keep office workers healthy and happy at these City-based “pitstops”. “No wonder there’s always a queue at lunchtime.”
Indian restaurant in City
11 Whites Row - E1
“Brilliant Indian cuisine with an experimental flare” – “glorious morsels of street-style foods” on “tapas-style” small plates – has earned all-but-universal praise for this popular duo, first in Spitalfields and more recently on the South Bank near Tower Bridge (“handy before or after the Bridge Theatre”). Now their signature “tender lamb cutlets” and Kowari soft-shell crab can be sampled at a high-profile new venue in Soho’s Greek Street, opened in late 2021. “You always over-order because everything sounds so good!”.
Steaks & grills restaurant in Shoreditch
157 Commercial St - E1
“Perfectly aged, hung and cooked – this place is steak-heaven”. Huw Gott and Will Beckett absolutely nailed it with this zeitgeisty 15-year-old chain of steakhouses, which they still part-own (and which – in July 2021 – announced the possibility, later cancelled, of floating on the London Stock Exchange to fuel future growth). For a generation of London restaurant-goers, “Hawksmoor hits it every single time” and the increasing introduction of fish from a dedicated buyer at Brixham market is a popular (and wise) innovation. Is it finally becoming a victim of its own success though? Ratings slipped notably this year due to an assortment of non-pandemic-related gripes (“beginning to feel formulaic…”; “just not tasty enough for such high prices…”; “still knocks out a succulent ribeye, but not what it was…”). Still, in late 2021 they’re gearing up for the biggest and most ambitious space yet, and their first branch amidst the scrapers of Canary Wharf. Spread over three levels, it will be housed in an eco-friendly floating pavilion made from sustainably sourced timber decking, aluminium extracted from hydro sources, and with a green roof planted with wildflowers and grasses! [Instead of the wildflowers and grasses and aluminium extracted from hydro sources, should we all maybe just eat less meat!? Ed]
Middle Eastern restaurant in Tower Hamlets
65 Commercial Street - E1
“Tel Aviv café food of gourmet quality and with strong, delicious flavours” is to be had at this Middle Eastern three-year-old, near Spitalfields. Staff are “so welcoming” and it is “a find” in particular for non meat-eaters: “one of the tastiest and best-priced vegan feasting menus I’ve ever had!”.
. Bleecker Burger
Burgers, etc restaurant in Spitalfields
Unit B Pavilion Building, Spitalfields Mkt - E1
“Juicy, tasty, moreish” – New Yorker Zan Kaufman’s “great dirty burgers” are, say fans, “the best I have tasted anywhere”. Starting out from a van 10 years ago, she has graduated to five permanent sites including the biggest yet, at Westfield White City, which has an all-female management team. With the Bloomberg Arcade branch in the City closed during the pandemic, the brand linked up with Deliveroo to open three delivery-only kitchens in Battersea, Bermondsey and Canary Wharf.
. Som Saa
Thai restaurant in Shoreditch
43a Commercial Street - E1
“Food just like you get in Thailand” – “the quality and the range of flavours are superb” – can be found at this “amazing and very cool” five-year-old in a former factory near Spitalfields Market. “Zingy and authentic”, “each dish looks and tastes like it’s comprised of ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to source yourself”. “Vegan options are plentiful”, and “one price for ‘eat as much rice as you want’ feels generous”. There’s also a serious list of drinks that can cope with such highly flavoured cooking – including a “great Riesling menu”.
. Delamina East
Middle Eastern restaurant in Shoreditch
151 Commercial Street - E1
“Really interesting food combinations from the Levant” make self-taught chef Limor Chen and husband Amir’s stripped-down Shoreditch and Marylebone venues worthwhile additions to London’s “Middle East-with-a-twist” dining scene. It’s “another of the small-plate trends with the now-familiar land, sea, earth menu – but packed with flavour”. A natural choice for veggies and vegans, too.
. The Buxton
British, Modern restaurant in Tower Hamlets
42 Osborn Street - E1
2021 Review: From the team behind the nearby Culpeper, this new (June 2019) gastroboozer occupies a cleverly rebuilt seven-storey site near the foot of Brick Lane, whose redevelopment has allowed the addition of 15 bedrooms. It opened too late for survey feedback: The Standard’s David Sexton found the ground floor bar a little “cramped” and “not for lingering”, but a good value, if “lonely pioneer of bourgeois taste” in this grungy ’hood.
. The Culpeper
British, Modern restaurant in Aldgate
40 Commercial Street - E1
A “really beautiful spot, with a great buzz” – this handsome old boozer on a Spitalfields corner has been cleverly refurbished as a multi-storey venue with a spectacular rooftop garden, chic bedrooms, impressive first-floor dining room and “good gastropub food”.
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