Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Tower Hamlets
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Tower Hamlets restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 33 restaurants in Tower Hamlets and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Tower Hamlets restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Tower Hamlets Restaurants
1. Smokoloko BBQ restaurant in Tower Hamlets Old Spitalfields Market, Bethnal Green Road - E1
It’s a dead cinch to spot Cleo Vizioli’s street market stall at Spitalfields Market: it‘s the one with the old train locomotive! This is the only permanent site, although there are three other locos in the pipeline to serve events and markets around town. The USP is its “amazing smoked meats”: “there’s always a queue, but the meat-loaded rolls are divine”.
2. Da Terra, Town Hall Hotel Fusion restaurant in Tower Hamlets 8 Patriot Square - E2
“A very fine effort by Brazilian chefs with a good team. I hope they succeed!” Paulo Airaudo and Rafael Cagali’s ambitious East End yearling is the latest inhabitant of this space in Bethnal Green’s former town hall (which has, over the years, housed Lee Westcott’s The Typing Room and Nuno Mendes’s Viajante) where a series of wizard small plates (from either an eight-course or eleven-course menu) are delivered, often by the chefs themselves, from the open kitchen. It’s yet to generate a huge depth of feedback, but in terms of dazzling ratings it’s scored as one of the more interesting arrivals this year; and a very worthy successor to its brilliant predecessors on this site.
3. Emilia’s Crafted Pasta Italian restaurant in Tower Hamlets 77 Alie Street - E1
This three-year-old in the picturesque surroundings of St Katharine Docks is “still serving great, home-made pasta”. It’s had a spin-off nearby in Aldgate since February 2019: “a welcome addition to the original (where you can’t always get a table), with the same fab food”.
4. Bean & Wheat Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Tower Hamlets 321 Old Street - EC1V
2019 Review: High marks (if from a small fan club) for Adam Handling’s new deli-cafe, featuring coffee from independent roasters; and where locally produced bread, and offerings in Kilner jars made from by-products from the kitchen at The Frog help underpin its sustainable aims. Reports were for the original Spitalfields location: it’s now moved to this new larger site in Hoxton.
5. Humble Grape British, Modern restaurant in Tower Hamlets 18-20 Mackenzie Walk - E14
“An amazing choice of wines” is served by “lovely staff, who are passionate and knowledgeable about the list” at these “proper wine bars”, whose liquid offering is “complemented by a very good food menu” of “well-made” dishes (small plates, plus cheese and charcuterie). The Battersea original is still the branch attracting most feedback, although the chain is spreading eastwards, and its operation in the crypt of St Bride’s Church and newer Liverpool Street branch are “very competent”: next stop is an opening in Canary Wharf.
6. Xi'an Biang Biang Chinese restaurant in Tower Hamlets 62 Wentworth Street - E1
“Oodles of noodles… and fun, too”: this “bustling, happy-making eatery” – year-old sibling to Highbury’s Xi’an Impression – occupies a canteen-style space in Spitalfields and “specialises in spicy, hand-pulled noodles”; “yum!”.
7. Cecconi's Shoreditch Italian restaurant in Tower Hamlets 58-60 Redchurch Street - E2
“There’s always such a buzz at any time” at the original Cecconi’s, “tucked away behind the Royal Academy” – a “bustling” and “sophisticated” all-day Italian brasserie, whose “open, bright, pavement terrace” helps make it a big favourite amongst the St James’s set, be it “for an upmarket business breakfast”, or as “a treat during a day’s shopping in the West End”. When it comes to the cooking, it “can be a bit hit or miss, but is generally good”. Nowadays owned by Soho House, the brand is being rolled out, but its diverse family of spin-offs echo rather than replicate the original. There’s a City outlet in The Ned’s capacious food hall, which like Mayfair is “fun” and “an excellent place to do business” of a less formal kind. Beyond that, the food is “reliable” but pretty “basic at the price”, and the setting can be “the noisiest ever”. A Soho pizza spot carries the name, on which there’s little feedback. New in September 2018, the Shoreditch branch is “a very good addition as a real neighbourhood restaurant”, with a “nice bar”, and a generally “winning formula”, including for brunch.
8. The Ivy in the Park British, Modern restaurant in Tower Hamlets 50 Canada Square - E14
“Maybe the brand is a bit stretched”, but Richard Caring’s bold expansion is paying off by-and-large, certainly in commercial terms, and – though most branches’ average food-rating is run-of-the-mill – by the standards of large chains, the group delivers a consistent-enough formula, whereby folks accept predictable nursery fodder in return for a dependable dose of ‘affordable glamour’. The “beautiful and festive” Ivy Chelsea Garden (SW3) is the best known in the stable and it’s particularly “wonderful if you manage to get a table in their fabulous garden”. The “big and buzzy” Ivy Kensington Brasserie (W8) is less highly rated, but nevertheless fills a vital niche in the local market for a comfortable, atmospheric and versatile rendezvous (“its bar is also a fun place for a drink”). The City branches (The Ivy Tower Bridge, The Ivy City Garden EC2) and Canary Wharf outlet (The Ivy in the Park, E14) are the highest rated all-round (perhaps reflecting the ongoing lack of convivial spaces out east). “Awesome views” at Tower Bridge are distinct client-pleasers. Other branches taking above-average flak include The Ivy Soho Brasserie, W1 (“busy mayhem” with “slow and disorganised service”) and The Ivy Market Grill, WC2 (“nothing special, rather overpriced, and very busy”). See also Granary Square Brasserie.
9. Radio Alice Pizza restaurant in Tower Hamlets Unit 24 Jubilee Place - E14
A third branch for the sourdough pizza group.
10. Genesis Vegan restaurant in Tower Hamlets 144 Commercial Street - E1
2019 Review: When you turn your back on the family firm, you have to do it in style – in this case, the Santoro brothers moved on from their century-old family meat business and have opened this Shoreditch newcomer: a 100% plant-based restaurant with a globetrotting menu – what they call ‘vegan alchemy’... It’s GMO-free and organic, too (with Soil Association certification).
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