Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Whitechapel
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Whitechapel restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 52 restaurants in Whitechapel and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Whitechapel restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Whitechapel Restaurants
1. Smokoloko BBQ restaurant in Tower Hamlets Old Spitalfields Market, Bethnal Green Road - E1
2022 Review: “Consistently great meat at a very reasonable price, given the quality of product” again wins the highest marks for Cleo Vizioli’s street market hit, known for its rolls loaded with smoked cuts. Just look out for the old steam locomotive, and you can watch your meal roasting away in the boiler!
2. Cinnamon Kitchen Indian restaurant in City 9 Devonshire Sq - EC2
“Big flavoured, modern Indian dishes” from an “interesting and different menu” win praise for Vivek Singh’s high quality duo: “a more affordable introduction to the Cinnamon Club’s cuisine”. The newer SW11 branch, “with service around an open kitchen in a lively railway arch” near Battersea Power Station is jollier than its longer-established City sibling, where “the décor is quite boring and service a tad patchy” (although the latter is also “pretty decent value in an area that has limited options for a weekend lunch”).
3. Mr White's English Chophouse British, Modern restaurant in Whitechapel 103 - 107 New Road - E1
Mr. White’s English Chophouse By Marco Pierre WhiteMarco Pierre White was the first and youngest British chef to achieve three-Michelin stars. His good looks and devilish behaviour led to the media dubbing him ‘the original rock-star ch...
4. Townsend @ Whitechapel Gallery British, Modern restaurant in Whitechapel 77-82 Whitechapel High Street - E1
This “excellent gallery restaurant” has proved “a great addition to the Whitechapel area”, with “well-cooked small plates of British food on an ever-changing menu”. Chef Nick Gilkinson is making a speciality of this type of venue – he was previously at the Garden Museum in Lambeth. Here, he is joined by Joe Fox, ex-head chef at Petersham Nurseries. (The name refers to the gallery’s architect, Charles Harrison Townsend.)
5. 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.
6. Emilia’s Crafted Pasta Italian restaurant in Tower Hamlets 77 Alie Street - E1
The original – “a very friendly and very cosy little place with approximately 16 covers in St Katharine Docks” – is the most commented on of this small chain: “brilliant in its simplicity and delivery” of a straightforward pasta menu. Also with spin-offs near Aldgate and, more latterly, Canary Wharf.
7. Chez Elles French restaurant in 45 Brick Ln - E1
This “reliably good Gallic bistro” stands out from the crowd in Brick Lane, perhaps the last address you’d expect to find something “so French” in London.
8. The Culpeper British, Modern restaurant in Aldgate 40 Commercial Street - E1
This “upscale gastropub” in Spitalfields is a “beautifully refurbished” old boozer, now incorporating bedrooms and a roof garden. The “industrial chic” first-floor dining room may have a “simple menu, but the dishes are far from simple, packed full of flavour and balanced superbly – fine-dining food at gastroboozer prices”.
9. Treves & Hyde British, Modern restaurant in City 15-17 Leman St - E1
2019 Review: At the foot of a new aparthotel near Aldgate East tube, this year-old venture comprises a coffee shop and terrace downstairs, and a restaurant and bar upstairs, which – under seasoned chef George Tannock – tries harder than you might expect in this location: “a welcome, local, go-to business lunch place, with an excellent and varied menu and staff who are efficient but welcoming”.
10. Pilpel Middle Eastern restaurant in Tower Hamlets 60 Alie St - 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.”
11. Som Saa Thai restaurant in Shoreditch 43a Commercial Street - E1
“Better than any Thai food I had in Thailand… and with a cool Shoreditch vibe” – this former factory near Spitalfields Market offers dishes with an “intensity and complexity of flavours that’s second to none” – the “real Thai tastes (spicy, hot, sour, sweet and sharp) are tongue tingling!” “The front of the restaurant is more light and airy. The back gives a kitchen view but is dark”; “the team are relaxed, friendly and informative about the dishes (an essential point, as many options do require explanation for those not ‘au fait’ with Thai cuisine)”.
12. Amber Middle Eastern restaurant in Whitechapel 21 Piazza Walk - E1
2019 Review: This bright, attractively decorated, new Middle Eastern café opened in Whitechapel in early 2018. No survey feedback yet, but its modern take on Moorish cuisine looks promising.
13. Xi'an Biang Biang Chinese restaurant in Tower Hamlets 62 Wentworth Street - E1
2021 Review: “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!”.
14. Andina Spitalfields Peruvian restaurant in Spitalfields 60-62 Commercial Street - E1
Nowadays just in Spitalfields (with Soho, Shoreditch and Notting Hill branches opening and closing over the years), this Peruvian-inspired haunt received mixed reviews this year, linked with one or two incidents of “awful” service. Feedback on its Latino fare, which majors in ceviches and salads (but which is also accompanied by a selection of larger and mostly meaty ‘classic dishes’) is more consistent, though, and fans say it’s “still a cracking place, even after relocating”.
15. Tayyabs Pakistani restaurant in Whitechapel 83 Fieldgate St - E1
“You come to eat, not dine” at this “loud and popular” 500-seater, which “lives up to its reputation as the go-to curry house in (well, near to) Brick Lane”. Top Menu Tip – “the lamb chops are meatilicious and the dry meat curry is rich and very tasty”; BYO.
16. The Halal Restaurant Indian restaurant in Aldgate 2 St Mark Street - E1
2022 Review: East London’s oldest Indian (established 1939 in Whitechapel) briefly found fame in late August 2020, when it was reviewed by Marina O’Loughlin for The Sunday Times. Run by four generations of the same family – and with somewhat antediluvian decor – it’s not the place to uncover the latest in food fads; or as Marina eloquently put it: “it tastes like the past, deliciously”. Reports please!
17. Bubala Middle Eastern restaurant in Tower Hamlets 65 Commercial Street - E1
“Prepare to be blown away by the flavours at this tiny spot in Spitalfields” – its “absolutely brilliant vegetarian and vegan”, Middle Eastern-inspired dishes “truly sing”, delivering “a taste explosion” such that “carnivores will not miss the meat” (“the charred oyster mushroom skewers are stunning… thinking about the labneh, hummus and laffa bread makes me salivate!”). Having opened it in 2019, Marc Summers launched a 50-cover sibling in Soho in July 2022 on the former site of Vasco & Piero’s Pavilion (see also), complete with open kitchen and counter-style dining. The chef is rising star Helen Graham.
18. Satay Street Cafe Thai restaurant in Spitalfields 15 Goulston Street - E1
2022 Review: Originally a stall on Brick Lane (which started in 2009), this 20-seater, a short walk north of Aldgate, is the first permanent home of this experienced Bangkok-style street food vendor. Enjoy dishes (with lots of choice for vegans) on a bed of rice, wrapped tight in a tortilla, or accompanied with salad.
19. Flat Iron Steaks & grills restaurant in Tower Hamlets 88-90 Commercial Street - E1
“What they do – a limited repertoire – they certainly do well” at this “no-nonsense” steakhouse chain (which serves no starters or puds, just five or six mains and sides, plus “a tiny key they give you at beginning of meal to exchange for a delicious ice cream cornet to take with you as you go!”). It amounts to “amazing value for a good (ish) steak” – “tasty, not mind-blowing, but dependable and fairly priced, and elevated by the sides and sauces”. On the site of a former Byron, the 10th branch opens in Waterloo in 2022.
20. Needoo Pakistani restaurant in Shadwell 87 New Rd - E1
2021 Review: Whitechapel Punjabi BYO that’s a real match for its better-known Pakistani competitors in the East End due to its “grilled meats at bargain prices” and other “fantastic, freshly made dishes” from the sub-continent.
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