Pearly Queen - Charlie McKay


Hattie Lloyd 17/03/24

The Best Spitalfields Restaurants

Hungry clocks.

They always go back four seconds.

Hungry Londoners, on the other hand, head to one of the city’s many dining micro-capitals when they’re in need of some nosh – and it just so happens that Spitalfields is one of them. More budget-friendly than Shoreditch, but more eccentric than Liverpool Street, it’s a little pocket of dining heaven on the edge of the City.

And so, in our unending quest to make you happy, we’ve made a list of our favourite Spitalfields restaurants.

These are they –

Gunpowder Spitalfields | Bib Gourmand-Winning Indian

gunpowder spitalfields restaurant

Gunpowder is pure dynamite. Packed into a tiny, wood-panelled dining room, it’s a heady, convivial spot for flavoursome Bengali-inspired grub, like their venison and vermicelli donut, encrusted in what can only be described as a pastry hedgehog…

Details: 11 White’s Row, E1 7NF Book here

Som Saa | Fiery, Acclaimed Thai Cooking

Som Saa spitalfields

Once housed in an East London railway arch with exposed brick walls and reclaimed furniture, Som Saa can now be found in an East London warehouse with exposed brick walls and reclaimed furniture. Their miraculous transformation from pop up to permanent came about thanks to their critically lauded flair for Thai cuisine, which they now serve up alongside equally excellent cocktails.

Details: 43A Commercial Street, E1 6BD | Book here

Crispin | Sharing Plates in a Quirky Setting

crispin restaurant spitalfields

Housed in an angular glass pavilion planted somewhat incongruously in the backstreets of Spitalfields, Crispin is an inviting brunch, lunch and dinner spot. The seasonally-informed menu from ex-Petersham Nurseries chef Lewis de Haas is punctuated by occasional guest chef collaborations, while the wine list draws extensively from low-intervention growers. It’s definitely something you should get involved in.

Details: Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, E1 7NF Book here

Pearly Queen | Seafood Goes Punk

pearly queen spitalfields

This recent addition to the Spitalfields restaurant scene comes to you from garlanded Cornerstone chef Tom Brown. As Nathan Outlaw’s protégé, his deal is seafood: but not as you know it. Come here for the sensational hot sauce-slicked buffalo oysters (surely a gateway for oyster-haters across London), the decadent cuttlefish lasagne and the chilli crab toast; stay for the cocktails (designed by  Three Sheets‘ Max Venning).

St. John Bread & Wine | A Nose-To-Tail Institution

st john spitalfields restaurant

St John Bread & Wine uses the same winning formula as the original St John restaurant in Farringdon. The much celebrated traits of Fergus Henderson’s nose-to-tail approach shine through in the food as much as they do in the restaurant’s light-filled dining room. The menu revolves around seasonal produce featuring combinations like quail and aioli, cod’s roe with egg and cress and beef hash with brown sauce. If you have room to spare, order the freshly baked madeleines as a snack for the bus ride home.

Details: 94-96 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ Book here

Bubala | Possibly The Best Vegetarian Menu in London

bubala spitalfields vegetarian restaurant

Stepping in to ensure the vegetarians are just as spoilt, Bubala serves some of the most mouthwatering food in London, full stop. Founded by chef Helen Graham (formerly at The PalomarThe Barbary and The Good Egg), Bubala offers vegetarian & vegan tasting menus stuffed with Middle Eastern delights, from labneh laced with confit garlic and za’atar to some phenomenal fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup. If you’re heading along at lunchtime and order off the à la carte, don’t make the mistake of ordering the confit potato latkes ‘to share’.

Details: 65 Commercial Street, E1 6BD | Book here

Hawksmoor Spitalfields | Peerless Steakhouse

Hawksmoor best Spitalfields restaurants

The original in what is now Hawksmoor’s micro-empire of moody steak spots is an art-deco styled jewel a stone’s throw from the striking church designed by its namesake, the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. As with all their eateries, Hawksmoor Spitalfields boasts killer cocktails; thick hunks of Ginger Pig-reared steaks; and irresistible sides like triple cooked chips, steak and bone marrow sausages, and mash with Neal’s Yard cheese. A true classic for any occasion.

Details: 157a Commercial Street, E1 6BJ Book here

Ottolenghi | All-Day Dining From The Celebrated Chef-Author

ottolenghi spitalfields

Almighty Mediterranean and Levantine-inspired dining in a pared back space, tucked quietly down a Spitalfields side street. Here you can feast on burnt leeks with whipped feta; bream with smoked bulgur wheat and roasted butternut squash with sake yoghurt, while perched up at the bar overlooking the ‘tenders putting together mezcal sours and chilli cardamom negronis.

Details: 50 Artillery Lane, E1 7LJ Book here

Spitalfields Market | Street Food Paradise

spitalfields market

For a lunchtime treat, nothing beats the steaming, thronging cluster of food stalls at the heart of Spitalfields Market. You can eat your way around the world in twenty paces, from Pleasant Lady’s fragrant Jian Bing pancakes (a Chinese street food staple) to Merkamo’s meat-free Ethiopian fare, via Kushi’s Japanese curry boxes. For something closer to home, don’t miss the toasted brioche sarnies at Crunch – definitely one for your sandwich bucket list.

Details: Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW | Most traders open daily

The Culpeper | Pub Grub & Rooftop Cocktails

Culpeper - best Spitalfields restaurants

The Culpeper wins points for three main reasons. 1) The rooftop restaurant where you’ll take part in summer workshops like botanical sketching or cocktail making, before sitting down to a meal made with ingredients grown on that very same rooftop. 2) The rooftop restaurant that you can hire privately in winter, for a meal made with ingredients grown on that very same rooftop. 3) Doughnuts.

Details: 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP Book here


After something a little more casual? Check out the pop up kitchens in Spitalfields Market