Now that Shoreditch is the new Soho and Hackney is the new Shoreditch, Dalston has taken its rightful place in line as the new Hackney.
What does that mean? Well, in short, a whole lot of very good, very creative, envelope-pushing restaurants. You’ll find everything from an energetic ’70s-led taqueria (with a disco ball in the toilet) to a cutting-edge Modern British spot that only serves tasting menus. And they’re just the beginning. Find them and more below…
LAID BACK ROMANCE: OREN
It’s the debut restaurant from expert Israeli chef Oded Oren, a stripped-back, effortlessly cool kind of place where everything from the food to the playlist is on point. Dishes include the likes of smoked aubergine with barrel aged feta, octopus salad with sweet Romano peppers and fish koftas in a spicy Chraime sauce. All of which you can wash down with a short but carefully considered wine list curated by aficionado Zeren Wilson (previously of both Kiln and Smoking Goat). READ MORE.
Address: 89 Shacklewell Lane, Hackney, E8 2EB
LATE-NIGHT PIZZA SLICES: VOO DOO RAYS
Dalston is jam-packed full of great places to go out: Brilliant Corners, Ridley Road Market Bar, and Servant Jazz Quarters to name a few. So it’s only right that it also has a late night pizza joint serving NY-style pizza slices until the early hours. Stroll in there any day of the week – until 1am on both Fridays and Saturdays – and you’ll find everything from their Hot Mix 5 (pepperoni, jalapeños, red peppers, mozzarella, and tomato) to the Queen Vegan (artichoke hearts, green olives, red onion, sun-blush tomatoes, and both red and green sauce). If you’re in the market for booze they’ve also got plenty that too – beer, wine, and a handful of classic cocktails, including their signature frozen margaritas. Alternatively, you can keep it PG with a soft and a couple of scoops of gelato for dessert. READ MORE.
Address: 95 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, London E8 2PB
NATURAL WINES AND FERMENT-FOCUSED FOODS: LITTLE DUCK THE PICKLERY
It’s a fermenting room, restaurant and wine bar brought to you by the same folks behind the delightful Duck Soup in Soho. This time however you’ll want to head to Dalston where you’ll be warmly welcomed into what feels like a well-stocked country kitchen, to feast on a daily-changing menu of seasonal small plates, all of which have been designed with with house-made pickles and ferments in mind. The restaurant is open breakfast through to dinner so dishes move from he likes of poached peaches and ricotta on sourdough to charred mackerel, pickled nectavigne and dill, all of which you can enjoy alongside either one of their drinking vinegars, or – if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger – one of their many bottles of top-notch natural wine. READ MORE.
Address: 68 Dalston Lane, Dalston, East London, E8 3AH
BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED MODERN BRITISH: PIDGIN
Next on the list of best restaurants in Dalston is this tiny, tasting-menu only Modern British, where guests all feast on the same four dishes, for £45 a head. Exactly what the dishes are changes weekly. and never in their entire time of existing have they served the same one twice. So if you fall in love (which is likely) you need not worry about getting bored. Instead you’ll be forever delighted with the likes of beef, beetroot, shiso, and Whiskey or mussel, leek, sake lees, and wasabi (most dishes also have a slight Asian twist) all of which are plated to perfection. (Seriously. Like artwork) and served alongside an equally as impressive cocktail menu or paired wines. READ MORE.
Address: 52 Wilton Way, Dalston, East London, E8 1BS
TEQUILA-FUELLED FUN: DEL 74
It’s the kind of place that has a disco ball in the toilet – where the tacos are cheap (and delicious) and Margaritas are served by the jug. There’s a happy hour every day, including all night on Tuesdays and it’s not unusual to find the wacky silver-haired owners pouring complimentary mezcal shots directly into the mouths of enthusiastic punters. We dare you not to have a good time. READ MORE.
Address: 129 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, East London, E8 2PB
A VEGETARIAN CLASSIC: MILDREDS
It’s the latest edition to Mildred’s burgeoning vegetarian empire. First opening back in Soho in 1988, they now have four restaurants across London, all serving the same globally-inspired menu perfected over the past thirty years. It’s ideal for a casual weekend brunch or an early evening dinner that won’t break the bank. READ MORE.
Address: Thomas Tower, 1 Dalston Square, Dalston, East London, E8 3GU
Looking to make an evening of it? Why not have a drink in nearby Shoreditch first.