London is a city of contrasts. It’s a place where bright red buses roll past against matte grey skies, monolithic concrete council estates loom over creamy Georgian townhouses, and busy roads run straight through serene Royal Parks. This dynamic also extends to the dining scene—it’s not uncommon to find a greasy spoon café perching quietly beside a Michelin-starred restaurant, or a chic, light-filled brasserie housed in the depths of a grim industrial building.
When it comes to food, there’s nowhere better to sample London’s unique brand of high-low culture than in the historic streets of East London. Traditionally an enclave for immigrant communities, East London has long been a destination for those craving authentic chicken Karahi or steaming bowls of pho. But now, thanks to the steady hipsterfication of Shoreditch, Dalston, and Bethnal Green, old-school stalwarts sit alongside innovative new dining destinations.
If you’re planning a trip to London and you like to eat, you’d be a fool to miss this thriving part of the capital. Bookmark this list for when you do. Covering the spectrum from bargain salt-beef bagels to world-class omakase, it encapsulates ten of the best culinary experiences (classic and brand new) that present-day East London has to offer.
Written by Phoebe Lovatt (@PhoebeLovatt)