Often reduced to Shoreditch or simply sweepingly referred to as east London, the borough of Hackney technically stretches from Regents Canal up to Hackney Downs, and from Dalston in the west to Well Street in the east. Despite its technical parameters, it has become something of a catch-all area from Shoreditch north, and anything between Kingsland Road and Victoria Park.

However you define the neighbourhood, there’s no doubt that Hackney is one of the most densely populated areas of London when it comes to good restaurants. At times achingly cool and, yes, awash with enough overpriced small plates and natural wine to satiate hipsters til the end of time, if you sift through the Perello olives and Torres crisps, some of London’s coolest restaurants still call Hackney home. We’ve done the hard work for you, rounding up our pick of the best places to eat in Hackney.


195 Hackney Road, E2 8JL

The younger sibling of River Cafe-trained Sam and Sam Clark’s much-loved Exmouth Market restaurant Moro, Morito is home to a delightful Mediterranean menu with heavy Middle Eastern accents. It is joyous, bright food at its most delicious; with an ever-changing selection of dishes that seem to beautifully personify the seasons. It is precisely the kind of restaurant many chefs have attempted to copy around London to far less success, so why not just visit the blueprint?


Cafe Cecilia

32 Andrews Road, E8 4FX

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When Max Rocha’s Cafe Cecilia opened just off Broadway Market, overlooking the vaguely swampy stretch of Regents Canal between Haggerston and Victoria Park, it did so to raving critical success. The restaurant (sorry, cafe) quickly became a crowd-favourite, with tables getting snapped up faster than diners were wolfing down Rocha’s deep fried bread and butter pudding (yes, really). This, really, is down to the wonderful menu which reads like a rolodex of things you want to eat. Whether it’s the staple onglet and chips with peppercorn sauce or the wonderful way Rocha manages to make something as simple as sage and anchovy fritti feel like a masterpiece, it’s difficult to go wrong with a menu this devourable.



1 Vyner Street, E2 9DG

Yes, this is technically Bethnal Green, but we figured given the loose definitions of Hackney we could sneak it in here anyway. Ombra has remained a firm favourite over the years, but really seemed to grow up over lockdown, reaching its full culinary potential. It’s simply impossible to have a bad meal when it kicks off with gnocco fritto draped in silky frills of wild boar mortadella; even more so when it finishes with Ombra’s infamous tiramisu. Fancy taking a slice of Ombra home with you? Nip across the road to Forno, the recently opened bakery, pastificio and deli that pumps out Italian goodies that attract Londoners like moths to a flame.



129A Pritchard's Road, E2 9AP

Did East London need another small plates wine bar? Probably not. Does Sune bring something special to the table anyway, somehow redefining what everyone wants their neighbourhood restaurant to be? Absolutely. Opened by industry veterans Charlie Sims and Honey Spencer who have decades of experience between them, including stints at Noma, Sune inhabits a delightful little candle-lit canal-side pocket just off Broadway Market. You’d be hard pressed to find someone curating more interesting drinks lists than Spencer, while Sims is a masterful front of house expert. Feast on crispy potato cakes topped with the components of a gilda, croque monsieur topped with a mound of beef tartare alongside an ever-changing selection of larger plates, and wash it all back with a genre-bending glass of wine (or two).



78 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0RN

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When Abbey Lee returned to Malaysia over the Covid-19 pandemic, she rediscovered the cuisine of her home country through fresh eyes. Following a crash course in cooking the recipes of her childhood, she came back to London armed with the culinary talents to bring this food to the city. Initially operating Mambow in Peckham, she moved the restaurant to Clapton in late 2023, where the larger space allows her to experiment further, expanding her menu and properly cementing Mambow as one of the city’s most exciting restaurants right now.



120-122 Morning Lane, E9 6LH

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While we’re hardly a city short on good Italian eateries, Dalla still seems to have come along and brought something new to the table. The brainchild of brothers Gennaro and Gianmarco Leone – the former an art collector and furniture dealer, the latter a chef – and ex-P.Franco chef Michell Damota, the restaurant takes its decor just as seriously as the food. And the food – oh, the food! This is Italian food as a nonna would make it – thoughtful, delicious, simple but impressive – with ingredients sourced from Italy and within Britain, too. Small but perfectly formed, Dalla is already romancing Londoners in Hackney and beyond.



Unit 7, The White Building, E9 5EN

Quite possibly one of the most formative restaurants in the city in the last decade, Silo is an absolute pioneer in the zero-waste cooking sphere. The label chef doesn’t seem quite adequate enough for Douglas McMaster because what he does seems to surpass cooking and enter scientific (or perhaps magical) territory. The restaurant produces absolutely no waste, an ethos which extends to the interiors, with everything being produced from recycled materials; it also means a level of culinary ingenuity you’re unlikely to see elsewhere anytime soon, and plates of food that boggle the mind.



56 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH

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If I was to say Japanese-Italian fusion you might not quite understand, or perhaps be enticed by the idea of the finished product. And yet, that is exactly how the food at Angelina is described, and it wholly and entirely works. Perhaps better viewed through the lens of two cultures that take food very seriously (and have a penchant for letting flavours do the talking without too much intervention), at Angelina you’re just as likely to see burrata astride chawanmushi; or nori next to bottarga. Either way, it works, and the resulting meal is one positively packed with flavour.



42 De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5RY

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Look, we really do need to apologise in advance of this one. There is a high chance that you may follow our advice and head to Towpath only to be faced by a multiple-hours-long queue in the beating sun. That, unfortunately, is the risk you take to eat at one of London’s most delightful eateries. What we can recommend is you visit on a weekday outside of peak hours, or at the very least bring a dose of good humour and a bright mood. You will of course be rewarded for your patience when you reach the table. Food is simply joyous and the seasonal menu celebrates the best of British cooking with a distinct Italian accent, plus you get to do it all sitting right by the canal, with a front row seat to the life that moves down its towpath, from swans gliding along in packs, to speeding bikes weaving around unsuspecting pedestrians.



20 Sidworth Street, E8 3SD

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Hidden – the clue really is in the name – behind London Fields, Behind is an east-London take on the kitchen counter, chef’s table-style dining that is sweeping through the city at the moment. Winning a Michelin star after being open for just 20 cumulative days, the restaurant gained such swift notoriety for good reason; chef Andy Beynon and his team consistently serve up incredible food from a kitchen that diners have a front row seat to. Free from the pretension you might expect from a restaurant of this ilk, it’s the perfect restaurant for people who love good food but hate the pomp and circumstance so commonly associated with fine dining.



1F, 373 Mentmore Terrace, E8 3DQ

If East London restaurants were to caricature themselves, it’s likely Papi would be the resulting venue. It was launched by two men; one who opened a dining pop-up called Hot 4 U and served esoteric food that felt extremely tongue-in-cheek and yet entirely serious, the other who opened much-loved natural wine store Wingnut Wines, known for stocking some of the best sulphite-free drops that have become so synonymous with Hackney. The food is bold and interesting and plays on the area’s love for idiosyncratic combinations, and the music gets steadily louder over the course of the evening, but in amongst the fun and frivolity, this is a restaurant to take seriously.


Koya Ko

10 Broadway Market Mews, E8 4TS

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Koya made a name for itself across London with its incredible udon noodles. Celebrating the joy in simplicity, a bowl of Koya udon noodles with an unadorned, umami-rich broth is still easily one of the best meals in town (but the rest of the menu is equally as wonderful). Koya Ko pares things back and speeds them up at its newest outpost, Koya Ko, just off Broadway Market. A concise menu of classics, a heavy-hitting selection of breakfast dishes (the english breakfast udon is the stuff of dreams) and a casual approach to ordering and seating makes this the perfect spot for a speedy in-and-out meal while still serving up some of the best food in London.



49 Columbia Road, E2 7RG

When it opened in late 2010, Brawn fundamentally changed the dining scene in London, creating an almost rabid appetite for creative small plates, bringing a distinct Italian accent to the already sweeping modern-British and European style of cooking that was sweeping through the city. The restaurant was on the natural wine chain before the residents of Hackney even really knew what organic meant, and has remained steadfast on its viticultural approach, comfortably pouring the most beautiful of low-intervention drops while deftly avoiding the period of time when it felt like everything of the sort tasted vaguely like wet cardboard. It takes a certain kind of panache to remain as interesting as ever over a decade after you’ve opened, and yet that is exactly what Brawn has achieved, continuing to sit at the forefront of dining in London.


The Water House Project

1 Corbridge Crescent, E2 9DT

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Any restaurant that starts life as a supper club is almost sure to be a delight, because it’s one that has been both tried and tested and found good enough to require a permanent, bricks and mortar presence. The Water House Project is no different. Housed in a sparse, pared-back space in Cambridge Heath, Gabriel Waterhouse’s restaurant keeps the interiors simple to let the focus remain where it should be: the food (the only decoration comes by way of an expansive floral arrangement that floats above the pass, changed seasonally and entirely created by his wife). Serving up an ever-changing multi-course menu, the convivial space has kept hold of some elements of its rootless origins, namely the unique sensation of feeling like this is as much a home as a restaurant.


Mangal 2

4 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XN

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What is there for us to say about Mangal 2 that hasn’t already been said? What started as the second (hence the 2 in the name) ocakbasi restaurant in London over the years became embedded as a crowd favourite for incredible Turkish food, a vibrant atmosphere and its BYO policy. At some point, Ferhat – the son of original owner Ali Dirik – took over from his father and began brainstorming ways to bring his plans for the restaurant to fruition. It turns out the Covid-19 pandemic offered him that opportunity, bringing his brother Sertac back from Copenhagen where he had been cutting his teeth in some of the city’s best kitchens. Fast forward three years and this is a bastion of modern Turkish cooking where the cuisine is finally given the attention and detail it deserves.


Acme Fire Cult

Abbot Street, E8 3DP

Set in a former car park at the bottom of Abbot Street in Dalston, Acme Fire Cult is not, as you might suspect from the name, somewhere that’s going to lock you up and force you to pledge allegiance to the BBQ. Although, it’s likely that will come voluntarily after eating the restaurant’s food. Where other BBQ restaurants tend to focus on all that’s protein-heavy and meaty, Acme Fire Cult puts the veg front and centre, packing big flavours into bold, heavy-hitting dishes that prove a lick of smoke makes everything better. Kick things off with the marmite and pecorino bread bites to whet the whistle while you peruse the menu.