Ah, King's Cross. Home to one of the busiest stations in London, this central area of London has long been one of the city's major transport hubs and can often be found packed to the brim with an overwhelming number of people that are too busy to think about anything apart from their Oyster card – let alone think about eating an oyster.
While King's Cross is, for most, nothing more than a brief pit-stop on a journey to somewhere else, we'd actually recommend testing out the area as your end destination. Yes, contrary to popular belief, there's actually more to see and do in King's Cross than, er, leave it. Our go-to way of exploring a part of the capital that might be unfamiliar to us is always through the restaurants and cafés that are doing their best to feed locals and visitors alike. We'd recommend you use that approach with this guide to where to eat in King's Cross – and drink, too.
From excellent Indian food at Dishoom and Thenga Cafe to one of the best Thai restaurants in London in the form of the superlative Supawan, King's Cross has got a little bit for everyone. And a hell of a lot for you to enjoy no matter what your budget may be. Fancy getting your chops around an excellent sandwich before you head back home? Sons + Daughters and the esteemed Bodega Rita's will both sort you right out. The fact they're just around the corner from one another in Coal Drops Yard (a development you'll find mentioned a lot in this guide on where to eat in King's Cross) means that you can get a direct comparison between the two before you Tweet out your spicy hot sanger take.
Drinks-wise, King's Cross is also pretty sharp. A post-work pint at The Lightermen or a sultry date night at Chapel Down Gin Works are both great options when you've got a thirst on. It's also a fine area to sample some excellent wine and grailed glasses of rare vermouth.
Presented in no particular order, here's our guide to the best places to eat in King's Cross, plus which drinks hotspots worth a lookout, too. If you've got any qualms with it – or feel we've missed out your favourite spot – let us know.
Where to eat in King's Cross
38 Caledonian Road, N1 9DT
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There's no doubt about it: Supawan is the best Thai restaurant in King's Cross. It's also one of the best in the whole of London. While the premises might not look all that impressive – appearing slightly too polished to provide the rustic charm of a neighbourhood restaurant – the food very much is. Jungle curry isn't censored of flavour for Western palates and tells tall tales of spice that rip through your sinus in wave upon joyous wave of sadomasochistic pleasure. The pad thai is so punchy it'll slide your soul away and leave you looking back in anger at every other subpar rendition you've had before. While we think that just about everything is (pardon the pun) super, it's the peek gai sud yai that remains the essential order. Those swollen chicken wings are stuffed with a soft and fragrant mixture of minced chicken, prawns, lemon grass and glass noodles – a Frankenstein's monster of flavour well-worth the trip to Caledonian Road.
2. Bodega Rita's
Unit 114 Lower Stable Street, N1C 4DR
Bodega Rita's is a dangerously hip sandwich spot that comes from the beautiful minds of Missy Flynn and Gabriel Pryce – the duo responsible for cult classic Rita's Dining (RIP). Whether you're going to town on The Highway Dan (hot bean devilled egg salad, sesame, celery and cress on Dusty Knuckle sourdough), The Sangucherita (roast chicken, sweet potato, salsa criolla, yellow pepper mayo and white cabbage slaw on a brioche bun), or La Dolce Rita (gorgonzola dolce, smoky tomato jam, pickled radish on Dusty Knuckle sourdough), you can bet for damned sure that you're eating one of the greatest sandwiches in the entire city. When it comes to picking out the MVP of Coal Drops Yard, Bodega Rita's gets our pick. Wondering where to eat in King's Cross? It's here, baby.
3. Sons + Daughters
Unit 119a Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
Another sandwich concept from a successful restaurant duo, Sons + Daughters is the creation of Sam Herlihy and James Ramsden. Having previously experienced great success with Pidgin, Herlihy and Ramsden's fast casual restaurant is a great place to grab a quick lunch that'll have you full throughout the day. No, really – the sangers here are proper two-handers, filled with everything from egg and truffle to pert and spicy merguez sausages. The proper allure of S+D is the fact that, even after coming once, you'll need to come back at least three more times to make sure you've had a proper go at all of the sandwiches. Priced at roughly £9 a pop they're not particularly cheap, and roughly three times as expensive as your regular Sainos meal deal, but they're about a hundred times better. Make of that what you will, and don't forget to grab yourself a soft-serve ice cream on your way out the door.
4. Arabica King's Cross
7 Lewis Cubitt Walk, N1C 4DT
This new branch of the Middle Eastern Borough Market mainstay, the King's Cross Arabica has all the trappings of a great neighbourhood restaurant. Attentive staff, a large menu and a laid-back atmosphere make up the brunt of the restaurant's broad appeal that'll have you want to come back again and again until they can't help but recognise you every time you walk through the door. Yeah, they might think: "Oh God, here they come to eat us out of house and home for the fifth time this week" but hey: at least they recognise you. Essential picks on the Arabica menu include the falafel, hummus, and moutabel but it's honestly hard to go wrong with anything from the joint's mezze selection. Freshly baked pita breads are recommended accompaniments to every plate. If you're looking to get your daily intake of za'atar in one meal, Arabica is where to eat in King's Cross.
5 Stable Street, N1C 4AB
It's rare that we're ever stopped in our tracks by a restaurant's so-called "allure" or "drawing power". Generally speaking, we often go out to eat with a plan already in mind and there's not many things that are capable of relenting our pace when we're on the hunt for a good meal. The queue that you'll see outside of Dishoom in King's Cross is, however, one of those rare phenomena. Snaking its way outside of the restaurant and around the corner like a fat and happy anaconda, that baying crowd of hungry customers is capable of making us forget all about whatever dinner plans we might have had in place and enticing us into that scrum of people like the sheep we are. The secret to Dishoom's King's Cross queue is also painfully simple: the food is really, really good. Grabbing a black dhal here is a dining experience that doesn't just live up to the hype, but surpasses it in just about every way. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. For more seriously sexy curries just a stone's throw from your digs, read Foodism's guide to the best Indian restaurants in London.
6. Thenga Cafe
120 Cromer Street, WC1H 8BS
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Located at the local YMCA, Thenga Cafe is a warm and inviting Indian café that specialises in vegan and vegetarian cooking. The daily set meals are one of London's most affordable eats: a thali platter that can be found bristling with portions of simmering dhal and crisp bhajis that'll give any high-end restaurant a run for its money. Literally. The set meal only costs £5.95. Want an affordable lunch? The Thenga Cafe is where to eat in King's Cross. And if you're looking for somewhere to dine that'll also leave a smile on your face and comforting food in your stomach, Thenga Cafe is the restaurant for the job. As for dessert, an array of freshly baked cakes and energy balls are far too tempting not to take back to the office with you. Sharing those treats with Sandy in the cubicle next to yours, though? That's a step too far.
7. Flat Iron
47-51 Caledonian Road, N1 9BU
No reservations and a £11 steak: that's Flat Iron's gimmick. And, we've got to admit, it's a bloody good one. A glass of wine and a hunk of medium rare chargrilled meat with a side order of dripping cooked chips? It's hard to say no and there's a reason that Flat Iron has seen such a rapid expansion throughout the capital. It's got a concept that works, a loyal clientele, and an end-product that delivers the goods time after time. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a Flat Iron.
8. Beer + Burger
1 York Way, N1C 4AS
Beer + Burger is probably the best burger chain in London that you've never been to. Despite boasting four sites across the city (Dalston, The O2, and Willesden Green sites make up the rest of the roster), it seems like Beer + Burger is perennially slept on. Which is odd considering that beers and burgers – two things that Beer + Burger do unsurprisingly well – aren't exactly under the radar items of food and drink. Beers from the likes of Northern Monk, Two Tribes, Cloudwater and more can be found on the regularly changing tap list. Pair a cold pint of any of those with a double cheeseburger so good it'll have you swearing off Whoppers for life, and you'll be set for a meal to remember. If you are going to share your love of Beer + Burger with someone you care about, you also might as well do it on the last Tuesday of the month – a day that B+B brands "Best Friend Tuesday". The gist of "Best Friend Tuesday" is simple: if you bring a friend with you, they get their burger completely free. Grand.
9. Pizza Union
246-250 Pentonville Road, N1 9JY
We've got a real soft spot for Pizza Union, and a particularly soft and mushy spot for having lunch and dinner at the group's Pentonville Road branch. From the no-frills seating arrangements to the eye-wateringly cheap prices, it's hard to find fault with a restaurant that's so upfront about its intentions. Pizza Union doesn't promise you the world or a life-changing dining experience. No, it prefers to tell you the cold, hard truth. Which is that you will arrive at Pizza Union, that you will be devour at least one of its tasty pizzas, and you will leave awfully content with your choices in life. It's an easy solution to the riddle of where to eat in King's Cross and when it comes to finding the thin and crispy pizza of your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-inspired childhood dreams, Pizza Union is the move to make every time.
10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
Having already experienced certifiable success with his restaurants Casa Mia and Poco Tapas in Bristol, chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias's latest venture at The Standard hotel is just as gert lush as his last. Not only is the food beautiful (get your peepers on the caviar-topped Spanish tortilla for a lesson in how to make the most extra dish going), but the space that the restaurant occupies is just as impressive. Plates are predominantly Spanish though do bear some nods to Mexican cuisine through dedicated aguechile and taco sections of the menu. Decimo, like its name suggests, is a real 10/10.
Unit 102, Stable Street, N1C 4DQ
Its name might be inspired by ancient history, but Pip Lacey's Hicce is a lesson in contemporary European cooking that holds its own in an equally modern space. Hicce shares its King's Cross home with independent design store Wolf & Badger, so it's fairly unsurprising that the restaurant is as aesthetic as it gets. The sleek space comes complete with a proper bare brick wall and oodles of natural light that almost threaten to rival the food for your attention. We say "almost" because the food is so good you'd be happy eating it in absolute squalor. Standout dishes include the miso butter potatoes and pork collar with reblochon – two heavy hitters that'll leave you reeling in the most delicious way imaginable. Hicce is where to eat in King's Cross for the perfect combination of comfort and finesse.
12. Franco Manca
62-68 York Way, N1 9AG
Believe it or not, there was a time where Franco Manca was pretty cutting edge; a time where making sourdough pizza was seen as a maverick move, a counter-cultural statement against the thin 'n' crispy establishment made through wood-fired polka-dotted cornicione. Well, sort of. Basically, Franco Manca was ahead of its time when it came to serving pizza in London that didn't suck, and it's continued to dish out quality slices ever since it opened. The King's Cross branch is no different. It's a reliable little nook to grab lunch or dinner that won't leave you struggling to make rent but will remind you why there's so many bloody Franco Mancas in London. Hint: it's because they're actually quite good. And that's why it's on our list of where to eat in King's Cross.
13. Honest Burgers
251-255 Pentonville Road, N1 9NG
Justin De Souza
Honesty? Yeah, we like honesty. Burgers? Yeah, we like burgers. Honest Burgers? Yeah, we like Honest Burgers. And if you're looking for one of the best places to eat in King's Cross, ignoring Honest Burgers' ever-reliable presence is not a wise idea. The local special at the King's Cross branch comes courtesy of the good folks over at Mother Clucker. Wedged between Honest's classic squishy buns is a fat free-range buttermilk fried chicken breast dressed to the nines with bacon, double American cheese, Mother Clucker's homemade pepper sauce, lime mayo, lettuce and pickles. It's a messy affair and an absolute worldie. Order it, Instagram it, and enjoy it.
14. Casa & Plaza Pastor
Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
Is including two restaurants in one entry cheating? Well, we make the rules over here. So, no. No, it's not. The reason we've included both of these restaurants isn't that they're not both worth visiting in their own right, but rather that they share so much of the same DNA that it just made sense to talk about them both at the same time. As the big sister of Borough's El Pastor and Bermondsey's Tortilleria El Pastor, Casa Pastor offers an expanded Mexican menu along with Californian-style fare and a big, sexy tequila-slinging central bar. If you've ever scoffed a taco at El Pastor and thought: "this is great, but I'd like it to be a bit bigger and brasher", then Casa Pastor is the restaurant for you. Not just good at the big but the small, too, CP makes its tortillas in-house on the daily out of Mexican heritage corn. Plaza Pastor, on the other hand, is the name given to the buzzy terrace outside Casa Pastor – a drinks-led casual eatery with rotisserie chicken, tortas, tacos and a live music programme. Both great. For more of Foodism's favourite Mexican restaurants in London, simply click the link.
Stable Street, N1C 4AB
In the need of a personal life pick-me-up? Want to find somewhere to take yourself for a romantic solo meal when you're feeling a little down in the dumps? There's not many places we'd recommend more heartily than Coal Drops Yard and, in particular, the swanky Barrafina that now calls that development home. The fourth – and largest – Barrafina of them all, it's here you can get your fill of golden brown tortillas, unctuous chargrilled sweetbreads, and lovely, lacy slices of jamón Ibérico. Sit at the bar with a selection of tapas and a carafe of El Muro Blanco to watch a never-ending parade of immaculately dressed UAL students go by.
16. Cut + Grind Burgers
The Urbanest Building, N1C 4BD
Nothing quite hits the spot like a dirty burger. So, when compiling this list of the best places to eat in King's Cross, we couldn't not include a restaurant that specialises in those ground beef sandwiches we can't get enough of. Like its name suggests, Cut + Grind select, cut and grind all their burgers in-house every day. The result is that every burger comes rammed with a thick and fresh meat puck of your own 'juicy' or 'skinny' patty preference. And that's not all that's great about Cut + Grind, either. All of the joint's meat comes from award-winning British and Irish farmers. The burger competition around King's Cross might be pretty intense but it's hard to ignore Cut + Grind's claim as one of the best in the vicinity.
1 Granary Square, N1C 4AA
Housed within a Grade-II listed Victorian grain store, Caravan is an ideal spot to do some good eating and drinking over the course of an entire day. Vibe it out with a freshly roasted cup of coffee in front of the open kitchen and you'll soon come to the conclusion that you never actually want to leave. So, don't. Breakfast with a stack of buttermilk vanilla hotcakes, lunch with a split pea dahl, and dinner with a crisp and addictive Dingley dell pork schnitzel served with a fluorescent fried duck egg. Yep, Caravan is one of those crowd-pleasing spots where it's actively difficult to have a bad meal. We mean, you'd have had to be trying really, really hard to sabotage your own dining experience if so. And nobody wants you doing that now, do they?
18. Granger & Co
1 Stanley Building, N1C 4AG
In the market for a bonzer breakfast after a hellish journey into King's Cross? Located right next to the station, Aussie import Granger & Co does a fantastic job at starting your day off on the right foot. Yes, the 'fresh squeezed juice x açaí bowl x bircher muesli' vibe might be a bit much if you've just got off a long ass train journey that morning, but trust us that the dishes are all good enough to make you forget the concept of exhaustion even exists. Scrambled eggs and St John's sourdough toast put all other iterations of eggs on toast to shame – eggs whipped to such a fluffy, soft and creamy frenzy that they melt in your mouth and toast that has just the right amount of give and chew to make you feel like you've worked for your breakfast.
Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, N1C 4PW
We know that the whole point of going out to eat is getting someone else to make your meal for you (and do it a damn sight better than you ever could) but cooking your own food when you're eating out can actually be a lot more fun than it sounds. Just make sure you do it at a place like Parillan when the weather's good. The tabletop-grill concept at this restaurant means you can choose from a selection of meat, seafood and vegetables that you can grill on your own bespoke parrilla to your heart's content. It's a lot of fun and can be a great way to get your entire group more involved in the overall dining experience. That being said, overcook a tender Isle of Mull Scallop into an incinerated oblivion and you've only got yourself to blame. It's high-risk, high-reward eating.
10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
Restaurants in hotels can often be fairly hit or miss. And by that we mean that they're often sterile, monumental misses: Godless, timeless, nether zones where stony faced guests float in and out of breakfast buffet queues in endless procession. Thankfully, Isla at The Standard is one of the rare hits. For one, the laid-back restaurant very much speaks the language of the London dining scene by offering a seasonal menu with a predominantly low-intervention wine list. It's the sort of spot that, at first, seems far too cool and intimidating for you to approach at the bar but actually turns out to be super down-to-earth once you get to know it. Basically, Isla's near perfect, and it's hard not to become enamoured by it as it gently spills itself out into The Standard's lovely garden terrace. Order the fuzi.
Where to drink in King's Cross
21. Two Tribes Brewhouse and Taproom
Tileyard Studios, Tileyard Road, N7 9AH
Located in Tileyard Studios, Two Tribes Brewhouse and Taproom is one of the best places in Kings Cross to grab a quality pint. Split half between a brewery and a taproom (hence, y'know, the name), the space is rammed with excellent brews as well as a top notch sound system for getting your fill of dirty bass into your life. The pours are constantly changing and a spate of food trucks serving everything from pizza to burgers will make sure you don't lose all your dignity. Because just having pints for dinner is – as we're sure you're well aware – never a good idea.
22. Chapel Down Gin Works
Goods Way, N1C 4UR
This distillery, bar and restaurant overlooks Granary Square in a rather grand fashion. And not only are there great gin cocktails (obviously), but the food isn't to be sniffed at either. Large and small plates featuring the likes of Dorset crab, sirloin with smoked anchovy butter and stone bass with razor clams can are all served for your enjoyment. If there's another location in London that screams "successful third date" more than the Chapel Down Gin Works, we want to know about it. It's one of the best places to eat and drink in King's Cross. We do hope date wise that it guarantees you a fourth.
23. The Lightermen
3 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
A far cry from London's trendy taprooms with their endless array of juicy IPAs, The Lightermen is simply a pleasant pub and bar by Regent's Canal where you can happily sink a few pints with some close friends. The prices aren't unreasonable and even if you have got a mate that's "into beer" there's bound to be something unique on the taps that takes their fancy. The atmosphere can get fairly lively, making The Lightermen an ample spot for a pre-night out drink as well as the destination for the night out itself.
24. Double Standard
10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
As The Standard's resident bar, Double Standard is an excellent place for a drink. If you're in King's Cross and looking to impress someone, this is where you should be taking them. Not only is the Shawn Hausman-designed space dead nice (capable of providing that "Bill Murray at the bar in Lost in Translation" vibe without being anywhere near Tokyo) but the drinks are rather ace, too. Draft beers and a host of classic cocktails should see you right no matter what's on your mind. Feeling a little moody? Gherkin Martini. Up for a laugh? Ginger Martini. In denial of the fact that it's already winter and the sun isn't going to be rearing its head for a good 6 month or so? Red Grape Summer Punch Tea.
3 King's Boulevard, N1C 4BU
The very first Vinoteca opened up in Farringdon in 2005 which, considering how trendy wine bar openings are still very much of the moment, makes Vinoteca something of a trendsetter in the scene. There are now five of Brett Woonton and Charlie Young's wine-forward bars spread out across the city, and we're pretty sure that the Kings Cross branch is one of our favourites. Yes, it's a chain, but the selection of wine is so strong that you can't get too snobby about being made to order a wine paddle and a few dishes of seasonal-minded food by your less oenophilically-minded mate. Everything from Macedonian reds to bag-in-the-box French rosés can be sampled in the industrial aesthetic premises alongside dishes that range from the delicious-sounding (chicken and sobrasada terrine on sourdough) to the downright bizarre (crab and prawn lasagna).
26. The Drop Wine Bar
Unit 22-24 Bagley Walk Arches Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DH
Our favourite kind of "stop, drop and roll" tactic involves stopping off in Coal Drops Yard, having dinner and drinks at The Drop, and rolling home full of enough cured meat and wine to keep us going throughout the winter. The cheese and meat board at this quaint wine bar is only £20 and comes draped in a generous selection of excellent British dairy and reams of salami and pancetta. You should get it. After that, split one of The Drop's larger plates (the roast chicken breast with truffle vinaigrette and chicken fat mash is a Foodism favourite) over a bottle of whatever the sommelier recommends. Do all that and you have yourself the makings of a meal that hits every one of your pleasure spots. Dessert wine and a triple chocolate cake as the big finale? It'd be rude not to.
38/39 Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
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Vermouth: it's a thing. Chef Anthony Demetre and designer Michael Sodeau's Vermuteria is an interesting addition to the Coal Drops Yard drinking scene. Interesting in the sense that we love any venture that has the balls to commit to trying to educate Londoners about a style of drink they might not be familiar with. Sure, beers and wines can still be purchased at the Vermuteria, but if you come here without trying one of the many excellent vermouths on offer you'd be doing yourself a real disservice. Basically, we'd judge you. Hard. And you don't want that now, do you? Whether you're feeling rosso (sweet), blanco (semi-sweet), or secco (dry), we're confident there's at least one vermouth here that's got your name on it. Thankfully, the staff are knowledgeable enough to point you in the right direction if you do find yourself a little overwhelmed.
28. Bar Pepito
3 Pentonville Road, N1 9DF
Bar Pepito on Pentonville Road cordons itself off as a little segment of Spain in King's Cross. A sherry and tapas safe space where you're almost fooled into forgetting that the European Union is falling apart all around you. If fortified wines aren't your thing (yet) the sherry tasting flights at Bar Pepito are a great way to give yourself an amicable introduction to the drink. From light manzanilla and fino styles to heftier sips of oloroso and montillado, Bar Pepito's got a sherry with your name on it. Especially if your name is actually sherry. It's right there on the bottle. Ibérico meatballs and lovely saline gildas make particularly great partners to whatever alcohol you end up consuming.