The Best Restaurants In Camden, London

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From its humble beginnings in the 1790s as a residential area developed by Sir Charles Pratt, Camden has transformed into one of London’s most visited boroughs. Once home to Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw and JB Priestley, now it’s one of the most thriving multicultural places in the UK, with its almost 300’000 residents speaking over 140 languages and dialects between them, and the local council placing diversity at the forefront of its thinking.

The area’s transformation began in earnest with the construction of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railway in the 19th century, cementing Camden’s role as a pivotal industrial and transportation centre, but it’s the 1960s which marked a significant cultural revolution in Camden Town, with the rise of rock and psychedelia. Venues like the Roundhouse became the epicentre of this movement, where music, culture, politics, and youthful vigour converged, laying the groundwork for the area’s enduring association with alternative culture and creativity. 

Camden Market, which started as a modest arts and crafts fair in the backyard of Dingwalls, has grown into London’s largest market (and the city’s fourth most popular attraction, with 250’000 visitors a week), open seven days a week. Its rapid expansion from a temporary Sunday market reflects the area’s burgeoning popularity and its reputation as something of a culinary destination, even if much of Camden’s best food is often actually found beyond its 6.5 hectares.

In any area boasting such vast and varied influences, wonderful food is bound to follow. And so it is in Camden, a microcosm of global flavours, both in fine dining and street food form. Today, we’re checking out the very best. From traditional fish and chips to homestyle Portuguese cooking, here’s where to eat in Camden Town, and the best restaurants in Camden.

Poppie’s

Ideal for fish and chips with a heavy dose of nostalgia

The proprietor of Poppies has been mastering the art of fish and chips since 1945, and it’s this extensive experience that has allowed him to perfect one of the UK’s most cherished meals.

At Poppies, just across Regent’s Canal from Camden Market, the focus is on fun (more on that in a moment) and authentic, traditional cooking. The fish, sourced from Billingsgate daily, is as fresh as that sourcing suggests, the batter is crisp and with delicate pockets of air, and the chips are just the right shade of beige. It’s a combination that’s hard to resist. 

In addition to the star attraction, we also suggest trying a serving of the jellied eels. These slippery little delicacies are a longstanding symbol of London’s food scene, and the owner continues to honour this tradition by featuring them on the menu. Extra chilli vinegar, please! 

It’s not just the food that draws the crowds in. The 110 sister restaurant is playful, with a nostalgic setting, transporting diners back to the later 1940’s and “London’s after the war rebirth”. If you didn’t know, fish and chips were part of British wartime history. On a recent instagram post, Poppies explains that this iconic British dish was “the only food never rationed in order to maintain morale and bring comfort in a time of crisis. It was also a method of identifying allies on the front line – if you shouted ‘fish’ and the reply was ‘chips’ you knew you were amongst friends”. We digress…

…Back to those interiors – there’s loads of memorabilia on the walls, with the fixtures and fittings all reclaimed or repurposed items from in and around Camden itself. To hammer the point home, waitresses wear period uniforms from Camden Lock Market.

We know that some of you might be cringing right now – themed restaurants are naff right? Well, like itself Camden, Poppies has somehow made it cool. And in true Camden style, there is an upstairs performance lounge with live music on Friday and Saturdays. Encore!

Websitepoppiesfishandchips.co.uk

Address30 Hawley Cres, London NW1 8QR


Read: 5 IDEAL places to get your fish and chip fix in London


Three Uncles

Ideal for possibly the best roasted Chinese meats in the capital…

You won’t miss Three Uncles as you enter the Hawley Wharf section of Camden Market; look not for three middle-aged men dispensing advice on hanging picture frames and cracking terrible puns but rather, a glowing red signage, and swaying roast duck and crispy pork. Is there any better sight when you’re hungry?

Indeed, Three Uncles stands as something of a beacon around these parts for those in pursuit of authentic Hong Kong-style roasted meats. Founded by a trio of childhood friends and culinary aficionados – Cheong Yew (Uncle Lim), Pui Sing Tsang (Uncle Sidney), and Mo Kwok (Uncle Mo) – the establishment first opened its doors near Liverpool Street station in 2019. 

Since then, it has brought its roast meats over rice to the heart of Camden, and we’re so glad that they did. From the crispy-skinned pork belly to the richly flavoured duck and the sweet, honey-glazed char siu, this is some of the most satisfying (and best value) food in all of London.

Each dish is served in a straightforward manner with no frippery, atop a bed of perfectly fluffy rice with a choice of sauces that range from rock sugar and soy to spring onion and ginger. The house chilli oil, a necessary accompaniment, adds a welcome kick. And all of this will set you back little more than a tenner. Which gives you the perfect excuse, we think, to order a second round…

WebsiteThreeuncles.co.uk

Address2nd Floor, Hawley Wharf, Water Ln., London NW1 8AA


Read: Where to eat near Liverpool Street Station


The Cheese Bar

Ideal for when all you want is a comforting plate of cheese…

Camden’s fromage aficionados congregate in one place and one place only when they’re looking to get their kicks, and that’s at the prosaically named Cheese Bar.

Something of a Camden Market institution, you might think you’d walked into a new branch of Barrafina upon entering; the horseshoe counter seating around a central bar is reliably a throng of chatter and cheer. That’s until you cast your eyes towards the end of that bar, and into several ceiling high fridges full of wheels of the good stuff…

Dedicated to celebrating the very best of British cheese, with every item on the menu showcasing the surprising diversity of the UK’s cheese-making talent, diners don’t come just to sample the raw material here; arguably the biggest draw is the bar’s grilled cheese sandwiches, which are served with a gentle, almost austere reverence for the cheese they’re showcasing. Indeed, you’ll find no overloaded, gimmicky sarnies here. The simple Cropwell Bishop Stilton toastie, adorned simply with a beer and fruit chutney, is a case in point; funky but fresh, it’s sublime.

For a proper indulgence, every Wednesday the Cheese Bar hosts a ‘Bottomless Raclette’ night, which sees 90 minutes centred around melted Ogleshield (a type of cheddar) served with vegetables and spuds for dipping and dredging. It will set you back the princely sum of £20, which isn’t bad for a feast of cheese lasting the length of a football match. Now all you need alongside it is a glass or two of the Louis Guntrum Riesling, which is richly poised, and perfect for the more acidic elements of the Ogleshield.

Websitethecheesebar.com

AddressUnit 93 – 94, Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London NW1 8AH


Gökyüzü Kentish Town

Ideal for keenly priced Turkish feasting…

Gökyüzü, a pleasant ten minute walk from Camden Market, continues the acclaimed legacy of the Gökyüzü chain (there are three other branches in Green Lanes Harringay, which Grace Dent reviewed fondly in the Guardian, Walthamstow and Chingford Mount) with another knockout offering in Kentish Town. 

Gökyüzü, which translates to “sky” in Turkish, offers a dining experience that soars above the ordinary, steeped in tradition but given the most reverential, gentle of modern spins. Sure, the dining area may feel a little corridor-like and lacking in natural light, with shadows cast over the further corners of the room, but there’s plenty of vivid flavours on the plate and attentive, cheerful service to brighten the mood.

Run by the Yavuz family, Gökyüzü is a product of a familiar story; a family moves to the UK and finds the food of their homeland not represented as they’d like. Cue the deployment of a grandparent’s secret recipes, a mix of local producers and spices flown in from the motherland, and an authentic restaurant is born. 

As you walk in, there’s a charcoal grill being tended to on your right and a fridge with various kebabs and vegetable skewers on display, emphasising the freshness of the product. At Gökyüzü, that product culminates in a menu that is a tribute to the diverse culinary heritage of Turkey, with specialities ranging from succulent, charred kebabs, served generously with a big smear of house hummus, to meze, aromatic pide and freshly baked lahmacun. Order the latter – super thin, crisp but pliable – squeeze on a little lemon, add some pickles and parsley, and roll one up. Repeat the process; it’s damn good.

Move on to the restaurant’s signature platter, featuring both lamb and chicken shish, ribs, wings, chops and doners. It’s served with rice and bulgur wheat, and arrives as an imposing, intimidating pile, the meat blackened in just the right places but tender within. Designed for two to three people, it could easily feed six, let’s be honest guys. At £67, it’s an absolute steal.

Order an Efes Draft or two to go with, and be confused that it arrives in a bottle. No matter, the honeyed maltiness of the beer is just the right match for that kiss of the charcoal that runs through everything on the plate.

A complementary salad to start and Turkish tea to finish shows off the excellent hospitality which the restaurant group (and country) are famed for.

Website: gokyuzurestaurant.co.uk

Address: 339 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2TJ


MR JI Asian Restaurant Camden

Ideal for zeitgeisty, fun fusion food…

Somewhere between the peripheries of Regent’s Park and the throbbing heart of Camden Town, Mr Ji Asian Restaurant has swiftly become a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts in the area looking to forgo the increasingly identikit vibes of the famous but increasingly dull market.

This reincarnation of the Soho original that was so well received by Jay Rayner in the pandemic days brings a similarly innovative twist to proceedings, blending Asian and European flavours without any danger of Greg(g) Wallace yelling “Fusion? Confusion, more like!” in your face.

The interior, with its deliberately unfinished, industrial aesthetic, sets the stage for a culinary experience that is both sophisticated and unpretentious. Polished concrete floors, raw stucco walls, and a peach-and-cream tiled border around the open kitchen window create an inviting atmosphere where diners can watch the chefs in action.

The menu, curated by the dynamic duo of Zijun Meng and Ana Gonçalves from sadly closed TĀ TĀ Eatery and thankfully just opened TOU in Borough Market, offers a crowdpleasing rundown of small plates that showcase their creative prowess. 

Signature dishes such as the famed Prawn ‘in’ Toast – a golden brioche filled with prawns, sweetcorn, and béchamel sauce – and the O’Ji fried chicken breast, adorned with chilli sprinkles and golden kimchi, have something of a cult following in the city for good reason.

London’s vegetarians and vegans are well catered for, too, with the double-cooked daikon cake with shiitake mushrooms and garlic soy paste, and the refreshing noodle salad with konjac noodles and sesame sauce, both hitting every spot. 

Complementing the exquisite food is a carefully curated drinks menu featuring low-intervention wines, freshly-pressed sake, and inventive cocktails. Highlights include the Salted Plum Negroni, with its intriguing mix of mezcal, tequila, and plum wine, and the Rice Martini, a delightful concoction of Cuban rum, manzanilla, and glutinous rice syrup.

But the very best part? Mr Ji is equally as accommodating whether you’re dropping in for a quick snack or you’re sitting down to order the whole menu. We’ve done both, and haven’t yet left disappointed. 

Website​mrji.co.uk

Address: 63-65 Parkway, London NW1 7PP


Odette’s

Ideal for pared-back, flavour-packed fine dining…

2008 was certainly a brave time to take over a restaurant, particularly one with such an illustrious history and fine dining designs. But chef patron Bryn Williams is an impervious sort, built of stern stuff, and Odette’s has thrived since he took on the stoves, becoming one of Camden’s (well, Primrose Hill’s) true destination restaurants under his watch. 

The proud recipient of 3 AA rosettes, as well as a spot in both the Michelin and Good Food Guide, the vibe here is refreshingly laid back, with superb service a hallmark of the Odette’s experience. Back of house, the cooking is all about maximum respect for the produce, much of which is grown on the Welsh farm of chef Williams’s brother, Gareth. Expect pared back plates of just two or three hyper-seasonal ingredients, whether that’s a butternut squash risotto with crispy cavolo nero and pickled trompette, or a roast sea bream with leek fondue and mussel-heavy bouillabaisse. 

For those feeling extravagant, an 8 course tasting menu is available for £85 a head. Considering the way London restaurant prices are moving, this feels like something of a steal.

Websiteodettesprimrosehill.com

Address 130 Regent’s Park Rd, London NW1 8XL


Purezza

Ideal for dairy and gluten free pizza that actually tastes great…

Holding the distinction of being the UK’s first entirely vegan pizzeria, a title it has proudly held since its inception in 2015, Purezza is the brainchild of Stefania Evangelisti and Tim Barclay, born out of a desire to revolutionise plant-based dining. 

Established in Brighton, the UK’s Vegan Capital, Purezza is the first plant-based pizzeria in the UK. They specialise in vegan, gluten-free sourdough pizzas that are innovative and full of flavour. They have expanded their operations with branches in Camden (were we’re dining today, of course), Bristol, and Hove, maintaining their high-quality standards across all locations.

Their pizzas are far from the typical, bland, artificial-tasting vegan options. They use large wood-fired ovens to bake pizzas that could rival any traditional Neapolitan pizzeria. The dough is allowed to mature for forty-eight hours, and their signature vegan mozzarella, made from brown rice, took two years to perfect. It’s as close to the real thing as you can get in a vegan version.

The name Purezza, which translates to ‘purity’ and sounds, erm, a bit like ‘pizza’, reflects their commitment to using fresh, seasonal vegetables to enhance their pizzas. Their Parmagiana Party pizza, crowned as the ‘National Pizza of the Year’ at the National Pizza Awards a couple of years back, is a must-try. This recognition was a significant achievement for a vegan pizza.

That was 2018, and things have gone even better since, Purezza’s pear and blue pizza a case in pointp – think a luscious white base, creamy mozzarella, and the bold tang of blue cheese, softened and sweetened with juicy pears, crunchy walnuts, and a fiery twist of chilli jam. There’s a joke in here about pizza pear-fection, but someone else has already made it.

Purezza is arguably the best vegan pizza in London, and perhaps even in the entire UK. It’s certainly one of our favourite restaurants in Camden.

Websitepurezza.co.uk

Address: 45-47 Parkway, London NW1 7PN


Read: The best pizza restaurants in Brighton and Hove


La Patagonia

Ideal for the all-Argentinian steakhouse experience done right…

This family-run establishment prides itself on delivering the finest Argentinian food in London, with a menu that promises to transport you straight to the heart of South America. 

La Patagonia largely succeeds in that aim, its transportative quality certainly not harmed by the restaurant’s central parrilla – complete with crank handle and chain – and the sizzling steaks that have bedded down so happily on its bars.

Before you get stuck into Argentina’s finest prime sirloin (£27.90 for 300g), first get lost in the savoury folds of the restaurant’s homemade empanadas, the traditional beef mince version, piquant from green olives, has pastry that boasts that chalky quality that defines a truly great Argentinian pastry. Then, it’s on to the headliner, which throws its bolero hat into the ring of London’s best steaks, with a gnarly yet uniform bark from the high heat of the charcoal grill and a pleasant pinkness within. That faint, reassuring tang of the farmyard brings you home.

Unsurprisingly, it’s an all Argentinian wine list here, with an eminently drinkable Malbec San Telmo Reserva clocking in at just £6.75 a glass. Lovely stuff. Just be sure to book if you’re heading here at the weekend; this place gets busy.

Websitelapatagonia.co.uk

Address31 Camden High St, London NW1 7JE


The Parakeet

Ideal for carefully sourced produce cooked over fire in the most convivial of settings…

Okay, we accept we’re venturing a little out of Camden for this one, but the buzz generated around the Parakeet since its opening earlier this year makes it worth the twenty minute trek north into Kentish Town.

The head chef here is Ben Allen, who earned his (dry-aged) chops at Brat. The menu here follows a similarly singular vision, of cooking carefully-sourced produce over fire. In fact, the sous chef at the Parakeet is also formerly of Brat, ensuring the coals are burning just right, the smokiness imparted in the dishes here is alluring rather than acrid, and there’s a faint sense of the incestual to proceedings.

First though, a couple of pints at the bar, as The Parakeet remains proudly, resolutely a pub, with locals dropping in for a crisp, frothy pint of N1 from the Hammerton Brewery, without ever having to tuck into a plate of tomato and green strawberry if they don’t wish to.

You should, though, alongside a blistered and burnished tranche of brill, here served with salty-sweet guanciale and tiny brown shrimp. Let’s hear it, too, for the grilled prawns with brown butter, with brains left on for squeezing directly into your mouth from a great height, like you’re the most extra guest at the bacchanal.

There’s a great, compact biodynamic wine list here too, with several available by the carafe, which is always a pleasure to see. And drink. Get stuck into the Verdicchio Di Gino, which is nutty and expressive, and the perfect foil for that brill. A carafe is £17, which isn’t bad value in a place with obvious red book ambitions. 

Just don’t bring your dog here

Websitetheparakeetpub.com

Address256 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2AA


Seto

Ideal for one of London’s best (and most affordable) bowls of ramen…

Head south down Camden High Street away from the market, and in ten minutes you’ll come to one of London’s best value Japanese restaurants, Seto.

Whilst we’re tempted to describe Seto as a ‘hidden gem’ or one of ‘London’s best kept secrets’, that would be a little disingenuous, as it’s consistently rammed with locals, visitors and passersby, all drawn to the £9 lunchtime ramen menu, with an extensive choice of around 10 versions of the beloved noodle soup on offer.

We’re big fans of the Shoyu here, light yet packing real depth, with properly fatty, unctuous slices of pork floating within. You get five or six of those slices. For that price tag, Seto has no need to be so generous, but this is a welcoming, family-run neighbourhood spot, and that’s always been the vibe here. Long may it continue. 

Instagram@setojapans

Address: 5-6 Plender St, London NW1 0JN


Read: The best ramen restaurants in Soho


O Tino

Ideal for Portuguese homecooking that nourishes the soul…

We end our tour of Camden’s best restaurants in the warm embrace of O Tino, a beloved spot that has been doing gloriously satisfying Portuguese homecooking since 2009. It’s a lovely place to settle into, with husband and wife team Florentino and Elisabete working the floor and Liga Portugal 2 matches ticking away on the tele (at least on our visit here, anyway).

Unsurprisingly, salt cod features heavily on the menu, with bacalhau the focal point of five or six dishes. We went for the classic dish of bacalhau a bras, which sees salt cod mixed with scrambled eggs and crisp matchstick potatoes, and this was a fine version indeed, as good as we’ve eaten in Lisbon. Alongside, clams in white wine called for plenty of bread for mopping up those briny, beautiful juices. Mop we did.

The only, though, is the arroz de marisco, the country’s beloved seafood rice dish. This one needs to be ordered with 24 hour’s notice, but you won’t regret deploying a little foresight. Pair it with a glass of Vinho Verde and you could be in a little backstreet of Lisbon.

If you’re up for a quick lunch, O Tino also does an excellent job of piri-piri chicken, here served with chips and salad for just £14. Result!

Websiteotinorestaurant.co.uk

Address1 Plender St, London NW1 0JS

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