Somewhere between the yummy mummy approved cafes of Highbury and the hipster hold of Shoreditch lies Dalston, a mash up of painfully cool pop-ups, niche boutiques (there’s even a shop that exclusively sells cacti FFS) and underground bars with no name. It used to be a little rough around the edges but like all liberal areas, gentrification is inevitable – there’s even an M&S Food Hall and a Pret there now, the two benchmarks of gentrification.
Dalston has always been somewhat of a foodie hub. It’s where the original Street Feast, the first pop-up to really bring street food to London as a trend, was born on Dalston Lane; it has a slew of really decent Turkish restaurants thanks to the local community – check out Mangal 1 and 2 for no-frills but utterly delicious BYOB fare; and the area has played host to many pop-ups over the years, some of which have gone on to open permanent bricks and mortar premises.
Today there are plenty of eateries to choose from, from posh fried chicken joints to restaurants turning the tasting menu on its head. Read on for our top rated…
An Italian-meets-Tokyo restaurant shouldn’t work, but somehow Angelina on Dalston Lane has nailed it. With a weekly changing tasting menu that comes in at under £40 (seriously good for London) it’s one of the most exciting and affordable restaurants out East.
The menu is the creative genius of Daniele Ceforo (ex-Bocca di Lupo and Murano) and Robin Beparry (ex-Head Chef at Daphne’s) and boasts such delights as savoury doughnuts made with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and served with rich anchovy cream, as well as plump pockets of ravioli submerged in a ramen broth. Shouldn’t work, totally does.
Soho’s Ducksoup restaurant has a little sister in the form of Little Duck – The Picklery and it also happens to be Angelina’s neighbour, just a few doors down.
Dedicated to all things fermented (how painfully on trend) the menu is simple, seasonal and good for your gut. All of the fermented products are made in-house and can be bought to take home too – ideal gifts to impress any foodie friends.
Essentially posh fried chicken, CHICKS’N’SOURS is next level junk food. Except that it’s not really junk food at all, just damn good, tasty, chicken – crispy and satisfying on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside.
They opened the OG of their restaurants in Dalston back in 2015 and now boast outposts in Seven Dials, the City and Angel.
Book in for some of the best fried chicken in London and sour cocktails to wash it all down with.
They may have a shiny new restaurant in Covent Garden but Dalston is where it all started for Jidori. The yakitori sticks and Japanese small plates are the creation of chef Brett Redman and are a must-try if you’re in the area.
Relaxed and cool, it’s the perfect place for a Friday night dinner with friends or a relaxed midweek date night. Our tip? Don’t even think about leaving without trying the katsu curry Scotch egg.
If ‘Instagrammable’ is on your checklist when visiting an eatery then Snackbox cafe is for you. The global-inspired breakfast-lunch-brunch fare puts on dishes such as Soba Noodle Salad, Mortadella Banh Mi Bap and Kaya Toast Soldiers – all certain to get you a double tap on the feed.
When you’re chosen to make Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake you must be doing something right. Californian baker and stylist Claire Ptak sells her sweet toothed delights to us peasants in E8 and they range from pastel-hued creamy cupcakes to spiced cinnamon buns and our favourite, rich chocolate brownies.
There are tonnes of hipsters in Dalston and what do hipsters like? Sourdough. The Dusty Knuckle Bakery knows what’s what when it comes to loafs and have opened a standalone cafe near their original Dalston pop-up.
But it’s not all rye and sourdough. Tuck into fresh salads, flaky pastries, great coffee and warming soups too – perfect for weekend brunch (if you can get a seat).
Does what is says on the tin.. Beer + Burger serve American-style dirty burgers with a wealth of different flavours, toppings and sauces, alongside a mammoth beer selection.
Expect all the usuals, from double bacon burgers to fried chicken, plus a monthly guest burger. January saw The Green Jack pop-up, a combo of jackfruit patty, courgette, chipotle slaw, cucumber, and an avocado and spinach goop. Yum.
If you’re after American-sized, Ninja Turtle-style pizza slices head to Voodoo Ray’s, one of Dalston’s best-loved pizza joints. Buy by the slice or a whole 22″ pizza if there’s a group of you.
Toppings range from the Beefeater (minced beef, red onion, jalapeños, sun-blush tomatoes, mozzarella and tomato sauce) to the Green Velvet – (artichoke hearts, green olives, sun-blush tomatoes, mozzarella and green sauce).