The 10 best restaurants in Islington, from the Trullo to the Tamil Prince

Seafood and eat it at Prawn on the Lawn (Steven Joyce)

Seafood and eat it at Prawn on the Lawn (Steven Joyce)

Islington is one of those London neighborhoods like Chelsea or Hampstead: a place that is as much a state of mind as a real neighborhood. The north London locality is media shorthand for the supposed metropolitan elite whose liberal agenda is to transform the UK into a social democratic utopia, one focaccia at a time.

Say what you like about small talk, but all those talking heads need something to sink their teeth into, and ever since Tony Blair and Gordon Brown forged their Granita Pact in 1994, Islington has been one of the neighborhoods of the most densely populated restaurants in the capital.

Islington, the Borough of London, stretches from Farringdon in the City to Archway in the north; here, we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 best places to eat in the borough’s N1 Central Postal District. From South Indian pubs to floating canal bistros, perfect pasta and authentic tapas, here’s our pick of Islington’s best restaurants. And remember: it’s rude to talk with your mouth full.

Trullo

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If there is a better recipe for success than pasta and puddings, we will eat our cappello. Islington’s best restaurant moved to Highbury Corner in 2010 and hasn’t gone wrong since, especially with its reasonable prices. Pappardelle with ragu beef shin, pici cacio e pepe and fettuccine with treviso and pancetta under £14, puddings – pear and almond tart, bittersweet pannacotta, tiramisu – are £9, while there has dishes for the whole table to share for something more substantial (and expensive): T-bone Galloway aged 42 days with crispy polenta and fonduta de gorgonzola, and whole Brixham monkfish tail with confit garlic, parsley and lemon are local legends. Dinner should be booked well in advance, but weekday lunches are much more sedate while Sunday roasts – shoulder of mangalitza pork with bitter leaf salad and mustard, for example – are worth crossing town.

300-302, chemin Saint-Paul, N1 2LH, trullorestaurant.com

Caravel

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Intimate Caravel is the perfect candlelit bistro; the fact that it floats down the Regent’s Canal in a converted barge only makes it even more romantic. The place is run by brothers Fin and Lorcan Spiteri, whose father Jon co-founded the equally romantic Sessions Arts Club and whose mother Melanie Arnold co-founded Rochelle Canteen; The duo have taken mum and dad’s expertise in hospitality and British seasonal us and turned them into a warmly welcoming restaurant serving calamari salads with Jersey Royals and samphire, roast pork shoulder with green beans and anchovies, and a caramelized pear and almond tart. Lorcan is in charge of the kitchen while Fin takes care of the cocktails, probably mixed to perfection in the new Bruno’s bar on the houseboat next door (opening November 11).

172 walk of the shepherdess, N1 7JL, caravelrestaurant.com

12:51

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James Cochran’s restaurant defies categorization as much as the half-Jamaican, half-Scottish, Kent-raised chef himself, but creative, casual fine dining will suffice to describe what’s going on here. Two five-course tasting menus – one vegetarian, one non – at a barely believable £40, with full flavors mastered by the refined touch of a chef who learned his trade at Ledbury and ran the kitchen of The Arms of Hardwood. Expect Scottish mussels with tikka masala sauce, sea herb gremolata and savoy cabbage, and barbecued butternut squash with pickled shallots, pumpkin seeds and sweet herbs, while for An additional £40 drinks pairing kicks off with a cocktail in front of four glasses of wine.

107 Upper Street, N1 1QN, 1251.co.uk

Delhi grills

With its Bollywood posters and fancy fonts, Delhi Grill at first glance seems a lot more fashionable than it actually is, as it’s basically a traditional curry house with a menu that matches exactly what many people expect from an Indian restaurant. But while the food may be conventional, the quality of the brightly flavored North Indian cuisine is not, nor are the prices low: lamb samosa for £3.95, saag aloo for £6.95 £, vegetable biryani for £9.95 or butter chicken for £11.50, plus poppadoms, naans, parathas and salads for well under a fiver. Best of all is anything from the tandoor oven: lamb skewers and chops, tandoori chicken and fish tikka. Like the food, the drinks are better than they should be at these prices: Indian sodas and beers, half a dozen cocktails, and a short spiced wine list.

21 Chapel Market, N1 9EZ, delhigrill.com

The coats of arms of the drapers

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An old-fashioned North London gastropub, The Drapers Arms has been offering a familiar formula for 13 years that never seems stereotypical: a ground floor bar for pints and cheese spring rolls, a dining room at the floor of grand proportions for modern British-cum. – A carefully selected Mediterranean cuisine and European wine list, as well as a back garden for the summer outdoors. Burnt leek with salsify, romesco sauce and grilled almond flakes can be followed by a sirloin of pork with Sarladaise potatoes, salad and bacon sauce, with fig frangipane and fresh cream for the pud. Sunday lunch is more traditional: roast chicken, beef, duck or pork breast, lentil-stuffed onions for vegetables, and beef tarte bourguignonne in a suet crust.

44 Barnsbury Street, N1 1ST, thedrapersarms.com

The Tamil Prince

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Not, perhaps, a moniker likely to challenge the Prince of Wales in a popularity contest for Britain’s most commonly named boozer, The Tamil Prince nonetheless deserves to be number one in the pub-grub stakes. Executive chef Prince Durairaj used to cook at Roti King in Euston, but his cooking here is on a whole new level of sophistication, with bold flavors screaming finger-licking dishes that beg to be eaten with. hands: small plates of fried okra, onion bhaji, chicken lollipops and a humdinger of an uttapam sprinkled with pulled beef masala in front of larger half-rack dishes of meaty lamb chops and large grilled tiger prawns in a garlic masala. Quality cocktails too, and there are also beers: try the Partizan Lemongrass Saison, brewed in Bermondsey.

115 Hemingford Road, N1 1BZ, thetamilprince.com

FKABAM

    (Adrien Lourie)

(Adrien Lourie)

Competitor for London’s most boring acronym, the restaurant formerly known as Black Ax Mangal (and still universally known as Black Ax Mangal) has always carved its own groove. Chef-patron Lee Tiernan has been head chef at St John Bread and Wine for a decade and applies the restaurant’s spirit from nose to tail to Turkish cuisine on a five-course tasting menu (£54) of languages of lamb confit, flame-grilled beef heart and bone marrow and oxtail gratin, although there are also Southeast Asian flavors like prawn toast with mango and lemon dip. cilantro, while vegetables and vegans can be accommodated with advance notice. Relatively high prices and a bourgeois location at Highbury Corner mean it’s not as rock and roll as it claims (although the soundtrack slaps) but to quote the Sex Pistols: never mind the bullshit.

156 Canonbury Road, N1 2UP, blackaxemangal.com

Llerena

The kind of tapas bar you might come across on a little small plate tour around San Sebastián, this little hole in the wall on white-tiled Upper Street offers charcuterie and cheeses imported from the farm. family from Extremadura washed down with balloon glasses of G&T and copitas of fresh sherry. Pork from the owners’ herd of Spanish pigs is the star attraction – chorizo ​​al vino, morcilla sausage in tomato sauce and all sorts of acorn ham – plus there are garlic prawns, croquetas spinach and blue cheese and a whole sheep’s cheese with bread sticks dipping into the funky dough. The prices are reasonable until the gluttony takes over: these are small plates so good that they require a double order. A stool at the bar counter is the most fun, but there are suitable tables and chairs out back for larger groups.

167 Upper Street, N1 1US, llerena.fr

by Frederick

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Islington hasn’t been on the cutting edge of food trends for 30 years – and that’s how the local silver foxes and vixens like it, thank you very much, when they emerge from their Georgian townhouses bought for a song in the 1990s at the head for dinner at the family-run Frederick’s, which celebrated its 50e anniversary in 2019. Seared veal liver, roast lamb rump, miso-marinated salmon and aubergine parmigiana are served in an elegant, atrium-lit interior, with the added bonus of dining in a large garden in the summer. The extensive wine list has something for all tastes and budgets and can be enjoyed in a stand-alone bar which is one of the few places in Islington for a decent cocktail.

Camden Pass, N1 8EG, fredericks.co.uk

Shrimp on the lawn

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There’s no doubting the freshness of his fish at Prawn on the Lawn, where the catch of the day is displayed on a gleaming wet counter for take-out or eat-in. Small plates like seared tuna with soy, mirin and spring onion or buttermilk fried fish with sriracha crème fraîche can be followed by shellfish served chilled on ice or hot with lime and cilantro butter, with can -be a whole fish to share on the table afterwards: brill, plaice, John Dory or wild sea bass. However, POTL is more than a shrewd idea: owners Rick and Katie Toogood’s commitment to serving the best native fish (and supporting UK fishing fleets) has enabled the couple to open a restaurant in the Cornish port town of Padstow.

4, chemin Saint-Paul, N1 2LH, prawnonthelawn.com

@mrbenmccormack

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