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The Definitive List of the 5 Best Restaurants in Spitalfields for 2024

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3 months ago

Given how small Spitalfields is (it’s only a few streets), you’ll be shocked to know that there’s over 140 restaurants and eateries in Spitalfields. Spitalfields is an incredibly popular area among tourists and Londoners alike, but it’s only the locals that know which are the best restaurants in Spitalfields right now.

We specifically haven’t included any of the food within Spitalfields Market, but don’t fret: if you’re looking for the best food in Spitalfields Market, we have you covered.

So here’s the round-up. Also, as a bonus, right down the bottom we’ve given you a recommendation of a brand-new casual restaurant that is the new concept of the head chef of the very famous Amazonico restaurant in West London’s Mayfair.

5. 65a

65a has only been around since the end of summer 2023, but it’s already making a name for itself in the local community.

This is an interesting concept because it appears to be a high-end restaurant (with all the lovely decorations and glass tableware that accompanies that) but with prices just above a typical meal in the market.

It feels like they’re trying to give you a better quality, sit-down meal, but at a price that won’t make you balk.

I really enjoyed the steak sandwich. The chef grilled the steak to perfection, and the bread was crispy but not enough to hurt the roof of your mouth (which happens when a baguette is too hard). They also put a great chutney. The croque monsieur is great, too.

There’s also a bar downstairs which opened in the last couple of months of 2023. It’s got a dark and vibey feel.

Price: ££

4. London Detroit Pizza

I know upwards of four friends who live in the neighborhood who would be horrified that I put a pizza restaurant in a best-of restaurants for Spitalfields guide. “This is center of innovative cooking”, they cry. “So many of our restaurants are in the Michelin guide and you choose this?”

But I bet none of them have eaten here.

I’m going to get even more controversial: I’ve lived between New York and London for a little while now, and I’d still say this is, consistently, one of the best Detroit-style pizza restaurants around.

The base of the pizza is lined with not too much and not too little cheese to make it perfectly scrumptious on the tongue. It’s crispy, and the sauce is flavorful but knows not to overpower the rest of the ingredients.

Daniel absolutely loves the red stripe (I’ll admit, the marinara sauce is delicious), whereas I would say the Tuscan is where it’s at (I like basil, what can I say). But you could also get both. Four slices is usually the minimum for one person. And get a dipping sauce!

You can’t book London Detroit Pizza in advance, and, unfortunately, there’s always a queue.

I would suggest going for an early dinner and then walking a little further down the road for a cocktail at Discount Suit Company when you’re finished. I wouldn’t recommend getting dessert here. There are so many other options for desserts in Spitalfields.

Price: £

3. Gunpowder

Gunpowder can only be described as Indian food, served as tapas style, modernised and perfected, and yet somehow evokes the charm of Bombay in the 40s. The restaurant only has about 15 seats, so you really want to try to book this one ahead.

In terms of dishes, you probably don’t need to be told this, but the venison doughnut is a special dish that merits a try. It’s a particularly interesting way to cook venison, and it’s a pretty generous portion.

There is no one in London who hasn’t heard of Gunpowder’s Old Monk Rum Bread and Butter Pudding. I can put my hand on my heart and say it’s one of the best bread and butter puddings in London (or even the world).

This one I’m not giving you a choice about: order the rum bread and butter pudding.

I once, famously (among whom?), ordered eight slices of the bread and butter pudding to take to a dinner party. They boxed it up so perfectly that it made me feel like I wasn’t the only person to do this. It’s just so good.

Gunpowder can be as long or as short a meal as you want, but they’re known for bringing out dishes at breakneck speed. You can finish a full three-course meal in an hour, so if you’re looking for a fast and impressive dinner option in East London, Gunpowder is the choice.

Price: £££

2. Som Saa

Som Saa was once a pop-up (in Peckham, I believe) but has now found a permanent home in Spitalfields after a successful crowdfunding campaign. The restaurant is set in an old fabric warehouse and has maintained the rustic and industrial look.

Som Saa is very specific about the food that they serve – and they’re big on spice. It’s lesser-known dishes from Northern and North-eastern Thailand that are king here.

I loved the pad grapow pbet which is a stir fried duck with holy basil and chillies over a bed of rice and a crispy duck egg. Som Saa really does put the highest level of effort into every dish they craft so I don’t think you can go wrong with any choice.

I have on good authority that they’re still using the same oven and charcoal grill that they used during their pop-up days. And if you like sharing, they’ve got quite a few dishes for that.

Som Saa makes their coconut milk fresh onsite which seems like just a nice little touch, but it means that their curries really do have a layer of flavor that only freshness can give. (You know when you have a Thai curry and the soup feels a bit flat? That’s because the coconut milk isn’t fresh.)

Som Saa is basically always busy, so you really need to book ahead if you want a table.

Price: ££

And the best restaurant in Spitalfields is…

St. John Bread & Wine is the jewel in the crown of Spitalfields. But you might have already heard of this one: it was a favorite of Anthony Bourdain.

This is a London institution that serves up the best British fare with local produce every single day. You’re absolutely guaranteed a new flavor that you’ve never experienced before at St. John Bread & Wine.

It’s difficult to recommend dishes here because the menu changes so frequently (it all depends on what quality ingredients they can get), but they usually have weird and wonderful things like veal sweetbreads, fried pig’s tail and the quintessentially English smoked eel.

I’ll admit, St John Bread & Wine isn’t so friendly for vegetarians and vegans.

What I like about St. John Bread & Wine is that they’ve nailed the trifecta: quality of service; quality of service; and atmosphere. The staff are all immaculately dressed in what are essentially white lab coats. Their dress matches the understated and no-fuss atmosphere of the design of the restaurant which is black, white, chrome and wood.

All of the staff are super friendly, so if you’re dining alone in East London, this is the perfect spot to sit at the bar and enjoy an amazing meal.

If you go for nothing else, you need to go to St. John Bread & Wine for the ever-changing selection of very British desserts. They usually always have a bread and butter pudding with butterscotch sauce and a treacle tart, both of which I love dearly. But they always have something peculiar on the dessert menu.

Most recently they had a gooseberry fool. It felt like something straight out of a Roald Dahl book. I have eaten dinner elsewhere and then gone to St. John Bread & Wine just for dessert many a time.

When you get to the desserts part of their menu, you’ll notice that they sell madeleines fresh from the oven in half dozen and dozen. There’s something quirky about the pricing of the half dozen and dozen madeleines. See if you spot it.

Price: £££

What’s the new restaurant?

There are so many incredible restaurants which narrowly missed out on being on this list like Maene, Crispin, and Market Coffee House & Bar (so perfectly English). One thing I will say is that Spitalfields is known around London for cutting-edge food experiences, so if you want to take a risk and try somewhere that doesn’t appear on this list, chances are that you’ll leave feeling happy and satisfied.

And that new restaurant I mentioned. It’s called Taco Taco and it’s just on the corner of Folgate and Commercial Streets. They do an amazing beef taco. Give it a shot.

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