It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, contributors, rovers of the industry, critics, and professional eaters. This year, the group were asked eight questions, spanning meal of the year to biggest dining grievance. Their answers will appear throughout this week. Responses are related in no particular order; cut and pasted below. Restaurant standbys and London newcomers have been applauded and the most memorable meals of the year have been recounted. Now, it’s the best dining neighbourhoods of 2019.
Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London: Shoreditch.
James Hansen, Assistant Editor, Eater London: Locally, the stretch of Uxbridge Road that runs from a pillowy Sanabel man’ousheh to spluttering pholourie at Roti Kitchen — with diversions for Tetote Factory, Da Moreno, and Blue Ocean — has offered comfort and inspiration throughout 2019. Elsewhere, Borough Market’s upping of its own game has been engrossing to watch and even better to consume, from Flor to Bao Borough and Mei Mei.
Anna Sulan Masing, food writer and Eater London contributor: “Where can I walk my dog to?” has been a key dining theme for this year — and my neighbourhood has provided me with no need to go far. From Homerton to Dalston: Bright, Pophams, The Gun, Jim’s Cafe, Chatsworth Market ... It’s pretty hard to beat.
Jonathan Nunn, food writer and Eater London contributor: Having almost died trying to eat in every London postcode this year I would be very happy if I lived near the following places: Norbury, Hounslow, Wembley, Harrow, Shepherd’s Bush, Barking/East Ham, Hendon, and New Malden.
Nigel Slater, food writer: Islington Hackney borders.
Sejal Sukhadwala, food writer and Eater London contributor: East Ham. Some of the most consistent and reliably good Indian food in London, cooked by old-school, self-taught maharajs or bawarchis.
Emma Hughes, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: King’s Cross. The retail side of Coal Drops Yard still baffles me, but it’s been lovely to watch the bars and restaurants in and around it — Sons + Daughters, The Drop, Bodega Rita’s, Lina Stores — hitting their stride.
George Reynolds, food writer and Eater London contributor: Start at the Upper Street Budgens, and draw a circle with a radius of approximately one and a half miles. Since becoming a father in January this year, I’d estimate 90 percent + of my restaurant experiences have taken place within this very specific, very local neighbourhood, and weirdly it’s taken the semi-extreme constraint of having to tend to the needs of a highly volatile tiny human to realise how good I have it close to home. From the low-key perfection of the Primeur/Jolene/Westerns Laundry triumvirate, to the canalside joys of Coal Drops Yard and Towpath, to the impeccable mini-crawls available on the Holloway Road (Provisions -> Sambal Shiok -> Zia Lucia) or at Highbury Corner (Prawn on the Lawn -> Trullo -> Black Axe Mangal), it’s been an object lesson in how sometimes the best place to eat is the one you can get in and out of during a baby’s nap. Shouts to Four Legs at The Compton Arms, too, for bringing both an essential Sunday lunch and an essential burger to an area mired in mediocre examples of both.
Hillary Armstrong, food writer and Eater London contributor: King’s Cross. Whatever reservations I may have about Coal Drops Yard, I seem to find myself there often eating sandwiches at Bodega Rita’s and drinking expensive coffee at Le Cafe Alain Ducasse. I fell hard for Decimo too.
Shekha Vyas, food writer and Eater London contributor: I’m not quite sure it is possible to pick a “best” but one that I have certainly found interesting is Barking Road, purely for the sheer speed and frequency in which quality new restaurants have sprung up there this year. Croydon has also revealed some hidden gems.
Sudi Pigott, food writer and Eater London contributor: Fitzrovia.
Apoorva Sripathi, writer and Eater London contributor: I’d have to say Soho, which is a rather predictable answer, but it was the neighbourhood I most visited only because it’s abundant in restaurants. Or because it’s so close to the National Gallery of which I’m a frequent visitor.
Feroz Gajia, restaurateur and Eater London contributor: The inner belt of outer London. Whether it’s tantuni at Neco Tantuni, chicken sajji at Taste of Pakistan, nihari at Aladin’s, spicy fish at Imone, a challah hoagie at Kululu, the best falafels at Balady, memon gola kebab at Namak Mandi, blackboard specials at Singburi, curry pan at Tetote Factory, pico pollo at La Barra, chapli kebab at Charsi Karahi, buffalina at Pizzeria Pellone, yammy duck at Chu Chin Chow, kilishi from Alhaji Suya, lamb neck from Eram Shishlik, peanut soup at Asafo, kata kat at Karachi cuisine or da pan ji at Karvon (soon to be Etles II) some of the best and most interesting food is still being made outside of the accepted dining neighbourhoods, time to enjoy and celebrate them.
Ed Smith, food writer and Eater London contributor: Does SE1 / London Bridge count as a neighbourhood? Additions to the Borough Market vicinity such as Flor, Bao, Stoney Street and various spots in The Borough Market Kitchen make even that small area a very good place to meet (given the likes of Native, Elliot’s, Arabica, Caso do Frango that are already there). But if you add short walks to Lupins off Flat Iron Square, or Trivet, Jose, Legare, Cafe Murano, Casse Croute, Pique Nique ... It’s pretty mighty.
Vaughn Tan, academic and restaurant consultant: Farringdon.
Daisy Meager, food writer and Eater London contributor: There have been some great additions to Notting Hill and King’s Cross but the places I go back to again and again, and always recommend, are in Shoreditch and Hackney — not, I promise, just because they happen to be within walking distance of where I live.
Josh Barrie, food writer and Eater London contributor: No idea so I’ll just say Soho.
Angela Hui, food writer and Eater London contributor: Borough/London Bridge for new openings: Flor, and Mei Mei in Borough Market Kitchen. Special shout out to New Malden — finally made the journey and it didn’t disappoint!
Leila Latif, Eater London contributor: Brixton.
Jonathan Hatchman, food writer and Eater London contributor: I may be biased, given its locality, but Deptford has continued to impress me this year. Also expecting big things from New Cross, by extension, in 2020.