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The 10 Best Places to Eat in Palmers Green

The neighbourhood to find Greek and Cypriot food in the capital

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As Green Lanes moves north, almost imperceptibly things start to change. Ocakbasi become taverna; breakfast menus advertising sucuk and hellim announce lounza and halloumi instead; baklava… well baklava stays baklava. Although there are significant points of difference between Greek, Cypriot and Turkish cuisines, all three share vital roots: the same focus on barbecue, the communality of meze, and a rusticity that should not be mistaken for simplicity.

However where the Turkish community has created a thriving restaurant scene in Harringay, the Greek and Cypriot restaurants of Palmers Green show a different template on how an immigrant community weaves its food into a new city. Restaurants here are fewer and quieter, with the majority of food consumed either on the go or at home, supplemented with home cooking. And although there are a smattering of destination restaurants, this is still very much a food culture that caters for the needs of the local community, and must be engaged and navigated with in a way that goes beyond just sitting down for a meal.

Perhaps one day London’s food lovers will flock to this pocket of south Enfield from across the boroughs — but until then, this is one of the luckiest neighbourhoods in the capital.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Aroma Patisserie

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424-426 Green Lanes, Palmers Green
London N13 5XG, UK

The twin hearts of the Cypriot community lie at the top of Palmers Green on the border with Winchmore Hill — a second outpost of the legendary Turkish-Cypriot supermarket Yasar Halim, and Aroma, a Greek-Cypriot bakery. The vast selection runs the entire spectrum of Cypriot baked goods from lounza sandwiches and halloumi village bread through to spanakopita and unending combinations of pistachio baklava. Quality is generally excellent if freshly baked and two things stand out as must-orders: first try koubes (cigar-shaped bullets of crunchy cracked wheat filled with spiced pork), and make sure to finish with loukoumades, drenched balls of fried dough sweetened with clove and cinnamon infused honey.

2. Marina The Greek

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380 Green Lanes
London N13 5PD, UK
020 8882 2229

One of the few Palmers Green restaurants that’s mainland Greek rather than Cypriot, Marina does a roaring trade in gyros. Here pork is stacked on a spit in a similar way to Mexican ‘al pastor’ and shaved off, wrapped in fluffy pitta (texturally a world away from stiffer Cypriot or Turkish versions) and stuffed with salad, sauces and — most pleasurably, sinfully of all — fresh chips. A regular portion costs £4: a lunch of kings. Although it also does the usual souvlaki/souvla barbecue options, it would be wiser still to try some of the homecooked specialities — rabbit stifado, pastitsio (baked pasta with white cheese), and the delicious kokoretsi. Usually only served by the other Palmers Green tavernas at Easter, this mixture of different lamb offals wrapped in intestine is intermittently available most evenings, and shouldn’t be missed.

Maraki Chalkidou/Tripadvisor

3. Hugs & Mugs Cafe

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366 Green Lanes
London N13 5PE, UK
020 8245 2338

Many of Palmers Green’s Cypriot restaurants hide in plain sight, integrated into the community in an unexpected way. It would be easy to pass the blackboard that announces ‘All Day Breakfast’ and ‘Spaghetti’ and mistake Hugs & Mugs for a run-of-the-mill cafe. It’s only on closer inspection that the masquerade becomes clear. This is a great place to pick up traditional lunches to take home, from dolmades to louvi (black-eyed peas cooked with chard). At lunchtimes there are always a few soup options — don’t miss the Sephardic-influenced avgolemono (£3.50), a chicken-and-rice broth thickened with lemon and egg that hits all the same comfort/pleasure points as a bowl of congee.

4. Nissi Restaurant

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62 Aldermans Hill
London N13 4PP, UK

Nissi is a rare beast in Palmers Green: a Cypriot restaurant that does most of its business from sit-down custom rather than take-away. The speciality here is mezedakia — small dishes which can either be ordered individually or as part of a set mezedes (£24.95) before gorging on fish and meat. The cooking here is quieter and more refined than at many other restaurants in the area, with more focus on seafood. From the mezedakia try the htipiti (a spicy mix of peppers, chilli and feta), the fried calamari and the grilled octopus, and eschew barbecued meat in favour of souvlaki made from swordfish or gigantic king prawns. This is a place to while away a whole evening with food and drink, and the pace can be slow, so set aside a few hours and to book in advance.

Nissi Restaurant/Official

5. Taste Of Cyprus

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34A Green Lanes
London N13 6HU, UK
020 8889 4324

A relative newcomer to Palmers Green’s baking scene, this small bakers/patisserie on Wood Green High Road already outdoes Aroma and Lefteris on its dessert pastries, which tread the sweetness tightrope more deftly without toppling into syrup-drenched excess. The standouts are their shamali, a semolina cake spiked with masticha that allows its natural sweetness to sing without overuse of scented waters, and daktyla (literally ‘lady fingers’) a long, deep-fried pastry filled with crushed almonds — both perfect foils for a strong, unsweetened Greek coffee.

6. Meat Land Suppliers

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33-35 Green Lanes, Palmers Green
London N13 4TN, UK
020 8881 1611

One of the very few Cypriot butchers left in London, Meat Land is a cavernous space with a small counter, usually filled up by the butchery of larger cuts of meat needed for souvla or special occasions with a stack of coals in the corner for the home barbecues. The selection is almost the same as a traditional English butcher but with a tendency towards lamb, and a wider variety of offal — liver, hearts, pluck, sweetbreads and piles of lambs heads for broths. In the fridge in the back there is an outstanding selection of cured meats, including hiromeri (a type of smoked ham, marinated in wine then pressed under weights) and tsmarella (a delicious soft goat and goat fat jerky laced with salt and oregano). Drinking food will never be the same again

The Local Data Company

7. Lefteris Bakery

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23 Green Lanes, Palmers Green
London N13 4TN, UK

An institution of the section of Green Lanes that becomes Wood Green High Road between Wood Green and Palmers Green, Lefteris has existed as a bakery in the same location for more than 100 years and has been run by Lefteris Gregoriou for the last 25. The line-up is similar to Aroma with a slant towards breads and savouries, including flaounes (sesame-topped pastry filled with cheese and raisins) and tsoureki, a bread normally eaten at Easter which relies on the interplay between resinous masticha and mahlepi (a spice made from ground cherry stone). Koubes here are also a match for Aroma with a slightly deeper, sweeter taste from sticky caramelised onions.

8. Paneri Taverna

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340 High Rd, Wood Green
London N22 8JW, UK
020 8888 3111

Paneri appears to be a simple takeaway kebab operation from the outside, yet step past the counter and it could be mistaken for a homely taverna somwhere in Cyprus with the restaurant stretching well back into the building. Grilled meat and fish are revered here, with excellent, taut sheftalia (pork and offal sausages wrapped in caul fat) being the kebab highlights. Two spits rotate by the window — one of lamb souvla and one of chicken: juicy and plump with lacquered skin and meat which falls from the bone, these are some of the best rotisserie birds in London. A portion costs £7.50 to take away and is even more of a steal if you swap the salad for chips, which are made cubed, Cypriot-style, with herbs and grilled onions.

9. Hellenic Gourmet

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115 Myddleton Rd
London N22 8NQ, UK

Myddleton Road is one of the strangest streets in London, a residential mini high street near Bowes Park which once thrived then was slowly abandoned, with shopfronts falling into decay. In recent years the regeneration has been quiet but decisive, with new arrivals centering on the community’s needs. The arrival of Hellenic Gourmet was a game-changer, providing excellent Greek produce at reasonable prices. Of course, the marinated olives and olive oil section is exemplary, but the counter also offers a variety of Greek cured meats and cheeses, including a huge selection feta made from different milks, and Greek sausages made fresh every day. The crown jewel, however, is the selection of halva, imported directly from a bakery in Thessaloniki. Made from sesame seed tahini, this dessert breaks the boundaries between sweet and savoury, shattering on the teeth in fluffy, sugary threads. Usually six to eight flavours are available from chocolate to vanilla through various fruits, but the plain version is reliably the best.

10. Vrisaki

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73 Myddleton Rd
London N22 8LZ, UK

Twenty years after its late-1990s heyday, Vrisaki is still the most famous restaurant in Palmers Green, and has been a hub for the community surrounding Myddleton Road for as long as it has existed. Photos of celebrity patrons on the wall — Pauline Quirke, Antony Costa, Sven and Nancy — and out of date Evening Standard awards suggest faded glory, but the food here is still worth it. Diners with ordering FOMO are well served by the comically large set meze, which runs through the menu’s entirety in two dozen mini portions of dips, salads, cured meat and seafood. The less greedy should just skip straight to the grilled meat: three kinds of souvlaki, sheftalia (softer and more pillowy than the Paneri equivalents), or Flintstone-sized chunks of lamb souvla, slow-cooked over charcoal. As always, take-away is unbelievably good value and a large open kebab supplemented with vegetarian meze or keftedes (Greek-Cypriot meatballs) could feed two for less than £15.

1. Aroma Patisserie

424-426 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, London N13 5XG, UK

The twin hearts of the Cypriot community lie at the top of Palmers Green on the border with Winchmore Hill — a second outpost of the legendary Turkish-Cypriot supermarket Yasar Halim, and Aroma, a Greek-Cypriot bakery. The vast selection runs the entire spectrum of Cypriot baked goods from lounza sandwiches and halloumi village bread through to spanakopita and unending combinations of pistachio baklava. Quality is generally excellent if freshly baked and two things stand out as must-orders: first try koubes (cigar-shaped bullets of crunchy cracked wheat filled with spiced pork), and make sure to finish with loukoumades, drenched balls of fried dough sweetened with clove and cinnamon infused honey.

424-426 Green Lanes, Palmers Green
London N13 5XG, UK

2. Marina The Greek

380 Green Lanes, London N13 5PD, UK
Maraki Chalkidou/Tripadvisor

One of the few Palmers Green restaurants that’s mainland Greek rather than Cypriot, Marina does a roaring trade in gyros. Here pork is stacked on a spit in a similar way to Mexican ‘al pastor’ and shaved off, wrapped in fluffy pitta (texturally a world away from stiffer Cypriot or Turkish versions) and stuffed with salad, sauces and — most pleasurably, sinfully of all — fresh chips. A regular portion costs £4: a lunch of kings. Although it also does the usual souvlaki/souvla barbecue options, it would be wiser still to try some of the homecooked specialities — rabbit stifado, pastitsio (baked pasta with white cheese), and the delicious kokoretsi. Usually only served by the other Palmers Green tavernas at Easter, this mixture of different lamb offals wrapped in intestine is intermittently available most evenings, and shouldn’t be missed.

380 Green Lanes
London N13 5PD, UK

3. Hugs & Mugs Cafe

366 Green Lanes, London N13 5PE, UK

Many of Palmers Green’s Cypriot restaurants hide in plain sight, integrated into the community in an unexpected way. It would be easy to pass the blackboard that announces ‘All Day Breakfast’ and ‘Spaghetti’ and mistake Hugs & Mugs for a run-of-the-mill cafe. It’s only on closer inspection that the masquerade becomes clear. This is a great place to pick up traditional lunches to take home, from dolmades to louvi (black-eyed peas cooked with chard). At lunchtimes there are always a few soup options — don’t miss the Sephardic-influenced avgolemono (£3.50), a chicken-and-rice broth thickened with lemon and egg that hits all the same comfort/pleasure points as a bowl of congee.

366 Green Lanes
London N13 5PE, UK

4. Nissi Restaurant

62 Aldermans Hill, London N13 4PP, UK
Nissi Restaurant/Official

Nissi is a rare beast in Palmers Green: a Cypriot restaurant that does most of its business from sit-down custom rather than take-away. The speciality here is mezedakia — small dishes which can either be ordered individually or as part of a set mezedes (£24.95) before gorging on fish and meat. The cooking here is quieter and more refined than at many other restaurants in the area, with more focus on seafood. From the mezedakia try the htipiti (a spicy mix of peppers, chilli and feta), the fried calamari and the grilled octopus, and eschew barbecued meat in favour of souvlaki made from swordfish or gigantic king prawns. This is a place to while away a whole evening with food and drink, and the pace can be slow, so set aside a few hours and to book in advance.

62 Aldermans Hill
London N13 4PP, UK

5. Taste Of Cyprus

34A Green Lanes, London N13 6HU, UK

A relative newcomer to Palmers Green’s baking scene, this small bakers/patisserie on Wood Green High Road already outdoes Aroma and Lefteris on its dessert pastries, which tread the sweetness tightrope more deftly without toppling into syrup-drenched excess. The standouts are their shamali, a semolina cake spiked with masticha that allows its natural sweetness to sing without overuse of scented waters, and daktyla (literally ‘lady fingers’) a long, deep-fried pastry filled with crushed almonds — both perfect foils for a strong, unsweetened Greek coffee.

34A Green Lanes
London N13 6HU, UK

6. Meat Land Suppliers

33-35 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, London N13 4TN, UK
The Local Data Company

One of the very few Cypriot butchers left in London, Meat Land is a cavernous space with a small counter, usually filled up by the butchery of larger cuts of meat needed for souvla or special occasions with a stack of coals in the corner for the home barbecues. The selection is almost the same as a traditional English butcher but with a tendency towards lamb, and a wider variety of offal — liver, hearts, pluck, sweetbreads and piles of lambs heads for broths. In the fridge in the back there is an outstanding selection of cured meats, including hiromeri (a type of smoked ham, marinated in wine then pressed under weights) and tsmarella (a delicious soft goat and goat fat jerky laced with salt and oregano). Drinking food will never be the same again

33-35 Green Lanes, Palmers Green
London N13 4TN, UK

7. Lefteris Bakery

23 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, London N13 4TN, UK

An institution of the section of Green Lanes that becomes Wood Green High Road between Wood Green and Palmers Green, Lefteris has existed as a bakery in the same location for more than 100 years and has been run by Lefteris Gregoriou for the last 25. The line-up is similar to Aroma with a slant towards breads and savouries, including flaounes (sesame-topped pastry filled with cheese and raisins) and tsoureki, a bread normally eaten at Easter which relies on the interplay between resinous masticha and mahlepi (a spice made from ground cherry stone). Koubes here are also a match for Aroma with a slightly deeper, sweeter taste from sticky caramelised onions.

23 Green Lanes, Palmers Green
London N13 4TN, UK

8. Paneri Taverna

340 High Rd, Wood Green, London N22 8JW, UK

Paneri appears to be a simple takeaway kebab operation from the outside, yet step past the counter and it could be mistaken for a homely taverna somwhere in Cyprus with the restaurant stretching well back into the building. Grilled meat and fish are revered here, with excellent, taut sheftalia (pork and offal sausages wrapped in caul fat) being the kebab highlights. Two spits rotate by the window — one of lamb souvla and one of chicken: juicy and plump with lacquered skin and meat which falls from the bone, these are some of the best rotisserie birds in London. A portion costs £7.50 to take away and is even more of a steal if you swap the salad for chips, which are made cubed, Cypriot-style, with herbs and grilled onions.

340 High Rd, Wood Green
London N22 8JW, UK

9. Hellenic Gourmet

115 Myddleton Rd, London N22 8NQ, UK

Myddleton Road is one of the strangest streets in London, a residential mini high street near Bowes Park which once thrived then was slowly abandoned, with shopfronts falling into decay. In recent years the regeneration has been quiet but decisive, with new arrivals centering on the community’s needs. The arrival of Hellenic Gourmet was a game-changer, providing excellent Greek produce at reasonable prices. Of course, the marinated olives and olive oil section is exemplary, but the counter also offers a variety of Greek cured meats and cheeses, including a huge selection feta made from different milks, and Greek sausages made fresh every day. The crown jewel, however, is the selection of halva, imported directly from a bakery in Thessaloniki. Made from sesame seed tahini, this dessert breaks the boundaries between sweet and savoury, shattering on the teeth in fluffy, sugary threads. Usually six to eight flavours are available from chocolate to vanilla through various fruits, but the plain version is reliably the best.

115 Myddleton Rd
London N22 8NQ, UK

10. Vrisaki

73 Myddleton Rd, London N22 8LZ, UK

Twenty years after its late-1990s heyday, Vrisaki is still the most famous restaurant in Palmers Green, and has been a hub for the community surrounding Myddleton Road for as long as it has existed. Photos of celebrity patrons on the wall — Pauline Quirke, Antony Costa, Sven and Nancy — and out of date Evening Standard awards suggest faded glory, but the food here is still worth it. Diners with ordering FOMO are well served by the comically large set meze, which runs through the menu’s entirety in two dozen mini portions of dips, salads, cured meat and seafood. The less greedy should just skip straight to the grilled meat: three kinds of souvlaki, sheftalia (softer and more pillowy than the Paneri equivalents), or Flintstone-sized chunks of lamb souvla, slow-cooked over charcoal. As always, take-away is unbelievably good value and a large open kebab supplemented with vegetarian meze or keftedes (Greek-Cypriot meatballs) could feed two for less than £15.

73 Myddleton Rd
London N22 8LZ, UK

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