clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Best pub grub in London: Masala scotch egg at The Wigmore pub Paul Judd

The Tastiest Pub Grub in London

The city’s best pub grub — deeply savoury sausage rolled in rich, flaky pastry, a cavalcade of scotch eggs, crisps in sandwiches, and more

View as Map

London pubs haven’t been having an easy time of it. Earlier this year, statistics showed the capital was losing one a week. A method of preservation these days is to evolve, and food is top on the list for a makeover. Some of the city’s most popular pubs have become more restaurants than traditional inns, and what constitutes A Pub is now up for debate. Here, then, is the best pub grub London has to offer: the snacks, plates, and bites that pair most perfectly with a pint of choice.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Duke of Richmond

Copy Link

Like the best of them, chef Tom Oldroyd’s The Duke of Richmond divides its fancier dining room and its bar. On the Hackney pub bar menu, traditional dishes such as whole baked cheese and bread are taken up a notch and provided proper care and attention: instead of breaded camembert, find a slab of baked Tunworth with cornichons; crunchy pig’s ears replace hairy shrapnel in bags. The Cornish crab and chip butty has won plaudits, as have the pies, which are cunning little Victorian morsels of pleasure. Pleasingly, there are also chipsticks, which should be available in all pubs.

The best pub grub in London, Cornish crab and chip butty at The Duke of Richmond The Duke of Richmond

The Wenlock Arms

Copy Link

The Wenlock Arms was saved from demolition in June 2013. It took some campaigning. Thankfully, Hackney Council saw fit to rescue the boozer, reportedly a favourite of David Beckham and his grandfather. Visit today and it is easy to see why ensuring the pub’s future was so important. It’s a considered blend of old and new, dart board and craft beer, and vegan sausage rolls. Behind the hanging baskets is a solid selection of real ales, buttery toasties and pies. The Wenlock shows sport, too. An enduring establishment.

The best pub grub in London: sandwiches at the Wenlock Arms in Hoxton Wenlock Arms [Official Photo]

Marksman Public House

Copy Link

A slightly more refined affair, Marksman does pub grub with panache. Prices remain affordable, and there are often playful snacks such as Lincolnshire poacher and pickled prune puffs, or pig cheek terrine with green bean chutney on offer. On Saturdays, there’s a two-course menu for just £22. Lunch at Jamie’s Italian would probably cost more. Plump Old Spot sausages with white cabbage, pickled mackerel with tomato and horseradish, and meat-filled fluffy buns are all satisfying reasons to head for Hackney Road.

The Sun Tavern

Copy Link

The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green has managed to balance its east London roots with the idle creep of gentrification. It is not an easy or common skill, and should be rewarded. While the drinks list is expansive — particular attention should be paid to the poitin, and please ask for a white negroni — the food is kept simple. Scotch eggs ooze as they should, with peppery pork meat and richly golden breadcrumbs, and the herby sausage rolls are served with hot English mustard and brown sauce. Condiments are treated with the respect they deserve.

Best pub grub in London: scotch egg at the Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green The Sun Tavern [Official Photo]

The Coach

Copy Link

Chef Henry Harris will be relishing the reviews of The Coach thus far. The pub only opened in 2018 but has already become a scratching post for the savviest of diners. It is one of the better venues for Sunday lunch, and on weekday dinners, grilled sea bass is bedded with prawns and samphire; confit duck leg might arrive with delicate lentils and cream. It is generally a more upmarket proposition — the likes of pommes sarladaises and croziflette are testament to that. There’s plenty of rich, French cooking. But it’s also just as easy to sit down to a bowl of chips, or steamed prawns and bread, or calves brain on toast. Or all three and a bottle of house red. Nibbles at the bar are just as satisfying.

Best pub grub in London: steak tartare at The Coach, Clerkenwell The Coach [Official Photo]

The Royal Oak

Copy Link

Chef Dan Doherty was always poised to open a decent boozer. The pub, happily airy and welcoming, opened in 2018 and the chef has steered proceedings towards modernity without pretence. There are dishes such as burrata with peas, mint, and pistachio — delicate, precise cooking but not exactly classic pub grub — but it’s all the better for it: they work well alongside the stars of the show, which are jauntier plates like ‘nduja scotch eggs and fried merguez sausage in filo pastry. The cheese toastie, with Lord of the Rings-like shards of cheddar, parmesan, and mozzarella, sums up the pub perfectly: the apparent pursuit of total happiness. Also, look out for the ever-changing sandwiches. Sometimes there are crisps inside.

Best pub grub in London: ‘nduja Scotch egg at The Royal Oak Marylebone The Royal Oak [Official Photo]

The Cow Pub & Dining Rooms

Copy Link

The Cow was selling Guinness and oysters long before people checked internet websites for ideas about where to eat. It’s a cosy venue, and one of the few that serves winkles and whelks to precede popular Portland crab or lamb stew with carrots, potatoes and celery. There’s something profoundly honest about pubs such as The Cow. Should the sight of chopped parsley fill somebody with a feeling of coming home, it is somewhere to spend time. Be it half a pint of prawns or a chicken Kiev, the pub is a lasting joy; see also, Tayto crisps.

The best pub grub in London: dressed crab at The Cow pub in Westbourne Park Road The Cow [Official Photo]

The Wigmore

Copy Link

The full menu at The Wigmore might be up for debate, but the bar snacks are absolutely not. Crumpets, one of the dishes of 2018, are topped with crab and drenched in butter; chicken skewers come with equally fashionable XO sauce; ham croquetas are exactly what’s required when escaping the toils of Oxford Circus. The Wigmore isn’t cheap and — contrary to what it might purvey — it is not a pub, per se. But it might get away with being called a tavern, especially when replenishing oneself with masala Scotch eggs, beef and onion pies or giant cheese toasties.

Best pub grub in London: Masala scotch egg at The Wigmore pub Paul Judd

The Guinea Grill

Copy Link

The Guinea Grill restaurant opened in 1952, but the pub has been around much longer. Records indicate an inn on the site as far back as 1423, and for a long while patrons have been able to eat as well as drink. While the restaurant is a steak and oyster-filled affair, the bar menu — brilliantly printed on a beer mat since this month — includes warming devilled kidneys on toast, succulent lamb chops, and fine sausage rolls. Meat is sourced from Godfrey’s, a stalwart of a London butcher; pies appear embellished by paper ruffs and crisp pastry gives way to the most nourishing of fillings. No food is better paired with beer.

The Wheatsheaf

Copy Link

The Wheatsheaf is a Borough Market institution. It is a glorious pub and effective in its coherence. The sandwiches should be the first port of call, whether fish fingers or beef shin and pickles or some other creation; buttermilk fried chicken makes for a tasty bowl; the sausage rolls mustn’t be ignored. Be warned, however: The Wheatsheaf’s location means punters might want to be tactical if seeking a hake fish cake of an evening. It’s usually worth waiting until the after work crowd have gone before settling down to curly fries. Or go, drink, then mop up the beer with cheddar bites and chutney. One plate, generous as it is, won’t be enough.

Best pub grub in London: buttermilk-fried chicken at the Wheatsheaf in Borough Market The Wheatsheaf/Instagram

The Fox and Pheasant

Copy Link

One of the great surprises of 2018 is James Blunt opening not just a pub, but a credible one. The Fox and Pheasant — or ‘Fox and Fez’ to loafer-wearing locals — is posh, obviously. But just as Blunt has a spectacular sense of humour, so too does his pub. Alongside the standard snacks of chilli squid and cod cheek scampi are plump beef shin croquettes and buttermilk fried guinea fowl. The chips are great and so is the service. Don’t overlook it.

Best pub grub in London: cod’s roe and puffed quinoa at The Fox and Pheasant pub Spear’s Magazine

The Camberwell Arms

Copy Link

As of 2018, The Camberwell Arms is five years old. Since conception it has been as good a gastropub as anywhere in London. Headed up by the team behind Frank’s in Peckham, and formerly part of the Anchor and Hope / Canton Arms lineage, it somehow portrays a sense of effortless endeavour, despite the fact it cannot possibly be effortless at all. Insouciant to a fault. Next to ham, egg and chips are barbecued meats and vegetables; fish and seafood are also given ample footing — Cornish hake and Jersey royals, perhaps, or vongole. There aren’t many pubs that do pasta as well as they do sausages — both are homemade, by the way.

Pasta with butter, parmesan, and sage at gastropub The Camberwell Arms, one of the best restaurants in Camberwell, south London Camberwell Arms [Official Photo]

The Signal Pub

Copy Link

The Signal, in Forest Hill, is all about onion rings, burgers and skin on fries and big plates of rotisserie chicken built for mayonnaise and lemon juice. It’s fun food, easy food, food so common in pubs these days it’s hardly worth mentioning. It’s pleasing, though, and the beer selection is excellent. But the most admirable thing at The Signal is the charcuterie board, with cured meats from Cumbria, Suffolk, and Manchester. With every three mouthfuls, interspersed with West Country cheddar and sourdough bread, another pint is required. The pub does this board unassumingly, and has been championing regional charcuterie for ages.

Best pub grub in London: crostini with charcuterie at The Signal Pub in Forest Hill The Signal Pub [Official Photo]

Westow House

Copy Link

Antic pubs are contrived, certainly, but serve a purpose. Westow House in Crystal Palace, Catford Constitutional Club, Tooting Tram & Social and the East Dulwich Tavern are all mainstays in their locale. Regulars are as consistent as the pubs themselves. Juicy sausage rolls are one frequent menu item worth trying, as are bacon and egg sandwiches. Menus differ between pubs, with some hosting pop-up ventures; other establishments are far more geared towards music and drinking and food features hardly at all. Still, it’s fair to say that in most Antic pubs you’ll find something good to eat, be it a slab of shepherd’s pie or bowl bouillabaisse and crusty bread.

Best pub grub in London: croquettes at Westow House pub Westow House [Official Photo]

The Oval Tavern

Copy Link

Down in Croydon is a pub called The Oval Tavern. It might be recognisable from cult comedy Peep Show, but has gained new owners since filming days. It probably still attracts mega fans, but it isn’t too obvious, because it’s in Croydon. In any case, dishes include fragrant kedgeree, a fantastic ham and mustard sandwich, and mushrooms on toast doused in cheese and ale. It’s basic stuff and perhaps not too enticing for anyone outside of Croydon. But it would be ideal for anyone who might find themselves at a loss amid delays at East Croydon train station.

Best pub grub in London: soup and bread at The Oval Tavern in Croydon The Oval Tavern [Official Photo]

Loading comments...

The Duke of Richmond

The best pub grub in London, Cornish crab and chip butty at The Duke of Richmond The Duke of Richmond

Like the best of them, chef Tom Oldroyd’s The Duke of Richmond divides its fancier dining room and its bar. On the Hackney pub bar menu, traditional dishes such as whole baked cheese and bread are taken up a notch and provided proper care and attention: instead of breaded camembert, find a slab of baked Tunworth with cornichons; crunchy pig’s ears replace hairy shrapnel in bags. The Cornish crab and chip butty has won plaudits, as have the pies, which are cunning little Victorian morsels of pleasure. Pleasingly, there are also chipsticks, which should be available in all pubs.

The best pub grub in London, Cornish crab and chip butty at The Duke of Richmond The Duke of Richmond

The Wenlock Arms

The best pub grub in London: sandwiches at the Wenlock Arms in Hoxton Wenlock Arms [Official Photo]

The Wenlock Arms was saved from demolition in June 2013. It took some campaigning. Thankfully, Hackney Council saw fit to rescue the boozer, reportedly a favourite of David Beckham and his grandfather. Visit today and it is easy to see why ensuring the pub’s future was so important. It’s a considered blend of old and new, dart board and craft beer, and vegan sausage rolls. Behind the hanging baskets is a solid selection of real ales, buttery toasties and pies. The Wenlock shows sport, too. An enduring establishment.

The best pub grub in London: sandwiches at the Wenlock Arms in Hoxton Wenlock Arms [Official Photo]

Marksman Public House

A slightly more refined affair, Marksman does pub grub with panache. Prices remain affordable, and there are often playful snacks such as Lincolnshire poacher and pickled prune puffs, or pig cheek terrine with green bean chutney on offer. On Saturdays, there’s a two-course menu for just £22. Lunch at Jamie’s Italian would probably cost more. Plump Old Spot sausages with white cabbage, pickled mackerel with tomato and horseradish, and meat-filled fluffy buns are all satisfying reasons to head for Hackney Road.

The Sun Tavern

Best pub grub in London: scotch egg at the Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green The Sun Tavern [Official Photo]

The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green has managed to balance its east London roots with the idle creep of gentrification. It is not an easy or common skill, and should be rewarded. While the drinks list is expansive — particular attention should be paid to the poitin, and please ask for a white negroni — the food is kept simple. Scotch eggs ooze as they should, with peppery pork meat and richly golden breadcrumbs, and the herby sausage rolls are served with hot English mustard and brown sauce. Condiments are treated with the respect they deserve.

Best pub grub in London: scotch egg at the Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green The Sun Tavern [Official Photo]

The Coach

Best pub grub in London: steak tartare at The Coach, Clerkenwell The Coach [Official Photo]

Chef Henry Harris will be relishing the reviews of The Coach thus far. The pub only opened in 2018 but has already become a scratching post for the savviest of diners. It is one of the better venues for Sunday lunch, and on weekday dinners, grilled sea bass is bedded with prawns and samphire; confit duck leg might arrive with delicate lentils and cream. It is generally a more upmarket proposition — the likes of pommes sarladaises and croziflette are testament to that. There’s plenty of rich, French cooking. But it’s also just as easy to sit down to a bowl of chips, or steamed prawns and bread, or calves brain on toast. Or all three and a bottle of house red. Nibbles at the bar are just as satisfying.

Best pub grub in London: steak tartare at The Coach, Clerkenwell The Coach [Official Photo]

The Royal Oak

Best pub grub in London: ‘nduja Scotch egg at The Royal Oak Marylebone The Royal Oak [Official Photo]

Chef Dan Doherty was always poised to open a decent boozer. The pub, happily airy and welcoming, opened in 2018 and the chef has steered proceedings towards modernity without pretence. There are dishes such as burrata with peas, mint, and pistachio — delicate, precise cooking but not exactly classic pub grub — but it’s all the better for it: they work well alongside the stars of the show, which are jauntier plates like ‘nduja scotch eggs and fried merguez sausage in filo pastry. The cheese toastie, with Lord of the Rings-like shards of cheddar, parmesan, and mozzarella, sums up the pub perfectly: the apparent pursuit of total happiness. Also, look out for the ever-changing sandwiches. Sometimes there are crisps inside.

Best pub grub in London: ‘nduja Scotch egg at The Royal Oak Marylebone The Royal Oak [Official Photo]

The Cow Pub & Dining Rooms

The best pub grub in London: dressed crab at The Cow pub in Westbourne Park Road The Cow [Official Photo]

The Cow was selling Guinness and oysters long before people checked internet websites for ideas about where to eat. It’s a cosy venue, and one of the few that serves winkles and whelks to precede popular Portland crab or lamb stew with carrots, potatoes and celery. There’s something profoundly honest about pubs such as The Cow. Should the sight of chopped parsley fill somebody with a feeling of coming home, it is somewhere to spend time. Be it half a pint of prawns or a chicken Kiev, the pub is a lasting joy; see also, Tayto crisps.

The best pub grub in London: dressed crab at The Cow pub in Westbourne Park Road The Cow [Official Photo]

The Wigmore

Best pub grub in London: Masala scotch egg at The Wigmore pub Paul Judd

The full menu at The Wigmore might be up for debate, but the bar snacks are absolutely not. Crumpets, one of the dishes of 2018, are topped with crab and drenched in butter; chicken skewers come with equally fashionable XO sauce; ham croquetas are exactly what’s required when escaping the toils of Oxford Circus. The Wigmore isn’t cheap and — contrary to what it might purvey — it is not a pub, per se. But it might get away with being called a tavern, especially when replenishing oneself with masala Scotch eggs, beef and onion pies or giant cheese toasties.

Best pub grub in London: Masala scotch egg at The Wigmore pub Paul Judd

The Guinea Grill

The Guinea Grill restaurant opened in 1952, but the pub has been around much longer. Records indicate an inn on the site as far back as 1423, and for a long while patrons have been able to eat as well as drink. While the restaurant is a steak and oyster-filled affair, the bar menu — brilliantly printed on a beer mat since this month — includes warming devilled kidneys on toast, succulent lamb chops, and fine sausage rolls. Meat is sourced from Godfrey’s, a stalwart of a London butcher; pies appear embellished by paper ruffs and crisp pastry gives way to the most nourishing of fillings. No food is better paired with beer.

The Wheatsheaf

Best pub grub in London: buttermilk-fried chicken at the Wheatsheaf in Borough Market The Wheatsheaf/Instagram

The Wheatsheaf is a Borough Market institution. It is a glorious pub and effective in its coherence. The sandwiches should be the first port of call, whether fish fingers or beef shin and pickles or some other creation; buttermilk fried chicken makes for a tasty bowl; the sausage rolls mustn’t be ignored. Be warned, however: The Wheatsheaf’s location means punters might want to be tactical if seeking a hake fish cake of an evening. It’s usually worth waiting until the after work crowd have gone before settling down to curly fries. Or go, drink, then mop up the beer with cheddar bites and chutney. One plate, generous as it is, won’t be enough.

Best pub grub in London: buttermilk-fried chicken at the Wheatsheaf in Borough Market The Wheatsheaf/Instagram

The Fox and Pheasant

Best pub grub in London: cod’s roe and puffed quinoa at The Fox and Pheasant pub Spear’s Magazine

One of the great surprises of 2018 is James Blunt opening not just a pub, but a credible one. The Fox and Pheasant — or ‘Fox and Fez’ to loafer-wearing locals — is posh, obviously. But just as Blunt has a spectacular sense of humour, so too does his pub. Alongside the standard snacks of chilli squid and cod cheek scampi are plump beef shin croquettes and buttermilk fried guinea fowl. The chips are great and so is the service. Don’t overlook it.

Best pub grub in London: cod’s roe and puffed quinoa at The Fox and Pheasant pub Spear’s Magazine

The Camberwell Arms

Pasta with butter, parmesan, and sage at gastropub The Camberwell Arms, one of the best restaurants in Camberwell, south London Camberwell Arms [Official Photo]

As of 2018, The Camberwell Arms is five years old. Since conception it has been as good a gastropub as anywhere in London. Headed up by the team behind Frank’s in Peckham, and formerly part of the Anchor and Hope / Canton Arms lineage, it somehow portrays a sense of effortless endeavour, despite the fact it cannot possibly be effortless at all. Insouciant to a fault. Next to ham, egg and chips are barbecued meats and vegetables; fish and seafood are also given ample footing — Cornish hake and Jersey royals, perhaps, or vongole. There aren’t many pubs that do pasta as well as they do sausages — both are homemade, by the way.

Pasta with butter, parmesan, and sage at gastropub The Camberwell Arms, one of the best restaurants in Camberwell, south London Camberwell Arms [Official Photo]

The Signal Pub

Best pub grub in London: crostini with charcuterie at The Signal Pub in Forest Hill The Signal Pub [Official Photo]

The Signal, in Forest Hill, is all about onion rings, burgers and skin on fries and big plates of rotisserie chicken built for mayonnaise and lemon juice. It’s fun food, easy food, food so common in pubs these days it’s hardly worth mentioning. It’s pleasing, though, and the beer selection is excellent. But the most admirable thing at The Signal is the charcuterie board, with cured meats from Cumbria, Suffolk, and Manchester. With every three mouthfuls, interspersed with West Country cheddar and sourdough bread, another pint is required. The pub does this board unassumingly, and has been championing regional charcuterie for ages.

Best pub grub in London: crostini with charcuterie at The Signal Pub in Forest Hill The Signal Pub [Official Photo]

Westow House