Ealing’s best restaurants tell a story, a story of the area’s communities as they range from West Ealing, down the Uxbridge Road into Ealing Broadway, and out into Ealing Common. One foray into Pitshanger for sterling fish and chips aside, this guide covers Persian, Korean, Japanese, Tunisian, Indian, and Caribbean specialists, as well as some of London’s best pizza, and a stand-out cafe in a new development that harbingers the area’s creeping gentrification. Ealing’s best restaurants are those that its people built as they set up home: a west London neighbourhood with a restaurant scene as good as any.Read More
15 Excellent Restaurants to Try in Ealing
Outstanding Japanese cuisine, superb roti, a fantastic Tunisian restaurant, and more
1. Roti Kitchen
A member of London’s essential Caribbean restaurants, Roti Kitchen’s crimson and yellow frontage and patchwork of island flags promises a commitment to all facets of island cooking, and a broad menu of staples does the work with pride and care. Pholourie sputter in oil like they hold a grudge against the fryer, emerging as golden orbs; jerk chicken leaves its inky tribute to the grill on fingers, the meat a pale vehicle for the battle between heady allspice and chilli — order the sauce to amp up the former with sweetness and fruit, and the gravy for the latter. The place is named for roti, so naturally, they’re outstanding, whether it’s the dhal puri supporting curry mutton, or, perhaps the best roti of all: the one forgotten under a pile of jerked chicken legs, secreting their fire in folds of beige.
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2. Kathmandu Nepalese Cuisine
A bit of an institution, Kathmandu’s slightly sterile online photography does a disservice to the warmth and care that permeates the restaurant. Momo skins are taut and fine, with a deeply seasoned filling that fizzes with garlic and chilli, while chicken lollipops offer Flinstone-worthy clubs crackling from the fryer. Chhoyla, a Newari barbecue dish of lamb or chicken rich with cumin, chilli, and perhaps a crackle of timmur is a fine main, but a hidden star is the Malabar paratha, tissuey and rich, ready to be scraped through hariyali lamb. Stick to the Nepalese dishes, in short — it’s why the restaurant exists and what the chefs most want to cook.
3. Da Moreno Pizzeria
London W13 9SJ, UK
Santa Maria has deservedly held the “best pizza in Ealing” title for quite some time, but this tight spot on Northfield Avenue — in which the oven takes up around 60 percent of the room and the smell of charring dough circles like a benevolent spirit — is giving it something to think about. Much like another feted neighbourhood spot, Pizzeria Pellone, the classics are flawless but it’s the house specials that really flex: king prawns and pancetta hang out on a ricotta canvas, while speck, porcini, and gorgonzola put umami treble on the superb base.
4. Element Coffee
London W13 9SJ, UK
Run by Natalia and Louis, this is Ealing’s newest specialty coffee shop and immediately one of its best. Now roasting its own coffee, the shop has outdoor tables for sipping its brews in the sun, and the arrival of a new chef will bring renewed vigour to its decent food offering in the coming months.
5. Retsina & Mousaka
London W13 9BD, UK
Retsina and Mousaka, run by Cypriot couple Angelo and Maria, at once captures the transportive energy of an island taverna and a raucous, affably belligerent family kitchen — where overcooking the sheftalia would be both a mortal sin and something to be laughed about over pita maybe thirty seconds later. Humming with coriander seed and grill-blistered caul, there’s no such concern here — meanwhile souvla, blushing not just from perfectly judged grilling but its massaging with red wine and oregano, is in a slanging match with kleftiko about who is more tender. Start with tarama, rich like a marine face pack and served in great bowlfuls, as it was before every London chef betrayed its abundant richness into dinky fashion.
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6. Eram Shishlik
The stretch of Uxbridge Road that bisects west Ealing and Hanwell before alighting in Southall maps a community through restaurants: Lebanese and Persian play Turkish and Cypriot mangal and ocakbasi, before Punjabi, Afghan, Pakistani, and Somalian cuisines take up the mantle. This is one of three Persian restaurants within the feeblest of throws of a stone, all of which are permanently thronged and all of which are good, but Eram Shishlik unseats Molana as the best by matching it for steaming bread — order — gnarly chops — skippable — and besting it by serving lamb neck, presented with a “yes, this is a neck, what did you expect it to look like” confidence and seasoned with fragrant onions collapsing like a hangover on to a velvet sofa.
7. Blue Ocean
London W5 1RH, UK
Fish and chips is only really complete with the nostalgic seasoning of sea air whipped up by a coastal wind, but those joining the Bao-bothering queue that snakes out of this Pitshanger Lane chippy of a Friday and Saturday night know that they’re waiting for some of the city’s best. Cod, huss, haddock, plaice, and skate are all fried to order — always to order, always in good oil — chips will be soused in vinegar and dredged in salt; the curry sauce is croaky and perfect; jumbo sausages, battered if desired, and rubber-glove-snapping saveloys are present and correct. This place is so obviously a neighbourhood reliance that the welcome for first-timers feels even more generous and warm; much like a package of gnarled, crisp-battered fish and chips steaming itself up in its paper, pleading to be unwrapped on the long walk home.
8. Tetote Factory
Tetote might not offer the fine patisserie of its near neighbour Wa Cafe — also worth a visit, especially for prawn katsu sandos — but its anpan and kare pan (an articulately spiced curry variant) are worth traversing Ealing for, especially if the walk goes through picturesque Walpole Park. Hot dog buns, generously filled with ketchup and mustard, are always a treat. Its other two specialities might be less expected: matchless French baguettes to satisfy the area’s French community, and featherlight Japanese buns bursting with crème anglaise. Open Wednesday — Saturday, it’s best to call ahead to preorder, even for same day collection.
Like its apartments, the newly arrived restaurants at gentrification-harbinger Dickens Yard are largely forgettable and overpriced, with two key exceptions: newly established natural wine bar Riding Wine Co., and Reineta, which bolsters a largely standard cafe offer with some carefully chosen quality additions. Bread and pastries are from Mikael Jonsson’s superlative Hedone Bakery, with layers on croissants and pains aux chocolats hiding a cooling butteriness; Spanish-inspired brunch dishes include properly made pan con tomate and confidently simple assemblies like ripe melon, superb jamón with fat threatening to melt, and coldly peppery olive oil. It’s now introduced a weekly Friday feast for takeaway or collection, with the likes of arroz negro, suckling pig, and oxtail gracing the board, and outdoor dining in Dickens Yard is quite lovely.
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10. Santa Maria
Still one of London’s best pizza restaurants by a distance, the original Santa Maria’s tiny terrace and even tinier dining room may be no more, but its blistered crusts, impeccable tomato sauce and melting cheese have moved just a few minutes away to Bond Street.
Pulp is the amalgamation of Abbotshill Wine Bar and Burnt Norton, a cafe and bakery. If visions of a 2020 bingo card are rising behind the eyes, blink and persevere: the former eschews the catchy labels and the latter is literally named after a TS Eliot lyric poem, these are singular places, doing what they do well in an easy union. So, Burnt Norton’s “scrollsants” — laminated dough stuffed with either sticky almond or savoury cheese — and Abbotshill’s fridgefull of cheeses and charcuterie remain, offering a new, genuinely interdisciplinary place to pop in that Ealing previously lacked.
12. Sidi Bou London
Sidi Bou is flattened against the pavement by Haven Green’s near-permanent file of big red buses, but it’s hard to miss that blue and white, mimicking the clifftop town of Sidi Bou Said from which it takes its name. Tunisian cuisine intersects with Berber traditions and the resonances left by the violence of French and Italian colonisation: the presence of French on the menu and baguette on the side of nearly every dish dovetails with homemade harissa, heavy with black cumin; there’s Tunisian makrouna, a pasta with tomato sauce scarlet and fragrant with tabel, a spice mix of fennel seed, caraway, cumin, and coriander. Merguez juices run red over fluffy eggs and piles of couscous like a camel’s hump. Run by chef Amina Hamdi and her son, Hatem Kareem, Sidi Bou is one of the area’s finest restaurants and probably London’s best Tunisian restaurant bar none.
London W5 3LD, UK
A clutch of phenomenal Japanese restaurants jostle affably for the business of the area’s sizeable expat community in Ealing Common. It’s telling that the superlative sushi at Kiraku — particularly a tokujo chirashi strewn with a chef’s choice that might include toro, hamachi, and crimson jewels of roe — comes from Atari-Ya just a few doors down. The fish is passed over a small counter where diners perch like magpies, or out into the traffic of the main dining room where exceptional noodles and broths share table real estate. Zaru soba and atsu-atsu udon are stand-out orders, noodles writhing and springy in the latter and languidly draped in the former, both winningly accessorised with greaseless, generous tempura of prawn that would easily stand up to Koya’s rightly lauded version.
14. Zeit and Zaatar Ealing
An offshoot of the Shepherd’s Bush institution open since 2005, this little spot on the way to West Ealing station has come in hot serving the best man’oushe in the area, a boon for days when the journey to Yasmina is just a few stops or steps too far. The eponymous option is the move, with a heady floral perfume escaping the bag, while the chocolate and nuts sweet iteration is for the greedy.
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15. The Ealing Grocer
Andy Harris and Katie Millard’s treasure trove of a grocer has many good things to take away — pastries and breads from Brentford’s Rye by the Water, and lunch specials like ratatouille, three bean and bonito salad, or hortakopita. But the main draw, come summer or winter, is the soft serve, with a rotating cast of flavours — mostly fruit, but sometimes spiced with saffron or clean with vanilla — that gives Ealing an ice cream option to match anything in the city.
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