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A burger and potato wedges at Forest Tavern, one of the best restaurants in Forest Gate
A burger and potato wedges at Forest Tavern
Forest Tavern [Official Photo]

Where to Eat in Forest Gate

A globetrotting archway kitchen, a pillar of the Gujarati community, fragrant cinnamon buns, and more

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A burger and potato wedges at Forest Tavern
| Forest Tavern [Official Photo]

With a heritage rooted in arts and music, Forest Gate is now predominantly a residential area, and its proximity to Wanstead Flats and the Olympic Park means it is gaining in popularity with Londoners. Great places to eat and drink from a selection of independents have all enriched the neighbourhood with interesting, original menus that are all well worth a look.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. J B Sweet & Savoury

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372 Romford Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 8BS, UK

This little shop and take away has been a pillar of the Gujarati community since the 1950s. A temple for every kind of south Asian snack — fried, fresh, frozen or made to order — which all jostle for attention on the crowded shelves. Fresh, crisp cassava chips and potato bhajias are piping hot, moreish and salty, a perfect homage to the founder’s memories of growing up in Uganda. Khandvi, spirals of pasta-like gram flour and yoghurt, are soft and creamy, fragrant with coriander and popping mustard seeds, while the verdant texture and flavour of patra — seasoned rolls of colocassia leaves — is rich and satisfying. Sweets too, are exceptional; fat buttery ladoos are generous on the jaggery, and pastel-coloured pendas melt in the mouth. Chevdos and gathias easily improve any budding Bombay mix.

2. Arch Rivals

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361 Winchelsea Rd
London E7 0AQ, UK

A real hidden gem, tucked inside one of the neighbourhood’s myriad repurposed archways, Arch Rivals is a favourite with locals and is a serious destination for exciting cooking. A frequently changing menu of well executed dishes that aren’t afraid to globetrot for influence, original cocktails, and great wines make Arch Rivals a must try for anyone in the area. It’s also an excellent excuse to visit Forest Gate in the first place.

Pork nugget bao at Arch Rivals E7, one of east London’s best snacks Bitten and Written/Instagram

3. Masala Chai Nashta

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90A Upton Ln, Forest Gate
London E7 9LW, UK
07400 730132

A brilliant breakfast stop for a south Asian food fix, options include desi takes on the fry up such as masala omelettes — served with parathas or roti — with chai to drink and perhaps lamb or chicken keema on the side. The chole bhatura, spiced chickpea, served with fluffy puri is excellent, while on Fridays, after 2p.m., catch the daal gosht chawal special, a warming stew of lentils and mutton, simmered to perfection.

Desi nashta with chai at Masala Chai Nashta in Forest Gate, E7 Masala Chai Nashta/Twitter

4. Fred’s Cafe

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10 Sebert Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0NQ, UK

This outpost of the popular Brockley institution is loved by residents for breakfasts and brunches. It serves quality coffee, as well as fresh cakes, pastries and flatbreads — all made from scratch, with high quality, locally sourced ingredients. The banana bread, decked with peanut butter and slices of fruit and the pastrami flatbread, rich with emmental and tangy sauerkraut are particularly good.

Sausage rolls on a tray at Fred’s Cafe in Forest Gate E7 Fred’s Cafe [Official Photo]

5. Restaurant Zaraza

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350 Katherine Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 8NW, UK

Traditional Romanian food is served from 3p.m. on weekdays and 1p.m. on weekends at this restaurant, which also has a garden for outdoor dining. Rich stews come with soft polenta and sour cream, while the grill section of the menu showcases a selection of tasty homemade sausages and different meats. Soups, including bean and smoked ham hock; and creamy tripe with garlic, are also worth a try.

Sausages, salad, and mayonnaise at Zazara restaurant in Forest Gate, E7 Zazara [Official Photo]

6. Wild Goose Bakery - Forest Gate Arches

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370-371 Station Rd
London E7 0AB, UK

Surrounded by the delicious aromas of the bakery kitchen, which serves both this site and its larger Leytonstone sister, the adjoining café is a pleasant place for a coffee and a snack. The whitewashed walls of the railway arch are decorated with beautiful breads, pastries and delicate origami geese which dangle ethereally from the walls. Local produce and South African-inspired recipes are just two good reasons to order from an expansive menu.

Coffee and cupcake on a vintage table at Wild Goose Bakery in Forest Gate Wild Goose Bakery/Twitter

7. Tromsø E7

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Arch 432 Avenue Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0LB, UK

It’s more likely that visitors will smell Tromsø before they actually see it. The waves of tantalising cinnamon perfume that dance on the wind promise nostalgia, joy, and comfort. All manner of cakes and buns are found at this Scandinavian bakery but it is equally good for a lovely lunch. The Norwegian waffles are a must try; spongey and slightly sweet, they are a delightful cushion for smoky sausage and crispy onion. An open mackerel sandwich on dense, dark bread is lifted by pickled radish and fresh cucumber, and warm cinnamon buns, twisted into soft and delicate knots, are an entirely expected highlight — best paired with homemade blueberry fizz.

Cinnamon buns at Tromso cafe in Forest Gate, E7 Tromso/Twitter

8. Cups & Jars

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108 Woodgrange Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0EW, UK
020 8519 9325

Not only one of the best places in the vicinity to drink coffee or grab a delicious salad, Cups and Jars — Forest Gate’s first organic bulk store — also serves as a zero-waste grocers, where fresh fruit and vegetables lie side by side with beans, pulses and pastas. Pay particular attention to the seasonal specials which are always changing. Other items, such as natural shampoos, soaps and washing detergents can also be decanted and taken home.

9. Familia Cafe

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180 Forest Ln, Forest Gate
London E7 9BB, UK

A well-liked neighbourhood meeting spot, Familia serves a wonderful selection of cakes and sandwiches. The Guinness cake and gluten-free orange and polenta are both excellent. The serrano, goats cheese and tomato sandwich is also a strong lunch option, while rocket adds a nice peppery kick to smoked salmon and cream cheese.

A cappuccino at Familia Cafe in Forest Gate E7 Familia Cafe [Official Photo]

10. Forest Tavern

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173 Forest Ln, Forest Gate
London E7 9BB, UK

Seasonal British food, craft ales and an easygoing vibe can be found at this gastropub. It is the perfect place to get a Sunday roast, set to a soundtrack of live jazz, after a walk across Wanstead Flats, or midweek, the delicate smoked haddock fishcakes and Volden-beer-battered cod and chips are also solid. A selection of hot and cold small plates, such as halloumi fries, pork belly tacos and pitta with aubergine dip and pomegranate, hazelnut and sesame dukkah make for brilliant sharing food.

A burger and potato wedges at Forest Tavern, one of the best restaurants in Forest Gate Forest Tavern [Official Photo]

11. Tracks

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Railway Arches, 437 Cranmer Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0JN, UK

Pretty Decent Beer Co, Ransom Note and Fin Curran’s collaboration is a lively and fun mix of music, cocktails and good food. Alongside an impressive collection of vinyl, a DJ booth and listening booths, diners can feast on a rotating menu of dishes including jackfruit chilli and griddled artichokes for vegans — with plenty of meat-lover options too. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, along with two types of Bloody ‘Marylands’ and a range of other cocktails to keep the party going all weekend.

12. Burgess & Hall Wines

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353 Winchelsea Rd
London E7 0AQ, UK

A specialist wine shop and bar which focuses on organic, biodynamic and natural wines, Burgess Hall is an essential for newcomers to the drink or enthusiasts looking to expand their knowledge of this thriving subsection of the industry. Friendly staff are passionate about what they do and more than happy to talk about all things grape-related, with a roster of small producers ensuring a consistently exciting offering. Frequent restaurant pop-ups and jazz on the first Thursday of every month add another dimension to this brilliant little space.

Burgess & Hall wine bar in a railway arch at Forest Gate Burgess and Hall [Official Photo]

1. J B Sweet & Savoury

372 Romford Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 8BS, UK

This little shop and take away has been a pillar of the Gujarati community since the 1950s. A temple for every kind of south Asian snack — fried, fresh, frozen or made to order — which all jostle for attention on the crowded shelves. Fresh, crisp cassava chips and potato bhajias are piping hot, moreish and salty, a perfect homage to the founder’s memories of growing up in Uganda. Khandvi, spirals of pasta-like gram flour and yoghurt, are soft and creamy, fragrant with coriander and popping mustard seeds, while the verdant texture and flavour of patra — seasoned rolls of colocassia leaves — is rich and satisfying. Sweets too, are exceptional; fat buttery ladoos are generous on the jaggery, and pastel-coloured pendas melt in the mouth. Chevdos and gathias easily improve any budding Bombay mix.

372 Romford Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 8BS, UK

2. Arch Rivals

361 Winchelsea Rd, London E7 0AQ, UK
Pork nugget bao at Arch Rivals E7, one of east London’s best snacks Bitten and Written/Instagram

A real hidden gem, tucked inside one of the neighbourhood’s myriad repurposed archways, Arch Rivals is a favourite with locals and is a serious destination for exciting cooking. A frequently changing menu of well executed dishes that aren’t afraid to globetrot for influence, original cocktails, and great wines make Arch Rivals a must try for anyone in the area. It’s also an excellent excuse to visit Forest Gate in the first place.

361 Winchelsea Rd
London E7 0AQ, UK

3. Masala Chai Nashta

90A Upton Ln, Forest Gate, London E7 9LW, UK
Desi nashta with chai at Masala Chai Nashta in Forest Gate, E7 Masala Chai Nashta/Twitter

A brilliant breakfast stop for a south Asian food fix, options include desi takes on the fry up such as masala omelettes — served with parathas or roti — with chai to drink and perhaps lamb or chicken keema on the side. The chole bhatura, spiced chickpea, served with fluffy puri is excellent, while on Fridays, after 2p.m., catch the daal gosht chawal special, a warming stew of lentils and mutton, simmered to perfection.

90A Upton Ln, Forest Gate
London E7 9LW, UK

4. Fred’s Cafe

10 Sebert Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 0NQ, UK
Sausage rolls on a tray at Fred’s Cafe in Forest Gate E7 Fred’s Cafe [Official Photo]

This outpost of the popular Brockley institution is loved by residents for breakfasts and brunches. It serves quality coffee, as well as fresh cakes, pastries and flatbreads — all made from scratch, with high quality, locally sourced ingredients. The banana bread, decked with peanut butter and slices of fruit and the pastrami flatbread, rich with emmental and tangy sauerkraut are particularly good.

10 Sebert Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0NQ, UK

5. Restaurant Zaraza

350 Katherine Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 8NW, UK
Sausages, salad, and mayonnaise at Zazara restaurant in Forest Gate, E7 Zazara [Official Photo]

Traditional Romanian food is served from 3p.m. on weekdays and 1p.m. on weekends at this restaurant, which also has a garden for outdoor dining. Rich stews come with soft polenta and sour cream, while the grill section of the menu showcases a selection of tasty homemade sausages and different meats. Soups, including bean and smoked ham hock; and creamy tripe with garlic, are also worth a try.

350 Katherine Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 8NW, UK

6. Wild Goose Bakery - Forest Gate Arches

370-371 Station Rd, London E7 0AB, UK
Coffee and cupcake on a vintage table at Wild Goose Bakery in Forest Gate Wild Goose Bakery/Twitter

Surrounded by the delicious aromas of the bakery kitchen, which serves both this site and its larger Leytonstone sister, the adjoining café is a pleasant place for a coffee and a snack. The whitewashed walls of the railway arch are decorated with beautiful breads, pastries and delicate origami geese which dangle ethereally from the walls. Local produce and South African-inspired recipes are just two good reasons to order from an expansive menu.

370-371 Station Rd
London E7 0AB, UK

7. Tromsø E7

Arch 432 Avenue Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 0LB, UK
Cinnamon buns at Tromso cafe in Forest Gate, E7 Tromso/Twitter

It’s more likely that visitors will smell Tromsø before they actually see it. The waves of tantalising cinnamon perfume that dance on the wind promise nostalgia, joy, and comfort. All manner of cakes and buns are found at this Scandinavian bakery but it is equally good for a lovely lunch. The Norwegian waffles are a must try; spongey and slightly sweet, they are a delightful cushion for smoky sausage and crispy onion. An open mackerel sandwich on dense, dark bread is lifted by pickled radish and fresh cucumber, and warm cinnamon buns, twisted into soft and delicate knots, are an entirely expected highlight — best paired with homemade blueberry fizz.

Arch 432 Avenue Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0LB, UK

8. Cups & Jars

108 Woodgrange Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 0EW, UK

Not only one of the best places in the vicinity to drink coffee or grab a delicious salad, Cups and Jars — Forest Gate’s first organic bulk store — also serves as a zero-waste grocers, where fresh fruit and vegetables lie side by side with beans, pulses and pastas. Pay particular attention to the seasonal specials which are always changing. Other items, such as natural shampoos, soaps and washing detergents can also be decanted and taken home.

108 Woodgrange Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0EW, UK

9. Familia Cafe

180 Forest Ln, Forest Gate, London E7 9BB, UK
A cappuccino at Familia Cafe in Forest Gate E7 Familia Cafe [Official Photo]

A well-liked neighbourhood meeting spot, Familia serves a wonderful selection of cakes and sandwiches. The Guinness cake and gluten-free orange and polenta are both excellent. The serrano, goats cheese and tomato sandwich is also a strong lunch option, while rocket adds a nice peppery kick to smoked salmon and cream cheese.

180 Forest Ln, Forest Gate
London E7 9BB, UK

10. Forest Tavern

173 Forest Ln, Forest Gate, London E7 9BB, UK
A burger and potato wedges at Forest Tavern, one of the best restaurants in Forest Gate Forest Tavern [Official Photo]

Seasonal British food, craft ales and an easygoing vibe can be found at this gastropub. It is the perfect place to get a Sunday roast, set to a soundtrack of live jazz, after a walk across Wanstead Flats, or midweek, the delicate smoked haddock fishcakes and Volden-beer-battered cod and chips are also solid. A selection of hot and cold small plates, such as halloumi fries, pork belly tacos and pitta with aubergine dip and pomegranate, hazelnut and sesame dukkah make for brilliant sharing food.

173 Forest Ln, Forest Gate
London E7 9BB, UK

11. Tracks

Railway Arches, 437 Cranmer Rd, Forest Gate, London E7 0JN, UK

Pretty Decent Beer Co, Ransom Note and Fin Curran’s collaboration is a lively and fun mix of music, cocktails and good food. Alongside an impressive collection of vinyl, a DJ booth and listening booths, diners can feast on a rotating menu of dishes including jackfruit chilli and griddled artichokes for vegans — with plenty of meat-lover options too. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, along with two types of Bloody ‘Marylands’ and a range of other cocktails to keep the party going all weekend.

Railway Arches, 437 Cranmer Rd, Forest Gate
London E7 0JN, UK

12. Burgess & Hall Wines

353 Winchelsea Rd, London E7 0AQ, UK
Burgess & Hall wine bar in a railway arch at Forest Gate Burgess and Hall [Official Photo]

A specialist wine shop and bar which focuses on organic, biodynamic and natural wines, Burgess Hall is an essential for newcomers to the drink or enthusiasts looking to expand their knowledge of this thriving subsection of the industry. Friendly staff are passionate about what they do and more than happy to talk about all things grape-related, with a roster of small producers ensuring a consistently exciting offering. Frequent restaurant pop-ups and jazz on the first Thursday of every month add another dimension to this brilliant little space.

353 Winchelsea Rd
London E7 0AQ, UK

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