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Pancakes at Sparrow, Lewisham, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham, south east London Sparrow [Official Photo]

Where to Eat in Lewisham

Crispy, shattering fried chicken, seasonal, elegant brunch and dinner, Nigerian neighbourhood dining, and more

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Lewisham’s reputation as an area bereft of excellent restaurants is not without some basis. Its reputation as a place with plenty of interesting places to eat — well, that’s a different story. Here, as with any tight-knit community, neighbourhood dining reigns supreme: come to SE13 and/or SE4 to find one of London’s best fried chicken sandwiches, Nigerian neighbourhood dining, and modern European excellence via St. John.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sparrow

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2 Rennell Street
London SE13 7HD, UK

Perched in the shadow of Lewisham’s monolithic shopping centre, the sheer physicality of Sparrow’s location feels like a metaphor for migrating the seasonal, restrained cooking familiar to central London to SE13. Chefs and partners Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar are up to the task, having met at St John and done stints at The Square and Bao. Working upon a modern European canvas, inflections come from far and wide: dinner could start with cured salmon, lemon and crème fraîche before turning to massaman beef cheek curry, or tender duck breast with chilli jam and endives. Brunch is essential, with Sri Lankan appam pancakes reflecting Nandakumar’s roots, and mince on dripping toast

Pancakes at Sparrow, Lewisham, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham, south east London Sparrow [Official Photo]

2. Meze Mangal

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245 Lewisham Way
London SE4 1XF, UK

While the majority of the city’s best Turkish restaurants are clustered in North London, Meze Mangal does a sterling job south of the Thames. Adored by locals, the restaurant is dominated by a massive mangal grill turning out delicious skewers of tender quail, chicken and lamb şiş, and a wood-fired oven at the back that delivers hefty pide and crisp lahmacun sprinkled with minced lamb and fragrant coriander. Choosing from an interesting list of Turkish bottles is the only polite thing to do, and the restaurant’s regard in the annals of Lewisham gastronomy makes it essential to book ahead. 

Mixed grill at Meze Mangal, a Turkish ocakbasi and one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Meze Mangal [Official Photo]

3. Enish

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228 Lewisham High St
London SE13 6JU, UK

With south-east London’s Nigerian community on its doorstep, Enish owners Olushola and Eniola Medupin draw from the country’s diversity, while acknowledging that pulling together the traditions of over 300 distinct tribes is an impossible task. Efo riro, a rich vegetable stew from western Nigeria, comforts with tender green amaranth, studded with tripe and smoked fish. Muscular beef suya and the ever-popular grilled fish — here, Atlantic croaker or tilapia — are best consumed with a peaty Nigerian Guinness in hand. 

Nigerian neighbourhood dining at Enish, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Enish [Official Photo]

4. Everest Curry King Restaurant

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24 Loampit Hill
London SE13 7SW, UK
020 8691 2233

The A20 corridor isn’t an obvious place for an interesting meal, but hidden gems are so named for a reason. Everest Curry King is legendary among south-east Londoners for its spit-and-sawdust directness and bevy of Sri Lankan and south Indian dishes, all prepared in advance and reheated to order. Those familiar with Tooting’s finest will be on familiar ground, as delicious egg hoppers, kottu roti and mutton rolls mingle with south Indian dishes like vada and spicy drumstick curries. A smattering of Jaffna-style dishes from Sri Lanka’s northern reaches make an appearance in fish frys, and a curry of crab smothered in spices and coconut milk. 

Lamb curry and chickpea curry with white rice at Everest Curry King, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Fowl Mouths Food/Instagram

5. Antonio Delicatessen

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23 Lewis Grove
London SE13 6BG, UK
020 8852 1370

A Lewisham institution, the former Gennaro Delicatessen passed from founders Maria and Gennaro Massiello (who founded it in 1983) to Antonio and Elena Nigro, another young Italian couple, after the former retired. Renamed for its current owners and in possession of a shiny refurb, this tiny deli is as integral to the local landscape as it’s ever been. Aside from being perhaps the only place in SE13 for good scamorza or aged parmesan, there’s a superb selection of antipasti, homemade arancini and Italian charcuterie. Service is noteworthy, even in an area known for its humour, and spending lunch with a fresh panino and Campari soda here is a wonderful thing. 

Sliced prosciutto at Antonio Delicatessen, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Supper in the Suburbs

6. L'Oculto

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57 Loampit Hill
London SE13 7SZ, UK

A wine shop-cum-tapas bar serving a lavish array of Spanish ingredients, each dish at L’Oculto is a stand-out. The establishment is a labour of love from the owners of Flavours of Spain, an import business that buys all of of its sherry, cheese, ham and cava directly from suppliers across the Iberian Peninsula. Locals pack the restaurant to sip minimal intervention wines and snack on the creations of Galician chef Irene Loreno Muñoz: standards like pan con tomate and sweet flan with sherry cream are excellent, but watch out for specials like tortilla vaga, an open tortilla of runny eggs, poached onion, sea urchin caviar and fried parsley.

Sweet flan with sherry cream at L’Oculto, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Richard Eliott

7. Up In My Grill at Model Market

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196 Lewisham High St
London SE13 6LS, UK

Not all locals have embraced the Dalstonian vibe of Street Feast’s Model Market on the high street. That said, there’s no denying that the Friday and Saturday evening “market” has boosted the area’s food offerings. The steaks served at Up In My Grill are arguably the pick of the bunch: while plant-based goes mainstream, the appeal of steak and chips endures, especially when said meat comes from native breeds. Staples like bavette and rump cap are expertly grilled over charcoal, while specials include Dexter sirloins and bone-in ribeyes from Longhorn cattle, all served with chimichurri and shards of deep-fried potato — that is, chips — hot from the fryer. 

Bavette steak, chips and chimichurri at Up in My Grill at Model Market by Street Feast, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Up In My Grill [Official Photo]

8. Dirty South

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162 Lee High Rd
London SE13 5PR, UK

The 2011 riots devastated the High Road, and few more so than Dirty South, a respected bar and concert venue that was forced to close. Thankfully, a makeover six years in the making saw it reopen in 2017 as a “laid-back pub and restaurant” (read: craft beer bar). While the music element has been lost, there’s some solace to be found in the fact that Other Side Fried—- makers of arguably London’s best fried chicken sandwich — have taken over the bar’s kitchen. Now responsible for keeping an entire pub happy, they’ve experimented with avocado and celeriac — the latter of which is deep-fried and served in a bun with pickles and cheese — but the classic buffalo and honey butter burgers remain objects of singular majesty.

Buffalo chicken burger at Other Side Fried at Dirty South Lewisham, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham KERB

9. Maggies Cafe & Restaurant

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320-322 Lewisham Rd
London SE13 7PA, UK

The family caff is a magnificent thing, and few can match Maggie’s for sheer hospitality. An Irish gaff run by matriarch Maggie Khondoker — Lewisham’s very own Peggy Mitchell — and her sons Anthony and Oliver, locals are drawn to this beloved institution for ample breakfasts during the day, and home-cooked dinners like slow-cooked lamb shank and roasts in the evening. Cups of coffee and tea are replenished within seconds; bubble and squeak is appropriately coarse; and the ever-scarcer option of tinned tomatoes is offered over fresh. Maybe don’t order an oat milk latte.

Full English Breakfast at Maggie’s, a Lewisham cafe and one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Munchies

1. Sparrow

2 Rennell Street, London SE13 7HD, UK
Pancakes at Sparrow, Lewisham, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham, south east London Sparrow [Official Photo]

Perched in the shadow of Lewisham’s monolithic shopping centre, the sheer physicality of Sparrow’s location feels like a metaphor for migrating the seasonal, restrained cooking familiar to central London to SE13. Chefs and partners Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar are up to the task, having met at St John and done stints at The Square and Bao. Working upon a modern European canvas, inflections come from far and wide: dinner could start with cured salmon, lemon and crème fraîche before turning to massaman beef cheek curry, or tender duck breast with chilli jam and endives. Brunch is essential, with Sri Lankan appam pancakes reflecting Nandakumar’s roots, and mince on dripping toast

2 Rennell Street
London SE13 7HD, UK

2. Meze Mangal

245 Lewisham Way, London SE4 1XF, UK
Mixed grill at Meze Mangal, a Turkish ocakbasi and one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Meze Mangal [Official Photo]

While the majority of the city’s best Turkish restaurants are clustered in North London, Meze Mangal does a sterling job south of the Thames. Adored by locals, the restaurant is dominated by a massive mangal grill turning out delicious skewers of tender quail, chicken and lamb şiş, and a wood-fired oven at the back that delivers hefty pide and crisp lahmacun sprinkled with minced lamb and fragrant coriander. Choosing from an interesting list of Turkish bottles is the only polite thing to do, and the restaurant’s regard in the annals of Lewisham gastronomy makes it essential to book ahead. 

245 Lewisham Way
London SE4 1XF, UK

3. Enish

228 Lewisham High St, London SE13 6JU, UK
Nigerian neighbourhood dining at Enish, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Enish [Official Photo]

With south-east London’s Nigerian community on its doorstep, Enish owners Olushola and Eniola Medupin draw from the country’s diversity, while acknowledging that pulling together the traditions of over 300 distinct tribes is an impossible task. Efo riro, a rich vegetable stew from western Nigeria, comforts with tender green amaranth, studded with tripe and smoked fish. Muscular beef suya and the ever-popular grilled fish — here, Atlantic croaker or tilapia — are best consumed with a peaty Nigerian Guinness in hand. 

228 Lewisham High St
London SE13 6JU, UK

4. Everest Curry King Restaurant

24 Loampit Hill, London SE13 7SW, UK
Lamb curry and chickpea curry with white rice at Everest Curry King, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Fowl Mouths Food/Instagram

The A20 corridor isn’t an obvious place for an interesting meal, but hidden gems are so named for a reason. Everest Curry King is legendary among south-east Londoners for its spit-and-sawdust directness and bevy of Sri Lankan and south Indian dishes, all prepared in advance and reheated to order. Those familiar with Tooting’s finest will be on familiar ground, as delicious egg hoppers, kottu roti and mutton rolls mingle with south Indian dishes like vada and spicy drumstick curries. A smattering of Jaffna-style dishes from Sri Lanka’s northern reaches make an appearance in fish frys, and a curry of crab smothered in spices and coconut milk. 

24 Loampit Hill
London SE13 7SW, UK

5. Antonio Delicatessen

23 Lewis Grove, London SE13 6BG, UK
Sliced prosciutto at Antonio Delicatessen, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Supper in the Suburbs

A Lewisham institution, the former Gennaro Delicatessen passed from founders Maria and Gennaro Massiello (who founded it in 1983) to Antonio and Elena Nigro, another young Italian couple, after the former retired. Renamed for its current owners and in possession of a shiny refurb, this tiny deli is as integral to the local landscape as it’s ever been. Aside from being perhaps the only place in SE13 for good scamorza or aged parmesan, there’s a superb selection of antipasti, homemade arancini and Italian charcuterie. Service is noteworthy, even in an area known for its humour, and spending lunch with a fresh panino and Campari soda here is a wonderful thing. 

23 Lewis Grove
London SE13 6BG, UK

6. L'Oculto

57 Loampit Hill, London SE13 7SZ, UK
Sweet flan with sherry cream at L’Oculto, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Richard Eliott

A wine shop-cum-tapas bar serving a lavish array of Spanish ingredients, each dish at L’Oculto is a stand-out. The establishment is a labour of love from the owners of Flavours of Spain, an import business that buys all of of its sherry, cheese, ham and cava directly from suppliers across the Iberian Peninsula. Locals pack the restaurant to sip minimal intervention wines and snack on the creations of Galician chef Irene Loreno Muñoz: standards like pan con tomate and sweet flan with sherry cream are excellent, but watch out for specials like tortilla vaga, an open tortilla of runny eggs, poached onion, sea urchin caviar and fried parsley.

57 Loampit Hill
London SE13 7SZ, UK

7. Up In My Grill at Model Market

196 Lewisham High St, London SE13 6LS, UK
Bavette steak, chips and chimichurri at Up in My Grill at Model Market by Street Feast, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Up In My Grill [Official Photo]

Not all locals have embraced the Dalstonian vibe of Street Feast’s Model Market on the high street. That said, there’s no denying that the Friday and Saturday evening “market” has boosted the area’s food offerings. The steaks served at Up In My Grill are arguably the pick of the bunch: while plant-based goes mainstream, the appeal of steak and chips endures, especially when said meat comes from native breeds. Staples like bavette and rump cap are expertly grilled over charcoal, while specials include Dexter sirloins and bone-in ribeyes from Longhorn cattle, all served with chimichurri and shards of deep-fried potato — that is, chips — hot from the fryer. 

196 Lewisham High St
London SE13 6LS, UK

8. Dirty South

162 Lee High Rd, London SE13 5PR, UK
Buffalo chicken burger at Other Side Fried at Dirty South Lewisham, one of the best places to eat in Lewisham KERB

The 2011 riots devastated the High Road, and few more so than Dirty South, a respected bar and concert venue that was forced to close. Thankfully, a makeover six years in the making saw it reopen in 2017 as a “laid-back pub and restaurant” (read: craft beer bar). While the music element has been lost, there’s some solace to be found in the fact that Other Side Fried—- makers of arguably London’s best fried chicken sandwich — have taken over the bar’s kitchen. Now responsible for keeping an entire pub happy, they’ve experimented with avocado and celeriac — the latter of which is deep-fried and served in a bun with pickles and cheese — but the classic buffalo and honey butter burgers remain objects of singular majesty.

162 Lee High Rd
London SE13 5PR, UK

9. Maggies Cafe & Restaurant

320-322 Lewisham Rd, London SE13 7PA, UK
Full English Breakfast at Maggie’s, a Lewisham cafe and one of the best places to eat in Lewisham Munchies

The family caff is a magnificent thing, and few can match Maggie’s for sheer hospitality. An Irish gaff run by matriarch Maggie Khondoker — Lewisham’s very own Peggy Mitchell — and her sons Anthony and Oliver, locals are drawn to this beloved institution for ample breakfasts during the day, and home-cooked dinners like slow-cooked lamb shank and roasts in the evening. Cups of coffee and tea are replenished within seconds; bubble and squeak is appropriately coarse; and the ever-scarcer option of tinned tomatoes is offered over fresh. Maybe don’t order an oat milk latte.

320-322 Lewisham Rd
London SE13 7PA, UK

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