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From top left: pot-sticker dumplings, ‘cold skin’ noodles, and biang biang noodles at Xi’an Impression, a Xi’an Chinese restaurant in Islington Emma Hughes/Eater London

The Best-Value Restaurants in North London

Shaanxi hand-pulled noodles, smoky piles of ocakbasi-charred meat, a riposte to London’s pursuit of the taco, and more

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To understand the food of north London, first understand two roads: The A10 and the A105. The A10 is known by different pseudonyms at different stages in its life — starting in east London as Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road; moving north into the Stamford Hill of Jewish delicatessens; the High Road of Tottenham with its west African and Caribbean communities; Fore Street of Edmonton, pockmarked with palatial Turkish restaurants, and ending up as Hertford Road, full of savoury tantuni and sweet kunefe.

The A105, more or less, is better known as Green Lanes, and from Newington Green through Harringay, Palmers Green and Enfield it hosts a constant back and forth tussle between Turkish, Kurdish and Greek Cypriot idiosyncrasies, united by the love of charcoal. These two roads, and the ever lengthening roads that connect them almost define the entire north London food ecosystem — or, more precisely, the communities that live in parallel, tucked between north London’s constantly shifting layers.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Jaaneman Sweet Centre

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168 Bowes Rd, Arnos Grove
London N11 2JG, UK
020 8888 1226

The A406, aka the North Circular Road, is London’s liminal space, lined with strange shops with singular stories — all the way from Ace Cafe where bikers used to race to Hanger Lane and back before the jukebox finished a song, to Gokyuzu’s massive Chingford ocakbasi. Before long, Jaaneman Sweet Centre’s story will be fully told. On an unloved stretch of concrete and semi-pedestrianised road between Palmers Green and Arnos Grove, Nalim Bapodra has spent the last 33 years mastering the art of mithai — Indian sweets — specifically dense fudge-like burfi made with milk, milk powder, and sugar syrup. As the week goes on, the most popular flavours — chocolate, pistachio, and almond — sell out, so try to get there early. Bapodra generously encourages customers to sample, sometimes forcing whole pieces on them in the manner of an eager uncle: Make sure to save room for his more savoury mithai like mohenthal, a grittier sweet made with gram flour and fragrant with saffron.

2. Wolkite Kitfo

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82 Hornsey Rd
London N7 7NN, UK

Tucked away in the no-mans land around the Emirates Stadium, Wolkite Kitfo rivals Xi’an Impression for the most unlikely place to get a pre- or post- game snack. The speciality here is the Ethiopian dish of kitfo, a blend of beef and mitmita, a mixture of chillis, spices and salt, served either raw or barely cooked with warm butter so it melts on the tongue. Apart from the traditional kitfo side dishes of gomen (collard greens) and salted cheese, there are plenty of firmly spiced meat or pulse stews and tibs to mop up with sour injera or the lesser seen cocho/qocho, a flatbread made from the false banana plant. Service here is exceptionally friendly and staff will be more than happy to guide beginners through the menu and the wall artwork, which depicts the intimate tradition of gursha, honouring someone by feeding them with your hands.

Injera at Wolkite, the best value London restaurant on Hornsey Road Wolkite Ethiopian Restaurant [Official Photo]

3. Xi'an Impression London

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117 Benwell Rd
London N7 7BW, UK

Not the first Xi’an restaurant in London, but certainly one that has made the most of promoting Shaanxi cuisine and launching central Chinese food into the U.K. mainstream in the same way Xi’an Famous Foods did for New York a decade earlier. Three of the city’s iconic noodle dishes are made here by Wei Guirong: thick biang biang noodles, shot through with chilli oil and Sichuan peppercorn and balanced enough that it doesn’t need any meat accompaniment, wiry and sour Qishan noodles, and the liangpi mian, refreshingly chilled and poly-textured with the wise option of adding sesame sauce. Make sure to get at least one rou jia mo, a PacMan flatbread stuffed with meat, and maybe one dish from the surprisingly decent and completely inauthentic Anglo-Chinese section.

From top left: pot-sticker dumplings, ‘cold skin’ noodles, and biang biang noodles at Xi’an Impression, a Xi’an Chinese restaurant in Islington Emma Hughes/Eater London

4. Paneri Taverna

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

Like many of Palmers Green’s Cypriot restaurants, in Paneri both Turkish and Greek speaking chefs work side by side, enmities from the old country forgotten. In head chef Ertan’s words, “I am not Turkish or Greek - I am Cypriot.” From the outside Paneri seems to be a simple kebab shop, but step past the counter and it could be mistaken for a homely taverna somewhere on the Cypriot coast. Grilled meat and fish are revered here, with excellent taut sheftalia — pork and offal sausages wrapped in caul fat — being the highlight from the skewers, their skins blistering on the grill. Two spits rotate by the window, one of lamb souvla and one of chicken, so often the cheaper, less appealing option, but here they’re juicy and plump with lacquered skin and meat which falls off the bone. Make room for some of London’s best chips — in fact cubed potatoes mixed with grilled onions — and don’t expect to come close to finishing the mezze.

Paneri Taverna in north London Paneri/YouTube

5. Le Chamarel

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27 Turnpike Ln, Harringay
London N8 0EP, UK

No cuisine wears the influences of colonialism as much as Mauritian, a fascinating collision of Chinese, Indian and French cuisine built on waves of slavery, indentured labour and migration. North London’s Turnpike Lane was the original focal point for the Mauritian community, and Le Chamerel, a small cafe/restaurant on the lane itself, is the only business remaining. It covers much of the island’s diverse culinary ground, tending towards Indian influences. Fried snacks are ideal for takeaway or for starters — meat samossas, gateau piment (irregular spheres of yellow split peas spiked with cumin and chilli) and gateau arouille, fragrant and sweet with taro root. Rice shows two of its many faces as riz frit (a fried Chinese preparation) and biriyani, but better still are the array of pre-made curries to be mopped up with roti. Choose king prawn rougaille, with its Provençal origins, or the spicier octopus vindaille, a cousin of vindaloo derived from the Portuguese-Goan dish of vinha d’alho. This is still the only place in London where it makes perfect sense to order bouillabaisse for starters, fried noodles for mains, and gulab jamun for dessert.

Noodles at Le Chamarel, one of the best value restaurants in north London Le Chamarel [Official Photo]

6. Hala Restaurant

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29 Grand Parade, Harringay
London N4 1LG, UK

Hala means ‘aunt’ in Turkish — a name that’s reflected in the generosity of the home-style food, and by the sight of Turkish aunties making gozleme in the window every morning. In recent years, owner Eren Korkmaz has overseen the refurbishments to keep them in the Green Lanes arms race and now, like Antepliler, Hala has become a triple shopfront behemoth. Luckily quality has not been compromised: diners in the mood for meat should try the adana kebabs, kaburga (ribs) and pirzola (chops), mopped up with bread blessed with the juices and fat from the grill, but groups should make room for the excellent versions of icli kofte and manti dumplings instead of ordering starters. Solo eaters should also consider the paca corbasi; the Platonic ideal of a meat soup taken to its rich, buttery extreme, only achievable by careful stewing of gelatinous sheep’s foot.

Kebabs at Hala, one of the best value restaurants in north London Hala [Official Photo]

7. The Genet Cafe

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4 Victoria Rd, Tottenham
London N15 4PS, UK
020 8376 8618

No cuisine, except for perhaps Turkish and Indian, has such depth in London as Ethiopian does, especially in north London. Take The Genet Cafe, a small restaurant located below a council estate in Seven Sisters, that is run with skill and warmth by the owner who cooks everything herself, from the rainbow array of vegetable curries, so full of flavour that its sometimes possible to have a completely vegan meal without realising it, to the rich, buttery dulet, bouncing with tripe and the crunch of orange chillis. Come on an evening and she’ll be busy at the back, but during the day diners are treated with the dictionary definition of above and beyond hospitality.

Injera at The Genet Cafe, one of the best value restaurants in north London Jenna Cody/Instagram

8. Neco Tantuni Kunefe Salonu Enfield

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4 Brick Ln
Enfield EN3 5BA, UK
020 8804 8909

Edmonton is home to grand Turkish restaurants, palaces larger than most of Green Lanes or Dalston’s finest, but it’s at one of the smallest places on the strip where two of London’s great late-night snacks are located. At Ponders End’s Neco Tantuni, finely chopped flesh and fat are stuffed into cigarillos or sandwiched into cubano-like subs respectively. For those who want an even more profound tantuni experience there are four ecstatic words: brown butter iskender tantuni, in which two tantuni are baked then drenched in caramelised butter, tomato and yoghurt. Kunefe here is also excellent, caramelised but not overly sweet, and balanced enough to take without adornment of cream. A small tip: the whole family who run Neco can make any of the items superbly, but if the wife makes the tantuni, it’s just that little bit more transcendent.

9. Kouzina Express

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9 Ashfield Parade, Osidge
London N14 5EH, UK
020 8886 5200

Although Palmers Green to Wood Green is still the epicentre for London’s Cypriot restaurants, as the diaspora has become more affluent they have moved more firmly into Enfield and Barnet’s suburbia. Kouzina by Southgate’s UFO station fuses both the old- and new-school of London’s Cypriot and mainland Greek cuisines. One side of the menu lists sheftalia with blackened crusts of caul fat and grilled pork souvlaki, a mixed grill wrapped in expansive Cypriot pita. On the other, the lesser seen Greek gyros, with crisp shaved pork, tzatziki, and flatbread to be squeezed. And of course, chips on top. This region of Zone 4 arcs like a gyros ring, curving across north London from Enfield to Oakwood in a seam of spits, smoke, and coal.

Kebab and chips at Kouzina Express in Palmers Green, one of the best value restaurants in north London Dine Club

10. 01 Adana Restaurant

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25-27 Green Lanes, Mildmay Ward
London N16 9BS, UK

Between Dalston’s shabby mangals and Harringay’s increasingly bougie dining rooms, Newington Green can sometimes get forgotten. Unjustly so, as this source of Green Lanes is home to London’s most eclectic Turkish food scene, from pide and lahmacun one dish specialists to uncompromising seafood only restaurants like Sariyer Balik. 01 Adana is not a specialist, but this ocakbasimanages to send out accomplished food from all sections of the menu, from its in-house made gozleme, to liver stews, through to meats — chops and laterally cut ribs, salty and well seasoned down to the bone that the meat can practically be sucked from, and of course the titular adana, which are within London’s god tier of minced kebabs.

11. Durak Tantuni

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390 W Green Rd, West Green
London N15 3PX, UK
020 8889 6001

If only London could ditch its obsession with replicating taco culture and build one out of tantuni — the city would be better off. Durak, a tantuni salonu run by Dogan Yesil on West Green Road, is the superior late night snack template London needs to copy on a larger scale. Here it’s possible to get tantuni until 2a.m., and it normally tastes better the later it gets. Meat is chopped, boiled and fried in cotton oil, almost to the texture of coarse mince, then stuffed into lavash liberally coated in the fat and juice of the meat. Onions, sumac, and parsley cut through, and then a generous platter of lemons and tiny pickles and chillis brings even more acidity. A single lavash is £3, a double £3.50; in fluffier bread it’s £6. There is nothing else on the menu.

12. Antepliler Doner

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43 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay
London N4 1AQ, UK

The fourth and latest shopfront of Antepliler’s empire specialises in all things doner, where two vast and trunkless legs of chicken and lamb rotate in the window throughout the day until they’ve been worn down to thimbles. The quality of the meat here is a riposte to every single white boy who has tried to launch a ‘posh-kebab’ shop: nutty and sweet, it has neither the homogeneous texture nor pallid colour of lesser versions. Make no mistake though, this is not health food. Iskender is brought to the table with a final artery-clogging piece of theatre: hot melted butter is poured from brass jugs with the solemnity of a baptism, anointing the mix of doner, strained yoghurt and tomato sauce with a velvety gloss and turning the cubes of bread into gooey vehicles for a heart attack. After it all bring on kunefe from next door, wiry kadayif pastry stuffed with cheese, fried in skillets until molten, then doused in syrup and pistachios: order at least a triple dose of strong, unsweetened tea to cut through the richness.

13. Cyprus House

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630 Green Lanes, Harringay
London N8 0SD, UK

Green Lanes’ hidden gem Cyprus House is located away from the bustle of the main road on the ground floor of a Turkish-Cypriot community centre that could easily be mistaken for a residential house. From Tuesday to Thursday it is only open for lunch, serving home cooked Cypriot meals — caul-fat encased şeftali kebabs made from minced lamb and offal, souvlaki, and molohiya, the mucilaginous bitter leaf that offers a taste of home for nostalgic palates. On Friday and Saturday mezze is £20 per person, which encompasses an almost endless but impeccably rhythmic parade of cold starters, seafood, vegetables, fish and meat. The highlight? A whole lamb’s head with the flesh and fat pulled from the bone, served with a globe of brain and soft tongue meat. Booking is very much advisable.

14. Sweet Handz Ghanaian Restaurant

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217 Holloway Rd
London N7 8DL, UK

A fixture of Arsenal match day, Sweet Handz can often be found filled with Ghanaian Gooners either celebrating or drowning sorrows with pints, or else snacking upstairs. Kelewele, blackened fried plantains, provide sweet foils to jollof rice enlivened with peanuts and hot sauce and tsofi. To taste tsofi — turkey tail — once is to immediately wonder whether the West has been habitually mis-preparing the turkey, a bird so often denigrated for its dryness. With a glut of glorious unsaturated fat surrounding its tail, when fried this delicacy is sweeter and richer than the best fried chicken. It’s no wonder tsofi has technically been illegal in Ghana since 1999 due to its impact on the nation’s cholesterol levels.

Rice and stew at Sweet Handz, one of the best value restaurants in north London Sweet Handz [Official Photo]

15. The Bash Restaurant Cafe Bar

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71 -73 W Green Rd, Tottenham
London N15 5DA, UK

Since the closure of Okapi down the road, it’s possible that The Bash is simultaneously the best and the only Congolese restaurant in London. If familiar with Nigerian or Ghanaian food, Congolese cuisine shares some ingredients and techniques, but it is its own proposition: here many of the more specialist dishes are off menu and have to be asked for, like pondu, cassava leaf, stewed greens chock full of chlorophyll and lifted by pieces of smoked fish. Ntaba/taba is Congolese barbecue, infused with smoke and paired with an absolutely searing hot sauce that provokes scalp sweats. But it’s the fish here that shines the most: a whole malangwa (pangasius) big enough to feed three or four people, full of meaty flesh without any dryness, ginger enlivening the onions and tomatoes it comes with.

Vegetable rice at The Bash, one of the best value restaurants in north London The Bash [Official Photo]

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1. Jaaneman Sweet Centre

168 Bowes Rd, Arnos Grove, London N11 2JG, UK

The A406, aka the North Circular Road, is London’s liminal space, lined with strange shops with singular stories — all the way from Ace Cafe where bikers used to race to Hanger Lane and back before the jukebox finished a song, to Gokyuzu’s massive Chingford ocakbasi. Before long, Jaaneman Sweet Centre’s story will be fully told. On an unloved stretch of concrete and semi-pedestrianised road between Palmers Green and Arnos Grove, Nalim Bapodra has spent the last 33 years mastering the art of mithai — Indian sweets — specifically dense fudge-like burfi made with milk, milk powder, and sugar syrup. As the week goes on, the most popular flavours — chocolate, pistachio, and almond — sell out, so try to get there early. Bapodra generously encourages customers to sample, sometimes forcing whole pieces on them in the manner of an eager uncle: Make sure to save room for his more savoury mithai like mohenthal, a grittier sweet made with gram flour and fragrant with saffron.

168 Bowes Rd, Arnos Grove
London N11 2JG, UK

2. Wolkite Kitfo

82 Hornsey Rd, London N7 7NN, UK
Injera at Wolkite, the best value London restaurant on Hornsey Road Wolkite Ethiopian Restaurant [Official Photo]

Tucked away in the no-mans land around the Emirates Stadium, Wolkite Kitfo rivals Xi’an Impression for the most unlikely place to get a pre- or post- game snack. The speciality here is the Ethiopian dish of kitfo, a blend of beef and mitmita, a mixture of chillis, spices and salt, served either raw or barely cooked with warm butter so it melts on the tongue. Apart from the traditional kitfo side dishes of gomen (collard greens) and salted cheese, there are plenty of firmly spiced meat or pulse stews and tibs to mop up with sour injera or the lesser seen cocho/qocho, a flatbread made from the false banana plant. Service here is exceptionally friendly and staff will be more than happy to guide beginners through the menu and the wall artwork, which depicts the intimate tradition of gursha, honouring someone by feeding them with your hands.

82 Hornsey Rd
London N7 7NN, UK

3. Xi'an Impression London

117 Benwell Rd, London N7 7BW, UK
From top left: pot-sticker dumplings, ‘cold skin’ noodles, and biang biang noodles at Xi’an Impression, a Xi’an Chinese restaurant in Islington Emma Hughes/Eater London

Not the first Xi’an restaurant in London, but certainly one that has made the most of promoting Shaanxi cuisine and launching central Chinese food into the U.K. mainstream in the same way Xi’an Famous Foods did for New York a decade earlier. Three of the city’s iconic noodle dishes are made here by Wei Guirong: thick biang biang noodles, shot through with chilli oil and Sichuan peppercorn and balanced enough that it doesn’t need any meat accompaniment, wiry and sour Qishan noodles, and the liangpi mian, refreshingly chilled and poly-textured with the wise option of adding sesame sauce. Make sure to get at least one rou jia mo, a PacMan flatbread stuffed with meat, and maybe one dish from the surprisingly decent and completely inauthentic Anglo-Chinese section.

117 Benwell Rd
London N7 7BW, UK

4. Paneri Taverna

340 High Rd, Wood Green, London N22 8JW, UK
Paneri Taverna in north London Paneri/YouTube

Like many of Palmers Green’s Cypriot restaurants, in Paneri both Turkish and Greek speaking chefs work side by side, enmities from the old country forgotten. In head chef Ertan’s words, “I am not Turkish or Greek - I am Cypriot.” From the outside Paneri seems to be a simple kebab shop, but step past the counter and it could be mistaken for a homely taverna somewhere on the Cypriot coast. Grilled meat and fish are revered here, with excellent taut sheftalia — pork and offal sausages wrapped in caul fat — being the highlight from the skewers, their skins blistering on the grill. Two spits rotate by the window, one of lamb souvla and one of chicken, so often the cheaper, less appealing option, but here they’re juicy and plump with lacquered skin and meat which falls off the bone. Make room for some of London’s best chips — in fact cubed potatoes mixed with grilled onions — and don’t expect to come close to finishing the mezze.

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

5. Le Chamarel

27 Turnpike Ln, Harringay, London N8 0EP, UK
Noodles at Le Chamarel, one of the best value restaurants in north London Le Chamarel [Official Photo]

No cuisine wears the influences of colonialism as much as Mauritian, a fascinating collision of Chinese, Indian and French cuisine built on waves of slavery, indentured labour and migration. North London’s Turnpike Lane was the original focal point for the Mauritian community, and Le Chamerel, a small cafe/restaurant on the lane itself, is the only business remaining. It covers much of the island’s diverse culinary ground, tending towards Indian influences. Fried snacks are ideal for takeaway or for starters — meat samossas, gateau piment (irregular spheres of yellow split peas spiked with cumin and chilli) and gateau arouille, fragrant and sweet with taro root. Rice shows two of its many faces as riz frit (a fried Chinese preparation) and biriyani, but better still are the array of pre-made curries to be mopped up with roti. Choose king prawn rougaille, with its Provençal origins, or the spicier octopus vindaille, a cousin of vindaloo derived from the Portuguese-Goan dish of vinha d’alho. This is still the only place in London where it makes perfect sense to order bouillabaisse for starters, fried noodles for mains, and gulab jamun for dessert.

27 Turnpike Ln, Harringay
London N8 0EP, UK

6. Hala Restaurant

29 Grand Parade, Harringay, London N4 1LG, UK
Kebabs at Hala, one of the best value restaurants in north London Hala [Official Photo]

Hala means ‘aunt’ in Turkish — a name that’s reflected in the generosity of the home-style food, and by the sight of Turkish aunties making gozleme in the window every morning. In recent years, owner Eren Korkmaz has overseen the refurbishments to keep them in the Green Lanes arms race and now, like Antepliler, Hala has become a triple shopfront behemoth. Luckily quality has not been compromised: diners in the mood for meat should try the adana kebabs, kaburga (ribs) and pirzola (chops), mopped up with bread blessed with the juices and fat from the grill, but groups should make room for the excellent versions of icli kofte and manti dumplings instead of ordering starters. Solo eaters should also consider the paca corbasi; the Platonic ideal of a meat soup taken to its rich, buttery extreme, only achievable by careful stewing of gelatinous sheep’s foot.

29 Grand Parade, Harringay
London N4 1LG, UK

7. The Genet Cafe

4 Victoria Rd, Tottenham, London N15 4PS, UK
Injera at The Genet Cafe, one of the best value restaurants in north London Jenna Cody/Instagram

No cuisine, except for perhaps Turkish and Indian, has such depth in London as Ethiopian does, especially in north London. Take The Genet Cafe, a small restaurant located below a council estate in Seven Sisters, that is run with skill and warmth by the owner who cooks everything herself, from the rainbow array of vegetable curries, so full of flavour that its sometimes possible to have a completely vegan meal without realising it, to the rich, buttery dulet, bouncing with tripe and the crunch of orange chillis. Come on an evening and she’ll be busy at the back, but during the day diners are treated with the dictionary definition of above and beyond hospitality.

4 Victoria Rd, Tottenham
London N15 4PS, UK

8. Neco Tantuni Kunefe Salonu Enfield

4 Brick Ln, Enfield EN3 5BA, UK

Edmonton is home to grand Turkish restaurants, palaces larger than most of Green Lanes or Dalston’s finest, but it’s at one of the smallest places on the strip where two of London’s great late-night snacks are located. At Ponders End’s Neco Tantuni, finely chopped flesh and fat are stuffed into cigarillos or sandwiched into cubano-like subs respectively. For those who want an even more profound tantuni experience there are four ecstatic words: brown butter iskender tantuni, in which two tantuni are baked then drenched in caramelised butter, tomato and yoghurt. Kunefe here is also excellent, caramelised but not overly sweet, and balanced enough to take without adornment of cream. A small tip: the whole family who run Neco can make any of the items superbly, but if the wife makes the tantuni, it’s just that little bit more transcendent.

4 Brick Ln
Enfield EN3 5BA, UK

9. Kouzina Express

9 Ashfield Parade, Osidge, London N14 5EH, UK
Kebab and chips at Kouzina Express in Palmers Green, one of the best value restaurants in north London Dine Club

Although Palmers Green to Wood Green is still the epicentre for London’s Cypriot restaurants, as the diaspora has become more affluent they have moved more firmly into Enfield and Barnet’s suburbia. Kouzina by Southgate’s UFO station fuses both the old- and new-school of London’s Cypriot and mainland Greek cuisines. One side of the menu lists sheftalia with blackened crusts of caul fat and grilled pork souvlaki, a mixed grill wrapped in expansive Cypriot pita. On the other, the lesser seen Greek gyros, with crisp shaved pork, tzatziki, and flatbread to be squeezed. And of course, chips on top. This region of Zone 4 arcs like a gyros ring, curving across north London from Enfield to Oakwood in a seam of spits, smoke, and coal.

9 Ashfield Parade, Osidge
London N14 5EH, UK

10. 01 Adana Restaurant

25-27 Green Lanes, Mildmay Ward, London N16 9BS, UK

Between Dalston’s shabby mangals and Harringay’s increasingly bougie dining rooms, Newington Green can sometimes get forgotten. Unjustly so, as this source of Green Lanes is home to London’s most eclectic Turkish food scene, from pide and lahmacun one dish specialists to uncompromising seafood only restaurants like Sariyer Balik. 01 Adana is not a specialist, but this ocakbasimanages to send out accomplished food from all sections of the menu, from its in-house made gozleme, to liver stews, through to meats — chops and laterally cut ribs, salty and well seasoned down to the bone that the meat can practically be sucked from, and of course the titular adana, which are within London’s god tier of minced kebabs.

25-27 Green Lanes, Mildmay Ward
London N16 9BS, UK

11. Durak Tantuni

390 W Green Rd, West Green, London N15 3PX, UK

If only London could ditch its obsession with replicating taco culture and build one out of tantuni — the city would be better off. Durak, a tantuni salonu run by Dogan Yesil on West Green Road, is the superior late night snack template London needs to copy on a larger scale. Here it’s possible to get tantuni until 2a.m., and it normally tastes better the later it gets. Meat is chopped, boiled and fried in cotton oil, almost to the texture of coarse mince, then stuffed into lavash liberally coated in the fat and juice of the meat. Onions, sumac, and parsley cut through, and then a generous platter of lemons and tiny pickles and chillis brings even more acidity. A single lavash is £3, a double £3.50; in fluffier bread it’s £6. There is nothing else on the menu.

390 W Green Rd, West Green
London N15 3PX, UK

12. Antepliler Doner

43 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay, London N4 1AQ, UK

The fourth and latest shopfront of Antepliler’s empire specialises in all things doner, where two vast and trunkless legs of chicken and lamb rotate in the window throughout the day until they’ve been worn down to thimbles. The quality of the meat here is a riposte to every single white boy who has tried to launch a ‘posh-kebab’ shop: nutty and sweet, it has neither the homogeneous texture nor pallid colour of lesser versions. Make no mistake though, this is not health food. Iskender is brought to the table with a final artery-clogging piece of theatre: hot melted butter is poured from brass jugs with the solemnity of a baptism, anointing the mix of doner, strained yoghurt and tomato sauce with a velvety gloss and turning the cubes of bread into gooey vehicles for a heart attack. After it all bring on kunefe from next door, wiry kadayif pastry stuffed with cheese, fried in skillets until molten, then doused in syrup and pistachios: order at least a triple dose of strong, unsweetened tea to cut through the richness.

43 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay
London N4 1AQ, UK

13. Cyprus House

630 Green Lanes, Harringay, London N8 0SD, UK

Green Lanes’ hidden gem Cyprus House is located away from the bustle of the main road on the ground floor of a Turkish-Cypriot community centre that could easily be mistaken for a residential house. From Tuesday to Thursday it is only open for lunch, serving home cooked Cypriot meals — caul-fat encased şeftali kebabs made from minced lamb and offal, souvlaki, and molohiya, the mucilaginous bitter leaf that offers a taste of home for nostalgic palates. On Friday and Saturday mezze is £20 per person, which encompasses an almost endless but impeccably rhythmic parade of cold starters, seafood, vegetables, fish and meat. The highlight? A whole lamb’s head with the flesh and fat pulled from the bone, served with a globe of brain and soft tongue meat. Booking is very much advisable.

630 Green Lanes, Harringay
London N8 0SD, UK

14. Sweet Handz Ghanaian Restaurant

217 Holloway Rd, London N7 8DL, UK
Rice and stew at Sweet Handz, one of the best value restaurants in north London Sweet Handz [Official Photo]

A fixture of Arsenal match day, Sweet Handz can often be found filled with Ghanaian Gooners either celebrating or drowning sorrows with pints, or else snacking upstairs. Kelewele, blackened fried plantains, provide sweet foils to jollof rice enlivened with peanuts and hot sauce and tsofi. To taste tsofi — turkey tail — once is to immediately wonder whether the West has been habitually mis-preparing the turkey, a bird so often denigrated for its dryness. With a glut of glorious unsaturated fat surrounding its tail, when fried this delicacy is sweeter and richer than the best fried chicken. It’s no wonder tsofi has technically been illegal in Ghana since 1999 due to its impact on the nation’s cholesterol levels.

217 Holloway Rd
London N7 8DL, UK

15. The Bash Restaurant Cafe Bar

71 -73 W Green Rd, Tottenham, London N15 5DA, UK
Vegetable rice at The Bash, one of the best value restaurants in north London The Bash [Official Photo]

Since the closure of Okapi down the road, it’s possible that The Bash is simultaneously the best and the only Congolese restaurant in London. If familiar with Nigerian or Ghanaian food, Congolese cuisine shares some ingredients and techniques, but it is its own proposition: here many of the more specialist dishes are off menu and have to be asked for, like pondu, cassava leaf, stewed greens chock full of chlorophyll and lifted by pieces of smoked fish. Ntaba/taba is Congolese barbecue, infused with smoke and paired with an absolutely searing hot sauce that provokes scalp sweats. But it’s the fish here that shines the most: a whole malangwa (pangasius) big enough to feed three or four people, full of meaty flesh without any dryness, ginger enlivening the onions and tomatoes it comes with.

71 -73 W Green Rd, Tottenham
London N15 5DA, UK

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