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Oct 10, 2007 05:29 PM

london gastropubs

Hello...I'm looking for tips on the best gastropubs in London. I'm from the US and my husband and I are visiting for a week at the end of this month. Great beer and great doesn't get any better than that.

Also, any thoughts on the food in cafe at theTate Modern?

Thanks so much!

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  1. the only gastropubs i can recommend are anchor and hope which is relatively close to tate modern...southwark tube stop and garrison arms which is closer to london bridge.

    anchor and hope is very popular and you can expect a 30-40 minute reservations. if you see some sort of chicken casserole, rillettes, or braised duck leg, go get them...particularly the chicken.

    1. The Tate Modern restaurant is a large space and a pleasant one. We find the food a bit overpriced, but it's fine and has a lot of British favorites. The cafe at the Globe Theatre is also a good place for a snack like scones and tea.

      1. There are so many great ones in London, but I'll comment only on the ones in my neighborhood (Islington, near Angel station), which I frequent regularly because gastropub dining is my main option for mid-range dining. At all of these, expect good ingredients, satisfying-to-delicious food, a variety of lagers and bitters on tap, and relatively good service. You can google any of these or find maps on the Timeout London website, and I've written up my dining notes on most of these in a blog:

        The Albion: The newest member of the list of gastropubs I rotate through. Simple, clean decor; small, friendly bar area with a nice wine list; lovely back garden; delicious food, especially the potted duck appetizer (sadly not on the menu during the summer, but hopefully back on the menu soon). Lots of pies, roast meats and fish.

        The Drapers Arms: large, buzzy bar area downstairs with some seating for meals, and a spare, sometimes-quiet upstairs dining room. In a nice, quiet neighborhood. You'll feel like you're hanging with the locals for sure (probably bc of the TVs where you can watch football though don't think it's like an American sports bar), and it's just around the corner from the Albion in case you can't get a reservation there (which happened occasionally when it opened earlier this year). Food is, generally, well-prepared, but I've found the grilled or sauteed fish main courses are usually disappointing, so perhaps avoid those.

        Barnsbury: The least attractive gastropub of the bunch when viewed from the outside, but a relaxed, comfortable interior. Relatively small. Serves a few ambitious dishes along with classics like roasts on Sundays. Service is friendly and the crowd is local.

        The Marquess, in the Canonbury neighborhood, has a more prominent division between the bar area and the dining room in the back. The Marquess's memorable quirk is that the place used to be a morgue (I can't get that out of my head when I'm there). The specialty here are the various cuts of meat, the smaller portions of which sell out fast.

        The House, also in Canonbury, is on the pricier end of the gastropub spectrum, but the food is more creative than what's served at most gastropubs. Warm, candlelit dining room; cushy sofas in the bar area. This one I haven't visited in a few months because its relative priciness means it's not for regular dining, but I like going there with groups of friends for low-key celebrating.

        If you want *really* local dining, the Charles Lamb pub (also near Angel) is cozy and serves a limited, but surprisingly good menu. (The tastiness of their duck confit always surprises me). And you can meet Masha, the pub dog.

        As for the Tate Modern - if the food in the member's lounge is any indication, the key attraction in the cafe is probably the views of St. Paul and the City skyline, rather than the food. The National Gallery restaurant is supposed to be excellent, if you're looking for a museum dining experience with a view.

        Enjoy your visit to London!

        4 Replies
        1. re: American_in_London

          Creating all sort of buzz is Gordon Ramsey's new gastropub The Narrow. You have to make reservations though but the food is fantastic.

          1. re: American_in_London

            I'm going to overlap with American_in_London, but there it goes:

            Drapers Arms in Islington: I just had dinner here last night and loved it. We ate upstairs in the dining room--a really nice large and spacious room. My pork chop was fantastic.

            Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell: Really classy and pretty British. Dependable.

            Marquess: Great if you love beef. You order by weight and eat family style.

            I LOVE The House in Canonbury. A bit off the beaten track, but great food and service. They've just opened a new place in Mayfair called The Only Running Footman that I'm dying to try.

            Albion: I found the service here a bit rude. And anytime I've really wanted to eat here, the kitchen hasn't been open, which has been wierd. GREAT garden though.

            The Eagle: I ate here for the first time a few months ago and loved my starters--it was really pretty crowded and dark though. Has a Spanish/Portuguese thing going on.

            The Princess: My local, but can get really crowded Thurs/Fris. Downstairs food is more "pubby." Upstairs is really nice, but maybe a bit too formal.

            The Pig's Ear in Chelsea is really warm and inviting and cozy.

            The Enterprise in Chelsea is really really nice. But can get very crowded. Definitely book ahead.

            Lots more detail here:

            1. re: kristainlondon

              Where in Mayfair is The Only Running Footman?

          2. Nice to see some gastro recs beyond the usual Anchor & Hope, Great Queen St etc. I second/third The House in Canonbury although it really is more restaurant than gastro especially where prices are concerned.

            Always used to like the Salusbury up in Queens Park, too trendy and geezer chic by half, but very good food although I haven't been in a while and it seems to have dropped off the radar.

            Eagle never disappointed either although probably not as inspiring as it once was.

            1 Reply
            1. re: oonth

              Back in the day when Queens Park was too scary to live, TT was briefly "in residence" and saw no appeal to the Salusbury. But on TT's most recent visit, my, my, hasn't the area cleaned up?