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solid eateries by Arsenal tube station and Islington neighborhood [London]

waxyjax Oct 3, 2009 06:20 PM

hi!
i'm in london for a couple days and am staying in Islington near the Arsenal tube station. just wondering if you could recommend some places to eat. naturally, i'm interested in british offerings, especially any good fish & chip shops - and also places that serve a good breakfast. i'd also like to try indian and other ethnic cuisines.

thanks!

  1. c
    chief1284 Oct 8, 2009 01:40 PM

    I live round there (or should that be here?) so I like to think I'm in the know (I am in the know).

    Mezbaan is a brilliant Indian cafe/restaurant that I've been going to for over ten years. No waiters, no fuss, just a plate of amazing curry and a fork and spoon. The naans are freshly made and amazing. It's on Stroud Green Road about 3-4 minutes walk from Finsbury Park. If you go make sure you get a lamb curry.

    Further up Stroud Green Road there's some good good pizza. Pappagone is probably the best as it has a wood fired oven. But I've been going to La Porchetta since my childhood and I l have to stay faithful. Both have really awesome pizzas anyway.

    Petek does very good Turkish food (also Stroud Green Road). There's also Black Sea BBQ, which is a simple good quality kebab shop, with the extra bonus of a back terrace where you can eat your kebab with a shisha, draughts, backgammon and maybe some Turkish people singing.

    A real highlight is Dotori right in Finsbury Park which does predominantly Korean food, along with some Japanese. The sushi and sashimi is good (and good value). To me the real stars are the bibimbaps.

    Jai Krishna on Stroud Green Road has excellent vegetarian Indian food. If you go there get a masala dosa.

    Limster has recommended Chez Liline. It is very highly rated and many people rave about it. Now I've never eaten there, but the co-owned next door fishmonger I really don't like. A lot of their fish is very average and the place doesn't have a good atmosphere to me. Plus I've definitely seen them sell undersized fish which I really don't approve of. I'm just saying, the restaurant may well be very good, but I don't like the fact they get their fish from next door.

    If you happen to be there when Arsenal are playing at home, there's a good Jerk chicken stall on Drayton Park opposite the North Bridge.

    Oh and I'll also let you in on a good drinking hole - the Faltering Fullback on Perth Road in Finsbury Park. Great pub.

    Is that enough?!

    10 Replies
    1. re: chief1284
      g
      greeneyesN4 Oct 9, 2009 10:18 AM

      Just got home, soaking wet-I think I'll try Dotori for supper-walked past 100s of times but never tried it.
      Au Lac on Highbury Hill is my usual Friday night takeaway treat. Good Vietnamese

      1. re: chief1284
        g
        Gordito May 23, 2010 01:54 PM

        We have gone to Petek a couple of times for post-gym carbo-and-protein heavy lunches. The verdict: their baba gahnnoush is outstanding, a lot of garlic and tahini. Grilled dishes are good, California-style touches. The guvec was the best dish we have had there so far. Service is homey and very polite, which is not to say that it is always efficient. The decor is in its own way enchanting, a lot of coloured glass lamps and utterly fascinating photos of old Istanbul. We are coming to like the place very well.

        1. re: Gordito
          h
          Harters May 23, 2010 02:22 PM

          "California-style touches"

          Could you please explain what you this means? Is there a particular Californian (or broader American) spin to Turkish food?

          TIA.

          1. re: Harters
            g
            Gordito May 23, 2010 02:30 PM

            As for American variations on Turkish cooking, I think there is probably little enough Turkish food available in America that there is nothing systematic.

            But in the variation at this place, the lightness of the preparation and (especially) the salad they serve with us do give us a nice Californian feeling. This may be superficial, but there you have it.

            1. re: Gordito
              The Chowhound Team May 24, 2010 02:35 PM

              We've split off the discussion on cuisines with locally sourced ingredients to the general topics board, please continue discussion there: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709966

        2. re: chief1284
          p
          Pan Jul 30, 2010 01:36 AM

          I'm glad I've found your post and this thread. I'm going to be staying on Stroud Green Road for the better part of a fortnight, starting on 3 August. Do you (or anyone else) have any additions, subtractions, or updates?

          1. re: Pan
            c
            chief1284 Jul 30, 2010 02:06 PM

            I subtract Black Sea BBQ. I really like the place, but the food seems to have slipped a little (though still niceish). Also the nice terrace out the back has magically and tragically disappeared. There's still a tiny terrace for shisha, but I wouldn't generally bother.

            If I was to suggest what to do I'd say - eat at any or all of Petek, Jai Krishna, Pizza Pappagone, Mezbaan, Dotori. Drink at the Faltering Fullback. Further up Stroud Green Road, The Old Dairy is another good pub, which also serves nice (if in my opinion slightly overpriced) food.

            If you want to venture further, Crouch End has a nice Vietnamese called Khoai Cafe. Banners also do some of the biggest and best breakfasts in town. Along the main broadway there's one of the best fishmongers around if you have access to a kitchen (but be warned they're good because of the fish - not personality).

            1. re: chief1284
              c
              chief1284 Jul 30, 2010 02:27 PM

              Oh one more - If you go past Crouch End to the bottom of Muswell Hill there's a small Japanese supermarket called Fuji Foods. They do really excellent takeaway sushi. A really authentic feel about the place in every respect. Downsides - distance from Stroud Green, nowhere to eat inside, and its not really all that cheap - at least isn't when you're like me and can't help yourself at the sight of uni or toro.

              When I say it isn't all that cheap, I mean for a takeaway plastic box situation. You can get a mass of really high quality sushi for £12-15, which is actually extremely cheap all things considered.

              1. re: chief1284
                p
                Pan Jul 30, 2010 06:05 PM

                I will have access to a kitchen but probably figure to eat out a good deal. Thank you very much for your suggestions!

              2. re: chief1284
                p
                Pan Aug 8, 2010 12:43 PM

                Reporting back some way into my visit. Dotori is excellent. We had some very good bibimbap there. The portion wasn't huge, like in New York, but it was certainly adequate and tasty. Also, no free banchan is provided, but we liked both their kimchi and their cucumber side, though we missed having radish kimchi, which we usually enjoy in New York.

                Petek served pretty good food, but they were completely slammed when we went, so our service was extremely slow. I wouldn't rush back. For the record, we shared an assorted appetizer plate and particularly enjoyed their falafel, cacik, something whose name I forget that had minced bell peppers in it, and the ezme that was a freebie with pide.

                We've had several breakfasts of sandwiches and such at Molen's Cafe, on Stroud Green near the Finsbury Park Station, which opens quite early every day (good for jetlagged people) and enjoyed those and their smoothies, to which they add no sugar. Our service from Sue has been excellent.

                We got some good cheese at the Lid'l on Seven Sisters near the station and some good strawberries at the Tesco up Stroud Green.

          2. limster Oct 4, 2009 06:46 AM

            Chez Liline on Stroud Green Road is excellent for Mauritian-inspired seafood.

            2 Replies
            1. re: limster
              waxyjax Oct 4, 2009 02:09 PM

              wow--those all sound very interesting. thanks!

              1. re: waxyjax
                g
                greeneyesN4 Oct 8, 2009 11:16 AM

                Breakfast-opposite Finsbury park entrance-finsbury park cafe in Seven Sister rd does good breakfasts. My nephews rated it the best thing they did in London when they stayed with me! Yildiz-blackstock road-very good turkish mainly grilled stuff, they do testicles which the nephews found hilarious. Il Bacio-sardinian on blackstock road and Little Sardigna nearly next door-both very good. Garufa on Highbury Hill-Argentinian steak-havent been there yet but my next door neighbour rated it.

            2. a
              Associate Oct 4, 2009 05:11 AM

              Seafish is a good fish & chip shop just south of Highbury & Islington tube on Upper St. It does take-away or there's an attractive sit-down restaurant where you can BYO (corkage £2.50). Workers Cafe just a bit further south on Upper St (near the junction with Barnsbury St) does classic British fry-ups - no frills, but very good (and very cheap) at what it does...

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