Best places to eat and drink in Stoke Newington
Check out our favourite restaurants, cafes, bars and foodie spots in the area of Stoke Newington
Looking for Stoke Newington restaurants? Here are our favourite restaurants in leafy Stoke Newington. The best foodie spots include top brunch spots, from bottomless brunch at The Good Egg to uber cool brunch vibes at Fink's Sweet & Salt. Newington Green boasts some fab neighbourhood style restaurants, including Dandy and Perilla.
Cérès – best for small plates in Stoke Newington
In a nutshell: A contemporary southern European restaurant in Stoke Newington serving small plates that make the most of seasonal produce.
Who’s cooking? After a series of supper clubs, French-Sicilian chef Camille Tardieu ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to open her first permanent location on north London's Green Lanes.
What’s the vibe? The 30-seater minimal space is decked out with rust orange and dusty grey walls, while freestanding sepia speckled mirrors sit in each corner of the room. Sleek crockery is all made in Portugal, while beech wood tables and chairs come from Brick Lane furniture maker Unto This Last. There's a dinky bar area up front, with the kitchen tucked away downstairs.
What’s the food like? A monthly menu of nine small plates changes with the seasons but with six dishes recommend for two, it's easy to make your way through them all.
Our visit started with a ball of creamy burrata topped with oyster mushrooms, dainty croutons and sprigs of crispy thyme, lightened with the zest of a lemon. Order some bread to mop up the puddles of olive oil that linger at the bottom of the bowl.
Flaky red mullet with perfectly crisp skin came on a bed of tangy aioli that left a linger of garlic well past dessert, but the highlight of dinner came in the form of silky slithers of pappardelle soaked in a rich butter sauce, dotted with crispy pancetta and smoky grilled broccoli. Order one each if it's on the menu.
A sweet date syrup and swede purée came thick and glossy with some cauli florets, but we'd have liked a little more charring on the cauliflower to give some smoke to the dish.
Gelato is all made in house and is one of three dessert options. Frilly crêpes filled with a savoury pumpkin seed butter swam in an orange blossom syrup with a dollop of Milky Bar-sweet white chocolate gelato on top. Eat them at speed, or succumb to the sugary pool of liquid you'll be scooping up with a spoon.
And the drinks? Southern European wines are the focus, with a few of each available by the glass. The 2016 Aglianico Campania had warm plum notes, while a crisp Moscatel de Setubal had sweet honey tones. If you're going booze-free, there's a selection of Square Root sodas to pick from.
olive tip: Service is quite slow (there's only one front of house) and dishes come one at a time, so head there if you fancy a long catch up with friends.
Jolene – best for seasonal food in Stoke Newington
In a nutshell: From the team behind north London's Westerns Laundry and Primeur comes Jolene, a restaurant and bakery using grains grown in Norfolk, Gascony and Goodwood, all milled on-site to retain their natural goodness.
What’s the vibe? A cool yet cosy neighbourhood joint in leafy Newington Green that attracts a friendly crowd of locals. Striped back to basics, plastered walls, zinc tables and exposed pipes are warmed up by flickering tea lights, and single stems of red berries cast shadows onto white walls.
Take a seat at the long bar area to catch a glimpse of the chefs at work in the open kitchen, or, in the warmer months, lounge on the outdoor benches sipping punchy negronis and slathering butter onto hunks of sourdough.
What’s the food like at Jolene? A daily changing menu displayed on a blackboard is split into nibbles, smaller plates, sharing mains, sides and desserts, all with a focus on seasonal ingredients and grains.
On our visit, we tried warm doughy flatbreads dripping with garlic butter; chunks of romanesco came topped with toasted flaked almonds and juicy raisins, while the sweet, roasted carrots were a highlight, served with chopped hazelnuts, fresh mint and creamy whipped curd – so good we scraped the plate clean.
The plates of grains come one after another, and it’s best to get a couple to share. Silky smooth ravioli, generously filled with smooth pumpkin purée, soaks in a sage butter sauce, while the malloreddus and sausage ragu celebrates all that is great about carbs. Chewy shells soak up the rich, rosemary sauce while chunks of sausage add a bit of bite, all covered in a frilly blanket of parmesan.
Mains are made for sharing with a couple of sides, too. Flaky grilled stone bass basked in a creamy, salty butter sauce, while al dente bitter greens helped lighten the dish. Roast potatoes aren’t quite the same as what you serve with your Sunday lunch, but still, the chunks are fluffy with a lightly roasted skin.
Don’t miss out on dessert, where the flourless chocolate cake rivals that of The River Cafes, with an almost molten centre and crisp exterior. The generous dollop of crème fraîche on the side mixes with the melting chocolate, meaning you’ll want to mop up the final morsels of sweetness. For a lighter dessert, choose the tart with its crisp, buttery pastry encasing frangipane and sweet, sticky plums.
And the drinks? An all-natural wine menu split into sparkling, whites and reds offers mainly European varieties. Sip on a glass of skin-contact grüner from Burgenland with a peachy, tropical funk, or go sweet with passito, a full-bodied raisin wine with warm cinnamon notes.
olive tip: The restaurant only serves dinner Thursday till Sunday, but you can get your Jolene fix on a Tuesday and Wednesday when brunch and lunch is served. Be sure to peruse the counter, brimming with loaves of sourdough, hearty sausage rolls and fresh-from-the-oven madeleines.
Vicoli di Napoli Pizzeria – best pizza in Stoke Newington
For the ultimate Neapolitan pizza in London, head to Stoke Newington (and be prepared to queue) for a seat in Vicoli di Napoli, as recommended in the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
This Neapolitan family first began making pizza back in 1870, and the business is still going strong five generations later with sites in Naples, Tokyo and, London.
Go for the classic marinara or the margarita (with the option for double mozzarella). Each of the ingredients used is of the highest quality, from the thin, pillowy soft base to the sweet tomatoes and fresh peppery basil.
Esters – best brunch in Stoke Newington
For the best brunch in Stokey, head to this neighbourhood café just off Church Street. White walls, grey slate, angular tables and pops of orange give this small space a sleek HAY-inspired scandi vibe, while families spend the morning sipping on flat whites and friends get a post-run refuel.
Queues for the weekend breakfast start early, so arrive at 9am if you want bag the best table in the window. Browse the cake counter, all of which are made in-house, and be sure to order at least two of the addictively chewy, salty white chocolate miso cookies.
There’s a real focus on sourcing of produce with loaves of bread from Bermondsey-based Little Bread Pedlar, coffee from Staffordshire’s Has Bean, and chocolate from Suffolk’s Pump Street Bakery.
Don’t expect to find avocado on toast here, rather crispy pork belly with punchy wakame salsa verde, wafter-thin slithers of fennel, fried egg, sweet tomatoes (grown just down the road at Stoke Newington’s Growing Communities vegetable patch) and chunks of bread to mop up the rich aïoli. For those with a sweet tooth, order the French toast, where toppings change based on the seasons. We loved the floral grilled peaches, intense raspberry purée, whey caramel and lightly whipped ricotta cream that came with ours.
If you’ve room left, pick up a cheddar and jalapeño scone for the journey home.
Original Sin – best bar in Stoke Newington
Head downstairs from Stokey Bears burgers to this dimly-lit basement bar where couples huddle in leather booths lit up by tealights and groups of friends sip espresso martinis over a game of pool.
Vermouth, sherry and whisky are strongly featured on the menu which puts a wild twist on more classic drinks. Expect to find Fernet bitter, Escubac and Suze peppered throughout the list, but just ask the enthusiastic bartenders to point you in the right direction if you’re unsure, or to mix you an off-menu number.
The House Old Fashioned made with bourbon, plum wine, peppercorn tincture and bitters is perfect for whisky lovers – smooth, sippable with an incredibly warm depth. For something lighter, go for the White Americano where Cinzano Bianco vermouth is matched with floral peach, Suze and tonic.
Negroni lovers can choose between the Negroni Nero made with tequila, sherry vermouth, rhubarb aperitivo and coffee, or a more classic cold-brew option created with gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso 1757 vermouth and coffee.
Arrive between 6 and 9pm for a pre-dinner aperitivo when certain cocktails are £6, or make a night of it and settle at the bar with platters of cheese and bowls of smoked almonds.
Perilla – best restaurant in Stoke Newington
Housed on a trendy corner in Newington Green – and with backing from industry big hitters Phil Howard of Elystan Street, Martyn Nail of Claridge’s and Thomas Kochs of Café Royal – Perilla’s got good foundations.
The team took the space and completely pared it back. Brick walls have been stripped bare, the original yellow black terrazzo floor has been exposed, while the tall windows that wrap around its triangular frame look out onto the green and pour light onto wine cages and a mix of tactile wooden and marble-topped tables. A peak-through-pass behind the bar shines a spotlight on chef as he calmly plates up.
Just down from Green Lanes, famed for its Turkish restaurants, Perilla’s short but confident menu is a stark contrast for the area. A six course tasting menu is a mere £38 but, if you’re as greedy as we were, you might want to simply order everything off the a la carte (which is only 10-dishes-long itself) and share.
Fried duck egg, with its creamy sunshine yolk, was topped with a rubble of chopped mussels and herbs and a final slosh of grassy, vivid-green parsley sauce. It’s unlike anything we’ve eaten in London, which is one of the things that makes Perilla great. This is a menu that surprises, often in its simplicity. Grilled romaine lettuce sat in a puddle of a light pecorino liquor, sour with lemon, and punctuated with green dots of parsley oil. With stalks of sorrel, too, it was sharp and intensely savoury – a wonderful balance of flavours. That, and the ‘pot-roast’ broccoli were enough to prove that this is a kitchen that knows what it’s doing. Vegetables sing.
The wine list is as succinct as the main menu, pleasingly, focussing on quirky bottles from Europe (including good ol’ Blighty) – a fruity German silvaner was seriously easy drinking, particularly with red mullet.
Team Perilla couldn’t be more accommodating (I was nearly an hour late thanks to some ill-timed Arsenal traffic) and warm, and the food couldn’t be more exciting. With a daily changing menu to explore, it’s the kind of restaurant every neighbourhood should have. Lucky Newington Green.
Wolf, Stoke Newington High Street – best Italian restaurant in Stoke Newington
Opening a contemporary Italian restaurant was a natural step for Wolf owner Antony Difrancesco, who was born in London to Sicilian parents.
Seasonal dishes include fazzoletti with sheep ricotta, broad beans, peas, lemon and mint, and breaded veal chop with brown butter capers, anchovy and lemon. Antony says: “The great thing about the renaissance of Italian food is that chefs are applying new techniques and other influences to make them their own.”
The Good Egg - best Middle Eastern restaurant in Stoke Newington
This is relaxed day-to-night dining with a warm, friendly vibe. The menu is an eclectic mix of the owners' favourite dishes, inspired by their childhood and travels in amongst others Tel Aviv, Montreal, California and Jerusalem.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are available during the week and weekends feature an all-day brunch menu.
Pastrami, breads, preserved lemons and pickles are all made on the premises and other ingredients are carefully sourced, some from just streets away such as the smoked salmon from Stoke Newington locals, Hansen and Lydersen. Meat comes from London butcher, Turner and George.
The one-room space is fresh, open and buzzy with whitewashed brickwork and blond wood tables and bench-style seating. In the evening clever lighting gives the room a cosier, more intimate feel. Tables are quite close, but the acoustics mean that conversations are kept private.
Fink's Sweet & Salt – best coffee shop in Stoke Newington
Fink’s Salt & Sweet is where the cool kids of Finsbury Park hang out at the weekend – girls in cardigans take their knitting, groups of young folk sip on Caravan Roastery coffee, and you can even take your pooch along to sit under the table while you enjoy brunch.
Stripped-back interiors are the norm in hip parts of London but light spills in through the floor-to-ceiling windows of this desirable corner spot on to wooden floors, off-white tile and dark grey chipboard walls, and galvanized zinc counter and tables.
The counter and shelves heave with local produce – Balthazar bread, Dodd’s gin and jars of English Preserves that you can yourself spread onto sourdough toast for brunch. Go one step further with sobrasada (spreadable paprika sausage) brought over direst from Mallorca by a lady who lives down the road, drizzled with sweet honey. We’re going back in the summer for a locally cured House of Sverre salmon board with goat curd, seaweed and crackers, and a quince and aniseed spritz on the pavement outside.