Camden foodie guide: where to eat and drink
Try vegan pizzas, sticky bakewell buns and molten cheese fondues in this fun north London borough
Looking for Camden restaurants? Here are some of our favourite restaurants in north London’s creative borough around Camden Market and Chalk Farm Road. Check out our ideas for eating and drinking in Camden Market and Kentish Town, or read about nearby King's Cross here.
Camden Market – for street food
Open since 1974, Camden Market combines creative sellers with street-food traders and independent shops, open every day from 10am-late. There are more than 75 food and drink options, so whether you want fluffy Dutch pancakes, fresh sea bass ceviche or bowls of pho, you’ll be catered for.
Only Jerkin’ dishes up chicken nuggets in ginger beer batter along with signature jerk gravy, or, if you’re after something fresher, head to Lords of Poké for bowls of fluffy rice topped with zingy pickled veg. It’s not just food on the go – you can stock up on sweet snacks to take away, from blocks of halva from SesamMe, to salted caramel truffles at Lili’s Chocolates.
The Cheese Bar, Chalk Farm Road – for cheese
Lovers of dairy will rejoice at Camden’s Cheese Bar, a restaurant and shop dedicated to the best of British cheese.
The flagship restaurant located in the heart of Camden Market (a second, Pick & Cheese, is in Seven Dials Market), serves small plates, indulgent fondues and natural wines.
Take a seat at the high counter and tuck into stringy mozzarella sticks, bubbling mac 'n' cheese with a courgette and corn crust, and hearty grilled cheese sandwiches filled with bacon, pear chutney and Cropwell Bishop stilton. Or, if you time your visit for a Thursday, go for the fondue, when you can choose between Mayfield (similar to gruyère), goat’s cheese or Coolea and Kingham with steamed cauliflower, Yorkshire chipolatas and pickles to dip in.
Hook, Camden Town – for fish and chips
What started as a market stall in Dublin has now become a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Camden Town, serving a new take on fish and chips. Only working with 100% sustainable small fisheries, day-boats and local suppliers means that Hook serves sustainable seafood in the city. Although you can order the classic (fish is fried in panko breadcrumbs rather than batter), you should try the fish tacos, whole crispy sea bass served with tamarind and lime sauce, and moreish seaweed salted chips to snack on.
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Purezza, Camden Town – for vegan pizza
The UK’s first 100% vegan pizzeria, Purezza specialises in plant-based pizzas that respect the Neapolitan heritage. Where possible, this means using alternative versions of animal products, such as a plant-based mozzarella, which took more than two years to develop – this organic cheese (that’s dairy-free, low in fat and allergen-free) is made with brown rice milk and is unique to Purezza. In 2018, the restaurant secured investment to begin producing the cheese from a factory for retail. The original Brighton restaurant opened in 2015 and was followed three years later by a Camden branch and plans for more later this year. In 2018, Purezza won National Pizza of the Year for its Parmigiana Party pizza, despite being the only plant-based entrant.
Young Vegans, Camden Market – for vegan pie and mash
Marco Casadei opened London’s first ever vegan pie and mash shop in October 2017 and it has been an instant hit. Among the go-to dishes is the seitan and ale pie, a take on the classic steak and ale version, which uses handmade wheat gluten instead of beef. “Young Vegans is all about creating delicious plant-based food that is easily accessible to all, including the most die-hard carnivores,” says Marco.
Luminary Bakery, Chalk Farm Road – for cakes
Founded by Alice Williams, Luminary Bakery is a social enterprise bakery which provides opportunities for disadvantaged women to learn new skills to find employment in the food industry. Their second branch (the first in Stoke Newington) opened on Chalk Farm Road late 2019 serving fresh bread, beautiful cakes and light lunches. Pop in for fluffy scones, honeycomb blondies and vegan peanut butter cookies. The must-try? A squidgy bakewell bun.
Poppies Fish and Chips, Camden Town – for fish and chips
With a 1940s vibe and retro memorabilia in each shop, Poppies Fish and Chips is the place to go for old-school classics in a fun environment. Super-fresh fish is delivered each morning via Billingsgate Fish Market, with an in-house fishmonger, Salih, preparing the daily catch. Tuck into hand-peeled prawn cocktails and calamari rings, and, for mains, choose between lemon sole, plaice, mackerel or classic cod and haddock, all served with a side of chips. Still hungry? Stock up on extra sides, be it homemade mushy peas, bread and butter or pickled onions.
The Fields Beneath, Kentish Town West – for coffee and vegan breakfast
The Fields Beneath has three aims – to make great coffee and great food, and to make veganism normal. The colourful spot mixes exposed brickwork with mosaic tiles and blackboards with the menu written in vibrant chalk. For breakfast tuck into glossy baps filled with tofu, mushroom bacon and smoky tomato sauce, or cinnamon waffles with nut butter if you fancy something sweet. All day the counter is covered in tempting baked goods (a few of which are gluten-free, too), from peanut butter bars and chewy cookies to slices of quinoa and berry cake. In 2020, there are three Costa Rican coffees on offer, so fill your cup with natural, honey or washed beans.
Words by Ellie Edwards, Mark Taylor and Sarah Hogg
Photographs by Nic Crilly-Hargrave
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