One of London’s most historic and popular places to shop is also one of its choicest places to eat.
Years ago when I first moved to London, it was Spitalfields that amazed me most and seemed to have the most London-y look and feel from my limited American perspective. Well over a decade later, it’s still one of my preferred spots to roam around – and to grab a bite.
So when the people representing Spitalfields Estate got in touch to see if I’d like to write about my love for the area I was happy to oblige. I took the invitation as an opportunity to big up a few of my favourite places to eat – and not just in Spitalfields but the whole of London. I reckon the Spitalfields food scene is as good as any in town, with a wealth of options reflecting the best of East London diversity and spirit of ingenuity.
Thinking about it, I’m amazed by how such a compact area can have such a vast number of awesome food and drink venues.
But for this exercise I’ll keep things succinct with a list of only four exceptional eateries – all located inside Spitalfields Market. To be sure there are plenty more restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and street food vendors in and around the immediate area offering a broad range of amazing food and drink.
The Liberty Cheesesteak Company
Massively meaty and super juicy (but diminutive in price), the authentically full flavoured South Philly cheesesteaks from Liberty Cheesesteak Company are the real deal. Look for the Liberty van parked on the Lamb Street entrance of the market most days of the week.
Find out more at cheesesteaks.co.uk.
Pilpel for the people! A wholemeal pita stuffed with freshly made falafel and loads of salads and sauces weighs in at just under a fiver and is guaranteed to keep you going well beyond time for your next meal. For crunchy on the outside/fluffy on the inside falafel made fresh with a decades-old secret family recipe, make for the Pilpel’s stall at Unit E in the Pavillion Building of the market or at one of the few other Pilpel locations across East London.
More details at pilpel.co.uk.
Some of London’s best Neapolitan style pizzas are baked by street food traders, Sud Italia, in the wood-fired of their blue van near the Lamb Street entrance to the market. And if you see a queue when you go – don’t worry it’ll move fast and the pizzas are definitely worth a wait anyway!
Check out Sud Italia online at suditaliapizza.co.uk.
Taberna do Mercado
Acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes’s tavern on the western side of the market along Commercial Street presents honest, back-to-basics fare served efficiently and to an exceedingly high standard augmented by an excellent wine list, awesome sweets and great espresso-based drinks. Best bet for a hearty and flavoursome lunch at Taberna is the Bifana, a roasted pork sandwich with yeast mayonnaise and fennel on toasted crusty bread (pictured in above photo at the top of this post).
Taberna do Mercado is online at tabernamercado.co.uk.
Spitalfields Estate is a seven-days-a-week destination for cutting edge fashion and interiors, original artwork and dynamic dining. With historic Spitalfields Market at its core, there are myriad independent shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and more to discover as well as regular free events such as tea dances, film screenings, lunchtime concerts and cultural festivals.
For current and upcoming news and listings go to spitalfields.co.uk.