Sandwiched between North and East London, Stoke Newington has long been popular for green spaces like Abney Park Cemetery and Clissold Park, as well as its alternative vibe. The neighbourhood has smartened up considerably in recent years, especially on Church St, where you can find increasingly swanky boutiques, delis and restaurants.
But there are some great budget options too, thanks in part to the area’s Turkish population, who offer excellent and affordable kebabs and lahmacun (Turkish pizzas). Elsewhere, Vietnamese and South Indian favourites offer fine food at bargain prices, and you can feast on pizza and big breakfasts.
Clissold Park Tavern
With a herb-packed garden, appealing fireplaces, sport on the box and pizzas in the kitchen – plus an appealing location right next to leafy Clissold Park – the Clissold Park Tavern is one of those pubs that really does seem to offer something for everyone. There’s a decent range of beers and the pizzas are tasty and reasonably priced, especially during the week, when there are good deals on mini pizzas.
177 Green Lanes, N16 9DB
Rasa is now a small chain of vegetarian Keralan restaurants, but this is the original. This pink-fronted Church St fixture has been dishing up delicious dosas, idli, curries and pickles for over 25 years, with aubergines, spicy potatoes, cauliflower and beetroot backed by reassuring rice dishes and moreish parathas. Rich, fresh and crispy in all the right places, and very reasonably priced – a main with rice or bread will set you back around a tenner – Rasa remains a star.
55 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 OAR
The Best Turkish Kebab
The name may sound boastful, but the queues – which often loop round the interior and out of the door of this tiny take-out – underline that the Best Turkish Kebab really is a top-notch snack spot. The small army of white-coated kebab-makers behind the counter ensure waits are short even when it’s busy, and the doner wraps are among the best in London. There’s no seating, so walk and munch, or set yourself up on a bench in nearby West Hackney Recreation Ground.
125 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8BT
Local favourite Acoustic now has two branches, both offering Mediterranean takes on unfussy cafe fare and more sophisticated restaurant dishes. Brunchers can choose from pancakes, porridge and hearty plates groaning with sausages, halloumi and artichoke, while later in the day burgers, pastas and chunky salads are also on offer. The original Newington Green branch has an appealing stretch of pavement seating, and both it and its Church St sibling are usually buzzing indoors.
60 Newington Green, N16 9PX
97 Church St, N16 0UD
New River Café
One of the best old-fashioned caffs in the area, thanks to its friendly service and views across Clissold Park. It’s a dependable option for tea, coffee and sandwiches, while fry-ups feature classic sides such as liver and bubble and squeak alongside sausages, mushrooms and the like. It’s named after the New River, which once supplied fresh water from Hertfordshire to the heart of London, and is now a pleasant walking route.
271 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 9JH
Epic, 6-mile-long Green Lanes is packed with great Turkish restaurants, with Haringay a particular hotspot. Beyti is probably the best place to eat out on its southern end, where Stoke Newington borders Highbury. The compact, family-run space is dominated by its sizzling grill, whose highlights include a yoghurt-drenched lamb beyti and mighty mixed kebab. The hearty and well priced daily stews are worth checking out too.
113 Green Lanes, N16 9DA
Bánh Mì Etc
Stoke Newington has less Vietnamese food than neighbouring Dalston, but Bánh Mì Etc cheerfully bucks the trend – and is an oasis of affordability on Church St. Baguettes come stuffed with chillies, cucumber and fragrant herbs, with fillings such as meatballs, tofu or chicken. There’s also noodles, warming soup and bubble tea.
37a Church St, N16 0NX
By James Smart