London Bridge & Borough

London Bridge is home to actual proper landmarks, like The Shard, London Bridge (not to be confused with the much more photogenic Tower Bridge) and Borough Market so it’s very recognisably London in a way that some of the city’s peripheral neighbourhoods are not. That coupled with a number of historical attractions in the area and the fact it’s right by the river means there are often a *lot* of tourists around.

Given that one of the world’s most famous food markets calls this neighbourhood home it’s not surprising that there are a lot of good places to go for a bite to eat. From street food inside Borough Market itself to a range of bars and restaurants lining the surrounding roads, you certainly won’t go hungry here.

With Taiwanese buns from BAO, natural wine and pizza from Elliot’s, tacos from El Pastor and Sri Lankan food from Rambutan making up just some of the food and drink on offer, you’re spoiled for choice too. And there are plenty of other gems further out from the market, stretching both deeper into Southwark and over towards Tower Bridge.

BOROUGH MARKET

Mon -Sat, until 5pm
Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL

Borough Market is probably the most legendary food market in London. With some of the best fresh produce traders in town, and the likes of Brindisa serving up their famous chorizo and rocket rolls, Gourmet Goat cooking up stews and Scotchtails bringing you the fanciest scotch eggs in town, it’s defo not just a place to pick up some veggies and fancy cheese. The Borough Market Kitchen, the communal dining area inside Jubilee Place, also features 25 traders with a mix of old faves like Horn OK Please, La Tua Pasta and Rudie’s alongside newbies including Mimo Pintxos Bar and Mei Mei by Elizabeth Haigh.

OMA

2-4 Bedale Street, London SE1 9AL

David Carter, of Smokestak and Manteca, has opened two new Greek restaurants in Borough Market. AGORA downstairs is loud and boisterous, with tables and stools packed in around an alluring open wood-fired rotisserie grill.  Upstairs, is the slightly more genteel OMA, which offers a leisurely sit-down experience complete with reservations. If AGORA is inspired by the tavernas of Athens, then OMA is designed to give you that slower-paced feel of a holiday on a Greek island. With dishes like açma stuffed with wild garlic; scallop XO labneh; lobster bisque borek; spanakopita gratin; charred lamb belly, hummus, shallot and mint salata; and wild red prawn giouvetsi finished with red prawns and deep-fried prawn butter, and a bottle of the numerous Greek wines on the list, you’ll defo be transported. We’re big fans of OMA and love the look and vibe of AGORA too, so it looks like both Borough Market and David have another couple of hits on their hands.

KOLAE

6 Park Street, London SE1 9AB

Seven years after Mark Dobbie and Andy Oliver duo opened som saa in Spitalfields, they’ve opened their newest spot, Kolae, in a three floor site (including a courtyard) in Borough Market. The focus is on grilled dishes and kolae (also known as Golae, Galae and Gaw Lae), a cooking technique found in the south of Thailand where ingredients are soaked in a curry-like coconut marinade before hitting the grill. Highlights from the menu include fried prawn heads with turmeric & garlic; kolae mussel skewer with calamansi lime; kolae chicken bamboo skewer; sour mango salad with dried shrimp & roasted coconut; southern gati curry of seasonal whole fish; and pandan sticky rice, young coconut sorbet & jackfruit. As for drinks, there’s concise menu of imaginative cocktails made using Thai ingredients – hello pickled green mango dirty martini – around 15-20 wines from Modal and a handful of beers and ciders.

BAO

BAO Borough, Stoney Street, London

Bao has been one of the biggest success stories of recent years, going from street food to permanent sites with ease and commanding regular huge queues around the block. The group now boasts three sites in Central London – Soho, Borough and King’s Cross – plus Bao Noodle Shop in Shoreditch and Bao Bar in Hackney. The food is absolutely knockout; it’s best to order one each of all the baos including the fail-safe classic pork and beef short rib plus our personal favourites from the Borough joint, the deep fried cheese bao topped with curry sauce, and the prawn shia song, a mini finger bun stuffed with prawn and a buttery sauce. The aged beef slices which come on a bed of Taipei butter rice at Bao Borough are a must-order, and if you see their Taiwanese fried chicken on the menu in one form or another, give that box a tick too.

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RAMBUTAN

10 Stoney Street, London SE1 9AD

The long awaited debut restaurant of Sri Lankan cookbook author Cynthia Shanmugalingam has opened in Borough Market – and it’s already proving a big hit. The site features a big open kitchen with a very impressive grill so be sure to grab a seat at the counter top and watch the show. The menu is all killer, no filler with a couple of snacks, selection of short eats, meat, fish and veg and just one dessert, a mango soft serve sorbet – which you’ll be lucky to squeeze in after working your way through the rest. Highlights include the chunky mutton rolls filled with curried lamb; the very delicious red pineapple curry (what might be one of the best veggie dishes on offer in London right now); tempered potatoes; and the black pork dry curry with some fresh roti. Don’t miss the snacks either, especially when washed down with banana negronis or calamansi iced tea.

MALLOW

Mallow Borough Market, Cathedral Street, London

Mallow is one of those 100% plant-based restaurants that you can easily bring your not-so-plant-based mates to. With its excellently thought-out and executed vegan dishes, it’s pretty tough to miss the presence of meat or dairy. Plus, the menu has also been designed to be as low waste as possible, with many ingredients like vegan feta and labneh to garden pickles and jams made on-site, as well as vegan wines and cocktails on the drinks list – bonus points there. While you can go down the starter and main route, we reckon sharing everything is the best way to eat at mallow, mainly because the small plates section is so good (especially the makhani mille feuille and their signature green oil gyoza). Other highlights include the green amok with five-spice tofu and the lahpet pilau. And make sure you save room for dessert, you won’t wanna leave without trying the chocolate caramel mousse cake. YUM.

PADELLA

6 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TQ

Padella serves up hand rolled pasta dishes in Borough Market and Shoreditch. The casual spot has a small menu, but it definitely delivers – all the pastas, from pici cacio e pepe to ricotta raviola with butter & sage to THAT pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu, are absolute dreams and a dinner here won’t break the bank either. All in all Padella is great value grub, made with love.

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MONMOUTH COFFEE

2 Park Street The Borough London SE1 9AB

Monmouth has become a Borough Market staple which means it’s often busy, but if you brave the queues you’ll be rewarded with one of the best brews in London. They do a mean espresso but it’s the classic single cone filter coffee, roasted down the road in Bermondsey, that’s the winner here. Buy beans whilst you’re there so you can feed your Monmouth addiction at home.

VINEGAR YARD

80-82 St. Thomas Street, London Bridge, SE1 3QU

Vinegar Yard is an eating, drinking, art space and shopping market located a stone’s throw away from London Bridge station. It’s the second site from the team behind Flat Iron Square and has both inside and outside space. Food traders include Nanny Bills, Baba G’s, Sugo and Nik’s Kitchen and there are a handful of bars, including two on the mezzanine, serving local beers, wines and cocktails. The Yard is also home to a range of resident shops and the weekly Flea vintage market.

IN HORTO

53b Southwark St, London SE1 1RU

If you’re one of those that loves a good sharing meal then In Horto is just the spot for you. Literally translated to ‘In The Garden’, it’s a rustic wood-fired restaurant, a concept that we can definitely get on board with (but don’t worry, you’re not actually sat in a garden for your entire meal). Indulge in dishes such as whole baked cauliflower with four-cheese potatoes, cod fillet with fire-roasted ratatouille, roast chicken with garlic potatoes and leeks or the hearty slow-cooked lamb shoulder with harissa vegetables. And if you have any sense, you’ll finish off with their tarte tatin and vanilla ice cream to share. 

GRIND

42 Maiden Lane, London

Grind will have you hitting up the coffee-come-cocktail bar for more than just drinks thanks to their modern British dinner menu, with small plates like salt cod brandade with garlic crostini, smashed sweet potato, spiced nuts and yoghurt, and hot apple crumble sundae. As usual, Grind has all your coffee and cocktail needs taken care of, the signature Grind Espresso Martini is a real winner…it’d be rude not to have at least one.

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BAOZIINN

BaoziInn - Romilly Street 人民公社, Romilly Street, London

To cut right to the chase, BaoziInn has some of the best dim sum in London. The all-day menu features a range of Cantonese-style dim sum but mixed with a few touches from Sichuan and Hunan. Across the board, the dumplings are well made, fresh, and delicious so you can’t really go wrong… but we do have some top tips. From the ‘steamed’ section get the Fragrant Chilli Pork Baozi in Beetroot Juice Dough, and the Ruby Prawn Dumplings in Beetroot Pastry. From the Cheng Fen rice rolls section there are only two options, but the Dan Dan ‘Chang Fen’ with Minced Pork and Sichuan Preserved Sprout was a winner, and you should definitely get a plate of the classic pork wontons. There’s also a whole other massive menu of noodles and street food dishes too.

LEGARE

Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, London SE1 2YB

Jay Patel (former Barrafina and Koya City GM) and chef Matt Beardmore (ex-Trullo) are the dynamic duo behind Legare in Shad Thames, which is all about seasonal produce, fresh pasta and low-intervention wine. It’s a simple understated space with white walls, an open kitchen and plain wooden furniture and benches. Keeping it simple is the order of the day in the kitchen too – think stracciatella with sobrasada, gnocco fritto, orecchiette with fennel sausage & cavolo nero ragu, and stracci with crab, chilli & pangrattato. All of this is complemented by a tight wine list of natural and low intervention bottles, mainly coming from Italy.

NINE LIVES

8 Holyrood St, London SE1 2EL

There’s a zero waste policy at this basement bar so when you’re knocking back the cocktails, you can rest assured that you’re doing your bit for the environment. What we can’t promise is that this will lessen the hangover but sip on the Tequila Don Julio Blanco, pistachio syrup, fresh watermelon and white balsamic Pink Flamingo and find out.

PATTY & BUN

54 James St, London W1U 1HE

Flipping out some of the sloppiest burgers in London town, Patty & Bun are famed for their juicy patties, neon signs and bangin’ tunes. You can’t beat their ‘Ari Gold’ with an aged beef patty, cheese, pickled onions, smokey P&B mayo, ketchup, lettuce and tomato, all in a brioche bun. Add in some rosemary salted chips and a couple of beers and you’ve got yourself a damn good dinner.

HAWKSMOOR

157a Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ

They’re all about the steak of course and if you’re looking to splash out on beef, there’s really no better place to do it. Alongside the steaks are all sorts of other goodies including beef dripping fries, lobster mac & cheese and THOSE ‘Rolos’ for dessert. Breakfast is naturally a meaty one, with a smoked bacon chop, sausages, black pudding, short-rib bubble & squeak, grilled bone marrow, trotter baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and HP gravy. It’s meant to be for two but everyone likes a challenge, right? As you’d expect from somewhere that dishes up some of the best steaks in the city, Hawksmoor knows a thing or two about knocking up one of the best Sunday roasts in London, yes it’s beef and only beef here on Sundays. Rumps of beef are started over charcoal before going in the oven to re-create that traditional spit-roasted flavour and you get a nice, fat slice along with duck fat roasties, carrots, greens, roasted shallots and garlic, a big ol’ Yorkshire pudding and plenty of bone marrow and onion gravy to drown it in, and you will want to drown it because that sauce is something else.

SHUK;

Borough Market Kitchen, Jubilee Pl, Winchester Walk, London SE1 9AG

Shuk; (which means street market in Hebrew) is serving up a taste of Tel Aviv in the recently opened Borough Market Kitchen. It’s all about Israeli street food, which you can get in fresh baked pita or as part of a salad box, made using produce from the Middle East as well as the market itself. The pitas include sabich with roast aubergine & eggs, spiced lamb meatballs with chilli yoghurt (which is our fave) and beef brisket with cheese and pickled onions – think cheeseburger vibes. If you wanna skip the bread, you can go for a salad box by choosing from the  likes of roasted squash with cous cous or broccoli & carrot with labneh and you can add the pita fillings on if you want something a bit bigger. All the pitas are properly filling too, not to mention way more exciting than a bog standard sarnie.

AKARA

18 Stoney Street, London SE1 9AD

Akara is the new, more casual sister restaurants to Akoko, the West African fine dining spot in Fitzrovia which we were very impressed by when we visited back in 2021. For Akara, owner Aji Akokomi has taken the same modern approach to West African cuisine that made Akoko so popular and distilled into a more everyday, approachable package with a short a la carte menu of snacks and larger plates rather than an intricate tasting menu set up. Though it’s more casual in its look and menu, Akara is still aiming for a certain level of refined experience – call it causal plus. You have to start with the eponymous akaras, crispy black-eye bean fritters that are almost like little doughnuts, cut down the middle and stuffed with fish, meat or vegetables but the rice pancakes served with a black eye bean hummus, spicy BBQ maitake mushroom, grilled fillet of pollock with yassa caramelised onion and lemon sauce, efik rice with slithers of BBQ mackerel, and tamarind date cake dressed in a boozy rum and pineapple sauce and a dollop of tonka bean cream are not to be missed either. With a prime location in Borough Market, punchy flavour-packed dishes, and that lovely minimalist dining room, this is becoming one of our go-to Borough spots.

LUPINS

66 Union St, London SE1 1SG

Lupins was one of our favourite openings of 2017 – so good we went back twice in one week and ate most of the same dishes again – and it’s still very much going strong. Lupins offers seasonal British dishes – think white bean crostini with anchovy and lemon salsa, Cornish crab thermidor, hake with Nnjua risotto and chocolate mousse with seasame and salted caramel. The bad news is it’s seasonal so your favourite ones probably won’t be there on your next visit (thus our repeats), the good news is they’ve never hit a dull note on any we’ve eaten so far.

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BAR DOURO

Flat Iron Square, Union Street, London SE1 1TD

The family behind Churchill’s opened Bar Douro, first in London Bridge and then a bigger site in the City, dedicated to Portuguese tapas, wines, and port. It’s a great place to pop in for a glass of wine and a few small bites such as crisp golden salt cod cakes; milk fed lamb rolls; soft octopus with sweet potato; and hake belly with tomato risotto. And if you swing by around lunchtime make sure you pick up the daytime-special roast pork sandwich topped with oozing Serra cheese.

NEAL'S YARD DAIRY

17 Short's Gardens, London WC2H 9AT

A trip to a Neal’s Yard shop is heaven for fromage-ophiles – and yes, that is the technical term. Neal’s Yard is mainly all about British cheese, but you’ll find the odd French or Italian variety on offer, too. The company kicked things off in Covent Garden – in Neal’s Yard, natch – but went on to set up two more shops, one in Bermondsey and one in Borough Market, so all your cheese needs will be catered for. And it’s all about the experience: go in to buy one cheese but allow yourself time to linger as the cheesemongers – all dressed in wellies, white coats and hairnets – can talk you through your decision, cutting you little slivers to nibble as you go. That’s lunch sorted, then.

CLO&FLO

Brandon House, Borough High Street, London

Chloe & Florence Bellas first launched Clo&Flo in South Kensington, a studio that combines their backgrounds in pilates and hairdressing, and now they’ve expanded to Borough with a second, very Instagrammable salon. It’s a space where you can get your hair done, have a manicure and work out in a pilates session all under one roof making it perfect for busy Londoners.

3TRIBES

4 Marshalsea Road, London

Crouch End based fitness studio 3Tribes has expanded south of the river, opening its third location on Borough High Street. The site offers the same hot classes as Studio 1 in Crouch End, including hot yoga and hot pilates, as well as the signature barre class you can do in Studio 2. What sets the Borough branch apart from the North London studios is the fact that it’s also home to flotation tanks. Floating is great way to relax and reset both mentally and physically; as well as providing time and space to meditate, floating has been proven to improve sleep quality and speed up recovery from injury. Now you can sweat, stretch and zen out all under one roof.

TÓU

8 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL

TĀ TĀ Eatery founders Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng are back with katsu sando concept TÓU, which is in residence upstairs at The Globe Tavern on the edge of Borough Market. It’s a short, sharp menu, summed up neatly by a bright red poster on the wall that tells you everything you need to know: PET NATS / SANDOS / SUNDAES. You can get the lot, starting with house made daikon and carrot pickles, and the Iberico pork and potato spiced croquettes, before moving onto that sando. It’s a rich, fatty slab of Iberico pork neck with cabbage, onion, raspberry sauce, and XO shallot sauce sandwiched between thick slices of toasted brioche, with chilli powder and Sichuan pepper-sprinkled fries on the side. The duo has teamed up with Stefano Cazzato to offer a large selection of pet nats by the glass and bottle (around 17 in total), which makes for a very nice pairing with the food. Don’t miss the coffee and biscuits sundae for dessert either.

FLAT IRON SQUARE

FLAT IRON SQUARE, Union Street, London

Flat Iron Square is an indoor/outdoor venue and street food market that’s home to a rotating line-up of traders, so you can expect to see the likes of NOLA-inspired Po’ Bros, focaccia pizza slingers Good Slice, Lebanese trader Lil’Watan, and burger specialists Gamekeeper. There’s also a craft beer brewery and taproom on site to keep you well-watered and sheltered should the weather take a turn.

OMEARA

6 O'Meara St, London SE1 1TE

Set up by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, Omeara sits between Borough Market and London Bridge in Flat Iron Square, the development where music, food and culture come together in 7 railway arches. The 320 capacity venue hosts gigs and one-off club nights with headline shows from rising stars and intimate gigs from big names.

EL PASTOR

7A Stoney St, London SE1 9AA

El Pastor is the mini-Mexican group from the Hart Brothers (the pair behind Barrafina and Quo Vadis), who are not only top restaurateurs but Sam Hart actually lived in Mexico City for many years, operating a cult nightclub El Colmillo, so he certainly knows a thing or two about tacos. The original El Pastor is under the railway tracks in Borough Market, a long thin room with high tables and a bar at the front, and a small dining room and kitchen at the back. Whilst you should start with some guac with chicharron and the tuna tostadas, tacos are the main focus on the menu and you don’t want to miss the namesake al pastor, the baja and the epic sharing short rib served on the bone and with a bowl of fresh tacos to roll up your own. Can’t get into the Borough restaurant? Fear not, there are El Pastor locations in Soho and Battersea, and a Casa Pastor in King’s Cross.

CASA DO FRANGO

32 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TU

Forget a cheeky Nando’s, there’s a new piri-piri joint in town. Casa do Frango, which bills itself as London’s first Algarvian restaurant, cooks up proper piri-piri chicken grilled over wood. Alongside those spicy birds you can chow down on bacalhau fritters, garlic prawns, African rice and fries with pasteis de nata for pud (obvs), and there’s be a Portuguese wine list (a mix of well-known and natural varieties) to wash it all down with.

THE MARKET PORTER

9 Stoney St, London SE1 9AA

Given that this pub has a prime spot on the edge of Borough Market, it’s no surprise that it’s almost always heaving with drinkers often spilling out into the street. There are twelve rotating ales on at the bar alongside draught and bottled beer and a short wine list. It’s a traditional old boozer and a good place for a pint, especially when you can get a seat.

SANTO REMEDIO

152 Tooley St, London SE1 2TU

Run by husband and wife team Edson and Natalie Diaz-Fuentes, Santo Remedio is one of the best Mexican restaurants in town. They’re famous for their grasshopper-topped guacamole but everything on the menu is legit great, especially the soft shell crab tacos, the beef short rib with mole negro and the churros. They shake up a great marg here too and if you want to get your weekend off to a flying start, their bottomless brunch featuring free-flowing said margs, is the way to do it.

ELLIOT'S

12 Stoney St, London SE1 9AD

Elliot’s is one of those restaurants that does the simple things really bloody well. Being on the edge of Borough Market means the kitchen has access to some of the best seasonal produce, with much of it cooked using their wood-fired grill and oven. Must-orders include anchovy toast, Isle of Mull cheese puffs and potato flatbread with Irish trout roe and sour cream chive butter. Fresh bread and pizzas, made from flour from UK mills, come out of said wood oven and with toppings like taleggio, sage and brown butter; pepperoni, n’duja, and gorgonzola dolce; mortadella, olive, and pistachio it’s no surprise that these are epic too. Wash all that with bottle of natural wine and you’ll leave very happy indeed.

TACOS PADRE

Borough Market Kitchen, Winchester Walk, London

Located in Borough Market, Tacos Padre is the Mexican spot from hot Irish chef Nick Fitzgerald who earned his stripes at Pujol, Mexico City (on the World’s 50 Best don’t ya know). The stall serves some of the best tacos in London, including beef short rib suadero with morita salsa, cauliflower al pastor with salsa macha and lamb barbacoa with gauc, alongside homemade bottled sauces, local beers and mezcal margs. And the annual summer residency, where Nick sets up on the terrace by the stall, has a bangin’ dinner menu with dishes like oysters divorciados, crab tostada with guajillo & tamarind, gilt head bream with shiso ceviche, confit pork chop cochinita with charred x-ni-pec, smoked celeriac with orange habanero glaze & macadamia sikil pak, and bueñuelos with morita cajeta. 

BAR DASKAL

16 Park St, London SE1 9AB

Bar Daskal, named after owners Sam and James Harts’ artist grandfather Vladimir Daskaloff and inspired by his home and studio in Estellencs, Mallorca (some of his work will even be exhibited in the space), is a wine bar with a focus on Spanish wine and sherry. The list features a mix of Barrafina faves and new by-the-glass options, alongside a short selection of cocktails, including the Agua de Valencia (with gin, blood orange & Cadiz fizz), and the Clara (Estrella, grapefruit & lemon sherbet). You’re also able to nibble on cold tapas like gildas, anchovies, air-dried tuna with olive oil & hazelnuts, chorizo Iberico, Manchego & La Retorta cheese, and pinxto de tortilla con aioli.

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