Establishment neighborhood
The Coach
26-28 Ray St., Clerkenwell
French bistro meets British gastro at the upscale boozer the Coach. The dining area is English elegant, which is to say, oak-paneled walls, walls painted minty green, and haphazardly hung artwork. It all comes together to create a warm, cozy, quietly refined room you will happily settle into for many Sunday lunches to come. The owners have taken care to include all the classics when it comes to beer and wine, offset with a notable selection of craft brews and smaller labels. The cuisine is the kind of cold weather fare we always love: cidery mussels with thick fries for dipping, fall-apart braised ox cheeks with sharp horseradish, and the pork rillettes with crisp toast and vinegary pickles. All pair perfectly with a cold beer.
82 Goswell Rd., Clerkenwell
Pretty much anyone in London with a passion for a gourmet taco puts Breddos at the top of their list. Having spent years on the London street-food scene, the guys behind Breddos finally opened up this brick-and-mortar in December, boasting a fancy new tortilla machine imported from Mexico and their own interpretation of authentic Mexican-style Coca-Cola (made with real sugar cane). The guys behind this laid-back joint—where vinyl is played loudly at all times, the art on the walls veers more hipster than kitsch, and every foodie in London seems to flock—have spent years traveling throughout Mexico and the US, and it shows: They've mastered their own brand of Mexi-meets-Cali cuisine. Go with a friend and order one of everything to share—the tacos and tlayudas merit all the hype. Their mezcal list, split between permanent fixtures and guest varieties, might just be the best in town, too.
32 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell
This was once the casual next door restaurant to husband and wife Sam and Samantha Clark's Exmouth Market hit, Moro, but it has since taken on a life of its own, in many ways surpassing its predecessor, and expanding into a new, much bigger space in Hackney. Morito is their take on the tapas bar, with a short but excellent list of wines, sherries, and strong cocktails, accompanied by exquisite small sharing plates of everything from Padron peppers, to baked cheese, to traditional tortillas. This isn't your typical tapería, though: All the food comes infused with an extra dose of North African flavor and the vegetable dishes, like their crispy aubergine and beetroot borani, tend to steal the show.
Sosharu (Closed)
64 Turnmill St., Clerkenwell
This Tokyo-style Izakaya spot is the most recent addition to Jason Atherton's growing restaurant empire, which also happens to be perfect for the business lunches and dinners of its Clerkenwell denizens. Here, inside a lacy wooden structure that envelopes the space, everything from traditional rice bowls, to Tonkatsu, to their must-order tuna temaki is served up with an added dose of artistry on beautiful serve ware that appears designed for each individual dish. Aside from the cozy leather banquettes for intimate dinners, the best seats are at the bar, watching the action in the kitchen. Before or after the meal, head down to the bar for wabi-sabi inspired cocktails and a long list of sake to choose from.
30 St. Cross St., Clerkenwell
Beautiful, Modern British is what you can expect at this Farringdon joint. The dark, spare space, decorated almost exclusively with black Tom Dixon hanging lights, is a perfect blank canvas for the artfully plated cuisine. Go for dinner, where a delectable daily changing set menu is served each night, at a very affordable—by London standards—£55 for six superb courses. And definitely don't skip out on Anglo's own sourdough bread spread thick with butter at the start.
Berber & Q Shawarma Bar
46 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell
Levantine grill joint Berber & Q's first foray out west is with Shawarma Bar, serving up their masterful take on the elevated kebab. And what they mean by kebab is melt-off-the-bone lamb or perfect rotisserie chicken served in a rice bowl or on warm pillowy pita. These, accompanied by their next-level pickles, hummus, tahini, and burnt eggplant dips, makes for an insanely flavorful—and intensely filling—meal. Middle Eastern-spiked slushies and their own house-made za'atar ale are on hand to help wash it all down.
1-10 Summers St., Clerkenwell
The knowledgeable, friendly, and design-obsessed staff at this Viaduct showroom will introduce you to the work of all the up-and-comers, as well as the more established designers on the scene, like Patricia Urquiola and Japer Morrison. If they don't have what you're looking for, they can probably track it down. They're great for outfitting modern offices and much of their stock transitions easily into the modern home. GP's architect Al Martin even used Viaduct for the modern renovation of his London home.