149 Upper St., Islington
Three friends with careers in law and finance have come together to open their passion project: Slaw. The menu is rooted in the kind of plant-based, root-to-stem cooking that they love to eat, eliminating as much waste as possible. The interior feels straight out of Copenhagen, with chevron wood flooring, white-painted brick walls, and stacks of firewood heaped in the corners. You immediately want to settle into one of the wicker chairs and start eating. Bowls of squash and barley risotto topped with hazelnut crumb, a plate of garlicky chickpeas, and spicy, slow-roasted tomatoes are so nourishing and satisfying, you’ll hardly miss the meat—and that’s exactly the point.
13 Camden Passage, Islington
Long-time Islington resident Lizzie Evans set up shop in her hometown below an upstairs space where she offers workshops in weaving, terrarium making, calligraphy, and more. The shop itself, which locals know from her iconic guinea pig logo, carries design-minded home accessories, prints, and stationery. Her display of wrapping paper and ribbons makes it a great spot for holiday and birthday shopping.
169 Hemingford Rd., Islington
Islington is a sort of de facto testing ground for restaurant concepts and only the best stand the test of time—the legendary Ottolenghi and Trullo, for example. And teensy Sunday, hidden away on a residential street with a beige, unassuming awning and low key decor, may just be the next big hit. Walk by any weekend morning only to find a line around the block, waiting patiently for some of the best breakfast London has to offer. Same goes for weekdays, when virtually every local freelancer in the know rocks up for breakfast, coffee, and lunch. The lure: a perfect breakfast, great coffee, and healthy, hearty lunch. Our picks: Buttermilk pancakes and their as of yet undefeated zucchini fritter, halloumi, and avocado pile served on yogurt spiced with dukkah. Enough said.
The Hummingbird Bakery
405 St. John St., Islington
The Hummingbird Bakery landed in Notting Hill in early 2004 to become the home of quality American baking in London. Today it has five branches across the city in Soho >South Kensington, Spitalfields, and Islington, and is famed the world over for its delicious cupcakes and other sweet treats and desserts.
274/275 Upper St., Islington
This is the place where young couples go in Islington to furnish their East London homes with high-end, contemporary and modern classics created by the likes of Le Corbusier, Hans Wegner, Robin Day, and many, many more. The shop has recently expanded, but the floor is still just the tip of the iceberg. Make a point to inquire about their other stock.
Everyman Screen on the Green
83 Upper St., Islington
This is one of Britain’s oldest independent theater groups—with cinemas in Hampstead, Belsize Park, Maida Vale, and more—and as such, they know how to entertain. Loved for their comfortable and stylish interiors—armchair or couch seating comes complete with footstool and a side table for that glass of wine and gourmet snack (no fake-buttered popcorn or boxed chocolate to be found).
734-736 Holloway Rd., Islington
If you're decorating a London home, a great fireplace is pretty much a must and Chesney's carries a full range. They also have a bespoke department with all the specialists required in case you're looking to have something very specific made. In fact, Chesney's has created The Directory, a manual for recreating authentic and architecturally correct chimneypieces that offers the specs for anything that has ever been stocked there. They have a Battersea location as well.
Vintage Salt (Closed)
189 Upper St., Islington
Considering the preponderance of eateries on Islington High Street, it's surprising how few actually stand out. This nautically-themed spot is one of those few. The offering is way more complex than the name suggests (though their Fish & Chips are reportedly great): We’re fans of the fish curry and the shrimp burger.
300-302 St. Paul's Rd., Islington
This Italian spot is great with a few friends because it means you get to share a bunch of the delicious, seasonal offerings. Their menu is constantly changing, so you can always expect to be pleasantly surprised. Downstairs, you'll find a slightly glitzier (though still very tasteful and understated) vibe and small plates that are a little fancier.
69 Colebrooke Row
69 Colebrooke Row, Islington
The lab above the bar is where resident mixologist, Tony Conigliaro, concocts recipes for his unique and delicious cocktails. Despite being open seven days a week with live jazz every Sunday night, the vibe is relaxed and cool. Make sure to reserve beforehand, as it’s a small space, or try the offshoot at the Zetter Townhouse.