The days of pub food being greasy fish and chips are long past. Here are 10 gastro pubs that’ll have you wondering why you ever bothered going to a restaurant.
The best London pubs are no longer just places to meet with friends after work for a drink. They have become award-winning eating destinations and experiences in their own right. The competition between so called gastro pubs is now as intense as the best restaurants in the capital. With our top 10 list, you can’t go wrong.
You might need to get your satnav out to find the Harwood Arms in the West Brompton area of London but it is worth it. Some of the best pub dining in the city is available here with the best in British seasonal produce on a menu that includes venison scotch eggs, charred Cornish mackerel, and an impressive selection of pudding wine. But, then again, with Brett Graham of the award-winning The Ledbury as the director, it’s not surprising it is often atop any gastro pub guide.
This is a listed 19th century public house turned pub in the heart of Clerkenwell across from Exmouth Market. Again, British produce and local farmers are key to the menu here which is updated seasonly to showcase the best food available in every season. Try its six-hour braised beef ribs for two to share, or its bun and cheek which is an ox cheek braised in Worcestershire sauce, served in a brioche bun with hand cut chips and dipping gravy. Yum. They also have a partnership with Sadler’s Wells Theatre whereby you can get dinner before or after a show and receive 20% off your bill by showing your theatre ticket.
Situated in the increasingly fashionable area of Bermondsey around the corner from London Bridge, The Garrison is as well known for its wine list as it is for its food. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with an emphasis on dishes using produce from artisan suppliers, their motto is “locally sourced, seasonally inspired, lovingly delivered.” The lower floor of the pub is home to the cinema room, a private room available for hire, perfect for dining, enjoying a screening, and wasting a few relaxing hours.
The Marquess Tavern
You will have to travel to Highbury and Islington in North London to enjoy the Marquess Tavern. Here you can eat, drink, and take a selfie with the pub’s house giraffe, Gertie. You’ll have to fight for a table with the locals as this is a true neighbourhood pub offering great food in a homely setting. Sunday roasts are a big draw with five to choose from, but the 40-day cured Yorkshire sirloin of beef is worth noting.
The Britannia Richmond
The Britannia is one of the oldest pubs in the borough of Richmond. Nestled down a cobbled street just next to its popular town green, The Britannia offers both good gastro food and more refined dining in its upstairs Roof Terrace Restaurant. Their garden and autumn internationals menu rounds out a unique experience at the 2018 Diners’ Choice Award recipient. The pub features many great British classics like pork chops, fish and chips, finished off with the apple and pear crumble.
One of the oldest pubs in Mayfair this offers history, as well as a fabulous food experience featuring an ever-changing menu, fresh produce, and a generous selection of drinks. It has been serving food to London’s finest since 1729 and offers three types of dining: traditional pub dining, traditional restaurant-style in the Dining Room, and private dinners in The Club. The Punchbowl also happens to boasts one of the best wine lists for a pub in London.
Part of the Three Cheers Pub Company, The Bolingbroke is a lovely gastro pub at the more “locals” end of the popular Northcote Road in Battersea. The Bolingbroke offers that great combination of good hearty bar snacks, an enviable wine list, and a varied menu of classic gastro dishes that can be enjoyed in either the main pub area, or the quieter restaurant area.
The Bald Faced Stag
A local favourite in East Finchley in north London, a pub on this site has been part of the neighbourhood since 1714. The current occupant, The Bald Faced Stag, has been serving East Finchley since 2014 after major refurbishments. Great burgers, wonderful roasts, four out of five star reviews and a drinks list to match make this worthy of its gastro pub tag and ranking on our top 10. You also can’t miss it as it has an iconic rooftop stag emblem that overlooks the High Street.
The Fox and Grapes
Situated just on the edge of Wimbledon Common this is the perfect pit stop after a leisurely walk through the greenery. You won’t be alone, either, as this is one of the most acclaimed and awarded pubs in the country. But that’s not so far-fetched given that the chef director is Michelin-star chef, Paul Merrett. While that means grabbing a meal here may be a little more expensive than your average gastro pub, but it’s anything-but-average food makes it worth the splurge.
The Drapers Arms
Another historic London pub, The Draper’s Arms dates back to the 1830s. It attracts locals and tourists alike with a menu that changes daily depending on what is in season and a wine and spirit list 21-pages long. With a lovely relaxing garden and retro-style dining area, The Drapers Arms makes a nice hideaway in Angel, North London from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Before you go, you might like:
- London’s Top 10 Gastro Pubs
- Guide to Top 10 most unusual craft beer styles
- Is the British boozer heading for extinction?