Our 5 Favourite Clerkenwell Restaurants
Clerkenwell, where the Rosebery is based, is one of London’s most energetic areas. During the day you’ll see cars rushing down streets as crowds of people go to and from work. But that doesn’t mean the neighbourhood is all bustle—it’s an area rich in history, full of lovely little lanes with some great dining. Here’s our picks for the best of the lot.
Clerkenwell might have changed considerably since its Italian heyday, but that spirit is kept alive at a few key establishments—and none are as authentic and quality focussed as Santore. This is a comfortably rustic restaurant with tiled floors and wooden furniture that serves up wood fire pizzas and beautiful pastas.
Come: during the evening, where Exmouth Market’s sleepy ambience makes you feel you’ve stepped into Rome for an hour or two.
Try: the gnocchi alla sorentina, or their special i panuozzi, a pizza sandwich.
Wander a little further down Exmouth Market for more Iberian-style fare, at this casual tapas bar that marries traditional Spanish dishes (the croquettes, the Iberico) with North African flavours. Rub shoulders with the locals as you drink back their excellent cocktails and soak in the buzzing atmosphere.
When: if in the evening, come early, or risk wait times of upwards an hour.
Try: to share the plates with a large group—the more you try, the richer the experience will be.
Quality Chop House
If classic British food is more what you’re looking for, this locally-sourced fine dining establishment combines the heritage of the building (it’s been a restaurant since 1869) with innovative twists. Step into its gorgeous Grade-II listed Victorian interior for hearty belt-expanding meals.
Come: on Sunday afternoons for a 2 or 3 course Sunday roast.
Try: the Swaledale lamb paired with a few among their large list of wines.
A short stroll down from the Rosebery, this snug Korean place serves up some of the most authentic bibimbap, bulgogi and kimchi pankakes in central London. Make sure to get a beer or keep the water coming—in true Korean style, these dishes are hot! Cash only.
Come: on weekdays at lunchtime; it gets very crowded, but they have some of the best lunchtime deals around.
Try: the jabchae, a bowl of vermicelli noodles with beef and vegetables that’s comfort food supreme.
164 Clerkenwell Rd
020 7278 8674
Feel like you’ve been transported to Japan in this steadfastly traditional restaurant. Chef Toru Takashi freshly prepares the sushi in front of you while his wife Harumi provides perfect Japanese-style hospitality. It’s a flawless experience.
Come: as one of the most notoriously difficult places to get a reservation in the area, any timeslot you can manage is best.
Try: the sushi-sashimi omasake (set menu) that provides the whole sushi pantheon over two hours.
12 Jerusalem Passage