Where to Eat the Best Pub Food in London

A meal of roast beef at The Harwood Arms.

Harwood Arms/Lateef Photography

Where to Eat the Best Pub Food in London

London's gastropubs offer some of the city's best dining experiences. Here's a list of need-to-know addresses.
17 February, 2022

If there’s one thing London does well it’s pubs, and in recent years, the city’s gastropubs have become some of the best places to eat in the UK capital. London’s best gastropubs elevate pub food, in the case of The Harwood Arms, to Michelin-star level, and if you’re looking for British comfort food at its very best - delicious Sunday roasts, and zingy and inventive European-influenced dishes - then this list of the best London gastropubs is for you. So order a pint, take a seat by a roaring fire and tuck in.

The Anchor & Hope

A fish dish at The Anchor & Hope.

@anchorhopecut

One of London’s original gastropubs, The Anchor & Hope in busy Southwark, just down the road from The Old Vic theatre, offers some of the best pub food in central London. Expect robust modern British dishes with French and Southern European influences (in fact, now the very definition of modern British), all of which are fantastically tasty. While you’re in town you should also check out its sister pubs, the Canton Arms in Stockwell and The Clarence Tavern in Stoke Newington.

The Camberwell Arms

A plate of food being eaten at The Camberwell Arms.

One of London’s best gastropubs, The Camberwell Arms sits on Camberwell Church Street, possibly South London’s top spot to eat. The cooking is exemplary here, swaying Mediterranean-British, and Sunday lunch is a thing of beauty, with most dishes designed to share. Fresh and funky wines and a short but on-point mixed drinks list add to the feel of a young, fun but highly-competent gastropub, with some of the best pub food in South London, nay some of the best food, period.

The Drapers Arms

A plate of food at The Drapers Arms.

@thedrapersarms

Looking for gastropubs in North London? Please, head to The Drapers Arms in Islington, a banging local (to use the vernacular) that attracts curious foodies from all over the capital. The constantly changing menu reads like a long list of things you really want to eat, like a kind of foodie Santa letter, with bigger hunks of meat for sharing and gossiping over. The pub also has a pleasant garden too, perfect for whiling away a hot day sipping on pints and grazing on tasty as hell pub food.

The Eagle

A plate of food at The Eagle.

@eaglefarringdon

Along with The Anchor & Hope, The Eagle, in Farringdon, is one of London’s original gastropubs. There’s a reason it’s lasted the distance, and many an afternoon has been spent poring over its Mediterranean-influenced chalkboard menu and ordering plate after plate from the open kitchen, while working one’s way through the wine list. Pro tip: the steak sandwich is legendary here and makes a great drinking snack – and by snack we mean possibly-won’t-need-anything-else-for-a-few-hours kinda snack.

The French House

A plate of food at The French House.

The kitchen at this legendary Soho pub, once frequented by the likes of Francis Bacon and Dylan Thomas, has recently been taken over by chef Neil Borthwick, who’s previously worked with Angela Hartnett. One of London’s most intimate and welcoming dining rooms – tiny, with burgundy walls and black and white photos of revelry – plays host to a French bistro-inspired menu that will bring a tear to the eyes with its assuredness. The chicken liver parfait, alone, is surely proof of a higher power.

The Guinea Grill

A steak being served at The Guinea Grill.

Central London is largely a desert for good-quality steakhouses, so thank the foodie gods for the Guinea. At this centuries-old pub, the order of the day is dry-aged, grass-fed British beef, slapped on the grill, as well as all manner of other meaty delights such as Wellington and pies. This is the type of cooking that will put you on your back in the best possible way, in a kind of meaty fervour. Despite being in Mayfair this is no glam, moneyed Insta-opportunity of a restaurant. This is a proper pub, with reputedly the best pint of a certain Irish stout available anywhere in the city.

The Harwood Arms

A man holding a whole pate en croute at The Harwood Arms.

If you’re looking for a legendary Sunday roast then look no farther than The Harwood Arms in Fulham. Chef Brett Graham of The Ledbury is part-owner of this Michelin-starred gastropub that, under head chef Jake Leach, serves up sumptuous, excellent-quality roast meats to share, with a strong focus on game – unsurprising, given that Graham owns a deer park – alongside an extensive list of classic wines. This is gastro-pubbing taken up a notch but that doesn’t mean you can’t dive into the pub snacks. Indeed, a pint and a venison Scotch egg at the Harwood is a pit stop we should all be taking.