You don’t know what to have until it’s gone.
That’s true for pretty much anything in life. But especially my moving out of Islington.
Not that I’m complaining (having moved to Clerkenwell, I don’t exactly get to do that…).
But with fanstatic brunch places, more independant pubs and restaurants than you can shake a stick at, a booming coffee scene, adorable knick-knack stores that definitely are conspiring to make you spend all your money (…) Angel Islington really has it all.
Perfect destination for a weekend stroll you think? You don’t say!! So put on your nicest striped top (the N1 sure-fire camouflage) and follow the guide to Angel Islington’s very best bits!
First things first – cakes & sweet treats!
There’s plenty of choice on Upper Street, from gluten-free delights at Romeo’s GF Bakery and Bread & Beyond, to ice cream, traditional French pastries and more.
The very best of the bunch at to be found at Ottolenghi (287 Upper St, N1 2TZ), whose window display is very difficult to resist. But then again, so is their ever-changing buffet of fresh salads…
Also good: Udderlicious’ ice cream (187 Upper St, N1 1RQ – the seasonal flavours are always especially good)
If you’re after a good pub, The Old Queen’s Head (44 Essex Rd, N1 8LN) is the one. Not only do they have a good selection of beer & wine, but they also make very good cocktails at quite okay prices for the area.
Also, they’re home to this baby:
Because you see, The Old Queen’s Head is also home to Lucky Chip. And their burgers are far, far better than your usual pub grub…
That said, Angel Islington is also home to some of London’s best gastropubs and The Pig & Butcher (80 Liverpool Rd, N1 0QD) is at the very top of my list.
Serving up beautiful seasonal plates, it’s a great place to take guests and friends along for a leisurely lunch or a casual dinner.
…and their Sunday roasts aren’t half bad either, in case you were wondering!
Also good: sister-restaurant The Smokehouse (63–69 Canonbury Rd, N1 2DG), forever-on my to-visit-list Drapers Arms (44 Barnsbury St, Islington, N1 1ER)
For a quick pick-me-up, nothing beats mini juice bar Ginger & Lime (191 Upper Street).
Boasting a 50-something strong juice & smoothie menu & lovely, personable service every single time, it’s the perfect way to stay hydrated / treat yourself without blowing up the calorie counter / work towards your 5-a-day all at once!
Another one on my always-a-good-idea list is Oldroyd (344 Upper Street, N1 0PD).
It’s a great place for a nice lunch (they serve up an excellent value set lunch menu), a small bite (their croquetas are always on point), dinner, pudding and even brunch (when they serve up the above, to-die-for carbonara-like pasta).
I could happily dine there once a week, though I can be challenging to get a table in the evening, so make sure you book ahead or go late!
While we’re on the topic of brunch, let’s make something really clear. There is absolutely no reason why you should queue up at The Breakfast Club when there is Radicals & Victuallers (59 Upper St, Islington, N1 0NY) down the street.
A favourite with the afterwork drink & weekend party crowds (they have live music & cocktails ’til late), they also have a great brunch menu and always plenty of room for you to seat! And also a small courtyard, board games & sports on the telly if you ever wanted to make a day of it…
Also good: Kipferl (20 Camden Passage, N1 8ED – for an Austrian take on your traditional brunch), The CoffeeWorks Project (96-98 Islington High St, N1 8EG – for coffee & cake)
Last but not least, quite possibly my favourite place in Angel: The Afghan Kitchen (35 Islington Green, N1 8DU).
A tiny, always packed gem of a restaurant, where husband-and-wife team dish up traditional Afghan dishes. Think India-meets-the-Middle-East stews, homemade bread, rice dishes and baklawa.
It tastes like food my grandma would cook (if my grandma was Afghan, that is) and makes for the best takeaway you’ll ever have. Perfect for a picnic at nearby Islington Green or a Netflix-and-chill sesh’.
Also good: Little Viet Kitchen (2 Chapel Market, N1 9EZ – for the best spring rolls in London, amongst other wonders!)
One of the oldest running cinemas in the country, Screen on the Green (83 Upper St, N1 0NP) will ruin you for ‘regular’ cinemas.
Not only is the selection, mixing new blockbusters and old favourites, absolutely brilliant, but you get to enjoy your movie from the comfort of plush red velvet armchairs & sofas, with a perfectly crafted cocktails from the cine-bar in hand and delicious snacks from the cine-kitchen served at your seat.
Not going back to Odeon any time soon, are you?
Whether you love vintage finds, hipster trinkets or quality kids’ toys, After Noah (121 Upper St, N1 1QP) is an absolute Aladdin’s cave. No lamp-rubbing needed, just a bit of patience (and the self-control required not to buy half the store)!
Also good: Gill Wing Cookshop (190 Upper St, N1 1RQ – great selection of quality equipment for all your kitchen needs)
SMUG (13 Camden Passage, N1 8EA) is another store in the don’t-need-any-but-want-it-all category.
Specialising in stationary & homeware, it’s also the perfect spot if you’re after the perfect birthday gift for you best/girl friend(s).
A touch less glamour but far more useful is Upper Street DIY (204 Upper St, N1 1RQ).
True to their motto, they have everything you could possibly need, from lightbulbs to glitter tape and much more. They also offer DIY services, should you need help with any of your home upper-fixer projects…
Anyone else living in/loving Angel Islington? Would love to hear about your favourite bits!