We’ve got a guide to the very best restaurants in Shoreditch. But an area like Shoreditch needs a more everyday kind of a guide. So whether you’re after the perfect place to meet a friend for a lunch-break bite, looking to grab something to go, or you just need to get out of the office for a little you-plus-food time, we’ve got you covered. This is the kind of guide you can whip out any day of the week, and it’s everything you need to help you hangrily navigate Shoreditch at lunchtime.
Rochelle Canteen is Shoreditch’s panic room. This is the only place to go when the area’s statement looks and lunchtime pints are getting a bit too much. It’s a walled off haven with pies and potatoes, a cosy feeling, and also a regular supply of custard. Lovely, lovely custard. Oasis of calm atmosphere aside, a lunch at Rochelle Canteen isn’t one that’s made to be rushed. The opposite in fact. You should be leaning back and having a glass of something from the Languedoc.
Maybe, probably, definitely, the best thing in Shoreditch these days is Troy Bar. This little Caribbean bar does London’s best lunchtime deal: £5 for jerk chicken or curry goat with rice and peas, plantain, and coleslaw. Bear in mind that this is primarily a bar, so the lunchtime feel is very much functional: chairs, tables, and a flirty amount of natural light. But if you’re more likely to take it to go, then it’s worth knowing that you can pick up a box for a couple of quid more in the evening.
Although a lunch at Gloria should, by rights, be what we professionals like to call a ‘write-off’, getting hammered on Aperol with plates on plates of San Daniele ham isn’t the only way to do Shoreditch’s OTT trattoria. In fact, you can just as easily use this place to talk shop over a bowl of London’s richest carbonara as you can for a blow-out three hour extravaganza that ends with a profiterole the size of your head. But before you can do either, you’ll need to make a booking.
It’s hard to know a good coffee from a bad coffee shop because, well, in Shoreditch there are three every 20 steps. That’s what we’re here for though, and The Attendant is definitely a good coffee shop. This is a great place to grab a straightforward holy trinity lunch of sandwich, salad or soup. That’s not to play it down though. The Attendant is very good at simple things: whether that be a home-made quiche or their pumpkin and sweet potato smash. This is one that, before you even know it, has become a regular on your first visit.
Walk into Ruby and the owners and chefs will all be in front of you, simultaneously taking your order, cooking your lunch, taking your money, and making jokes about how your mother raised you. It’s an Italian deli-cum-cafe of the best kind. The food here is hearty and homely, just like you’d expect. The crab and leek tagliatelle is a favourite and they also make their own soups daily. There is limited space to sit inside, so just make sure you get there before or after the 1-2pm rush.
Shoreditch’s premier pasta place is an easy go-to for a classy lunch. It’s a bit more expensive than other places - it'll be costing over a tenner - but you’re paying for amazing handmade pasta, aren’t you. Their signature agnolotti parcels filled with beef, pork, spinach, and smothered in a butter sauce are pretty spectacular. As is every other pasta on the menu to be honest. This is the kind of place you can go for an informal work lunch or just with a pal. It’s probably worth calling ahead though, as it tends to be one of the more popular choices down Redchurch Street.
This newsagent looks pretty standard affair for Shoreditch: slightly abnormal wooden front, signs pointing to its craft beer selection. But there’s a not-so-secret secret within: they make very decent curries daily. You’ll notice queues running outside here most lunchtimes and for £4 you can get a takeaway box of three curries, rice, and poppadoms. We like to add an enormous onion bhaji or samosa for good measure, and you should too. It’s a tasty, homemade, and cost effective lunch.
Barbecue ‘shacks’ are all over London these days, but we can count on one hand the ones that are actually worth visiting. Luckily, Smokestak eliminates the need to count at all, because it blows the competition out of the water. The BBQ here is damn good - we could sustain ourselves on just the smell of this place alone - and the brisket and pastrami are must orders. For a quick lunch go for the brisket bun. It comes in regular and large. You’ll want it large, obviously.
No lunch list is complete without some fried chicken and Butchies is the perfect solution to your crispy chicken cravings, only without the 2am regret. The sandwiches here are big and full of bird of the buttermilk variety. That means they taste really good. It’s the perfect Monday late lunch spot for when the day is dragging and you want filling and fulfilling, just don’t blame us if you end up getting some wings as well. They say they’re award winning, but you can let your mouths be the judge of that.
If you want reliable and tasty Korean around Shoreditch, look no further than On The Bab. You can easily do this place in under an hour (queues dependent) if you’re after some KFC, but it’s also great to get comfortable with a bowl of jjigae and take your time. Basically it’s a popular spot, for good reason. If you don’t fancy a wait you can always order ahead and collect to avoid the crowds ’cos, you know, when you need KFC you need KFC.
Some things are famous for no good reason: the queen, the princes… you get what we’re saying. Beigel Bake is famous for good reason though: they make proper good bagels (and other things too). Don’t be confused by the yellow bagel shop next door - they’re like that step-sibling you never knew about - Beigel Bake is the real deal. It’s an absolute go-to for lunch on one of London’s rare and arbitrarily timed warm days. A smoked salmon cream cheese, a salt beef, and an eyewatering dollop of English mustard, plus a chocolate slice to share in the sun. Perfect.
As we’ve mentioned, coffee shops are ten a penny around Shoreditch. Coffee roasters aren’t too far behind either. Ozone underplay themselves though. Yes they specialise in coffee, but they also do some very nice food as well. Their space on Leonard Street is a great casual lunch spot. Think lots of tasty and interesting brunch-style things, salads, and some heartier dishes; ragu, freshly caught fish and the like. Come to Ozone once or twice and, before you know it, you’ll end up here once a week.
The lunchtime sandwich is ingrained in the British psyche. Three quid, a BLT wolfed here, a packet of crisps there, a spot of indigestion later. Lovely. Not all sandwiches need to be like this though. Take Keu’s bahn mi. Their classic Vietnamese baguette should be a weekly staple but don’t leave it there. The full plates here are a good choice, and sitting down to a plate of roast duck or char siu pork on rice is as tasty and filling a lunch as you’ll get in Shoreditch for under a tenner.
Pub lunches don’t always have to be of the liquid variety. If you’re after some actual sustenance in a nice pub environment, then you can’t do much better than The George and Vulture. It’s out of the way enough to be relatively peaceful and, more importantly, Sodo Pizza have popped up with a residency there. At around a tenner a go the pizzas are great value, as crispy as you like, and make for a social and sensible pub lunch that doesn’t have to end in a regrettable “sorry, I’m not going to be coming back to the office” email.