No Pint, Just A Chippy: 10 Of The Best Gastropubs In London

No Pint, Just A Chippy: 10 Of The Best Gastropubs In London

British food, and pub food in particular, gets a bad rap. It’s been called bland, salty, and, on more than a few occasions, disgusting at best. While true in the case of Wetherspoon’s with its microwaved meals and sticky floors in some instances (although to be fair, Wetherspoon’s does have some top-rated hotel rooms), British food can actually be really good when done well. One might even call it delicious.


Take the classic Sunday Roast. The weekly equivalent of Thanksgiving in the UK, once upon a time, this meal might have consisted of grisly beef topped alongside watery veggies and a rubbery Yorkshire pudding (like a baked pudding?). The entrance of the gastropub onto the dining scene changed all that. Mostly. Spoons is still in almost every city in the UK.

Oi, what’s a gastropub? In addition to the usual services of a public house (that’s where the word ‘pub’ comes from), a gastropub also takes care to serve high-quality food to its patrons. Gastronomy meets pub, essentially. While some of these aren’t exactly the oldest pubs in London, they’re changing the pub grub scene in the heart of the British capital. So, save the pint and invest in the food with ten of the best gastropubs in London.

10 The Norfolk Arms

Let’s start easy and breezy with this gastropub that specializes in Spanish tapas with a side of Mediterranean cuisine. For those avoiding the usual pick’n’mix of pub food items, The Norfolk Arms serves up a storm of delectable finger foods like pimentos de Padron (sweet chili peppers), gambas al ajillo (garlicky prawns), and ham croquetas (fried balls of goodness), and many other dishes with Spanish names.

Well received by locals and tourists alike, this original gastropub – there’s not many tapas focussed ones about – might just be the hidden gem of bustling Euston. A quieter establishment than most pubs, The Norfolk Arms still gets crowded on the weekend and on Sundays with the roast menu, so visitors hoping for a nibble would do well to book ahead.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Russell Square

  • Price: $$

9 The Cow

Contrary to what the name suggests, the highlight of The Cow is not its beef, but rather its seafood. The Oysters, to be precise. Though, with varied choices like fresh crab pasta, ox cheek pie, and proper bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potato) on the menu, there’s certainly something for every palate. And every hungry person too, since The Cow does not mess around when it comes to portion sizes. It’d be hard to, what with a motto like “Eat Heartily & Give the House a Good Name”.

Apparently named after an old landlady, The Cow fits well amidst its trendy Notting Hill neighbors and retro shops, with a small upstairs dining room being the home base for its culinary offerings (stopping for some grub here serves as the perfect pit stop when spending the day in Notting Hill). Credited as one of the original London gastropubs, this popular establishment has seen nearly 30 years of business and has no sign of slowing down. Tourists and local Londoners would do well to pop over for a bite. Or a heaping slice of banoffee pie (sliced bananas and whipped cream atop a biscuit base loaded with caramel).

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Westbourne Grove

  • Price:
    $$

8 The Blue Boat

Nothing beats fish and chips when visiting London; perhaps this dish is worthy of counting itself among one of London’s best British souvenirs in its own right. But hungry travelers can up that quintessential British must-have by chowing down on this classic meal down by the river, which is part of the reason why The Blue Boat is just so fantastic. Practically on the water and with views of Hammersmith Bridge, The Blue Boat is a gastropub fit for the whole family (although children are not permitted indoors after a certain time).

As a very popular riverside gastropub, The Blue Boat will suit guests who don’t mind a bit of noise accompanying their meal. Brave it, and guests are in for the classics: Sunday roasts and veggie roasts with all the usual trimmings, to juicy burgers and fat chips (fries), The Blue Boat does not disappoint. Especially with its fish and chips, which come with the proper sides of tartar sauce, mushy peas (this is exactly what it sounds like) and a lemon (for spice). Plus, with indoor and outdoor seating, and London weather permitting, patrons might even get to enjoy the view of the sunset on the river, chips in hand.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Hammersmith

  • Price:
    $

Fish and Chips is an entire experience to have in London – some would even say a souvenir in itself.

7 The Tamil Prince

Though Islington isn’t exactly a tourist’s dream, The Tamil Prince is enough to convince even the most reluctant of travelers to venture into the North of London. A gastropub specializing in Indian cuisine – Desi pub, for short – this inventive establishment perfectly merges the high quality restaurant with the relaxed ambiance needed for an exquisite meal. In short, The Tamil Prince offers a unique experience previous pubs have only nipped the surface of.

With classic delights among the offerings like crispy onion bhajis, creamy paneer butter masala, and flaky buttery rotis, it will be hard for guests to decide which to choose, let alone find something that won’t be enjoyed. Indeed, even the papers are smitten with The Tamil Prince. Maybe it’s not too bad in Islington after all.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Caledonian Road & Barnsbury

  • Price:
    $$

Related: There’s A Roman Amphitheatre In London, & Here’s What It’s Like

6 The French House

A quintessential pub in the center of London, The French House is best described as a ‘public house with SOHO flair’. For those not familiar with SOHO, oh no, how best to describe this pumping, thriving, shining, district? Close to Chinatown, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus, Soho is the old beating heart of downtown London. And so, in a way, is The French House.

While self-described as a gathering place for authors and artists, The French House is open to people from all walks of life. The only restriction is getting a table, because there are only 8 of them available. With seasonal menus serving up French cuisine – no surprise there – guests consistently leave satisfied and raving about The French House.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Leicester Square

  • Price:
    $$

Related: 10 Affordable (& Fantastic) Restaurants In London’s West End

5 Latymers

Guests are in for a real treat with this one. Nestled beside a hotel and an inconspicuous brick office building, Latymers is well and truly a local Hammersmith establishment.

With none of the fussy decorations that are oh so often found on pub exteriors, it would be easy for Latymers to pass as a simple pub if it weren’t for the spectacular authentic Thai cuisine being served in the back. A relatively laid back addition, this delicious Thai restaurant has reinvented Latymers into one of the best Thai pubs in London. Some even view it as the best Thai restaurant in Hammersmith. Skip the roast and make it Thai at Latymers Hammersmith.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Hammersmith

  • Price:
    $

4 The Princess Victoria

One need only grace The Princess Victoria’s entrance to know that this isn’t the usual gastropub. Spacious seating meets delightful decor in this public house that doubles as a hotel, although there are only a handful of rooms available. Still, if the food’s anything to go by, the accommodation must be grand (British slang for superb).

The menu is the first clue. Sure, there’s classics like “salmon, prawn, and haddock fish pie”, “beer battered haddock, chips, minted peas, and tartare sauce” (fish and chips), and steak and chips. There’s also an entire pizza section with smashing combinations – ham, artichoke, mushroom, and black olives, anyone? With so much to choose from, and such a pleasant atmosphere to eat it in, The Princess Victoria is a great gastropub to eat away an afternoon or an evening in comfort.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Goldhawk Road

  • Price:
    $

3 The Crabtree

As London pubs with riverside gardens go, The Crabtree is right up there with the best of them. Beautiful but unassuming on a normal day, and a swarming epicenter for fans on a match day for the nearby Fulham FC stadium, this gastropub is the go-to place for both relaxing sunset dinners and afternoon analysis of the game.

With such a clientele, it’s amazing that the food manages to satisfy everyone. But one needs only have a meal at this local haunt to see why. With a no-frills Sunday roast and only small frills on the mains, the comparatively simpler cooking at The Crabtree ensures that everyone leaves happy. Simple, but sublime.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Hammersmith

  • Price:
    $

Related: 10 Tips For Navigating The London Underground Like A Local

2 The Harwood Arms

With a Michelin star up its sleeve, this delicious gastropub in London isn’t messing around. One of only two British pubs to have been awarded the honor, The Harwood Arms caters more towards the crowd with a pretty penny to spend, but it still serves a storm big enough to attract local attention (and wallets, too).

Not quite one of the usual local London pubs that tourists and Londoners love, The Harwood Arms is really in a league of its own. The menus showcase a spin on British classics with a focus on high quality, fresh and seasonal ingredients; even some of the game is caught by the owners themselves. Plus, when the Michelin man recommends a stop, one must oblige!

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Fulham Broadway

  • Price:
    $$

1 The Churchill Arms

Photo by Vincent Creton on Unsplash

Flowers on The Churchill Arms pub in London

The Churchill Arms is the most beautiful pub in London, hands down. Built in 1750, this floral and fauna wonderland boasts all the classic offerings of a public house with the addition of a fabulous Thai Kitchen. With such a massive space to its name, The Churchill Arms is a favorite among locals and even tourists, in part due to the pub’s proximity to Kensington High Street and Notting Hill.

It’s also a favorite thanks to the food. Dishing out family recipes for noodles, curries, and stir-fried dishes, the Thai Kitchen at The Churchill Arms is much more than the average Thai restaurant. As the only food that this historic establishment serves, The Churchill Arms really wouldn’t be quite the pub, or the gastropub; it is without its delicious Thai Kitchen.

  • Nearest Underground Station:
    Notting Hill Gate

  • Price:
    $

The name actually refers to Winston Churchill’s grandparents, even if the hanging portrait of Churchill outside indicates otherwise.

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