Brixton is one of the best areas of London to eat excellent food from all around the world. From Colombian to Caribbean restaurants, to casual Japanese market spots, to European wine bars serving small plates. This is a part of London that’s energy is only matched by its eating options, and all of the very best places in Brixton are collected in this guide.
If you like big portions of tasty yakisoba and small prices, you’ll like Okan in Brixton Village. This Osaka-style Japanese spot doesn’t have a lot of seating, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in pork belly okonomiyaki, thick yaki udon, and their excellent signature king prawn and squid yakisoba. Everything here is under a tenner and comes with a proper serving of bonita fish flakes, seaweed flakes, and Japanese mayonnaise, so it’s perfect for a quick sit down situation or to takeaway. If you’re able to grab a table here in the evening, get involved in the sides and their plum wine too, and enjoy the buzz of the open kitchen.
Booking Salon as a dinner destination for you and your mates will instantly earn you a seat at the cool kids’ table. This affordable casual fine dining spot on Brixton's Market Row (with a heavy emphasis on the casual) is knocking out some of London’s best seasonal cuisine, even if it is hard to nail down. It’s a bit British, a bit Italian, a bit French, a bit Japanese, and a lot eccentric. Don’t worry though - there’s nothing too funky going on that you will give cause for alarm or even heavy eye rolls, there’s just some straight up great food, and an equally great wine list.
Londoners are so accustomed to queuing that when we see one we think nothing of it. Some queues tell a story though, and the one that snakes out the door of Healthy Eaters every day is one of them. This homely Caribbean restaurant on Electric Avenue is a local favourite for obvious reasons. It feels a little bit like a home away from home: you can see everyone cooking up huge batches of curried goat or jerk sauce in the back, trays of freshly baked patties come out like clockwork, and generous portions of lunch or dinner are brought to you on a plate for just £7 if you decide to eat in. There’s downstairs seating as well as a few tables upstairs if you want do that, and, if not, you can walk out with a bulging tupperware.
Pop Brixton is a mini shipping container village that’s a great place to hang out for food and drinks with a few friends. This complex of shipping containers is full of street food vendors (serving up everything from jerk chicken, to pizza that gives back to the homeless for every one bought), cocktail bars, and mini-restaurants (doing bits from raclette to tapas). It’s a fun and easy plan for anyone in need of one during the week or at the weekend. Especially if you’re in a group full of different tastes.
Naughty Piglets is a brilliant neighbourhood restaurant that anyone would be chuffed to have open down the road from them. They do little sharing plates of creative French food, paired with natural wines, and it’s the sort of food that will both impress a date and make your mouth happy. We love its intimate atmosphere and genuinely friendly service, and even if you’ve crossed London to get here, they’ll make you feel like you’re part of the neighbourhood. Order the creme caramel for dessert.
When a restaurant takes you to a different place it’s usually a good thing. Unless that place is a rollercoaster. Or an underpass at 1am in the morning. El Rancho De Lalo doesn’t do that though. Instead it takes you to a place full of wonderful Colombian hospitality. The food at this spot on a corner of Brixton Village is delicious. Their £8 lunch deal consisting of a changing soup, choice of meat with rice and plantain, drink, and a banana is undoubtedly the tastiest deal in London. In every sense of the word. The atmosphere is welcoming and humming and makes you want to be friends with everyone in there.
If you’re heading to Brixton specifically to find Caribbean food, Fish, Wings and Tings is a good place to start. As you’d expect, the vibes are chill and the food is solid. Jerk chicken, curried goat and salt fish fritters are all on the menu, with deliciously sweet mango sauce served with all dishes. And on a warm sunny day, there is nothing better than finding a spot on the outside benches with a few of your mates, ordering some food and cocktails, and just hanging out.
Beb’s is a homely Indian restaurant that serves an excellent range of curries, including some Goan specialities, in a caf-like room with red gingham tablecloths and all. Whether you’re eating in or taking away, friendliness and comfort is the number one priority. Rose tea will be offered as you wait, complimentary cassava cake will come out, and the distinct feeling that maybe, just maybe, you would like to be adopted by this lovely couple will occur. The food will also make you feel all warm and fuzzy: lamb xacuti is rich and spiced, and even if you’re just popping in for some samosas, they too are expertly made. Needless to say: the big BYOB sign is also very welcoming.
If you’re planning on being around the main strip in Brixton, your first idea probably won’t be to hike all the way up Brixton Hill to this straightforward Caribbean spot. It’s worth it though. And not only for the menu of comfort food classics like saltfish fritters and jerk chicken with rice and peas, but also for its calm terrace, which can easily handle large groups.
We’re entirely on board with the sentiment of this cool coffee spot on Brixton Hill, and pretty much everything else about it. As well as your classic pastries, sandwiches, and bacon baps, this place has excellent coffee and one of the cutest, hidden gardens in London. Inside you’ll find a sort of modern lumberjack dream, with lots of oak, plants, and the smell of fresh coffee beans. Just be warned, although it’s a great spot for a catch up or getting some work done, they close at 4pm in the week.
Eat of Eden has one of the largest patio areas at Brixton Village, makes purely vegan food, and serves the largest single person combo platters we’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing is huge. It does come in at a hefty £16.95, but it’s really good. You can choose eight items from an extensive list, but you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t get the pumpkin and sweet potato curry, the fried dumplings, and the seaweed fritters, and you’ll probably be taking a lot of it home with you. If you want something smaller (and cheaper) they also serve meals with a curry/stew, a grain and a side for around £12, plus wraps.
“Kooky” is a great word and the best way to describe Shrub and Shutter. This is a bar-come-restaurant where you will start your evening choosing from Brixton’s most extensive menu of cocktails. Weird and wonderful doesn’t begin to define the range of drinks on offer - some come with meat, and others are based on popular Netflix shows. However, the food is just plain wonderful. It’s a seasonal European menu at £36 for six courses, and we say grab a few mates, grab a table, work your way through both menus, and make a night of it.
If you’re looking to get a little work done whilst sipping on some coffee, Stir isn’t a bad shout. This spot on Brixton Hill has your usual cake, coffee, and craft beer options, plenty of seating, and a tiny black dog that’s constantly asleep under one of the bookshelves. Open from 7 to 5 during the week, it’s a good little breakfast spot and has enough exposed brick to be a cool place for a coffee catch up.
Mamalan popped up in Dalston back in the day leading to some north of the river folks to believe that it was a chain. It was not. And in another devastating blow, both Mamalan locations are in South London. The one in Brixton Village is where to get your noodle soup fix when you are finally over ramen, or were never really all that into ramen. The dumplings are good too, but the mama hot wings are a better side option.
You’re going to be at Canova Hall because you’re the idiot that planned a night out in Brixton with a few mates, but forgot to make a plan. This watering hole lives in a converted department store and is pretty impressive on the inside. The food is not the best in Brixton, but the pizzas and pastas will keep your crew in check if you forgot to book somewhere for dinner too.
You might miss Santafereno if you weren’t looking out for it. But you should look for it, and then stop in for some decent Colombian food. Yes, it is a bit basic inside: yes, the music’s a bit loud, yes, the telenovelas on the TV in the corner are a bit distracting if you’re trying to talk to someone - but it’s also kind of great for all the same reasons. The mains may seem a bit on the pricey side, but good luck getting through an entire plate of meat or rice. Do what the locals do and take home half of the lunch deal in a box and a blue plastic bag. Also, if you’re out in Brixton and need something quick to keep you going, the pastel de yuca (cassava cake stuffed with beef, rice and peas) or the empanadas are the best value and most tasty £1.20 snack you will get in south London.
We’ll keep this simple. Other Side Fried Chicken makes one of the best chicken burgers in town, and you should definitely consider getting one if you’re at Pop Brixton. Even if you’re not in Brixton, you might consider jumping on the tube to get in on some crunchy, juicy chicken action. The buffalo and signature honey butter burgers are both ridiculous.
KaoSarn serves satisfying Thai food from a small cafe in Brixton Arcade. We like to hit it up when we get cravings for comforting South East Asian food, and it’s also good for an afternoon pick-me-up. The moo ping pork skewers are a winner, and make sure the minced chicken larb salad is in your order too.
Smoke and Salt is a small spot in Pop Brixton serving food that’s been smoked, cured and preserved. The result is a small selection of interesting, and occasionally excellent dishes, all at reasonable prices. The menu changes pretty frequently, but you can expect to eat things like an outstanding chicken leg that was brined for hours before being scorched, or a simple plate of tomatoes that’s better than you’d expect it to be. Not everything’s perfect, but there’s enough good happening here to make it worth a visit.
Franzina Trattoria is a tiny authentic Sicilian restaurant hiding in plain sight in a shipping container in Pop Brixton. You need to come with at least one other person, but come as a foursome and you can try a number of their starters. They’re all a bit more interesting than the usual ‘burrata, bruschetta, caprese’ fare you find at Italian restaurants these days. But what you’re really here for is the homemade tagliatelle, specifically the the black squid ink, which is sensational.
Okay. We’ll be honest with you, the food at Cattivo is not great. Sometimes it’s not even good, but this huge, glossy space, their opening hours, and the location near Brixton station make this a really useful spot to have in your back pocket. You can expect a big shiny bar, a moody downstairs basement, a laid back feel, and a cool, slightly industrial look that’ll work just as well for a group catch-up as for first date drinks. If you do eat, avoid the vegan options and stick to the smaller sharing plates and sides. Heads up: they’re open until 2am at the weekend.
Need a date spot in Brixton that does some nice cocktails and some good enough nibbles? Three Eight Four is that spot. The small plates will not blow you away, but it’s a great little spot for a few cheeky cocktails nonetheless.
If you like tapas, then you’ll like Boqueria, which does Spanish food that you could confidently feed to your mate from Barcelona. Except maybe don’t literally do that, as they’ll probably slap you if you try. All of the standard dishes like tortilla and calamari are proper and perfect for a casual hang with a couple of Estrellas, though you can kick it up a notch for an occasion, as they have dishes like suckling pig and killer seafood specials on the menu as well.
Federation Coffee is where you go when you want good coffee close to Brixton Village. It’s cosy without being pokey, and it’s always full of people hanging out and doing things like conversing and making eye contact with other humans (they don’t have wi-fi). The food’s good, in a casual avocado and eggs kind of way - try the ricotta and salmon on toast, which is a nice change from the usual rotation of brunch dishes.
If you live in Brixton, chances are that you’ve probably walked past this café half a dozen times without even noticing it. It’s a cosy and low key spot that does brilliant breakfasts, and even though it looks like literally any other cafe from the outside, all of the food’s of a high standard. You can get a great Eggs Florentine and Bloody Marys at the weekends, and they have super fresh, light salads, and falafel wraps during the week.