162 Essex Road,
Average price £30
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Islington is a haven of grown-up artsiness, and houses many famous writers, designers, architects, TV stars and so on. The area is undoubtedly wealthy, yet it feels friendly and creative rather than corporate or snobby, so there’s a plethora of independent boutiques, shops, and the kinds of bakeries with giant pastel-coloured meringues piled high in the windows.
Eyeing up restaurants in Islington, expect the mind-boggling choice of many inner-London boroughs. However, Islington’s real specialities are traditional pubs, and smarter, concept-driven restaurants. Locally-sourced, ethically produced and organic fayre are in abundant supply.
Amongst the smarter Islington restaurants is Almeida, located opposite the theatre of the same name. This is a classic French eatery specialising in pre and post theatre yummies. Expect true gourmet food – think samphire and champagne veloute, and pot-roast guineafowl breast with smoked bacon foam. Of course, no French restaurant worth its sal would be complete without a formidable wine list and indulgent selection of desserts, and Almeida is lacking in neither.
If you’re looking for something altogether more salt of the earth than fruits de mer, go for the Duchess of Kent pub, a hidden gem and the self-proclaimed local of many an Islingtonite.