London's best neighbourhood restaurants, part 1: East London

Given the schedule of activities set to take place in the capital this summer, you could forgive London residents for feeling a little reluctant to travel for the purpose of eating out. Here at Hot Dinners, there's nothing we find more satisfying than ambling through familiar streets to enjoy a decent meal at our favourite neighbourhood spot.

In a new four-part series focusing on the most exciting neighbourhood restaurants in town, we've scoured the four corners of London to highlight the following 'local heroes'. 

With the world focused on the Games, it only seemed right that we start our journey in the East. A melting pot, East London is home to hundreds of communities and cultures. Unsurprisingly, dining options are abundant. Diners here can enjoy a pint and a bite at a cult burger joint just minutes away from a Michelin-starred restaurant. Below we've picked out a range of places, both established and new which, if you're not from round these here parts, are well worth the journey and in our eyes, true neighbourhood gems.


LardoLardo - Hackney - Richmond Rd, E8 3NJ

A recently opened charcuterie, pizza bar and restaurant opened by ex-Bistrotheque manager Eliza Flanagan and Hugh Thom. Locals are already buzzing about the impeccable food served up from ex-Zucca and L'anima chefs Damian Currie and Christian Anguis.

Where is it? Richmond Road, London Fields, situated in the Arthaus development.

What should we have? All of the food here is authentically Italian, although it is the house-prepared charcuterie which keeps us coming back. The European focused wine list is all available by the glass.

Worth the journey? Lardo is open from 8am to 11pm with food and drink served throughout the day. The menu changes regularly with unique charcuterie products being brought in. Bookings are accommodated for groups both small and large.

More about Lardo



Tayaabs - Whitechapel - 83-89 Fieldgate Street London E1 1JU

A cult Pakistani neighbourhood restaurant consistently at the top of many people's lists of favourite restaurants. Decent quality food, generous portions it's an authentic experience all around. Expect a wait, it's worth it.

Where is it? Fieldgate Street, in the heart of Whitechapel, just a few minutes from Whitechapel underground station.

What should we have? Lamb dishes are their specialty, try the marinated lamb chops made with a secret spice blend. Vegetarians are well catered for here. It's BYO, so you can bring some wine to enjoy with your meal, although the Lassi are pretty good also.

Worth the journey? Queueing is part of the experience, even when you have a booking. Arrive early, bring a bottle or two, eat well and leave smelling like a BBQ.

More about Tayaabs


This Bright FieldThis Bright Field- Bethnal Green - 268 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9DA

A 'hyper-local' neighbourhood restaurant and bar which has recently opened up near Bethnal Green serving regional English food, natural wines, local beers and coffee. This Bright Field has only been trading for a number of weeks and is already a hit with the surrounding Hackney road and Vyner Street communities.

Where is it? 268 Cambridge Heath Road, just around the corner from Bistrotheque and a few minutes walk from Bethnal Green underground station.

What should we have? The menu changes regularly here (almost daily), the proprietors are fanatical about the provenance and local sourcing of their ingredients. We enjoyed the Suffolk pork and duck rillette with Hackney Wild sourdough.

Worth the journey? The restaurant is spacious, features an open kitchen and has room for sitting outdoors too. The wine list alone is worth coming for.

More about This Bright Field


Burnt EnzBurnt Enz - Hackney - Arch 374 Helmsley Place Hackney

Nestled in a railway arch adjacent to London Fields, Burnt Enz is an innovative BBQ joint run by Dave Pynt, an ex-chef of Viajante and St John Bread and Wine. Food is cooked over charcoal pits and in huge woodfired ovens built with the help of the guys from Homeslice pizza.  

Where is it? Arch 374, Helmsley Place. A few minutes walk from London Fields overground or Broadway Market.

What should we have? The menu is regularly updated but the Scallops and PX sherry, suckling pig and whole grilled turbot are firm favourites of ours. Enjoy prosecco or local brewers Beavertown on tap.

Worth the journey? Burnt Enz is open Thursdays through Sunday until the end of August. With chefs like James Knappett (Bubbledogs) and Junya Yamasaki (Koya) coming down to cook one-off meals here, you'd best put this one to the top of your local hit list. They're also pretty family-friendly during the day at weekends.

More about Burnt Enz


The GunThe Gun- Docklands - 27 Coldharbour  Docklands, Greater London E14 9NS

The Docklands gastropub, a staple of Canary Wharf workers and residents has recently re-opened their alfresco grill 'A Grelha' for the summer. The outdoor grill is focused on seafood whilst The Gun is famed for its British gastro-pub fare.

Where is it? Perched overlooking the water on the far side of Canary Wharf.

What should we have? Styled around a traditional Portuguese seafood restaurant, the fish and shellfish bought in daily from nearby Billingsgate Market is the best choice here. Those more comfortable with traditional fare can still enjoy this (indoors) at The Gun.

Worth the journey? It's not the easiest of places to get to, but with thousands of Canary Wharf workers and residents stationed close by, The Gun and its outdoor 'A Grelha' should be a popular draw for those who wish to seek refuge from the hectic events taking place a few miles up the road in Stratford.

More about The Gun


And while you're out east, also try...


Follow Louis Fernando on twitter at @tuckandvine and on his blog Tuck & Vine


For more on the best restaurants in London, view our full list of London restaurant reviews.