Located off the ever-hip Upper Street, Angel Central Shopping Centre (formerly known as The N1 Centre) has a vibrant and stylish collection of shops, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and music venues under its roof. Whether you want to watch the latest movies and share a family-sized popcorn snack, or dine out for two on something more extravagant, Angel Central offers you that choice.
People say music is the food of love, and there’s certainly no denying it can help set the mood. But, whilst we’re partial to a gig or three we’d happily have to disagree on this one. Because food is the real food of love, and indeed the food of life as we all know it. Without delectable morsels, people wouldn’t be able to survive.
Moreover, though, without mouthfuls of exquisite flavours things would be far less, well, tasty. Not to mention interesting.
One of the problems with living in London isn’t so much eating, it’s trying to figure out where you want to eat. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the UK capital can be pricey. In fact, anyone old enough to read will probably understand that everything from lodgings to Lebanese cuisine can end up costing quite a lot if you’re not careful.
According to this article in the Independent, London is the most expensive city in the world to dine. And that was published back in 2007. Factor in inflation, let alone the ongoing exodus of low earners, and increasing influx of millionaires to the city, and the smart money is on the fact things are only going up in terms of costs.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.
So choice leads to dilemmas, however it also means we have choice (sorry to state the obvious). For every Michelin-starred eatery, then, there are also plenty of places to grab great bites, without breaking the bank. Keen to prove our point, we’ve been scouring the streets here in Islington for a list of the ten best budget places to eat in the borough, meaning not only are you guaranteed not to turn crimson when the bill arrives, you won’t even need to travel far to get the most bang for your buck. Without further ado, here’s what we came up with…
35 Islington Green, N1 8DU
A long-standing favourite amongst locals, as the name suggests this place specialises in traditional-style, home-cooked Afghan dishes, with mains pleasingly positioned the right side of £10. The simple, modern interior is all about clean design, and with both lunch in the afternoon, and dinner served well into the night, it can cater for many needs.
139 Upper Street, N1 1PQ
One of two Antepliler branches in North London, there’s a glitzy (or perhaps that should read garish) interior look to this particular outlet that takes some getting used to. In contrast, the dishes are so good you’ll be blown away the moment you smell what’s cooking. Turkish food at its best, inspired by the flavours of the Gaziantep province.
27 Upper Street, N1 0PN
If one national cuisine is underrepresented in the UK, we’d say it’s Mexican. Which is ironic considering the majority of people with any sense of taste relish in enchiladas and the like. Chilango Islington may not be the only place to get this kind of grub in town, but it’s definitely amongst the best, thanks in no small part to how fresh the ingredients are.
21 Chapel Market, N1 9EZ
Whilst everything north of the Watford Gap is often written off in the eyes of Londoners, folk in Birmingham and Bradford have long held claim to the finest curries in the land. And the best places to grab a bite of spice are usually pared back cafes and canteens. Delhi Grill is Islington’s answer to that, with basic seating and excellent Punjabi portions.
Hoxley and Porter
153 Upper Street, N1 1RA
Proof that it’s not just foreign tastes that can satisfy your hunger and stay in budget, Hoxley and Porter specialises in a British kitchen. Inside you’ll find Victorian decor, some elaborate (and, in a few cases, slightly challenging) cocktails, and a simple but delicious menu offering three courses for less than £16. Now that, ladies and gents, is value.
Mem & Laz
8 Theberton Street, N1 0QX
Just around the corner from the famous Turkish restaurant Galipolli, Mem & Laz might have struggled to compete- given it offers much of the same- if it wasn’t for the fact it’s equally impressive. In fact, it might be even better. Expect a loud, bustling atmosphere, hanging lanterns and bazaar-esque decor, great grilled meats and excellent veggie dishes.
The Breakfast Club
31 Camden Passage, N1 8EA
You’ve seen the movie- and hopefully loved it- now prepare for a similar reaction towards this great value Saturday morning hangover cure. Set in Camden Passage- a charming thoroughfare of boutique stores and antique-peddling gems, thanks to The Breakfast Club’s tiny size the queues can be huge, but the Eggs Benedict is worth waiting for.
92-93 Chapel Market, N1 9EX
If you can show us another place that serves an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet for under £5 we’ll eat our hats. And don’t worry, they won’t be made of leather (or indeed any other animal product). Indian Veg has frequently been cited amongst the capital’s top tier of non-meaty foodie destinations, and for very good reasons.
140 & 154-155 Upper Street, N1 1RA
With two restaurants on one street, both boasting the same menu, clearly Le Mercury is doing something right. Providing a little taste of France without the Parisian attitude (or indeed the London price tags), mains sit just beneath the £10 mark, and you’ll be impressed to discover the likes of carpaccio de boeuf on offer.
21 Parkfield Street, N1 0PS
Perfect for those who prefer to decide what kind of cuisine they want to eat once they arrive, the N1 Islington- soon to be rebranded as Angel Central- has an abundance of places to satisfy those hunger pains. From Ed’s Easy Diner with it’s 1950s America stylings and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, to Wagamamas and the ultra-healthy Itsu.