Bon Vivant’s Emyr Thomas has lived in Clerkenwell for 10 years and knows its restaurants and bars inside out. Here’s a selection of his favourite Clerkenwell Restaurants and Clerkenwell Bars.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: Caravan
Caravan offers one of the best brunches in London on the weekend in a relaxed and effortlessly cool setting on Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell. When the weather warms up, the door and windows open and diners spill out into the street.
The New Zealand influenced restaurant has its own coffee roaster, so flat whites are very popular too. Caravan has a second outpost, Caravan King’s Cross.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: Morito
Moriton is a small tapas bar right next door to its big sister, Moro, the acclaimed Spanish restaurant on Exmouth Market. This is one of my favourite tapas bars in London – it’s small, casual and has an excellent selection of authentic and inventive tapas dishes.
Clerkenwell Bars: ZTH Bar at The Zetter Townhouse Hotel
The Zetter Townhouse bar is designed around a fictional crazy aunt whose artefacts from around the globe fill up the room.
The setting in a townhouse on a beautify square in Clerkenwell is delightful and the cocktails are excellent.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: The Modern Pantry
Right next door to the Zetter Townhouse is Anna Hansen’s Modern Pantry, which serves excellent food in light, bright surroundings. The restaurants also has a large terrace to make the most of the sunshine in the summer months with alfresco dining and a few lovely private dining rooms upstairs.
Clerkenwell Bars: The Peasant
Clerkenwell has its share of gastropubs, including the Coach & Horses and The Eagle, but The Peasant is one of my favourites. The downstairs bar area is full of character, serving a long list of ales and beers, with plenty of room for both drinkers and diners.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: Polpo Smithfield
A recent addition to Clerkenwell, Polpo Smithfield opened near Smithfield Market in the summer of 2012. Polpo Smithfield is the latest restaurant from Russell Norman, whose restaurant empire started with the original Polpo in Soho.
Polpo Smithfield also has a basement Negroni bar.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: Portal
Portal is a modern Portuguese restaurant and bar on St John Street. Architecturally, the dining room is stunning: a glass conservatory within a brick courtyard with atmospheric and beautiful up-lighting creating a dramatic backdrop.
The Iberian cuisine is top notch with some wonderful Portuguese wines.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: Bistrot Bruno Loubet
Bruno Loubet returned to the London restaurant scene with Bistrot Bruno Loubet at The Zetter Hotel. The tables are packed in next to each other, but the crowds keep flocking here for the rustic French cooking with intense flavours.
Clerkenwell Bars: Nightjar
Although not strictly in Clerkenwell, Nightjar is a beautiful bar hidden away in a basement in Old Street, which does technically have an EC1 postcode.
Nightjar is a great place to relax with a drink alongside laid back jazz and brilliant live music on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Clerkenwell Restaurants: St John Restaurant
A guide to Clerkenwell’s restaurant wouldn’t be complete without a mention of St John, the famous ‘nose to tail’ restaurant that uses every possible part of an animal. St John is a bit of a Mecca for London’s ‘foodies’ and certainly worth a visit at least once.
Other notable restaurants include French restaurant Morgan M, the relaunched Quality Chop House and the Fox & Anchor pub on Smithfield Market.
If you need a strong coffee after visiting all the restaurants and bars, try Workshop Coffee Co, which features on our guide to the best coffee shops in London.
What are your favourite Clerkenwell restaurants and bars? We would love to hear your thoughts below.
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