The best places to eat in South East London

South East London punches above its weight in many areas, not least its food scene. Sure, there’s now plenty of the bougee small plates malarkey you’re likely to find in Soho, but there’s also enough unpretentious Italian joints, Sri Lankan canteens, and traditional pie and mash shops to counter the balance.

Take a walk in one of the area’s many beautiful green spaces (from Hilly Fields to Crystal Palace Park, there’s so many to choose from), and take in wonderful views of the city. Maybe it’s the lack of the tube or just something in the water, but South East London offers a community solidarity stronger than you might expect a few miles away from Big Ben.

From Kurdish kitchens to diners serving pizza, discover our must-visits for any trip to the SE postcodes: the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley.

The best places to eat in South East London

Everest Curry King, Lewisham

They named themselves the Curry King, because they knew it was true… There exists no greater SE restaurant for lovers of spice. Everest Curry King has been offering Sri Lankan and South Indian classics to Lewisham locals for over 20 years, and it boggles the mind how so much flavour can come out of one restaurant. Top dishes are the fish curry, aubergine curry, vegetable kottu roti, string hoppers with their fragrant coconut gravy, and the devilled prawns and fish. We challenge you to find anywhere else you will be served this much mouthwatering food at such extraordinary value.


Trattoria Raffaele

This trattoria on Sydenham Road, tucked next to a greasy spoon and a Lidl, is the definition of a family restaurant – serving up homely Italian fare to an audience of doting locals. It’s the kind of place where the owner notices if you’re not been before, and makes you feel welcome with a large helping of Britalian hospitality. Expect checkerboard tablecloths, homemade ravioli, sauces always made from scratch and a Milanese the size of your head. The selection of specials is seasonally lead and includes grilled fish starters and enough salumi to make your heart skip a beat. Trust us when we say, the vibe is mightier than you’d expect from the outside looking in. Booking is strongly advised.


Nandine, Camberwell
This Kurdish gem has had people in a tizz since it opened on Vestry road in 2016, offering breakfasts and mezze to write home about. Their newer Church Street location opened in 2019, and offers extraordinary kebabs and mezze, shawarma, kifta, vegan dumplings, and homemade baklava that’s exceptionally crisp and full of nutty sweetness. Many times, what you want from a restaurant is food as good as home cooked but that you couldn’t actually make at home, and Nandine offers just that. Lucky us.


Palazzo, Crystal Palace

It’s all guns blazing with disco kitsch at this Mad Men-esque diner serving top-drawer Italian food. Expect records spinning on the decks, changing specials, luxe crimson boothes and (you guessed it) a golden chicken Milanese that’s just the right level of crisp and juicy. Zucchini fritti are divine, and the basil aioli for dipping pizza crusts in is our top recommendation. Brunch is also served, though you might want to double up as portions are a tad on the small side there.


Babur, Honor Oak

Open since 1985, Babur is culinary gold in SE London. With a takeaway offering elite curry classics (the dhansak, aloo gobi, and laal mass are delicious. faves) and a bricks and mortar restaurant taking things up a notch with a little set menu here and a little sauce schmear there, Babur has something for all lovers of North Indian cuisine. You can’t go wrong at either joint, and locals love this Honor Oak stalwart for very good reason.


Mondo Sando roasts at the White Horse pub, Peckham and Grove House Tavern, Camberwell

Sometimes you only want the classics, and when it comes to South East London roasts you can do no better than those by Mondo Sando (of local pub sandwich fame). From the perfectly carved sirloin to the rolled pork belly, these roasts are worth getting out of bed for on a Sunday. Forget microwaved potatoes and boiled veg: cabbage and carrots are charred here so they retain texture and are given a lovely caramelised flavour, and potatoes are perfectly crisp and fluffy. The best bit is those Yorkshires, impressively bouyant and crisp and perfect for the lake of gravy that comes with them.

Mondo Sando roast

Jin Jiang, Deptford

The mere breadth of the menu at Jin Jiang is enough to take you aback. How can one establishment make hot and sour soup, fish fragrant pork, Xinjiang style cumin lamb, kung pao chicken, dry pot sichuan and classic chow mein and do it all well? And yet, here they do. The only problem you’ll encounter, then, is trying to whittle down your order.

Mr Bao, Peckham

Since 2014, Mr Bao have been offering SE15 residents reliably delicious Taiwanese treats in the form of soft fluffy bao buns filled with a choice of rich and tangy protein. And the restaurant is consistently packed, which is a surefire sign that they’re getting it right. Just launched is their new brunch menu, offering salmon and poached egg breakfast bao or kimchi pancakes, and a mega lychee martini that will quench the thirst alright. Go bottomless for £18 per person.


Marlow Fish Bar, Anerley
Established in 1962, this classic chippie on a residential street in SE20 is a hit with locals and visitors. If you’re a born and bred Londoner, you’re probably sick of hearing those from further afield assert brazenly that there are “no good fish and chips in London”. It’s simply not true, and Marlow Fish Bar resolutely proves it. Fish and chips are fried in tallow here, which is a rarity in the capital and makes for the most comforting, perfectly soft-yet-crispy chips, just-greasy enough. The batter doesn’t overpower the fish itself, which is fluffy and well cooked, most often fresh to order. The service is so friendly you’ll want to come back every week (and why not?!). Open for lunch between 11:30-2 and dinner between 5-9, it’s well worth paying this charming fish bar a visit, for the alluring 1960s design as much as those epic chips. Note it’s cash only.

Marlow fish bar

Goddard’s of Greenwich, Greenwich
Goddard’s has been in action since the 1800s, which is to say – they know what they’re doing. At this classic pie ‘n’ mash location, you can enjoy the Cockney classic with XXX hot chilli vinegar (it’s behind the counter), for a bargainous price. The establishment opens for business at 10am, because sometimes you want pie for breakfast, and that’s okay.

Dosa & Sambal Express, Plumstead

Another Sri Lankan gem to be found in the hazy suburban smog of Plumstead High Street, here you’ll find classic dishes you might not have tried before: curd vadai, string hopper kottu (think Sri Lankan style stir fry, and you’re most of the way there). Don’t look past the Sri Lanka Chicken Curry, it’s peppery, spicy and the meat is properly tender. The D.S Special Devil starter includes fish, spiced chicken, mutton, fish, prawn and squid with onion, pepper, chilli and devil sauce. It’s a hearty way to begin your meal here. Prices are incredibly reasonable and portion sizes are generous.

Dosa Sambal

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