Bordered by a busy rail and tube interchange, Arsenal’s home stadium and the Victorian park that gives the area its name, Finsbury Park is home to an ethnically and socially diverse community that’s reflected in the wide choice of cuisines available. From organic cafes and friendly bistros to Polish, Turkish and East African specialities, Finsbury Park has your appetite covered from early morn to late night.
On Tollington Park, just north of the station, The Front Room Café is a relaxed, unfussy café serving fresh and tasty breakfasts and brunches. The Eggs Florentine are a particular treat here, poached just right and served with homemade hollandaise sauce. If you prefer your breakfasts a little more British, Blighty Coffee on Blackstock Road has an extensive menu of fresh-roast coffee and will proudly serve your eggs Lincolnshire, Shropshire or Wiltshire style. For a truly portable breakfast on your way through the park or down the Victoria Line, the Happening Bagel Bakery on Seven Sisters Road will fill your fresh-baked bagel with almost anything you can think of.
Fans of curried goat, ox tail and jerk chicken should head to Lulu’s Caribbean Cuisine at 84 Stroud Green Road. Formerly known as Hummingbird, this friendly and flavourful restaurant serves lunch and dinner; bring an appetite as the portions are generous. For delicious salads and sandwiches, head up to Boulangerie Bon Matin on the corner of Tollington Park and Stroud Green Road, where delicious seasonal goodies and fresh-baked bread await. For a hearty North African lunch under a tenner, look no further than Le Rif Cafe on Seven Sisters Road, offering super-tasty tagines and Moroccan pastries at wallet-friendly prices.
With a sizeable local population serving up authentic grub there’s stiff competition for “best Turkish restaurant in Finsbury Park” but Petek on Stroud Green Road makes a good claim for the title. Generous portions of succulent, aromatic Turkish favourites, from kofte to grills and and seafood, will delight all but the most spice-averse. Dotori (note: may be closed for refurb), located very close to the station, is a Finsbury Park favourite serving fresh, tasty Japanese and Korean food. Booking is recommended as the evening service is extremely popular.
At the top of the same road, Pizzeria Pappagone is a bustling, always busy pizzeria serving authentic, thin-crust pizza with a wide range of toppings. The on-street kiosk serving delicious artisanal ice-cream is worth a visit in its own right. Curry-lovers will find an unusual selection of spicy delights at the Nepalese-Indian Yak and Yeti very close by. Finally, Salvation in Noodles on Blackstock Road is the latest addition to London’s growing number of Vietnamese restaurants; a sister to the restaurant of the same name in Dalston, SiN serves hot, spicy pho and much more besides.
The Old Dairy, located just opposite Crouch Hill station, offers seasonal lunch and dinner menus in the modern British idiom and a great range of Sunday roasts. Booking is advised, particularly at weekends. Down on Perth Road, the Faltering Fullback serves mouthwatering Thai dishes in a tranquil garden setting.
Vagabond is loved by locals for its no-frills approach to great coffee. Unassuming from the outside (and handbuilt from recycled materials), this is an independent coffee shop with the emphasis firmly on the quality of the brew; delicious homemade cakes also make it a great place to stop for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Other good choices for a caffeine fix are Café Moka on Wightman Road, and the award-winning Exeter Street Bakery.
Pubs and bars
Music lovers should check out The Silver Bullet directly opposite the station — there’s a busy programme of live music on most evenings, much of it free. The World’s End up the street also offers live music and DJs most weekends. Fans of the local football side, meanwhile, will find themselves well catered-for at the Stapleton Tavern on Crouch Hill, a sociable local with a good range of real ales. The Faltering Fullback deserves a second mention here, for its fun and friendly Monday night quiz. Over on Fonthill Road, the recently refurbished WB Yeats boasts a fantastic selection of ales and craft beers and regularly hosts live music nights.
For those times when only a kebab will do, E.Mono on Station Place is probably the best in a very wide field. Can’t even stagger off your sofa? King Kebab will do you a home delivery — now that’s convenience in a wrap.