For years Wandsworth was more residential and less awash with restaurant and bar options than its neighbours, Putney to the west and Battersea to the east. But a spate of big property developers at work has seen a rise in neighbourhood bars, revamped pubs and restaurants to cater to all the people filling the new apartment blocks. It's still heavy on chains and takeaway joints, but with a mix of good pubs and friendly coffee shops, with the highest concentration near the station.
For this piece we're defining Wandsworth as spreading from Wandsworth Town station in the east to the river in the north, down to Allfarthing Lane at its southern edge and along Broomhill Road to the west.
Breakfasts and coffee
If you've got the time to duck down an alleyway on the way to work, The Black Chapel, small and standing in the shadow of an old Huguenot chapel, does great coffee and a selection of pastries baked on the premises.
If you don't have time to detour, or you're after a hot breakfast to get you through a wait on the windswept station platform, Cwtch does sausage sandwiches and bacon buns from its coffee stall just near Wandsworth Town station.
At weekends Cafe Fleur comes into its own. It's worth visiting the St Ann's Hill shop front when you've got time to sit in and tackle the brunch menu, starting with fried sesame eggs or toast with avocado and bacon, and finishing with the homemade raspberry cake.
Brew's chain of bar-cafes are usually packed, and for a reason — they're just as good for a speedy bagel as they are for a longer lunch, the sort that starts with burgers or steak at noon and slides seamlessly into late afternoon beers.
Other good places to hit at lunchtime are Bugatti Pizzeria, an informal Italian with decent pizza and fast service, and for a takeaway lunch by the river try the deli at Marco Polo — fear not, there is indoor seating for colder weather.
Pubs, gastropubs and bars
Wandsworth is considered the most pub-friendly council in the country, after a 2016 move to protect 120 pubs in the wider Wandsworth borough from being sold to developers. The hoops owners have to jump through now to get a change of building use approved by the council mean these pubs shouldn't be turning into a Sainsbury's Local anytime soon — though that won't stop them going increasingly more gastropub with the influx of new properties and cash to the borough.
One of the best in the neighbourhood is The Cat's Back, a small Victorian pub with a garden for the summer and an open fireplace for the winter. Of the places still hanging onto their trad-boozer status, two of the best for simple pints are the Old Sergeant and the Grapes. Both good for watching live sports and still defying the gastropub niche, though they do serve hot food.
For gastropubs try the The Brewers Inn, or The Ship for river views, or L'Affaire, a French-influenced brasserie. For somewhere you can start an evening with a civilised wood-fired pizza and end it with a dancefloor and shots, the Grand Union chain has a bar on Wandsworth High Street, open until 1.30 am at weekends.
Among the chain restaurants in the area — and Wandsworth seems to be a magnet for them — is Rossopomodoro in the Southside Centre, which does good pizza, frequent Italian film screenings upstairs, and has a balcony for the summer months.
Marco Polo is also popular for the river views and formal dining feel, which Wandsworth's relatively low on.
Wandsworth doesn't truck much with the edgy and on-trend side of the London dining scene, but it does well at restaurants that are undemandingly nice — relaxed, friendly and designed for comfort, rather than cutting edge.
One example is The Alma, a gastropub with a boutique hotel attached and a menu of British, carefully-sourced food. For a menu of hot Indian street food and powerful cardamom-heated cocktails, try Chit Chaat Chai — its wooden benches are less inviting than The Alma for a full afternoon of newspapers and ales, but the warmth of the small restaurant and the amount of chilli in the food makes it a great place to pretend its not winter.