Angel’s restaurants are in the full swing of party season, especially along Upper Street so Nicola Baird of islingtonfacesblog.com rounds up the best of the festive menus to help you decide where to treat yourself for a fun evening this Christmas
1 Riverford at the Duke of Cambridge
This looks so tempting with its red chilli decorations and revamped windows to celebrate founder Geetie Singh marrying Riverford organic farmer Guy Watson this summer. Your Christmas menu will be 100 per cent organic – perhaps a starter of potted pork followed by a main of pheasant or mushroom, chestnut and barley roast (yum)? The three course menu is £32.50 per person and ends with coffee, fudge and eco-Christmas crackers. It’s also now a place to go for cookery classes, veg talks, demos and regular supper clubs – plenty of ideas for Christmas gifts or New Year’s resolutions.
30 St Peter’s Street N1 8JT; 020 7359 3066; dukeorganic.co.uk
2 Jamie’s Italian
Ideal if you’ve been inspired by Jamie’s Cracking Christmas on Channel 4 with the seasonal special of three courses and a glass of Prosecco for £34.95. Italians do Christmas well – and so does Jamie… As for getting in the party mood – have you tried the new cocktail & spritz bar yet, which has free nibbles on week nights?
409-411 St John Street EC1V 4AB; 020 3435 9915; jamieoliver.com/italian/restaurants/islington
3 The Old Queen’s Head
Prepare for a taste of a baronial Scottish Christmas. You’ll find me by the huge fireplace under the antler chandelier trying to choose between the hot alcoholic drinks – mulled wine and cider as well as a Bailey’s hot toddy or whisky with hot ginger and honey. The fire is only lit on weekday nights and Sunday – perhaps a place to pop in just before you choose your Christmas tree on the pavement just outside or get upstairs for I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas karaoke… The New Year’s Eve party is The Only Way is Essex Road, so plenty of excuse to get out the fake tan and pelmet dresses (tickets £20).
44 Essex Road N1 8LN; 020 7354 9993; theoldqueenshead.com
4 The Elk in the Woods
This Camden Passage favourite has dressed up its black painted exterior with a huge red berry wreath on the door. Ingredients are so carefully sourced from growers and artisans not too far from London that you’ll need to book seven days in advance for their £34 per person three course Christmas menu (weekdays only), which boasts a three bird Christmas plate (turkey, goose, pheasant) and a gorgeous-sounding dark chocolate and myrrh tart. It’s closed on Christmas and Boxing Day.
39 Camden Passage N1 8EA; 020 7226 3535; the-elk-in-the-woods.co.uk
5 Narrow Boat
This unique pub is dressed up with snowflakes on the window and open on Christmas Day from 11am-5pm. If you pre-book you can enjoy a four course festive feast – with turkey and figgy pudding – for £70 including a glass of Buck’s fizz overlooking the Regent’s Canal.
119 St Peter’s Street N1 8PZ; 020 7400 6003; thenarrowboatpub.com
6 Almeida Restaurant and Bar
Getting into the spirit, the Almeida Restaurant and Bar has a huge moss green wreath on the door. The restaurant has a reputation for cooking game well, but it also has your wine displayed on the far wall. Chef Tommy Boland is showing his festive flair with a £35 lunch of three courses. The Christmas Day menu is £70 per person with four courses including venison Wellington with pickled pear to be completed with coffee and petits fours from Islington’s own Paul A Young.
30 Almeida Street N1 1AD; 020 7354 4777; almeida-restaurant.co.uk
This Islington Green institution is open on Christmas Day, offering four courses (including kumquat stuffed Christmas pudding) for £67 per person. The booths are ideal for partying with friends of family or during the party season just pop in from Sunday-Thursday for a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine for £5.
9 Islington Green N1 2XH; 020 7226 2555; browns-restaurants.co.uk/locations/islington
8 Draper’s Arms
This pub has a deserving reputation as a neighbourhood pub with fantastic food. The Christmas feasting menu is £35 per person, but needs seven days notice to ensure you get the two items you want per course. Starters include rabbit rillettes and roast pigeon served on platters to share; mains – goose with apple stuffing and cider gravy or suet crust turkey and chipolata pie. There are vegetarian options too.
44 Barnsbury Street N1 1ER; 020 7619 0348; thedrapersarms.com
9 LeCoq Rotisserie
Offering not one, not two, but three Christmas party menus. As the name suggests, LeCoq specialises in chicken and is a local favourite. For £25 you can have the classic three course; £35 a decadent four course meal or for £55 per person (minimum 12 people) it’s an unusual selection ranging from eel pate to suckling pig. Until 23 December you can also enjoy a cocktail designed to help you party – quince bellini, stem ginger G&T or a Frangelico Sour.
292-294 St Paul’s Road N1 2LH; 020 7359 5055; le-coq.co.uk
10 La Petite Auberge
This is an Upper Street institution with its French styled menu with starters such as terrine de venison or grilled vodka marinated calamari; roast turkey breast as a starter and then desert offers a choice between cheese, tarte tatin and the house special – crepes. For lunch until 5pm the price is £19.50; for dinner it is £22.90.
283 Upper Street N1 2TZ; 020 7359 1046; lapetiteaubergebistro.co.uk