9 of the Best Alfresco Dining Spaces in Islington
Unwind in a green oasis and lap up the sun at one of The Resident’s favourite alfresco dining spaces in Islington
Lead image: The Albion (photo courtesy of venue)
1 The Albion
Think Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. A quaint walled garden sits beside this Georgian pub, with leaves and wisteria spilling down from the trees like waterfalls as shade. The foliage-covered back wall and sage-coloured garden doors create a historic country home atmosphere. Large bronzed plant pots and hanging baskets with pink flowers combine with period garden lighting to highlight the stone pillars. The Albion boasts a classic English menu that has chalked up a number of awards and recognition, including The Observer Food Monthly award for Best Sunday Lunch in 2009, The Independent’s Top 50 Sunday Lunch Venues and The Guardian’s Best Pubs in the UK.
10 Thornhill Road, IslingtonN1 1HW; the-albion.co.uk
2 The Canonbury Tavern
Since the early 1700s, Canonbury Tavern has been providing Londoners with the perfect spot to drink, eat and laugh with friends. Even George Orwell once sat writing his book 1984 here. Showcasing classic British pub food, hearty meals from the grill and, of course, a Sunday roast, everything’s a winner on Canonbury Tavern’s menu. No matter when you go, make sure you spend time in the back beer garden, which is one of the largest in London with the room to seat over 200 people.
21 Canonbury Place N1 2NS; thecanonbury.co.uk
3 Smokehouse, Islington
This restaurant looks like a vintage doll’s house. But not only is it truly adorable, Smokehouse has won its fair share of plaudits for its original smoked and grilled food, great beers and small-vineyard wines. The outside space is enclosed by tall green hedges and accessed via a quaint leafy arch, where distressed white metal chairs with heart-shapes backs circle the round tables. A chiminea at the far end keeps any evening chill at bay. There are also comfy cushioned banquets, ideal for enjoying a cold jug of Pimm’s while contemplating the menu of dishes like cous cous with roasted cauliflower, smoked labneh and rose harissa, rare-breed burger with Korean pulled pork and market fish with smoked mussel chowder.
63-69 Canonbury Road, IslingtonN1 2DG; smokehouseislington.co.uk
4 The Castle
You certainly feel like a king or queen when settling down on the fantastic roof terrace at The Castle, where you can watch the frenetic to-ings and fro-ings of Pentonville Road from your elevated first-floor vantage point. This popular spot offer plenty to choose from food-wise, from the Burger Shack to small plates, bar bites, pub classics and, of course, the Sunday roast. You can also enjoy brunch on the roof terrace, which is a big thumbs up in our book.
54 Pentonville Road N1 9HF; thecastleislington.co.uk
5 Brother Marcus
Camden Passage is just a delight, isn’t it? Reminiscent of The Lanes in Brighton (well, almost), it’s one of those spots that makes you remember why you love city life. From the crazy busy bustle of Upper Street to the relative tranquillity of this hidden passageway in just a few steps, it’s the perfect spot to find yourself a little spot for lunch al fresco. Brother Marcus gas just undergone a swift refurb to offer space for outdoor dining as well as new dishes like baked Manouri cheese served with orange honey, thyme and seeds, and exciting brunch dishes like Lebanese stuffed pancakes with ricotta, poached rhubarb, pistachio nuts and honeycomb. The Breakfast Club, just a few doors down, is another great option.
37-39 Camden Passage, Angel N1 8EA; brothermarcus.co.uk
This authentic Italian restaurant from chef-of-the-moment Francesco Mazzei – who has enjoyed great success with his sophisticated Mayfair spot Sartoria – comes complete with a rustic terrace that oozes romantic country summer aesthetics. Having lived in Angel for years with his family, Mazzei has long been a fan of the area’s eclectic offering, but had always felt it was lacking a ‘real’ Italian. So, for Italian food like your nonna makes, head to Radici, kick back with a glass of red and a parmigiana and enjoy a glorious summer in the heart of Angel, with the buzz of Upper Street within earshot.
30 Almeida Street, Angel N1 1AD; radici.uk
7 Gallipoli Again
This Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant on Upper Street has been going since 1996, which is pretty damn impressive. The original, Gallipoli Bistro & Cafe, was so popular they opened a second – Gallipoli Again – which has the most adorable secret garden dining area. Decked out with astroturf, bistro tables, fairy lights and art on the walls, it’s a seriously cute spot to enjoy Turkish and Mediterranean classics like meze, borek and moussaka, all washed down with a cheeky bottle of Laurent Perrier.
120 Upper Street, Islington N1 1QP; gallipolicafe.co.uk
8 The Skinny Kitchen
With branches in Islington, Canterbury and Ibiza (why not?!), The Skinny Kitchen offers all-day dining for the health conscious, with nutritious, healthy meals served up from breakfast through to dinner. There’s also a lively bottomless brunch option at the weekend, complete with Ibiza-style DJs and live entertainment (calorie-counting and Keto diets are replaced with bottomless pornstar martinis or prosecco here, I mean, it is the weekend). Located right by the Business Design Centre, The Skinny Kitchen has a great alfresco terrace, complete with pergola, fairy lights and leafy green plants to add a tropical touch.
52 Upper Street, Angel N1 0QH; theskinnykitchen.co.uk
9 The Chapel Bar
The Chapel Bar in Islington has the most wonderful first-floor dining terrace. The Terrace Room is a smart, roomy and flexible space that can be hired for events (there’s room for 80 standing or 22 seated). The venue’s restaurant, Arenella – named after a region just outside Sicily – serves traditional Italian dishes out on the terrace, from pasta to warming stews, as well as a bottomless lunch all day on Saturdays and Sundays. In winter, the terrace is covered, heated and transformed into a winter wonderland.
29 Penton Street, Islington N1 9PX; thechapelbar.co.uk