It's been a busy two decades for King's Cross - from unloved railway terminus to gleaming canal-side food, leisure and shopping destination.

Bringing the Grade I-listed St Pancras station - and the aptly named Renaissance Hotel - back to their former glory kickstarted a trend for reviving old industrial buildings like The German Gymnasium, Coal Drop's Yard and even the Gasholders.

Today the area is home to Google, Central St Martin's, King's Place arts centre, The Guardian, and the Francis Crick Institute biomedical research centre, not to mention the British Library and new Lightroom multimedia exhibition centre.

And new life has drawn some of the capital's best food entrepreneurs to set up their stalls - in King's Cross you really are spoilt for choice. Here's the best places to go when you're feeling ravenous, peckish, or just in need of a drink. 

The Resident: Spagnoletti, King's CrossSpagnoletti, King's Cross (Image: Spagnoletti)

1 Spagnoletti

For a quick lunch or casual dinner, cheerful, retro-inspired Spagnoletti’s menu includes nine handmade pastas, of the likes of tagliolini with native lobster with Amalfi lemon, and strozzapreti with slow-cooked beef and onion, plus a daily special alongside a compact menu of southern Italian fare such as stuffed pork belly, grilled octopus and mussels pepata. Found across from King’s Cross and St Pancras station, you can also go for breakfast, try the Full Italian or grab some pastries to go.

Address: 23 Euston Road, King’s Cross WC1H 8AB


The Resident: BaoBao (Image: Ash James)


The trio behind BAO perfected their legendary steamed buns on an East London market stall almost a decade ago. Now the Taiwanese cafes have sites in Shoreditch, Soho, Borough, but their venture in King's Cross is their biggest to date. Think fluffy white buns made with milk and tangzhou starter, and east/west flavour combinations such as Bao hamburger or 40-day aged beef rump on soy rice - and all in a clean space inspired by the wood panelling and lanterns of Japan's tea houses.

Address: 4 Pancras Square, N1C 4DP



The Resident: Booking Office at St Pancras StationBooking Office at St Pancras Station (Image: Newquest)

2 Booking Office 1869, St Pancras Station

Booking Office 1869 is worth the visit for the interiors alone. Homed in a formerly unglamorous British Rail ticket hall, this all-day dining outfit has been transformed by celebrated designer Hugo Toro to make the most of St Pancras station's Victorian splendour and elegant high ceilings. There's also an outdoor terrace. Order up 'classic dishes with a modern twist' from snacks, starters and oysters to Sunday roasts and cocktails with late-night DJs.

Address: St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, NW1 2AR



The Resident: Porte Noire wine bar terracePorte Noire wine bar terrace (Image: © John Sturrock)

3 Porte Noire

Porte Noire restaurant and wine bar boasts a selection of wines curated by none less than Luther and The Wire star Idris Elba. The venture was 'born out of a shared passion for wine' between Elba and French oenophile David Farber, who brings his experience in the wine trade, while the actor and DJ brings his star wattage and flair for creating a great restaurant space. Pair top wines with the likes of moules mariniere, steak tartare, seabass ceviche or duck liver parfait.

Address: Lewis Cubitt Walk, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4BY



The Resident: Dishoom King's CrossDishoom King's Cross (Image: Newquest)

4 Dishoom

Now with nine outlets across the UK, Dishoom in King's Cross is housed in a Victorian railway transit shed but the vibe is restaurant in a 1920s Bombay 'godown' or goods yard. If you've never been, it serves up superior Anglo Indian fare from breakfast to dinner. Start the day with a bacon naan roll or spiced eggs kejriwal, enjoy an afternoon drop of chai, and end with an evening feast of Dishoom chicken tikka and gunpowder potatoes, perhaps washed down with one of their knockout cocktails; an India Gimlet, Permit Room Old-fashioned, or plain old Dishoom IPA.

Address: 5 Stable Street, Granary Square, N1C 4AB



The Resident: The Lighterman in King's CrossThe Lighterman in King's Cross (Image: Archant)

5 The Lighterman Granary Square

Housed in a light-filled box overlooking the Regent's Canal, The Lighterman is named after the flat-bottomed barges that once plied the waterway. Today it's a thoroughly modern pub and dining room with wraparound terraces that come into their own on sunny days, a towpath bar, great cocktails, and casual dining along the lines of loaded flatbreads, steaks and schnitzel.

Address: 3 Granary Square, N1C 4BH



The Resident: Lina StoresLina Stores (Image: Rebecca Hope)

6 Lina Stores

Lina Stores restaurant and delicatessen brings a 70-year-old Soho institution to a former Victorian industrial building, serving antipasti, pasta and a range of desserts to eat in or take home. The deli is an Aladdin's cave of freshly-made authentic Italian fare and the mint green and white restaurant reminds you of an Italian gelato. Enjoy the likes of chicken Milanese, Sicilian caponata and if you dare, the uber rich 30-Egg Yolk Tagliolini with black truffle, butter and parmesan.

Address: 20 Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DR


The Resident: Granary Square Brasserie has a lovely outdoor terraceGranary Square Brasserie has a lovely outdoor terrace (Image: Granary Square Brasserie)

7 Granary Square Brasserie

Granary Square Brasserie is another all-day dining outfit on the area's landmark square, serving British classics and international cuisine. Breakfast and brunch feature their awe-inspiring full English, or the likes of eggs benedict is served until 4pm at weekends with cocktails and in-house DJ playing disco house funk and soul. For dinner, enjoy brasserie classics from shepherd's pie and fish and chips to truffle chicken Milanese, blackened cod and Malaysian monkfish curry.

Address: 1 Granary Square N1C 4AB



The Resident: Hicce in Coal Drop's YardHicce in Coal Drop's Yard (Image: National Restaurant Awards)

8 Hicce

Hicce is a marriage between Great British Menu and ex-Murano chef Pip and ex-Mezzo chef Gordy. Latin for 'in the moment' it opened in 2018 and is based on the idea of sharing. Think boards of charcuterie, cheese or seafood, or plates of lamb rump, radish and ricotta or hispi cabbage, sunflower seeds and yoghurt.  

Address: 102 Stable Street, Coal Drop Yard, N1C 4DQ


The Resident: HoppersHoppers (Image: Newquest)

9 Hoppers

Hoppers has brought Sri Lanka's varied cuisine to London and the King's Cross outlet follows the journey from capital Colombo to the Dutch historic town of Galle with bar bites, family-style feasting, to seafood grills. There's an extended bar serving punches, tropical coolers and their own brewed beer but it's the savoury pancakes or dosas, and accompanying chutneys or sambols and the richy spiced 'karis' that will live in the memory. 

Address: Unit 3, 4 Pancras Square N1C 4AG



The Resident: Sushi On JonesSushi On Jones (Image: Copyright Gareth Gardner 2019)

10 Sushi on Jones

After starting as an al fresco Japanese omakase bar in New York, Sushi on Jones in King's Cross is altogether more intimate and elegant in its surroundings. Loosely translated as 'I leave it up to you' this is a Japanese culinary adventure with the chef serving you what they want rather than you ordering. Sit back and enjoy the ride with morsels of halibut and lime zest, scallop and smoked sea salt or tuna with pickled daikon.

Address: 11 Goods Way, N1C 4PW



The Resident: Wild is the new restaurant in The Cross nightclubWild is the new restaurant in The Cross nightclub (Image: Courtesy of Wild)

11 Wild

This new 55-cover restaurant on the first floor of The Cross nightclub has just opened its doors serving a curated sharing menu of Mediterranean gems. Enjoy croquetas bravas filled with jamon Iberico and Monte Enebro goat's cheese, grilled king prawns with chilli parsley, anchovies and lime, wild sea bass with fennel samphire and amalfi lemon, or Suffolk lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine mint and rose harissa. The club, which built a cult reputation on London's dance scene in the 1990s and noughties, is a 25-plus venue, but Wild works as a destination in its own right as well as an appetiser to a night of dancing. Expect a dizzying array of drinks including coconut margarita pandan, whiskey sour, and pecan pie old fashioned.

Address: 2-4 Wharfdale Road, N1 9RY


The Resident: Enjoy the perfect souffle at Midland Grand Dining RoomEnjoy the perfect souffle at Midland Grand Dining Room (Image: The Midland Grand Dining Room)

12 Midland Grand Dining Room

Back in the late 19th Century, the Midland Grand Dining Room was famous for serving avant-garde French cuisine. Today, chef Patrick Powell nods to that noble tradition, adding a more contemporary, creative twist to an elegant fine dining experience. Think hake en papillotte with ratatouille, potato and watercress veloute with trout tartare, or a whole roast chicken with morels and wild garlic all in the elegant surroundings of Hugo Toro's designs. If it's just a drink you are after pop in after dark to the dramatic Gothic Bar for 'sybarites and libertines'.

Address: St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road NW1 2AR