Kentish Town is located in the Borough of Camden (north west London). It's also my London stomping ground whenever I need to recharge my British batteries.
Exiting KT tube station finds you directly on the high street, where unassuming charity shops and food halls live peacefully side by side with chain cafés (Prêt à Manger, Nando's) and fancier newcomers (Earth Natural Foods, Franco Manca).
Below, I share a few of my favourite Kentish Town addresses. Please feel free to share any of your local favorites with me in the comments!
Patron Restaurant is my Parisian home away from home. I've eaten there a few times and highly recommend it to those in search of a relaxed French dining experience. It's run by Jean-François and Tanzi, an extremely good-looking French / English couple, who are also behind Cafe Gourmand in Soho.
The Cave à Manger is their latest offering to Kentish Town and offers a mouthwatering selection of cheeses, charcuterie and wines that are Made in France, with Italy and Spain making frequent guest appearances. I spent an indulgent moment at the wine bar on a recent trip, sipping on Provençal rosé with a dear friend as we sampled the small plates suggested by our friendly Sicilian waiter, Gabriel.
Both spaces are petit and intimate, decorated with various objects collected by the owners on their French travels.
26 Fortress Road
+44 20 7813 2540
If you're looking for some peace and quiet from the high street, head straight to this adorable cafe within the Boma Garden Centre. Open for close to a year now, Arbour Cafe offers great wifi connection, artisan coffee (local obviously) and pastries from award-winning bakery Galeta. Were I to live in London, I'd head here for some down-time or blog writing as often as possible.
Well done to William Mok, the Hong-Kong born owner, for creating a slice of green heaven in amongst the hustle and bustle of the area. Once you tear yourself away, have a wander around the garden centre and admire their beautiful selection of plants. I've heard from a trustworthy source that they'll be removing the thatched roof for summer - bring on the sunshine!
51-53 Islip Street
+44 20 7284 4999
Whilst British pubs reportedly continue to close at a steady rate, the U.K. craft beer revolution shows no signs of stopping. I popped into this craft beer store recently and picked up a few bottles to try, with the help of a friendly shop assistant. With five stores around London, Clapton Craft also host in-store tastings and events. Each location offers a daily beer on tap and their selection is sound (Brew by Numbers, Hammerton, Magic Rock and Wild Card to name but a few). Check out their online store (U.K. delivery only) or sign up to their newsletter and stay up to date on all things craft beer.
326 Kentish Road
+44 20 3105 4496
If you haven't heard of Franco Manca by now then you either have a serious aversion to pizza or you've been living under a rock (no offense). Once just a humble pizzeria in Brixton Market back in 2008, Guiseppe Mascoli's chain restaurant has since expanded to 36 locations (mostly throughout London) with another on the way in Richmond!
The menu is short but sweet, proposing 6 pizzas (3 veggie and 3 meat) as well as a daily meat and vegetarian special. I always quench my thirst with a classic Spritz or glass of Lambrusco to keep with the Italian theme but skip dessert because, stuffed.
Take-away is possible, reservations are not but maximum wait for a table is around 10 minutes. No gluten-free options available but the menu does show where they source all their ingredients, which gets a thumbs up from me. Fun fact: Franco Manca means Franco's gone in Italian. This is a nod to the original pizzeria name in Brixton Market (Franco).
337 Kentish Town Road
+44 20 3026 5715
Here are some additional Kentish Town favourites worth checking out (I just didn't have any nice photos):
This independent bookstore is located on Kentish Town Road and stocks fiction, non-fiction, history, travel and a wide range of children's titles. I happily spend an hour browsing their latest titles every time I visit.
Never sipped on delicious cocktails in a former Victorian lavatory? Now's your chance with this underground cocktail bar, which uses locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible and is big on their gin. As it says on their website "the first rule about gin club is tell everyone about gin club".
Built in 1934, the Forum was originally home to an art deco cinema before undergoing a brief incarnation as an Irish dance hall. Since 2015, it's been a popular venue for music gigs.
This spacious pub boasts an upstairs bar and rooftop terrace. Great to feed a hangover or grab an after work drink. Every Tuesday they host a quiz night as well as the odd yoga class or BYOV (bring your own vinyl).