By now, you must’ve heard about the super-gentrification of King’s Cross. I still remember power-walking 10-15 minutes up a very quiet York Way to reach my forever-unfurnished student apartment back in 2009 every night, with every inch of my skin oozing with paranoia. The area was dark and pretty deserted back then – I suppose that’s why I could still afford it.
But so much has changed in the last 10 years. Now there’s so much more to do in King’s Cross. In fact, I could hardly recognise the streets when I ventured up York Way for a fitness class at Frame recently. With that, also comes a portfolio of great restaurants: varying from cheap to expensive, great value to extremely refined.
Things to do in King’s Cross
Plus, here are a handful of other activities to keep you busy around King’s Cross:
- Walk on Regent’s Canal (it’s a short walk to Camden Town or Regent’s Park)
- Visit the Canopy Market (it’s pretty small, but cute)
- Shop trending boutique stores at Coal Drop’s Yard
- Have a quick bite from KERB Markets at Granary Square (Wed-Fri at 12-2pm only)
- Visit Frame for short/fun fitness classes
- Check out Rebel Studios if you’re a hardcore yogi (one of my favourite boutique studios in London)
Best Restaurants in King’s Cross
I love exploring London in its entirety. But with the abundance of impressive restaurant choices in Kings Cross itself (where I live), it’s hard to overcome the temptation to just stay put in the area.
Here are the restaurants near King’s Cross you need to try. There’s a range of nice and more casual choices. Scroll to the bottom to see them on a map.
1. Coal Office – Refined Food, Israeli (Brunch/Dinner)
Coal Office is one of the newer additions to King’s Cross and it’s definitely one not-to-miss. Their dishes are creative and refined; primarily inspired by the Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine. You can expect a pretty sophisticated brunch meal and I imagine it would be an excellent place for dinner too. It’s also perfect for a small celebration dinner with friends or your partner.
Spend per person: GBP30 per person (for brunch, without alcohol)
2. Granger & Co – Australian Brunch (Brunch/Coffee)
With all the new areas developed in King’s Cross, Granger & Co still manages to remain top of mind for me. This brunch spot is one of the older-new restaurants in the area, but still manages to constantly attract a queue (30-45 min wait) on the weekends. They make the most unforgettable ricotta hotcakes (featured in 5 Exceptional Pancakes You Need To Try in London) and also an irresistible kimchi fried rice with soft shell crab.
Honestly anything I’ve ordered here has always been really good.
Spend per person: GBP20 for brunch/lunch
3. Half Cup – Brunchy Coffee Shop (Brunch/Coffee)
For something a little more unique to King’s Cross, try out this independent cafe’s very extensive (also very “Instagrammable”) brunch offerings. Half Cup is a cozy coffee shop, which is very casual. Their full breakfast is full of everything you’d ever want for breakfast – they also do a truly excellent vegetarian version. It’s satisfying and so delicious. It’s just that the wait on weekends can also be 30-45 minutes.
Spend per person: GBP15 for brunch and coffee
4. Barrafina – Spanish Tapas (Dinner)
“What’s your favourite restaurant?” is the king of hard questions. But I never hesitate to mention Barrafina as one of them. It’s one of the restaurants I’ve re-visited the most number of times in London – in fact, I first mentioned it almost 3 years ago in 8 of London’s Must-Visit Restaurants for first timers. They impress with: 1) delicious food (obviously), 2) use of excellent quality ingredients, and 3) extremely consistent standards.
Their new outlet in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, definitely lived up to expectations, and comparable to their original Soho branch.
Spend per person: GBP30-40 for dinner
5. Chillicool Restaurant – Legit Chinese Food and Hot Pot (Dinner)
Chinese food is the cure to my homesick-ness. While Chinatown is an obvious answer, given the abundance of choice there, Chillicool in King’s Cross is so underrated.
The place is so authentically Chinese, they refuse to take card (haha) – so make sure you bring cash. But honestly, the food is excellently legit. They make great comfort food dishes like ma-po tofu. They also offer an all-you-can-eat hot pot for just GBP22 per person, and the ingredients are pretty good. (Because it’s so legit, it’s also extremely casual.)
Spend per person: GBP15-20 for regular dinner, GBP25-30 for hot pot
6. Dishoom – Casual Indian (Lunch/Dinner)
There’s also a Dishoom in King’s Cross! Dishoom is a chain of very affordable, good quality Indian food. I think it’s hard to go wrong here – almost everything I’ve tried has been simply flavourful and delicious. My only frustration is that they don’t take reservations and you have to wait in line.
Spend per person: GBP15-20
7. Casa Tua – Cozy Italian (Lunch/Dinner)
This small Italian restaurant is tucked away on a much quieter street, but surprisingly still very close to King’s Cross station (3-min walk). You can expect a cozy wine-bar ambience. They serve simple shared plates and pastas. It’s nothing overly fancy, but great for a laid back dinner for a small group or casual date.
If you venture a teeny bit further, another Italian restaurant I love is actually in Highbury & Islington: Trullo (click for the full review).
Spend per person: GBP20
8. Pitted Olive – Authentic Greek Cafe (Lunch only)
Pitted Olive is more of a cafe than restaurant, but they serve an epic and authentic Greek lunch. They usually have a range of main dishes (think stuffed peppers, grilled chicken leg etc), which is served with their delicious selection of mezze sides and rice. They also home make their pastries, which are equally irresistible. A huge lunch meal here would cost about £8-9. They also only take cash.
Spend per person: GBP10 for lunch
9. Pizza Union – Cheap/Fast Pizzas (Lunch/Dinner)
Finally, another impressively cheap but delicious meal in King’s Cross can be found at Pizza Union. Their pizzas cost about £4-5. They’re made with a thin crust, freshly baked and not-too-greasy. It may not be the best pizza in London, but it’s simple and great value-for-money. I also love the hip industrial decor and bright lights during the day. At night, it draws in a very student-centric crowd – I guess thanks to their also-very-affordable cocktails!
Spend per person: GBP5-8 for lunch
What’s your favourite restaurant near King’s Cross?
I’m sure I missed many other great options in this area, and I would love to try more. Which restaurants would you recommend?
Leave a comment below!