A Map Of London Cafes
Introducing A Map of London Cafes. Yes, a full guide to the London café scene. And a growing list of my favourites!
Often people ask me how I was able to visit one café a day for one year. It took a lot of research, a spreadsheet, and eventually mapping everything out on Google Maps. I want to share my map with you so that whenever you’re out and about, you can find an independent café near you. I update this regularly and would be so grateful if you’d keep me abreast of any new openings and closures so as to keep this as comprehensive as possible. You can do so by DMing me on Instagram at either @AKBoogie or @LondonCafeGuide, commenting on this post, or sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People always asked me so what’s next? I thought of creating a weekly guide (think best cafes for wifi (and sockets) in North London, great cafes for brunch, interesting cafes for interior design buffs), and yet as I come to this blog a year later, I realise I’ve done none of that. And it’s because it just wasn’t a priority for me. Life took me on a completely unexpected journey away from cafes, although I still find comfort in exploring and being in them. Please feel free to reach out for personalised recommendations and to share your experiences.
For my very first instalment of this London Café Guide series, I wanted to share my absolute favourite cafes. I thought of limiting it to my top 10, but found that to be too difficult especially after my conversation with Chris for his podcast #TCTalks. You can listen to my #365LDNcafes experience eeek!!. So instead, this will be a growing list, one that I will add to each time I come across a café I truly adore. There’s absolutely no criteria for my top cafes, so please bear in mind this is completely subjective.
A List of Favourites
In alphabetical order. New favourites will be added to the top.
3bis – Ice Cream
Real Talk. THIS IS THE BEST GELATO OF MY LIFE. And I’ve done plenty of #LickyLicky’s to taste test. There’s one in Borough Market & Portobello Road. Pistacchio, Nutella and Peanut Butter.
Artisan – Best Coffee in SW
The almond milk cappuccino from Artisan in East Sheen has been the best coffee I’ve had all year. Surprising, since I’m really finicky about almond milk as it tends to be quite chalky depending on the barista or type of almond milk used. This branch is nicely kitted out in wood & yellow with outdoor seating. But if you’re looking for some laptop space, I’d recommend their Stamford Brook location. It’s packed on the weekends but everyone has the same agenda. Artisan also have locations in Putney & Ealing. Patiently awaiting for a location based in the north/east!
Attendant – A Sh*t Hole
No, not the original one. Which is crazy since urinals transformed into a café is pretty revolutionary. But I don’t enjoy the cramped feeling or awkward seating. Their location in Shoreditch, however, filled with plants, is so much more chill and the food menu is delicious. I’m also curious to head to their newest location on Leather Lane.
Black Sheep Coffee – Bulletproof Coffee
Their bulletproof coffee is insanely delicious. I used to work close their hatch in Aldgate and this became an unhealthy obsession. Controversial (I guess), since it’s meant to have health benefits even though the coffee is packed with milk and coconut oil. Their Fitzrovia location is cosy with seating at the large window.
Buhler & Co – For When You’re Craving the Outdoors
If you’re in the mood for sitting outdoors but can’t because of the London weather, Buhler & Co is the place to go. The front room looks more like a café with a counter full of treats. Whereas the back has a massive skylight and feels like you’ve been plopped straight into a garden. Interesting menu and kind service round it all out.
Café Miami – A taste of Sickly Sweet America
If you like a bit of colour, Café Miami has some Instagrammable dishes. From their pancakes to fish tacos to avocado on toast, they’ve got a menu that differs from the norm. Hello pop-tarts & grilled grapefruit. But they also have a fascinating drinks menu and branded items you’d really only find in the US. A warm atmosphere with pastel colours and art deco decor, it’s something off the beaten track worth visiting.
Catalyst Café – Best Brand
I’m a massive fan of cafes that have taken the time to consider their brand. Ones where you take a look at a mug, or a single piece of writing and you just know which café it is before the logo ever appears. That’s Catalyst. From the quality of their coffee, the presentation of the food, kind and knowledgeable staff to the colour-palate they’ve chosen, you know they’ve got their act together. They’re credible. Everything I’ve eaten has been delicious (cue avocado cheesecake), and their cocktail menu is a great way to wind down at the end of the day.
Dose – Best Coffee in The City
If you’re running between meetings in Clerkenwell/The City, definitely head to Dose. It’s nothing special in terms of design or comfort, but their coffee is impeccable. Oat milk flat white has been the second best coffee I’ve had. #justsaying
Eggbreak – Great Savoury Brunch
My Instagram is no longer filled with comped meals to Eggbreak, but that hasn’t stopped the queues. And for good reason. Their Turkish eggs with dill yoghurt, chilli and cheese toastie has been, well, memorable.
F. Mondays – Cosy Hideaway from the Rain
First off, the name. Secondly, great coffee. It’s very eco friendly fitted with light wood and hanging plants. I can’t really describe why I like this place, I just love the atmosphere and sitting at the window and watching the rain.
Ffiona’s – Local Diner
I cannot tell you how much I miss my weekend diner brunch in the States. Unlimited filter coffee, hearty omelettes, pancakes, and semi-rude waitresses with lots of bants. *sigh* But Ffiona’s does just that. A cosy café, Fiona manages the floor and delivers plenty of flavour in her savoury and sweet dishes. That French Toast though. Recommended.
Finks Salt & Sweet – My Local
Everyone’s got a local favourite. Before Finks, it was Grounded, Trade & Husk when I lived in Whitechapel. Finks, like Catalyst is a brand. Their food menu is delicious and rather inventive given they can’t cook eggs on the premises. Definitely get the ham & cheese English Muffins or the aubergine & labne salad. Also, the large windows that fog up make for a moody, book reading-type atmosphere.
Fowlds – Charming Tiny Nook
To be honest, I’m charmed by how small the café is. Like, it’s a counter and maybe 5 chairs with more outdoor seating. In the back you can still see the upholstery workshop. But 5 girls work behind that tiny little counter to make it all happen. It’s pretty impressive.
Frank’s Canteen – Brunch & Supperclubs
Their food is just DELICIOUS. Wholesome and a well-crafted mix of ingredients. Their menu rotates every two weeks or so but their tarka dhal and shakshuka remain firm favourites. Coffee is pretty meh. Check out their supper clubs in the evening as food from all over the world is served up here.
Friends of Ours – Innovative Brunch Menu
This café has such an innovative menu in terms of flavour combinations. I love their Indian bhaji burger (no longer on the menu) and to be honest I haven’t tried anything else because I keep going back for this! I’m looking forward to their winter menu now…
Grind – Great Workspace
Each Grind location has something different to offer, and this year they’ve renovated a few locations to be more food-led. I’ve always counted on Grind for reliable wifi, good coffee and sandwiches. The only thing I’m not a massive fan of is the booming music. 2pm rave isn’t always what I’m after.
Hatch – Great workspace
Ok it’s hipster, but it’s also a multi-functional space. Hatch rents out desks for the day if you’re in the mood to get some work done. But you can also plop down with your laptop and keep paying for food & drinks throughout the day. Happy hour, pop-ups, film nights and workshops make it quite the destination in East London.
Host – Home Away From Home
The thing about remote working is that it can be super tough to find a café with reliable wifi and sockets. That, and you don’t want to café hop and spend £10+ each day! Host is amazing because you can go sit in the church and literally not order a thing. You can spend the entire day there AND bring in your own lunch and drinks. Like whaaaat? But their coconut milk cappuccino is delicious so order it. When I visited their wifi was spotty but with my strong hotspot I had no issue. I’ve heard from others that they’ve had no problems with wifi. So you’ll have to give it a go yourself.
Husk – Creative & Cheap
I used to live around the corner from Husk and spent my weekends here working on a start-up. Now it’s a bit far, but I always venture back when I know I need good wifi, coffee and no time limits. It’s the café I chose for Chris from tikichris to interview me for his podcast: #TCTalks, on my #365LDNcafes project. Listen to #365LDNcafes podcast here.
Katsute 100 – Japanese Tea
If you’re into ceramics, pottery, tea and matcha-flavoured treats, Katsute 100 is the perfect little nook to explore. They have beautiful teas that you can re-infuse time and time again (some leaves you even eat with a bit of soy at the end).
Leila’s Shop – A Taste of the Countryside
Really I fell in love with their aprons. It transports me to the British countryside. They’re serious about their wholesome soups and traditional sweets all prepared in house.
Little Georgia Café Hackney – Hearty Food
This was the last café of my yearlong project. And it was farking delicious. Wholesome, hot Georgian food at it’s best. Definitely get the breads and dumplings. Truly a delicious and unpretentious gem off of Broadway Market.
Morty & Bob’s – The Views
Broadway Market is great. But escaping the crowds at Morty & Bob’s is bliss. The space is large and serves as both a bar and café. I love sitting on the couches but their outdoor terrace is equally as nice.
Mud – Best Brunch in South London
The rumours are true. Food is excellent. One of the best brunches I’ve ever had. You know it’s good when they’re busy during the workweek.
Sunday – Best Brunch in London
Bold statement, I know. But I’ve never been disappointed. Their pancakes and French toast are wild. Huevos rancheros—unmissable . Get there 30 minutes before it opens to ensure a table.
Trade Commercial Street – Great Garden
Trade is still a massive love of mine. I love their lunchtime spread, cheap as chips pancakes, and the reuben remains my favourite in all of London. Plus the massive doors leading out to the garden are just so romantic and cosy.
West Six Garden Centre, Clifton Nurseries, Petersham Nurseries - London's Garden Cafes
I am a sucker for the nurseries around the city. Each one offers something unique. West Six has some nice sweet treats. Clifton has a beautiful glass café (which can get quite hot). Petersham has an excellent and sophisticated menu alongside a more relaxed café. It’s a bit far out (nope the one if Covent Garden is just a takeaway deli), but worth the trip. Visit the deer in Richmond Park before or after.