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Deciding what to eat at Borough Market is never an easy decision, whether you’re a first time visitor or a life-long Londoner.
The vibrant and bustling market is a treasure trove of exciting flavors and culinary experiences, where artisans and purveyors come together to celebrate the art of food and create a haven for food enthusiasts.
But with so much fantastic fare on offer, how do you find the best food in Borough Market?
Well, that’s why I’m here. I’ve spent countless lunchtimes perusing the stalls of Borough Market and sampling as much as I possibly can (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it).
And after many years, I’ve finally managed to narrow down a list of my absolute favourite traders and dishes…
But first, the History of Borough Market:
Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in all of London.
A market in the area can be traced back to at least the 11th century, when it served as a hub for traders, peddlers, and farmers who gathered on the south bank of the River Thames. The market’s strategic location near London Bridge made it a vital trading hub.
Over the years, Borough Market evolved, adapting to the changing needs of the city. It long remained one of the most important produce markets in the capital.
But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the wholesale market became the popular retail destination that it is today.
Wholesale businesses such as Neal’s Yard Dairy, Brindisa, and Monmouth Coffee (all of whom are still at the market today) began opening their doors to retail customers, starting Borough Market’s transition into one of the capital’s top foodie destinations.
Now you’ll find a variety of fruit and veg stalls, cheesemongers, butchers, fishmongers, and bakeries, sitting alongside some of the city’s best street food and restaurants.
The London food market underwent a huge overhaul in 2020, making it an even more exciting place to eat and drink.
Layout of Borough Market:
The first thing that you’ll notice when visiting Borough Market is that it’s pretty huge! The maze of market stalls and traders can be a little confusing to navigate. There are three main areas of the market that are most important to know about…
- Three Crown Square – larger producers and merchants
- Green Market – small, specialist produce traders
- Borough Market Kitchen – predominantly street food traders
Tips for visiting Borough Market:
If it’s your first time visiting Borough Market – or even if it’s not – here are a few tips for making the most of your visit.
- Don’t just go for the first food you see. You may end up regretting it. Take a wander around the market and take a look at everything that’s on offer before you commit.
- Bring your friends and share a few dishes. It’s the best way to get a taste of multiple different things from the market.
- Check out the produce stalls too. Even if you’re heading to Borough Market for lunch, don’t miss the chance to look around the many fresh produce traders too. From delicious British cheeses and freshly baked bread to tasty artisan spreads and preserves, there are plenty of goodies to take home with you. Plus, you may even get a free sample or two.
The best street food in Borough Market
Borough Market is one of the most popular lunchtime street food markets in the city, with people coming from far and wide to grab some delicious food to go.
Paella from Furness Food Hut
If you’re wandering through Three Crown Square and notice a large queue winding its way through the middle of the market, there’s a good chance these people are waiting for the yummy paella from Furness Food Hut.
The Food Hut is the street food portion of Furness Fish Markets, a family-run business from Cumbria that sells freshly caught fish and seafood at the market each day.
If you can fight your way through the excited crowd, take a peep at the enormous vats of paella that are cooked fresh throughout the day. Once you’ve seen it, you won’t be able to walk away. Trust me.
There’s usually one seafood option and one meat or veggie option to choose from. I’m not a huge seafood eater, so their chicken and chorizo paella is my fave!
Furness Food Hut is one of the most popular street food stalls in Borough Market, so there’s a good chance there will be a queue. But don’t let this put you off. The line moves pretty fast and the paella is definitely worth the wait!
Iraqui Kebabs and Dumblings from JUMA Kitchen
Usually, when I’m hunting out the best food at Borough Market, I use my eyes, nose, and stomach to guide me to the tastiest dishes. I’m also a sucker for following the crowd – there must be a reason that people are willing to stand in line for 20 minutes for a dish, right!?
But on my most recent visit to the market, I decided to have a quick browse on Google Maps to see which traders had the highest ratings by past visitors.
And that’s how I ended up at JUMA Kitchen.
I have to admit that Iraqui-inspired street food wouldn’t be a stall that I’d gravitate towards naturally, but with a 4.9-star rating on Google and some absolutely GLOWING reviews, I had to see what all the fuss was about.
And I’m so glad that I did.
Run by British-Iraqi chef Philip Juma, the food stall is known for its deliciously smokey Iraqui kababs and skewers, cooked in front of you on a charcoal grill and served on a freshly made flatbread, as well as their amazing homemade kubba (stuffed dumplings).
Their signature mushroom chap with truffle oil, parsley, and garlic is a MUST try – it’s one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time!
And don’t forget to leave room for the kunefa, a traditional Arab dessert made with cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup and topped with pistachios. JUMA’s is one of the best in the capital!
Indian Veggie Street Food from Horn OK Please
This stall’s slightly unusual name “Horn OK Please” comes from the phrase you see painted across the back of vehicles in India. Its owners, Sandhya and Gaurav, picked the name to represent the vibrant and authentic Indian street food you’ll find at the stall.
Horn OK Please’s menu showcases the best of Indian vegetarian street food, with a variety of fragrant dishes from all corners of the subcontinent. They pride themselves on their fresh and healthy creations.
Their moong dal dosa – a lentil and spiced filled pancake – is one of their most popular options, while you can’t go wrong with the dosa chaat and egg kati roll either.
Italian Sandwiches from The Black Pig
As a lover of Italian cuisine, I may be slightly biased, but I do believe The Black Pig in Borough Market Kitchen serves one of the best sandwiches in all of London.
The stall offers a small range of Italian-inspired grilled ciabatta sandwiches, using Blythburgh free-range pork, cheeses from the Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand, and fresh ciabatta from Bread Ahead Bakery.
If you’re not sure which to choose, go for the signature honey truffle and parmesan pork ciabatta. It’s guaranteed to be one of the tastiest things you’ve eaten in a long time.
A word of warning though, the generously-filled sandwich can be a little messy to eat. So find a good place to sit down and make sure to grab a handful of napkins and a fork.
Salt Beef Bagel from Nana Fanny’s
Nana Fanny’s is a family-run business that has been serving up some of the best salt beef bagels and sandwiches in London since 1944.
Their delicious salt beef creations feature succulent, tender beef brisket generously piled onto a chewy bagel or fresh bread, accompanied by tangy pickles, zesty mustard, and a delicate sprinkle of spices, creating a mouthwatering symphony of flavors.
And if salt beef isn’t your thing, the stall also serves other traditional deli favorites, like potato latkes, schnitzels, and falafel in wraps or salads. There’s plenty to choose from!
The best desserts at Borough Market
If you still have room at the end of your meal, there are plenty of inviting sweet treats at Borough Market too. From fresh fruit to sumptuous pastries and indulgent crumbles. there’s something for everyone…
Have a sweet tooth? Check out my complete guide to the best desserts in London.
For one of the most popular – and prettiest – desserts in Borough Market, head to Humble Crumble.
As the world’s first crumble bar, this artisan haven offers a selection of customisable crumbles that are as nostalgically comforting as they are Instagram-worthy.
Begin by selecting a fruit base, ranging from the classic apple to a rotating selection of seasonal flavors like rhubarb and ginger or blackberry and almond.
Once the buttery and crumbly shortbread crumble is added, the fun continues as you choose your topping. Options include warm homemade vanilla custard, fluffy torched meringue, velvety whipped cream, and more.
And to top it all off, extras like cinnamon, almonds, edible glitter, or dried rose petals are also available, transforming your dessert into an aesthetic masterpiece.
Tip: The warm vanilla custard (my fave!) is bottomless. So if you find yourself needing more half-way through your crumble, just pop back and ask for a top up.
Bread Ahead Doughnuts
Borough Market’s Bread Ahead is the original and flagship store of one of London’s favourite bakeries, which now has multiple locations around the capital.
The bakery has all manner of breads, pastries, and cakes on offer at their Borough Market stalls, including their famous custard and jam filled donuts.
You can pick from a variety of different flavours, including classics like vanilla custard, raspberry jam, and velvet chocolate, as well as special seasonal flavours such as creme caramel and salted honeycomb and pumpkin custard with toffee.
Fresh Strawberries & Chocolate
While there are loads of fantastic street food stalls at Borough Market, the historic Southwark spot is still a produce market at heart. And what better to try at a produce market than some fresh fruit.
Head into Three Crown Square, where you’ll find a small army of staff selling vibrant strawberries by the cup load. On a busy day, the cups fly off the stall quicker than they can restock!
And for an extra special treat, add some warm melted chocolate to your strawberry cup. Is there any better pairing than strawberries and chocolate?
The best sit-down restaurants in Borough Market
While Borough Market is probably most famous for its many street food stalls, there is also a variety of sit-down restaurants in and around the market.
Padella is without a doubt one of the most popular restaurants at Borough Market, which is evident from the large queue no matter when you visit.
The small Italian restaurant is famous for its authentic and affordable handmade pasta dishes that are freshly prepared right in front of you.
Tip: The Pici Cacio & Pepe is Padella’s most popular and most awarded dish. So if you’re not sure what to order, give it a try!
Padella doesn’t take advance bookings and used to be notorious for its long line winding its way down the street. However, the restaurant now has a virtual queue, which you can sign up with via QR codes outside the restaurant. This means you can put your name down and take a wander around the rest of the market until your table is ready.
Roast is a contemporary British restaurant sitting above Borough Market in the historic Floral Hall building.
The restaurant uses fresh seasonal British ingredients, many of which come from traders within the market, to produce its menu of classic dishes.
True to its name, Roast is most famous for its incredible Sunday roast. But don’t worry if you visit during the week – there are plenty of other tasty options to choose from too.
The restaurant also serves a variety of delicious breakfast and brunch dishes, bottomless afternoon tea, as well as à la carte choices and a set menu for lunch and dinner.
Check out more of the best restaurants for a roast dinner in London.
Brindisa Kitchen Bar is the sit down restaurant offering of established Borough Market trader Brindisa, known for its fantastic Spanish tapas.
At the kitchen bar, all produce comes from either Brindisa or other Borough Market traders and is cooked in front of you as you sit at the bar.
From jamón ibérico (ham) and grilled chorizo, to seasonal Spanish cheeses and tasty filled croquettes, there are plenty of sharing dishes to choose from. The more people you bring, the more dishes you get to try!
And don’t forget to top off your meal with a glass of sangria or a bottle of Spanish wine.
Borough Market Q&As
How to get to Borough Market:
Borough Market sits of Southwark Street, close to Southwark cathedral and a short walk from London Bridge.
The closest underground station is London Bridge Station (Northern line and Jubilee line) – not Borough Station (as confusing as that sounds!).
There are also several bus stops on Southwark Street, Borough High Street, and London Bridge, as well as at London Bridge Station.
Borough Market Opening Times:
The opening times of Borough Market vary each day.
- Monday: Closed.
- Tuesday to Friday: 10am – 5pm.
- Saturday: 9am – 5pm.
- Sunday: 10am – 4pm.
Some of the restaurants around Borough Market have their own opening hours and stay open later than the street food traders, so it’s best to check each place individually.
Best Time to Visit Borough Market:
There’s no real bad time to visit Borough Market. If the market is open, it’s a good time to go!
But if it’s the lines and crowds you’re worried about, head to the market on a week day rather than the weekend – Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be quietest.
You should also try to avoid peak lunch hours between approx. 12pm and 2pm.
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