Since many of us are still working from home, we thought that a roundup of best places for lunch near Roman Road might come in handy.
Luckily for us, we live in a multicultural area so there is no need to get tired of the same old thing. With Carribean, Turkish, Thai, British, Cockney, Moroccan and Italian options, we can travel the world without leaving the Roman. Looking for something healthy? Check. Craving something filling? Check. Want a cosy hub to escape your make-shift office? Check. Need to grab-and-go? … you get the drift. We’ve got all bases covered. Enjoy!
Sazzy & Fran
33 Roman Road, London E2 0HU
Fancy a bit of plant-based paradise? This cute café near Roman Road’s London Buddhist Centre offers some revitalising, vegan lunch options. The new hot thing on the menu is their turmeric and red lentil dahl, which comes with a generous helping of crispy onions and gorgeous sourdough. Sit on the ground floor amid the uplifting greenery of emerald leaves, or perhaps venture downstairs to encase yourself in the dimly-lit nook of an ideal work area. Complying with their eco-ethos, Sazzy & Fran’s take-away options come in compostable containers accompanied by cornstarch spoons.
140 Roman Road, London E2 0RY
You’ve probably walked past this little corner gem many times, unaware of the selection of wraps and toasties that are created inside. With the winning fillings of roast chicken or grilled halloumi, their list of lunch options is worth checking out. Aptly named, this is an ideal spot to come by and ‘recharge’ in the middle of your working day. If you choose to sit-in, maybe try their awesome pan of Shakshuka.
363 Roman Road, London E3 5QR
You may have dined in this Italian restaurant on Roman Road of an evening and sipped on Italian wines whilst scooping up a fork-full of the finest taglioni. But have you tried Symposium’s take-away lunches? Your Lasagne Parmigiana (to die for), or other homemade choices of the day, will come wrapped in the comfort of an eco-friendly box. Oh and don’t get us started on their ice cream; from popular pistachio to alphonso mango, their artisan scoops of ‘La Gelateira’ gelato are putting the ‘Rome’ in Roman.
Mae + Harvey
Address: 414 Roman Road, Old Ford, London E3 5LU
Is this shiny navy shop-front home to London’s most famous chicken sandwich? It may well be. If meat isn’t your thing, Mae + Harvey has a range of vegan and veggie delights – their yellow dahl comes partnered with home-baked sourdough. You’ve probably spotted Roman Road’s Scandi-styled hub of yumminess whilst scrolling through your Instagram feed. With daily specials rustically hand-written on brown paper bags, and delightful floral sprigs dotted on every table, it’s a picture perfect lunchtime location.
Address: 45 Roman Road E2 OHU
There’s a welcoming window at the Bethnal Green end of Roman Road, from which you may have heard full-throated Italian voices as you walk by. That would be the friendly sound of café owner Francesco, serving delectable coffees to his herd of adoring regulars. Coffee isn’t Quarantacinque’s only speciality though. Whether you want a grab-and-go baguette, bursting with garlic infused venetian salami and asiago cheese, or a pre-ordered homely Italian meal like their salmon and asparagus lasagne (for two, four, or six people), there is a lunch choice to suit all.
426 Roman Road, Bow, London E3 5LU
Let’s just say that the curling lunchtime queue speaks for itself. The hardworking chefs at Cafe East blend the traditional with the contemporary, putting their own mouth-watering twist on favourite ‘caff’ options. From the popping green of a perfectly ripe avocado to the dazzling red of clustered cherry vine tomatoes, dishes are presented as vibrant masterpieces to eat in or take-away.
106 Roman Road, Globe Town, London E2 0RN
Big Beans is a welcoming, unpretentious café overlooking Globe Town Market, and brings the marvellous Moroccan flavours to Globe Town. Open seven days a week, it serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon treats. Specialties include their chunky salt beef bagels straight from bagel heartland, Brick Lane, or try their fresh hot doughnuts and Moroccan dishes. They also serve up freshly squeezed juices and fully loaded milkshakes. It’s all far too good to miss.
494 – 496 Roman Road, Bow, London E3 5LU
Sometimes pizza is the only thing that’ll do. If you haven’t already been compelled to enter Pizza Brixton from the waft of an open oven that surges from their door, then it’s about time you get involved in what’s going down here. Most of the ingredients are from the owners’ hometown of Puglia, the southeastern region of Italy famed for its wine and olive oil. Their pizza dough is 100% vegan and their toppings are 100% fabulous. Oh, and homemade tiramisu? Yes please. The large, smarly decorated interior makes this an ideal option for client lunches.
526 Roman Road, London E3 5ES
The East London legend of G Kelly’s pie and mash lives on. Steeped in the history of generations, black and white photos of the past hang nostalgically from freshly tiled walls and the gorgeous scent of pastry oozes from their open kitchen. Pies are assembled by hand and cooked on demand, landing on your plate steamingly fresh beside a comforting cushion of home-made mash. With the typical options of jellied eels and a drizzle of liquor (parsley sauce), this is the place to come for the true East End experience.
Mum Likes Thai Food
107 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 0QN
Having taken over the premises in former cocktail bar Nola in January 2021, Mum Likes Thai Food is a welcome addition to Roman Road’s ever-expanding global cuisine offering. Opened by chef Tanakrit Pimpa and his wife, Supap, who manages the front of house, be prepared for warm welcome smiles and friendly chitchat. Lunch is a set menu but the portions are generous. Opt for a traditional Green Thai Curry, or to their sell-out Pad Thai, with a choice of chicken, beef, prawn or tofu. All dishes are as close to the original recipe as would be found in the Pimpas’ home of Thailand. Open every day for lunch from 12pm until 3pm.
Targa Green Cafe
137 Tredegar Road, London E3 2EU
Picture the scene. A pistachio green-fronted cafe with tables scattered outside, seating a multiplicity of people. A warm, Moroccan-inspired interior with traditional Moroccan music pulsing in the background. What’s not to love? Targa Green Cafe on Tredegar Road is bursting with life and a community feel. With an emphasis on fresh, healthy food, this is a great spot to invigorate your body and soul on a well-deserved lunch break.
72 Parnell Road, Bow, London E3 2RU
The cavernous family-run restaurant, at the end of Roman Road’s market, provides a whole lotta Turkish delight. As you enter, you are greeted by the warmth of their open fire braziers and swooped upon by their helpful table staff. Lunch specials range from the traditional turkish lahmacuns (thin pieces of dough topped with minced meat, minced vegetables and herbs) to scrummy soups partnered with bread and pickles. Their chicken soup is legendary and worth the trip alone.
546 Roman Road, London E3 5ES
This type of working person’s ‘caf’ is as inherent to the East End identity as jellied eels and rhyming slang. Fiesta Café is a family-owned business with unpretentious interiors serving large portions of familiar foods to predominantly local customers. It is also noteworthy for being the most spacious cafe on the Roman. Its large plate-glass windows overlooking the market provide a perfect place for a spot of people watching a full English, filling sandwich or perhaps their most popular item – lasagne.
566 Roman Road, London E3 5ES
This market-side cafe is a stalwart of the Roman, serving a wide selection of sandwiches and soups, chips and treats. Its salt-beef bagels are a great go-to for a tasty lunch: chewy, chunky and utterly moreish, with a gorgeous gentle kick from the mustard sauce. For a hearty lunch, try their classic steak pie with mash and peas. The cafe also caters for vegetarians and vegans and serves homemade lentil soup and falafel dishes. Whatever you choose, you’re bound to leave Cafe Creme happy and satisfied.
254 Globe Road, London E2 0JD
For a famous full English fry-up head to The Full Monty, a favourite with cabbies, policemen, and locals. Alongside their traditional fry-ups, they serve pancakes, omelettes, jacket potatoes, and paninis. Halal options are on offer too – we are highly tempted by their halal bangers and mash. But if you are looking for a lighter lunch, their selection of salads is a good choice, including a grilled chicken salad and avocado, almond and red pepper salad. There really is something for everyone at this Globe Town café.
Coffee places and cafes that offer a lunch option
If you’re craving a coffee, cake or fry up, then there are plenty of coffee shops and greasy spoons on Roman Road that provide a quick lunch option too.
For sweet or savoury waffles, pop down to Zealand (391 Roman Road), or if you’re more of a crêpe type, try out Loafing (407 Roman Road). Mono (535 Roman Road) also offers fresh baguettes and bagels made to order, which can be enjoyed outside on their large terrace. Newcomer Tossa offers an intriguing mix of bagles and noodles.
Cafe Creme (566 Roman Rd) and Semz Cafe (483 Roman Road) are classic greasy spoons offering breakfasts, burgers and soups.
For a fix of art and culture, try the coffee shops at Nunnery Gallery and St Margaret’s House. The Nunnery (181 Bow Road) offers a roasted red pepper soup and a mean vegan sausage sandwich. The Gallery Cafe (21 Old Ford Rd) has a varied vegan menu, including an all day breakfast burrito and superfood bowl.
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