Top 3 bistros in Islington to visit on Valentine’s Day


by Ioana Ardereanu

People come and go, but food is eternal.

Which is why, based on Virginia Woolf’s principle- “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” we have decided to dedicate the day to our one and only Valentine. You’ve guessed it. A beautiful spread of, well… food.

Yet, instead of the mainstream cheesy pizza, scrumptious cupcakes and delicious French treats, this year we are doing it off the beaten track. So, to unabashedly declare our intense love for food, we are taking you to three of Islington’s most gourmand, hidden places that you haven’t probably thought about.

The Coffee Works Project


Our culinary trip starts in Camden Passage where the Coffee Works Projects focuses on “Fresh Seasonal Produce”.

On the “Day of lovers” be early at the Project for some freshly baked and golden pastries, delivered every morning on the bicycle. The peach Danish is the best in town. Treat yourself with their new coffee beans from Colombia typically brewed in the V60, Kalita and aeropress between 4 and 6 minutes. Your coffee has never tasted any more delicious than that.

The smell of coffee is perfectly complemented by the smell of cakes. One thing that you should know about the Coffee Works Project is that is that it bakes its own cookies which are definitely worth giving a try. Yet, if you are still undecided, the Project will most probably convince you to pay them a visit just by reading their daily inspirational quotes that will just make your day better and elicit a smile from you.

In the end, there is no need to mention their Valentine’s Day specialties because all you will have to do is show up at their place and instantly fall in love not only with their food, but also with their vanguard décor- tall chairs and walls covered in furniture.

Location: 96-98 High Street, Islington, London N1 8EG

Nearest Tube: Angel and Highbury & Islington


La Farola


Next, go down to Upper Street and grab some Spanish tapas for lunch. At La Farola you can choose from a wide selection of 23 types of tapas, that including meat, fish and vegetarian options with their price ranging between £4.50 and £9.95. But don’t worry about the expense. This year, Valentine’s Day offer will allow you to share even 10 types of tapas at once for an affordable price, with your special one or on your own.

In traditional Spanish rhythm, the waitresses and waiters should be ready to serve you their specialties in their Valentine’s Day uniforms. The bartender will prepare you “Cava Sangria” – a mix of Prosecco, lemonade and brandy liquor, topped up with fresh mint a thinly sliced orange. And finally, the chef will sweeten the noon with “Crema Catalana” – the Spanish version of crème brûlée only with a touch of lemon peel and cinnamon.

Location: 101 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN

Nearest Tube: Angel and Highbury & Islington



Finish off your day at the other end of the continent, in Turkey (or literally just next door), at Gallipoli, where the décor is mystical and the food is divine.

The restaurant, dating back to 1998, was the first bistro which opened within the short stretch of Upper Street in Islington. If you choose to come to Gallipoli, you would be amazed by the wide collection of traditionally painted lamps hanging from the ceiling that light this magic, tiny place. Not to mention their impressive collection of pictures of the old Istanbul and Turkish personalities which date back decades and cover all the walls from head to toe.

But you don’t come to dine at Gallipoli only for the fairylike ambience. Valentine’s Day is contagious and so is Turkish food. If you fancy some meze – typically selection of cold and hot Middle Eastern dishes, you should know that the chef has prepared the first round of cold mezes including humus and patato salad, followed by the hot selection of mitite kofte and lamb guvec, all for £9.95 per person. This is also accompanied by the Turkish “raki”- an anise-flavored liquor. If there is still room left for food, try a taste of the freshly made wraps with either kofte- meatballs or tavuk- chicken. Finally, top of your meal with a heavenly slice of baklava- pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey-to finish your declaration of love to food.

Location: 102 Upper St, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QP

Nearest Tube: Angel and Highbury & Islington


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