In praise of Stroud Green

We’re moving to Manchester next week, but for the last two years we’ve lived in London. Trying to pin down the exact bit is tricky. It’s near Finsbury Park, which for non-Londoners means north and a medium distance out from the centre, and for practical purposes, “near Finsbury Park” is what I’ve always described it as. But Finsbury Park is quite large and there are lots of places near it which aren’t particularly near each other.

We’ve lived in the area immediately to the west of the park, not south enough to be Holloway, west enough to be Archway (which isn’t really an area anyway), nor north enough to be Crouch End. The main feature of the area is Stroud Green Road, which runs from Finsbury Park station north west until it becomes Crouch Hill and continues into Crouch End. This road also forms part of the boundary between the London Boroughs of Islington (of wealthy “new” Labour fame) and Haringey (of Baby P fame).

Stroud Green itself was a hamlet a little further north which got swallowed up by nineteenth century suburban expansion; apart from Holy Trinity Church, the site it occupied is mostly residential now and not a distinctive area. Stroud Green Road to the south, however, is the economic focal point, and something of a gem for the diversity and quality of independent shops and restaurants along and around it.

So, although not quite historically accurate, “Stroud Green” is a pretty good name for the wider area west of Finsbury Park, and it’s been a pretty great place to live. I mentioned restaurants: it’s absolutely heaving with terrific ones. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the ones we’ve enjoyed:

Max’s Sandwich Shop Crouch Hill Sandwiches. Incredible sandwiches.
Season Kitchen Stroud Green Road Modern British. Great Sunday roasts.
Jai Krishna Stroud Green Road Vegetarian south Indian
Osteria Tufo Fonthill Road Italian. Very special.
Il Piccolo Diavolo Crouch Hill Italian. A favourite.
My Cottage Cafe Clifton Terrace Lebanese. Hidden gem.
The Old Dairy Crouch Hill Gastropub. Good Sunday roasts.
Pizzeria Pappagone Stroud Green Road Pizza. Wood-fired oven.
Hana Maria Stroud Green Road Pizza. By the half metre.
Dotori Stroud Green Road Korean/Japanese. Rightly renowned.
Boulangerie Bon Matin Tollington Park Cafe. Amazing salads.
Front Room Cafe Tollington Park Cafe. Good for brunch.
Vagabond Stroud Green Road Coffee. Hipsterish but very good.
The Deli at 80 Stroud Green Road Deli, cafe. A local institution.
Italian Farmers Stroud Green Road Italian deli. Best mozzarella.
Exeter Street Bakery Stroud Green Road Bakery, pizza, cafe. Great bread.
Petek Stroud Green Road Turkish. Huge veggie platters.
Cafe Mexicali Stroud Green Road Mexican and cocktails. Good fun.
La Saporita Tollington Park Italian. Massive pizzas.
La Fabrica Stroud Green Road Spanish tapas. Very good.
Cats Cafe des Artistes Stroud Green Road Thai. Popular local favourite.
Salvation in Noodles Blackstock Road Asian. Massive, tasty noodle dishes.
Blighty Cafe Blackstock Road Cafe. 1940s themed.
Libertea Marlborough Road Lovely, friendly, cosy cafe.

Moving beyond restaurants and cafes:

Jack’s Stroud Green Road Off licence. Astounding range of beers.
Park Theatre Clifton Terrace Theatre, cafe.
New Beacon Books Stroud Green Road Revolutionary bookshop.
Stroud Green Fruit&Veg Stroud Green Road Grocery and deli. Best in the area.

A little further out of the area, but also highly recommended (our favourite takeaway):

Tootoomoo Crouch End Asian fusion

And finally, a few new places we haven’t had a chance to try, but which look good:

The White Lion Stroud Green Road Ex-Wetherspoons, now independent
Oven & Hearth Stroud Green Road Slow-cooked meat specialists
International Deli Stroud Green Road Deli
Que Me Stroud Green Road Vietnamese

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