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​​​​​​​Where to Eat: The Best Gallery Cafés in London

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Food and drink at Crane’s Kitchen, 2019 © South London Gallery via their website

The best places to take in art at the same time as getting some good food

The best places to take in art at the same time as getting some good food

Spotlight On: Crane's Kitchen

The South London Gallery in Peckham is home to innovative and fascinating contemporary art exhibitions and a beautiful garden. And now, the people behind Soane’s Kitchen (that tasty place over Ealing way) and Social Pantry Kitchen (in Lavender Hill) have taken over the gallery’s café, making the gallery even more of an exciting destination. Called Crane’s Kitchen, the café lets you finish off your immersion in contemporary art with some contemporary cooking, focusing on light café-style dishes, from labneh with poached eggs and spring greens to braised chicken with fregola and broad beans. Though the dishes are light and bright, the café is open all the way up until 6 most days, and 9 on Wednesdays. Want to hear the best part? There’s a brunch option on weekends, too - watch this space.

Best of the Rest:

Portrait Restaurant

What? The National Portrait Gallery’s sky-high restaurant

Where? Trafalgar Square

Why? The long, thin layout of the restaurant means you’re guaranteed great views no matter where you sit

Pharmacy 2

What? Newport Street Gallery’s Damien Hirst-designed eatery

Where? Lambeth

Why? If you want to keep the avant-garde atmosphere going while you eat, this is the place for you

The Ragged Canteen

What? Beaconsfield Gallery’s cosy café

Where? Lambeth - just down the road from Pharmacy 2, in fact

Why? This one’s great for vegetarians, serving up delicious café fare at very reasonable prices. Yum!

Note: The Ragged Canteen is currently closed for refurbishment, but will be open again soon

The Whitechapel Refectory

What? Where to eat up after a visit to Whitechapel Gallery

Where? Whitechapel (duh)

Why? Great breakfasts and great sandwiches - plus, their after hours evening on Thursdays, which corresponds with the gallery’s late opening night