Even starving academics (in Highgate) need to eat
May 16, 2015 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Tomorrow, I'm off to the UK to sit in the British Library and read bad religious novels by authors you've never heard of! But when I'm not doing that, I may need to eat occasionally, lest the lack of nutrition make me fall asleep over triple-deckers by Mme. de Genlis. I'm staying in the Highgate area, relatively close to the cemetery. Any recommendations for good but not luxurious fare? Most cuisines are fine (Indian, Thai, Chinese, etc.).
posted by thomas j wise to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you're taking the 390 bus (which stops directly outside the British Library, and takes you to Archway, at the foot of Highgate Hill), hop off at Tufnell Park and try one of the cheap eateries in Fortess Road. The Rustique Cafe is a good place to settle with a cup of coffee, Lalibela is a nice inexpensive restaurant, and there's a very excellent ice cream parlour just opened opposite.

Highgate has the usual coffee-shop and restaurant chains, and the Red Lion and Sun is an upmarket pub that serves food. If it's a nice day, you can sit outside the cafe in Waterlow Park. As a Victorianist you won't fail to notice the Karl Marx Tea Room, though I can't speak from personal knowledge on this one, as I've never been inside and always assumed it's a tourist trap. (After all, proper tea is theft.)

Around the British Library you're spoilt for choice, but don't forget the street-food options around King's Cross and Bloomsbury.
posted by verstegan at 3:29 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Just returned from staying in that area.

You can get cheap generic food at Euston Station (e.g. Burger King, Pasty Shop) or at Kings Cross/St. Pancras (e.g. Chop'd) plus takeaway from various food stores in each station.

Drummond Street, just past Euston Station, has a variety of Indian and Pakistani restaurants with some good prices. I liked Mabel's Tavern pub about 2 blocks away.

Best of luck.
posted by blob at 4:34 PM on May 16, 2015

I used to live by Highgate, and I say walk around the area. There are loads of good cafes and coffee shops that shouldn't cost to much. If you go down the road to Archway, you'll find plenty of affordable coffee shops and Turkish restaurants. You could also walk or bus to Muswell Hill, where you'll find Organic Planet, which has some good takeaway options, and fish and chips, as well as shops like Marks and Spencer.
posted by toerinishuman at 5:09 PM on May 16, 2015

Pizza Express, 30 Highgate High Street.

There's also a Café Rouge further up the hill.
posted by w0mbat at 6:30 PM on May 16, 2015

British Library food hacks! As you're no doubt aware, getting affordable food and coffee actually in the BL isn't really possible. If you need coffee, my experience is that the baristas in the little kerbside Peyton and Byrne on the corner of Euston and Midland Roads are efficient and know what they're doing. I tend to rely on the Pret opposite the BL on Euston Road for lunch when working at the BL (which is most days), but the street food options verstegan mentions look much more enticing.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:11 AM on May 17, 2015

If you want a quick filler, Prets generally has decent sandwiches and they're all over town. You can also get free coffee at Waitrose (think the nearest one is at Brunswick, a short walk away).
posted by appleses at 4:24 AM on May 17, 2015

Highgate/Muswell Hill/East Finchley gal and academic-type here.

Papa Del's - £5 pizza after 9pm weekdays for when you get back late.

Capri - Favourite place on Archway Road, but last time I was in town I think it was still under refurbishment.

I second Drummond St for very affordable Indian grub (a lot of it vegetarian, with lunch buffets and dosas on offer).

I usually swing by Sainsbury's on my way to the British Library and pack my lunch. You may not be able to get affordable grub in the BL, but it's one of the only places in central London that offers ample space to sit and eat a sandwich.
posted by dumdidumdum at 4:09 AM on May 18, 2015

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