Here's the round-up of where to eat and drink in the open air at King's Cross
You are spoilt for choice for alfresco get-togethers at King’s Cross. Most of the restaurants have gorgeous outdoor terraces on leafy parks and squares, some overlooking the canal. What’s more, the neighbourhood is practically traffic-free. Here is the listing of all your outdoor dining options with links to bookings.
Perched among the greenery on the upper level of Coal Drops Yard is Spanish alfresco terrace bar and grill, Parrillan. The hook here is the ‘parillas’: mini charcoal grills with white-hot coats that are brought to your table for you to cook your own ingredients. Elegant slices of beef picanha, fat bright red carabinero prawns and juicy red peppers are all pre-seasoned and ready for you to chargrill and bring out that mouth-watering deliciousness.
If you’d rather have someone else do the cooking (and with Barrafina’s executive chef Angel Zapata Martin in the kitchen, it’s a respectable choice) there are ‘para picas’, or small plates to choose from. The drinks list is well worth a mention too, if only for how hard it works to showcase Spanish produce. Choose from elegant cocktails, sherry, vermut, a cracking Spanish gin and tonic list, beers and wine.
For laidback fun, Plaza Pastor is hard to beat. The space is a riot of fun Mexicana colours and the food is deliciously authentic. Plaza Pastor is essentially the outside space of sibling restaurant Casa Pastor but with its own bar, open kitchen and a more laid-back menu.
It’s a permanent outdoor venue, so it is fully covered – which could make all the difference on a rainy night, and it is heated so you’re guaranteed to be cosy. Try the classics – tacos, tortillas and fat tortas buns filled with meat and veggies from the robata grill. Drinks are heavy on the tequila – including their own batch mezcal.
One of the most exciting restaurants at Coal Drops Yard is hicce, with cooking by Murano-trained chef Pip Lacey. The outdoor space is perched just outside the handsome red-brick vaulted windows, and, according to the hicce team – offers the finest view of the sunset in the entire city. The terrace has a shorter menu than the main restaurant but acts as a highlight reel of the uber-modern fare served inside.
The inventive dishes are mainly wood-fired, with lots of steaming, smoking, and pickling. The beer bread is worth the visit alone. If you’re here for liquid refreshments, there is a pretty outdoor bar serving heady cocktails, craft beers, and small-batch wines.
Overlooking the canal, The Lighterman has not one, but three outside eating options, so you can chase the sun all day long. The generous wraparound terrace on the first floor has panoramic views over the square and the canal. If you don’t manage to bag a spot here, then you’ve still got the terrace on Granary Square. Or best of all, the canalside bar right on the towpath.
The all-day menu features marinated meat and seafood cooked on a wood-fired grill alongside classics such as the rare breed beef burger and fish & chips. On the drinks front, there’s a great seasonal cocktail menu, plus craft beers and well-chosen wines.
GNH Bar & Terrace
If you’re looking for a glamorous spot for dinner and drinks, the Great Northern Hotel’s Bar & Terrace is the place for you. The hotel effortlessly blends modern luxury with the elegance of the steam age: the building was designed by Lewis Cubitt, the architect of many of King’s Cross’ most iconic buildings, and first opened its doors in 1854.
The bar is open all day, with a menu that spans delicious breakfasts, sumptuous dinners and decadent cocktails and bar snacks. The elegant continental-style terrace looks over the station, so you can enjoy watching the hustle and bustle as you relax. There are outdoor over head heaters to keep you warm after sundown, too.
Drake & Morgan
Catch up with your friends, family or colleagues on Drake & Morgan’s lovely outdoor terrace overlooking Pancras Square. There are blankets and hot water bottles if a chill should set in, and cocktails are at the ready.
Food-wise, the carefully crafted seasonal menu features everything from sharing platters to burgers, curries and pasta dishes, with plenty for vegetarians, too. Plus, there’s usually something fun on the D&M calendar, including Jazz Brunch Sundays. Furry friends are welcome too!
Granary Square Brasserie
The terrace at Granary Square Brasserie is a gorgeously stylish space, with plump cushions and lots of lush greenery facing onto the square, this year with a tropical theme. The terrace is heated, there are large umbrellas and a stack of blankets available to keep guests feeling toasty.
The brasserie serves beautifully cooked classics – in fact, your biggest concern is going to be what to choose from the fairly sizeable but stellar menu. Our insider tip? Whatever you go for, be sure to add on as many sides as you can handle – especially the truffle and parmesan chips. Oh, and the weekend brunch is worth crossing town for, too.
Nestled at the top of Coal Drops Yard, Vermuteria is the charming all-day eatery with a delicious European menu and a head-spinning variety of vermouths.
The well-spaced outdoor tables spill into Coal Drops Yard, and the whole area is covered and dotted with heaters. Fat barrels, strings of twinkling lights and lots of potted trees help to create a delightfully cosy atmosphere.
Popular eatery Caravan was the first restaurant to open at King’s Cross. It was an instant hit and continues to pull the crowds. Dishes draw influence and flavours from around the world and are best enjoyed as small plates made for sharing.
The sunny terrace is popular from morning ’til night. The breakfasts here are excellent and the coffee is roasted daily, in-house. There’s no better spot to watch the activity in the square.
Nestled under the red brick arches at Coal Drops Yard. The outdoor space is covered and warmed with heaters, so it’s pleasant to sit out even on a chilly evening.
The wine list is unsurprisingly one of the best around, and the food is simple but carefully sourced, with meats, fine cheeses, breads and fresh oysters served straight from the cart. The Drop is at Unit 22-24 Bagley Walk Arches.
The heated ground floor terrace at Coal Office is on the beautifully landscaped Bagley Walk overlooking Coal Drops Yard. Views aside, there’s a lot to shout about here.
The restaurant is a collaboration between design powerhouse Tom Dixon, who had a hand in every element of the design down to the cutlery, and chef supremo Assaf Granit. Jerusalem-born Granit’s vibrant sharing plates are as loud and buzzy as the open kitchen, with influences stretching along the Mediterranean from the Middle East to North Africa. The restaurant is open daily for dinner, and weekends for brunch and dinner.
Facing onto Lewis Cubitt Park, the Arabica terrace is perfectly placed to catch the last few rays of sunshine in the evening.
The food is modern Middle Eastern, with dishes drawing inspiration from sun-soaked Levantine – hot, fluffy flatbreads, salty halloumi, creamy hummus, smokey aubergine and sweet little jewels of pomegranate, all designed to be shared and very, very moreish.
Morty and Bobs
This easy-going Coal Drops Yard venue is the home of the East London sandwich maestros famed for turning the humble grilled cheese into something sublime. This popular spot also offers a brunch bun as well as burgers and chicken club sandwiches. Drinks-wise, there’s a selection of cold press juices, excellent coffee, as well as a beer and wine list if you fancy something a little stronger.
You’ll find outdoor seating both on charming Lower Stable Street and in Coal Drops Yard.
Summer is in full bloom at German Gymnasium, where the outdoor terrace has been transformed into a stunning botanical gin garden and bar. Bedecked with trellises and planters, the garden is a riot of colour and lush greenery, with tumbling tropical ferns and vivid orchids, the perfect spot to sip a drink in the sun.
The spectacular garden has been created in partnership with distillers Monkey 47 (who brew their distinctive gin deep in Germany’s Black Forest – a perfect pairing!). They have concocted a special cocktail menu just for German Gym including Orange Blossom, Monkey Business, and Lady Sloe Berry, all featuring Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. You can enjoy drinks and delicious Mittel-European inspired dishes in the ‘German Gin Garden’ all summer long.
One for the craft beer enthusiasts. Warehouse-style taproom Babel Beerhouse has alfresco seating nestled among the greenery on Lewis Cubitt Park.
Alongside a year round selection of beers on tap, there’s a huge range of cans, plus limited editions and collaborations with craft breweries. The menu offers gourmet burgers, stonebaked pizzas and sharing platters – the perfect accompaniment to a nice cold pint.
Blending simplicity and style in an elegant, brasserie-style setting, Porte Noire is the ideal spot for a glass of fine wine or a delicious sophisticated supper.
Alongside over 800 wines, ranging from accessible favourites to rare delicacies, the menu features European fine food, plus charcuterie and cheese plates. The pretty terrace overlooks Gasholder Park and the Regent’s Canal, the perfect place to sip a glass of something lovely and watch the world go by.
As you walk up King’s Boulevard, you can’t miss the striking twisted iron columns of Vinoteca. Inspired by the wine bars of Spain and Italy, the super-comfy seating on Vinoteca’s pretty terrace cries out for an evening spent sampling the exceptional wines.
Let the knowledgeable staff recommend a glass of something chilled and delicious, and pair it with plate of seasonal flavours. Try the shrimp, fennel and juicy pink grapefruit, or the gorgeously earthy parmigiana.
In Pancras Square, Kimchee’s terrace is a sun trap, catching rays through the day and into the early evening.
The contemporary menu is a great introduction to Korean food, with fluffy steamed buns, dumplings, fried chicken wings, hearty Bibimbap sticky rice, and lots of delicious Korean barbecue.
Lina Stores is ready to transport you to Italy with its authentic, homemade fare. The alfresco space is situated just outside the restaurant on Stable Street.
On the menu, you’ll find Lina favourites including antipasti, panini, and (naturally!) lots and lots of fresh homemade pasta.
For anyone missing their fix of home-style Sri Lankan food, fear not: Hoppers now have tables outside.
Perched between the planters on Goods Way and spilling into Pancras Square, tuck into hoppers (savoury coconutty pancake bowls), kari, and rothu to your heart’s content.
Beer + Burger
Beer + Burger have added outdoor seating to their restaurant on York Way. As well as their fab classics – bacon cheeseburger, chicken burger – there’s a vegan patty and a special monthly guest burger, plus fries, gravy, slaw and wings for sides.
Beer + Burger also have some of the largest selections of beer in London, with daily rotating taps and hundreds of cans in the fridges, so you’ve plenty to choose from.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday head down to West Handyside Canopy to enjoy the covered market and browse a line-up of London’s best artisan traders, including farm-fresh produce, ceramics and jewellery, street food and craft drink stalls.
It makes for the perfect day out and is the ideal place to sample a variety of delicious food. Enjoy the hustle and bustle and take a seat at one of the tables within the market. Or grab something to go and take advantage of the many green spaces around King’s Cross.