Harringay will put a spring in your step, and an inch on your waist.
Why go there?
For the food, bars and buzz of a great place as yet largely undiscovered by the non-Turkish masses. But mainly for the food.
What’s the vibe?
Hectic. Harringay’s Grand Parade on Green Lanes (where every place mentioned here is located) is a street that never sleeps – it’s a blur of neon lights, 24-hour fruit-and-veg shops, young families, students and the occasional Turkish wedding party.
Sounds good. What’s on the menu?
There are ten Turkish restaurants doing a roaring trade within less than a mile. Gökyüzü offers the friendliest and most efficient service and, more importantly, the finest meat platter. Antepliler isn’t bad either, especially with its big wood oven in the front for Turkish pizzas. A crop of non-Turkish places has also recently sprung up: Bun & Bar serves burgers and cocktails, while Autograf Grill claims to be ‘probably the best Polish restaurant in London’.
Got the meat sweats?
Try casual café Mezzo, or the Harringay Sunday market which frequently includes a bánh mì stall.
Let’s get drunk!
Make a beeline for The Salisbury. It’s staggeringly big and has everything you could wish for in a London pub: a revolving selection of ales, stuffed animals and a roaring fire. Jam in a Jar has a friendly Lower East Side dive vibe and heaves on weekends, when it plays host to Americana-flavoured live music.
Time for some sobering retail therapy.
There’s an imposing Hawes & Curtis Outlet Store selling heavily discounted threads, and the curious soon-to-open Harringay Local Store, whose window states it is ‘Not another Tesco’. It’s opposite Tesco. But, mostly, Harringay is all about food, so eyes on the prize. Yasar Halim is the best bakery on the block – grab some flaky baklava from there, or a gözleme, a pastry stuffed with spinach, mince, cheese or potato, from the ladies making them in the window of Hala.
Now how about a nice sit down?
Finsbury Park is but a ten-minute walk away, while down near the Overground station, the surprisingly peaceful Railway Fields nature reserve is also sporadically open to the public for dawn chorus walks and tree-hugging festivals and the like.
And if I only do one thing?
Sip Turkish black tea with lots of sugar outside Café Lemon and watch the action on the Parade whirl past.
By Becky Lucas, who lives on Harringay Road, in Harringay, in the borough of Haringey. The previous resident was called Harry.
Take a look at more of London’s best bits here.