Having a dog changed my life. It really did, in a way that I would not have expected; I did not grow up with pets and was not interested in having one. It was @bmcboy that decided at one point some three years ago to try having a dog, since he grew up in the countryside with Labradors. He choose a breed that would be suitable not only for a first time owner like me, but also to a small London home and the lack of exercise, open ground facilities around us. Basically having a lab or a dalmatian was surely out of the question.
Here came Amber, a now 3.5 years old basset fauve de Bretagne, a little known basset hound breed, not very common in Britain. Amber is smaller than a regular basset, she’s very cheeky, has a bossy but sweet personality which has completely taken over our heart and our lives! She’s very well behaved, calm, and is very friendly particularly with small children. She’s also great with other dogs because we socialised her since she was a little puppy.
This means that when we are out for dinner or lunch or anything else that requires eating out, we do like to take her with us. It’s unfair to leave her alone at home for over two hours, it’s fun to have her around us of course, and also if it’s dinner out, it’s better for us. If we are out until late, she sleeps way too much and by the time we’re home, tired and sleepy she’s wide awake and excited to play!
It is always tricky in England, a nation of so called ‘dog lovers’, to find places that would allow dogs. Thankfully, a few open minded establishments welcome them so here is my top 10 picks of London’s food places in alphabetical order.
As a general rule of thumb, please always ask permission and be responsible. If your dog is a nuisance (too large, too boisterous, unfriendly or loud), then really is not fair to take him / her anywhere as it will only cause problems!
1. 3Bis Gelateria, Borough Market
Right by ‘dog unfriendly’ Borough market is this small Italian ice cream parlour 3Bis. They do great coffees, ice creams and a selection of pastries too. Their hot chocolate is very mooreish. The staff are, of course, all Italians and welcome dogs. Not as busy as trendy next door Monmouth, is a much nicer spot to stop for a chat with a friend as well as a great ice cream.
4 Park St, London SE1 9AB
2. Craft London, Greenwich
Thank you Stevie Parle and team! Since they opened Dock Kitchen, and now the beautiful Craft in Greenwhich, we’ve been dining at Stevie’s outposts. The food is in both places fantastic (read my older post on Dock Kitchen), the views are great, the philosophy extremely ethical and the design (by Tom Dixon) of both venues smart and elegant. And obviously dog friendly so that we can enjoy a night out in style with Amber as well. We are regular at both places and if distance wasn’t an issue, we would visit much more often!
1 Green Pl, London SE10 0PE
3. Il Cudega, Hackney
Recently opened il Cudega is a deli and restaurant in a spacious railway arch near Broadway Market. Before we visited, I timidly asked ‘could we bring our well behaved small dog with us?’ .. I should not have doubted. The guys are Italian and very dog friendly. Amber got a fantastic welcome, enjoyed some snacks too, and we loved their freshly prepared Lombardy food and wine. Again, if distance was not an issue, we would be very regular visitors!
Railway Arch 358, Westgate St, London E8 3RN
**This place has now closed**
4. The Garrison, Bermondsey
Out of the many dog friendly establishments on very dog friendly Bermondsey street, the Garrison and sister restaurant the Village East are perhaps the ones we visit the most, usually for Sunday breakfast or brunch. Good variety on the menu, friendly staff, we tend to visit on the early side, as they both get very busy. Good area to walk is the little park by the church and a bit of posh pooch shopping at boutique Holly & Lil. Sadly Zucca, our favourite restaurant on the street closed down a couple of months ago.
99 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XB
5. The Green Room, Southbank
A relatively recent addition to the area, we are now regulars at this social enterprise right by the National Theatre and the BFI. The Green Room menu is eclectic (from ribs to salads, from seafood to pulled pork) but everything is sustainably sourced and the ambience is always buzzy. In the summer they have a terrace for outodoor eating and drinking and a grass area for pooches to walk about (but it is open so keep them on a lead). They are very dog friendly, they even have a ‘wall of fame’ of doggy visitors. Amber loves coming here.
101 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP
6. Horse & Stable, Lambeth North
This is our very local pub, about a minute walk and not far from Waterloo station. While they often show sporting events, is always a nice place for a quick bite to eat and a pint (their burgers are pretty good), and owner Steve is a dog person himself. Amber and his gorgeous Gia are friends from the park so he welcomes dogs here and sister pub around the corner the Walrus.
124 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7RW
7. Love & Scandal, Lower Marsh
Another local, another regular spot for our coffee breaks on Saturday and sometimes brunch, is quirky hipster café Love & Scandal. They have strong, antipodean style coffee, a small selection of soft drinks, freshly baked gluten free cakes and cookies and a decent, original, brunch menu. They also always bring dog treats to Amber and most times we visit, we also meet up with Amber’s friends from the park (Ciccio, Wolfgang). Other coffee shops on the Marsh we often visit with Amber are Four Corners, The Scooter Café and Travelling Through so we’re very lucky to have such choice within walking distance!
107 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AB
**This place has now closed**
8. Pulia, Borough Market
A favourite of ours in recent month, restaurant and deli Pulia will welcome well behaved pups like Amber. We love to drop by for a wonderful almond coffee (specialty from the region) and their fresh, gooey and delicious burrata and stracciata as well as panzerotti cakes among other mouthwatering options. Orecchiette are of course, the pasta of choice; pulian olive oils, taralli and jars of delicacies are available to purchase. Again, located in dog unfriendly Borough Market, it is great to be able to enjoy good food with Amber in tow.
36 Stoney St, London SE1 9LB
9. Three Stags, Kennington
One of the first places we discovered once we got Amber is another local gastropub, right across from our main walking area, the Three Stags. Their food is always good, they make sourdough pizza baked in the wood fire oven upstairs and everything is very carefully sourced and sustainable. I had the best cote de boeuf ever at the Stags. We visit very often, and at weekends, is good to book as it gets busy.
67-69 Kennington Rd, London SE1 7PZ
10. Ginger & White, Belsize Park
We occasionally venture north of the river to meet our friends who live near Belsize park and here we usually go for breakfast at local café Ginger and White. Yes it’s a bit trendy and all, but the food is fairly good and they allow Amber plus the first time we visited, I bumped into one of my movie stars idols (no I can’t say otherwise everyone would start stalking him and I am jealous…) so there you go. Reason enough to visit again.
Download my guide in useful, printable pdf format!