10 Great Caffs For An Old-School Fry-Up
10 Great Caffs For An Old-School Fry-Up

10 Great Caffs For An Old-School Fry-Up


Social media has finally caught onto the timeless genius of traditional London caffs. From Leo’s in Hackney to Norman’s in Tufnell Park, great British institutions across town are becoming Instagram sensations. When you next get the urge, these are our favourite places to breakfast like a champion…
Photography @Normanscafelondon
Leo’s, Hackney
Leo’s, Hackney


Norman’s Café, Tufnell Park 

Norman’s launched in north London in 2020 and quickly became an Insta sensation, with queues down the street at weekends and its own line of branded football shirts. Its menu showcases British café classics – from a set full English to retro lunch staples including fish and chips, toad in the hole and steamed puddings – plated up simply and made using quality ingredients. We go for the ‘Set 1’ – toast, sausage, eggs, two rashers of bacon, a hash brown and beans.

Visit NormansCafe.co.uk

Leo’s, Hackney

It only opened in June, but Leo’s is already an east London hotspot. It’s been the backdrop to many a social media post over the summer, thanks to the bright Formica tables, tiled floors, old signs and daily newspapers hung on the walls of the main café out front. The more glamourous, pasta-focused restaurant at the back is the place to be in the evenings, but the caff out front is where the action’s at from 9am to 3pm, Wednesday to Sunday. 

Visit @Leos.London

Mario’s Café, Kentish Town

In 1958, Mario opened Tony’s Restaurant in Kentish Town. He hailed from Puglia and decided to name the place after his son. It was renamed Mario’s Cafe in 1989 – this time after Mario’s grandson, who was roped in to help on the restaurant floor. He was only supposed to be there for a year, but after his father went off to have a triple bypass, Mario took over – and is still running the place today. Chalkboard menus feature the likes of poached eggs and prosciutto on ciabatta, or sausage, eggs, beans, bacon and tomato for just £4.90.

Visit MariosCafe.com

The Regency Café, Pimlico

This iconic caff has occupied the same spot on Regency Street since 1946. Along the way it’s appeared in TV series such as Judge John Deed, Rescue Me and London Spy, plus the films Layer Cake and Brighton Rock. Tiled art-deco interiors include photographs of Spurs players and Formica-topped tables. On the menu, the classics are all present and correct: think omelette with baked beans, sausage, fried egg and beans, and grilled mushrooms on toast – each served with a proper mug of builders.

Visit RegencyCafeLondon.com

Maria's Market Cafe
Maria's Market Cafe

Maria’s Market Café, Borough Market

Maria’s Market Cafe is a south London institution, named after its founder Maria Moruzzi, whose parents opened Borough Café in 1961. After many decades of frying bacon, brewing tea and serving everyone from market porters to Hollywood film stars, Maria has retired, but her legacy lives on. Now under new ownership, the café – in Three Crown Square within Borough Market – is still the place to go for its well-loved bubble and squeak, stuffed bacon sandwiches and expertly made brews.

Visit BoroughMarket.org.uk

E Pellicci, Bethnal Green

This Grade II-listed café is an ornate spot for an excellent fry-up. Priamo Pellicci began working in the café in 1900 and it was here that his wife Elide brought up their seven children, then took the café over after her husband’s death in 1931. Elide is the E Pellicci in its name today, and her portrait remains downstairs. Choose between four set cooked breakfasts or go rogue with American-style pancakes or classic ham, egg and chips.

Visit EPellicci.co.uk

Terry’s Café, London Bridge
Terry’s Café, London Bridge

Andrew’s Restaurant, Holborn

Andrew’s has been serving locals for more than 50 years. TV presenters Jon Snow, Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Tom Bradby are fans, and all signed a petition to stop developers shutting it down a few years back. Thank god they did. Inside, there are well-worn chairs, wipe-down tables and photos of Routemaster buses, alongside a vast wall-to-wall blackboard menu above the counter, featuring fry-ups (including a fried slice), omelettes, mixed grills and a choice of homecooked dishes such as liver and bacon. Andrew’s is occasionally open in the evening, when it can be hired out for pop-ups – celeb chefs such as Giorgio Locatelli and Nigella Lawson have hosted parties here.

Visit AndrewsCafe.co.uk

Terry’s Café, London Bridge

Terry’s dad was a chef in the army and his mum was a pastry cook, so he was always going to make a name for himself in food. Born and raised in south London during WWII, Terry got a job at Smithfield meat market aged 17. After a long career in butchery, he decided it was time for a change. In 1982 he opened what is now Terry’s Café, cooking hearty fare using produce from Smithfield and Borough markets. Today, this trad spot is run by his son Austin, who continues to serve up ‘The Blowout’ (two eggs, bacon, Cumberland sausage, bubble and squeak, and tomatoes) and ‘The Hamlet’ (Cumberland sausage, egg, bacon, black pudding, mushrooms and beans).

Visit TerrysCafe.co.uk

Marie’s Café, Waterloo

Round the back of Waterloo station, Marie’s Café is a popular Thai restaurant that also happens to serve traditional English breakfasts during the day. Behind its distinctive green exterior and traditional tiled frontage, Marie’s on the inside is a proper, Formica-clad greasy spoon – and all the more special for it. Inexpensive and famed for its large portions, this is just the spot for a hangover-busting feast.

Visit WeAreWaterloo.co.uk

River Café, Putney Bridge

Close to Ruth Rogers’s more famous The River Café, this Italian-run café and snack bar offers a slice of unchanged 60s dining. Resplendent with original blue and white tiles, plywood panelling, colourful mosaic flooring and painted murals of the sea and cityscapes, this is an ideal spot for a snappy breakfast or brunch, or simply an extremely well-made bacon roll.

Call 020 7736 6296

Norman’s Café, Tufnell Park 
Norman’s Café, Tufnell Park 


DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at [email protected].