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The Vintage Guide To London | December 18, 2017

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For American classics head to The Diner

For American classics head to The Diner

There are plenty of gourmet burger chains around London but if you’re after good, honest American classics in a Fifties-inspired atmosphere, head to The Diner.

The chain of restaurants has five London outlets – Soho, Camden, Shoreditch, Islington and Kensal Rise – each serving affordable and tasty American food from burgers and sandwiches to hot dogs and burritos, all accompanied by beers, floats and tasty milkshakes.This is simple food – unsophisticated, with all the fat and calories – and  irresistibly delicious.

The Diner interior is subtly based on classic Fifties restaurants with plenty of chrome and comfortable booths but the overall look is more sleek than kitch. The fact that most branches seem to be packed no matter when really speaks for the quality of the food and the easy going vibe.

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  1. I like Ed’s too, but this looks fab.

  2. Lena

    I like Ed’s too but I think I prefer the Diner cause it’s less touristy.

  3. Atusa

    It’s not very themed and the music is quite often current pop. Food is good though. Ed’s just makes a bit more effort, but none are as good as fatboys diner.

  4. Lena

    Thanks for pointing us to Fatboys – looks amazing, one to review asap!

  5. Salv

    Ahhh, Fatboy’s. There used to be three Fatboy’s diners in London: in Maiden Lane in Covent Garden; on Bishopsgate just north of Liverpool Street station; and on Finchley Road next to Golders Green tube. They were all authentic 1940s and 1950s American diners, shipped over from the US and fully, and lovingly, restored in the 1990s.

    The first one was the Covent Garden diner, and that was placed in Camden Market first while the Covent Garden site was being prepared. It was originally called the Riverview Diner and was located on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, moving to London in the very early 1990s It’s now at the Bybrook Barn Garden Centre in Ashford, Kent – it’s a bit of a trek for a burger, but it’s a beautiful little restaurant.

    The diner on Bishopsgate is the one that’s now at Trinity Buoy Wharf. It moved into Spitalfields market for a while before moving again to its present site, and it was used in the film Sliding Doors while it was still on Bishopsgate. The last time I was there it was looking a little shabby, with the booth seats repaired with duct tape.

    The Golders Green diner was the largest of the three, and I don’t know where that went after it closed. I haven’t been able to track it down, although I did read about a branch of Fatboy’s in Birmingham that burnt down so that may have been the Golders Green diner.

  6. Lena

    Thanks for the info Salv, the riverview diner looks amazing, what a shame it’s all a bit run down now!

  7. I went to Riverview this afternoon after finding it by accident. It has many original features, and the menu is what you would expect. It’s a shame that it lacks atmosphere, and to be very frank it could do with a good clean. But the food was good value, and it’s worth a visit if you are in the area.