American Restaurants in Covent Garden
1. Joe Allen American restaurant in Covent Garden 2 Burleigh St - WC2E
“Seemingly relocated brick-by-brick, table-by-table” – this “casual and fun” haunt in Covent Garden’s (a 1970s spin-off from NYC’s famous Theatre District staple) moved a couple of years ago, leaving its original basement home for this new two-level location just a minute’s walk away. It’s a surprisingly faithful reproduction, and regulars of decades standing feel “it still works and seems unchanged”; and, as a place to refuel before or after a show, it still has a large fanclub, despite a “perennially ordinary” level of cooking…sadly also preserved in the move. Top Menu Tip – “the secret’s been out about the off-menu burger for many, many years now”, and it’s the best bet.
2. NoMad London American restaurant in Covent Garden 4 Bow Street - WC2E
The London outpost of a NYC hotel arrives in London in 2021 (delayed by lockdown), located inside the historic, grade II-listed building known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. The main restaurant sits inside a stunning three-storey, glass-ceilinged atrium, and there's also Side Hustle - NoMad's take on a British pub - a cocktail bar and a guests-only library bar. NYC chef Daniel Humm was originally linked with the project but is no longer mentioned on the website.
3. Balthazar British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden 4 - 6 Russell Street - WC2
“This American-style French brasserie” in Covent Garden – an offshoot of Keith McNally’s downtown NYC institution – has a “great atmosphere any time of day”: “love the decor as you enter”. It’s “a large space but a very cosy one”, and, say fans, “not outrageously priced considering its position and what it must have cost to create”. But at times it’s “a victim of its own success – packed, loud and slow, with staff trying heroically to cope”, and “the food is not exactly world-shattering”, just “fine in a ‘here’s one I prepared earlier and heated up’ sort of way”. Top Tip – “it’s very good for breakfast, which is less costly than other meals here”.
4. Christopher’s American restaurant in Covent Garden 18 Wellington St - WC2
This classic American surf ’n’ turf restaurant and cocktail bar has a “lovely atmosphere” thanks to its setting in a very grand townhouse, and has been a Covent Garden stalwart for almost 30 years. “Perhaps it’s showing its age, but it’s still reliable and in a useful location”. The food could be better, although reporters single out the “generally excellent steaks” for praise.
5. Shake Shack Burgers, etc restaurant in Covent Garden 24 The Market - WC2
In less than 20 years, Danny Meyer has transformed his New York City hot-dog cart into a global fast-food brand giant with eight outlets in London – including a Covent Garden flagship that was revamped earlier this year. Ratings remain remarkably solid for “a chain that does what it’s supposed to do”.
6. Smith & Wollensky Steaks & grills restaurant in Covent Garden The Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adam St - WC2
NYC’s famous, steakhouse chain opened this über-swanky offshoot three years ago at the foot of the Adelphi Building, just off The Strand, but it’s never made waves this side of ‘The Pond’, written off from day one by the cognoscenti due to its “outrageous prices”: a complaint that persists in a significant number of reports to this day. But its “amazing steaks” – the best USDA dry-aged cuts, and prime meat from the British Isles too – also help win it good-to-outstanding ratings in practically all feedback; and, especially if you have company plastic to burn, it can cater well for a business occasion in particular.
7. Wolfe’s Bar & Grill BBQ restaurant in Covent Garden 30 Gt Queen St - WC2
2017 Review: An early-wave surfer of the burger craze – the one in the 1970s that is (when it was on Park Lane) – this Covent Garden family diner still serves “consistently good” burgers, plus other decent, retro-ish fare.
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