Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Covent Garden
Hardens guides have spent 31 years compiling reviews of the best Covent Garden restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 100 restaurants in Covent Garden and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Covent Garden restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Covent Garden Restaurants
. Shake Shack
Burgers, etc restaurant in Covent Garden
24 The Market - WC2
2021 Review: 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”.
Fusion restaurant in Covent Garden
Opera Terrace, 35 The Market - WC2
2021 Review: “The lift ride up to the 39th floor is part of the fun”, when you visit the “amazing” City branch, in the Heron Tower, of this US-based chain (with siblings in Vegas and Miami): a Hollywood-esque scene, complete with a ritzy cocktail bar; vertigo-inducing outside terrace; and svelte dining room boasting “incredible views”. But while it can offer an all-round “great experience” – not least “fabulous” funky, fusion fare – its “pretty-looking” dishes come at extragalactic prices and sceptics feel that “you can eat this style of cuisine better elsewhere” nowadays. (Gripes of an overly “sweet note” to dishes also crept in this year). Its two-year-old WC2 sibling likewise has a superb setting on top of Covent Garden Market, overlooking the back of the Royal Opera House. But while it, too, is “all very slick and fashionable”, it, too, charges “obscene prices albeit for decent food” and – lacking the high-rise glam of the Square Mile – can seem more “clinical” and “pleased with itself”.
. The Petersham
Italian restaurant in Covent Garden
Floral Court, off Floral St - WC2E
2021 Review: “Like being in the country, but without leaving London”: this year-old ‘lifestyle destination’ in a new Covent Garden development – spun out from the Richmond garden centre’s famous shabby-chic restaurant – comprises a shop, florist, deli, cicchetti (Italian small plates) bar and a main restaurant. It’s a lavish investment from the Boglione family, with a “beautiful atmosphere”, but the food is “only just about good enough for the prices”, while the “disorganised and chaotic service requires some serious work”. Still, for a romantic lunch on a summer’s day in the centre of town, its flower-filled courtyard is hard to beat.
. The Oystermen Seafood Kitchen & Bar
Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden
32 Henrietta St - WC2E
2021 Review: “You’ll expect to look out the window at the beach and waves… yet it’s Covent Garden out there!”. This “fun and casual” three-year-old perhaps “feels different since they grew” (into the next door premises) in the autumn of 2018. “But you still eat cheek-by-jowl with neighbouring tables” in a “hustling-and-bustling” setting, and most reports still feel it’s “just as good in its expanded space”. Amongst the selection of “cracking” fish and seafood, “the oysters are a joy”, “the crab’s a wow”; and it’s all “amazing value”. “Likeable staff”, too.
. La Goccia
Italian restaurant in Covent Garden
Floral Court, off Floral Street - WC2E
2021 Review: “Outside in the courtyard on a summer’s day is a very pleasant experience” at this good-looking, all-day Italian (complete with wood-fired oven) in Covent Garden’s recently constructed Floral Court development. No gripes about the food, but it’s not especially cheap, and service is “charming” but can be “wayward”.
. Cora Pearl
British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden
30 Henrietta Street - WC2E
2021 Review: “One of the more individual, thoughtful places opening up in Covent Garden” – this “lively”, “very enjoyable little sister of Kitty Fisher” opened in mid-2018, and inspires many reports of “simple, luxurious food” from “an incredibly attractive menu” of “delicious, little, sharing bites”. “Decent-without-being-exceptional” is another school of opinion on the cooking, though, and middling ratings overall take into account seating that’s “so cramped” and service that’s “at times, pushy, brisk and hurried”. Top Tip – “I’m not sure what they did to the chips but they transcended any normal form of potato – order a bowl each as you won’t want to share!”
Steaks & grills restaurant in Covent Garden
Henrietta Street - WC2E
2021 Review: “Oh my! A meat-lovers’ feast awaits!” at these “carnivorous havens”, where “evidently very well-sourced produce is expertly cooked and served in great platters of meaty delight!” (“go when you are hungry!”). There are “superb-value steaks”, but it’s the “mouthwateringly scrumptious” chops that inspire more feedback. Soho and the City occupy “urban-chic” basements, whereas Shoreditch is above-ground and more “warehouse-y”. Top Menu Tip – “bargain basement prices on Butchers Block Monday, with £10 corkage if you bring your own wine!”
. The Ivy Market Grill
British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden
1 Henrietta St - WC2
2021 Review: “Maybe the brand is a bit stretched”, but Richard Caring’s bold expansion is paying off by-and-large, certainly in commercial terms, and – though most branches’ average food-rating is run-of-the-mill – by the standards of large chains, the group delivers a consistent-enough formula, whereby folks accept predictable nursery fodder in return for a dependable dose of ‘affordable glamour’. The “beautiful and festive” Ivy Chelsea Garden (SW3) is the best known in the stable and it’s particularly “wonderful if you manage to get a table in their fabulous garden”. The “big and buzzy” Ivy Kensington Brasserie (W8) is less highly rated, but nevertheless fills a vital niche in the local market for a comfortable, atmospheric and versatile rendezvous (“its bar is also a fun place for a drink”). The City branches (The Ivy Tower Bridge, The Ivy City Garden EC2) and Canary Wharf outlet (The Ivy in the Park, E14) are the highest rated all-round (perhaps reflecting the ongoing lack of convivial spaces out east). “Awesome views” at Tower Bridge are distinct client-pleasers. Other branches taking above-average flak include The Ivy Soho Brasserie, W1 (“busy mayhem” with “slow and disorganised service”) and The Ivy Market Grill, WC2 (“nothing special, rather overpriced, and very busy”). See also Granary Square Brasserie.
. Din Tai Fung
Chinese, Dim sum restaurant in Covent Garden
5-6 Henrietta Street - WC2E
2021 Review: “Crazily long queues marked the inaugural week” of the UK’s first 250-seat branch in Covent Garden of this legendary Asian soup, dumpling and noodle chain: established in 1972 in Taipei, and now also set to open a second branch near Centrepoint. “For anyone who’s been to DTF in the Far East, the first London one may come across as a slightly unnecessarily puffed-up version of what is at heart a fantastically efficient and good-value, shopping-mall brand”. “Dumplings, of many and various forms, are uniformly good (quality-control at this cult brand is notoriously anal)” and aficionados of the chain mostly feel “it lives up to the standards of branches in well-established locations in Asia”. But, they also warn that: “as per my experience in Singapore etc, they’re not about to change your concept of what a good xiao long bao, etc, can be”.
Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Covent Garden
24 Rose St - WC2
2021 Review: “The best cinnamon buns”, “freshly cooked cakes” and “good coffee” make this “tiny Swedish café a good pitstop for cultural activities in Covent Garden”. “Just a pity it’s so small you can’t always get in”.
British, Traditional restaurant in Covent Garden
35 Maiden Ln - WC2
2021 Review: “If one wants to wow a visitor to London” then this superbly atmospheric Covent Garden “old timer” – the capital’s oldest restaurant to operate continuously on the same site (since 1798) – is just the ticket. The “amazing”, “traditional” panelled interior is “very impressive”; and although the “classic British cooking” (rib of beef, game in season, steak ’n’ kidney) is decidedly “not cheap” and doesn’t please everyone, it mostly makes a decent fist of flying the native culinary flag. Given its prime location, it can inevitably be “overrun with tourists” at times, but it’s still a big hit with many locals too.
. Clos Maggiore
French restaurant in Covent Garden
33 King St - WC2
2021 Review: “I saw a guy go down on bended knee to his girlfriend… she said yes!” This “luxurious and magical” haven – somewhat unexpectedly located “in the heart of Covent Garden” – continues to “live up to its reputation as the most romantic restaurant in London”, and “for a meal with that special someone, you won’t find much better”, especially if you can bag a table (book months in advance) for the “blossom-festooned conservatory” (which some reporters feel is essential to a successful visit; to others it’s merely “the icing on the cake”). Unusually for somewhere “oozing romance”, standards elsewhere “are not compromised to deliver a memorable experience”: “the food might not be the absolute pinnacle of modern British cuisine”, but “it’s more-than-competent” and “the star gourmet attraction is a wine list of almost biblical proportions”. Top Tip – “lunch/pre theatre set menus offer superb value for the excellent quality”.
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