Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Covent Garden
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Covent Garden restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 119 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
1. Frog by Adam Handling British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden 35 Southampton Street - WC2E
“Eating at The Frog is like allowing your palate to go to a firework display” – Adam Handling and his teams create a series of dishes of “always-surprising ingenuity, with quirky presentation and mixture of ingredients” both at his Hoxton Square original and his even-more-successful Covent Garden flagship. Both locations offer a mixture of à la carte and tasting menus – the latter incorporating vegan and vegetarian alternatives as well as beer-matching and wine-matching options. The results inspire massive support,not just for being “a well-devised journey expertly executed”, but for food that’s “wow, wow, wow beyond delicious!”. In keeping with the main man’s free-thinking philosophy (and, at E1, a big emphasis on sustainability), his locations have a youthful energy at odds with the fayne dining ethos: an approach that also seems to inspire “impeccable service” from his staff (with a special shout-out to his sommelier – “I’ve never been disappointed when asking Kelvin for a recommendation!”). Where his taste is a tad more divisive is the ambience – to fans admirably un-stuffy and energetic, but to critics slightly “odd” or “nondescript”, and with “loud and dreadful music” in N1. Top Menu Tip – “those cheese doughnuts are the stuff of legend”. See also Adam Handling Chelsea.
2. Le Restaurant de PAUL French restaurant in Covent Garden 29-30 Bedford St - WC2
2017 Review: Fans of the Covent Garden HQ of the well-known pâtisserie chain say that, away from the bakery counters, its civilised, traditional dining room “deserves to be taken seriously” as a Theatreland destination in its own right, for an “authentically Gallic” light bite or afternoon tea. There is also a year-old, much more contemporary-style outpost in the City’s Tower 42.
3. Le Garrick French restaurant in Covent Garden 10-12 Garrick Street - WC2
“A delightful throwback to the French bistros of the 1980s, set over a couple of floors, with tables crammed into nooks and crannies” – this Covent Garden stalwart is “very romantic, with its candles and cosy booths”. The “traditional, unpretentious food” is “good value” (“nothing fancy, but consistent”) while the “staff are so friendly”: if you’re in a hurry pre-theatre, “they put you through fast without seeming to hassle you”, but “if you have more time they let you linger”.
4. San Carlo Cicchetti Italian restaurant in Covent Garden 30 Wellington St - WC2
“Don’t be fooled by its prominent location, just off Piccadilly Circus, that it’s just one for the tourists” – this “bustling, noisy and so-atmospheric” Venetian brasserie (which also has a similar sibling, more tucked away in Covent Garden) “looks like a tourist trap, but offers an authentic culinary experience” with its “delicious small plates” (cicchetti) – “a format that caters to all appetites”, all at “reasonable prices”. Staff are “enthusiastic and professional” and “feed off the buzz of the place”, which “feels smart, even if tables are very close together”.
5. Fumo Italian restaurant in Covent Garden 37 St Martin's Lane - WC2
This “fabulous, fun and buzzy” three-year-old next door to the Coliseum, from the national San Carlo group, has won a good following. It specialises in “tasty” cicchetti or Venetian small plates, and provides an “unexpectedly friendly and attractive welcome in the West End”: “ideal for a light lunch” and “good for pre-theatre”.
6. George in the Strand British, Traditional restaurant in Covent Garden 213 Strand - WC2R
“Surprisingly good food and charming service” make it worth remembering this historic hostelry (refurbed in recent times), near the Royal Courts of Justice. You can eat in the ground floor bar, or in the upstairs ‘Pig and Goose’ restaurant.
7. St Luke's Kitchen, Library British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden 112 Saint Martin's Lane - WC2
2019 Review: Limited feedback this year on this “quirky” venue – “a slightly offbeat mix of clubbiness and restaurant” in a boutique guesthouse near the Coliseum, whose cuisine is “of the fusion variety”. Such as there is, though, praises it as “a perfectly decent choice for a pre-theatre supper”.
8. Chez Antoinette French restaurant in Covent Garden Unit 30 The Market Building - WC2
2016 Review: Forget on-trend pizzas and burgers; this cute, new ‘Tartinerie’ in the heart of Covent Garden Market is giving the one-dish restaurant craze a touch of Gallic class, with a menu devoted to the classic French tartine.
9. Volta do Mar Portuguese restaurant in Covent Garden 13-15 Tavistock Street - WC2E
Opened in November 2019, from the founder of Salt Yard, Simon Mullins and his Portuguese-born wife Isabel Almeida Da Silva; a restaurant "celebrating the diversity of Portuguese cuisine" and its global influences, from South America to Africa and Asia.
10. Clos Maggiore French restaurant in Covent Garden 33 King St - WC2
“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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