Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Covent Garden
Hardens guides have spent 30 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 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”.
3. Fumo Italian restaurant in Covent Garden 37 St Martin's Lane - WC2
This “fabulous, fun and buzzy” four-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”.
4. Chez Antoinette French restaurant in Covent Garden Unit 30 The Market Building - WC2
As a child, my grandmother used to prepare delicious Tartines in her kitchen for me. Having lived in London over the past 5 years, I became homesick and those memories came fluttering back. After a while, it became clear to me that I had to put all my effort and hard work into my...
5. 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.
6. 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”.
7. Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar Spanish restaurant in Covent Garden 1 Aldwych - WC2
“Top-notch Basque food in a great location” in Aldwych has earned much-improved ratings this year for chef Eneko Atxa, whose home restaurant Azurdmendi is a regular on ‘world’s best’ lists. It’s “so wonderful to be able to taste some of his adventurous flavours in London” – “wasn’t sure of the basement setting” (a recurrent gripe), “but loved the open kitchen and the food was extraordinary”.
8. Mon Plaisir Restaurant French restaurant in Covent Garden 19-21 Monmouth Street - WC2
“For a romantic touch of Paris”, this “archetypal” Gallic bistro in Covent Garden (dating from 1946) certainly looks the part – “a warren of rooms”, which has seen numerous additions over the years, and where the “delightful” ambience is at its strongest in the oldest section of all. The cuisine is very “traditional” and, according to most diners, “still superb after so many years”; but others are more nuanced in their praise: “it’s not the best French food by far, but a visit is like meeting an old friend who’s been in your life for decades”. Top Tip – “the pre-theatre deal is great value”.
9. The Oystermen Seafood Kitchen & Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 32 Henrietta St - WC2E
“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.
10. The Portrait, National Portrait Gallery British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden St Martin’s Place - WC2
“Cracking views over the rooftops of Trafalgar Square and beyond from a sun-drenched room” earn the NPG’s top-floor dining room decent ratings as a venue for brunch, lunch or afternoon tea, or for an “early supper before the opera at the Coliseum”. The food is “quite adequate” although “not spectacular”. (There’s also a Spartan café in the basement).
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