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 122 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. 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.
7. Bosporus Turkish restaurant in Covent Garden Queens House, 7-9 Leicester Square - WC2H
An ambitious newcomer, Bosporus comes from a Dubai-based restaurant group with eight other Bosporus locations around the world. They are aiming to bring Turkish food and culture to the heart of London - and it doesn't come more central than the site next to the Empire!
8. The Garden at The Lane, Theatre Royal British, Modern restaurant in Covent Garden Drury Lane, Catherine Street - WC2B
Part of a £60m refurb of the Theatre Royal (nickname ‘The Lane’) started in 2019. Very simple all-day dining incorporate breakfast, lunch, and after-work drinks. Afternoon tea will be available later in the year when they open the Grand Saloon.
9. 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.
10. Ave Mario Italian restaurant in Covent Garden 15 Henrietta Street - WC2E
Brace yourselves Covent Garden! Big Mamma (the group behind hits Gloria and Circolo Popolare) open this huge – 7,000 square feet and 295 covers – newcomer in July 2021. Set over two floors, with two outside terraces, it’s aiming for a ‘cheeky interpretation of the Church’. Apparently that means a bar decorated with 3,500 bottles, and a mirrored basement for events. The cooking – how did we nearly forget?! Expect more Italian dishes (lots of pasta and pizza) featuring loads of cream, with the must-Instagram dishes in this case being a mega stracciatella and chocolate ice cream cake.
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