Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Soho
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Soho restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 176 restaurants in Soho and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Soho restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Soho Restaurants
1. Randall & Aubin Fish & seafood restaurant in Soho 14-16 Brewer St - W1
“No-fuss”, “fresh seafood done really well” combines with a “fun” and “buzzy” (“riotous” even!) ambience, at this Soho landmark – formerly a butcher (est 1911) that morphed into a restaurant 25 years ago. “It’s still excellent after all these years, like meeting an old friend – we love it”. “Go for the specials, they’re always worth trying”.
2. Chotto Matte Japanese restaurant in Soho 11-13 Frith St - W1
“Exquisite food and cocktails” – “an amazing blend of flavours danced across my tongue!” – and “a great vibe (particularly for late-night dining)” help make this Japanese-Peruvian fusion haunt in Soho a “fun and buzzy” (if “loud”, especially when the music’s cranked up) destination for a night on the tiles.
3. Vasco & Piero’s Pavilion Italian restaurant in Soho 15 Poland St - W1
“Pleasingly old-fashioned in style and cooking”, this long-serving traditional Soho Italian keeps its many regulars happy with “a simple Umbrian menu, done well”, including “excellent home-made pasta”. There’s a “comfortable and friendly ambience, and the occasional luvvie dining before his/her show”. Top Tip – “the chef will do zabaglione at the end if the kitchen isn’t too busy – a treat!”.
4. Barrafina Spanish restaurant in Soho 26-27 Dean Street - W1
“The tapas is perfection and the equal of Cal Pep in Barcelona” at the Hart Bros’ “vibrant” chain of small (typically 30 covers) no-bookings bars, which its vast fanclub acclaim as “the best tapas in London or in the UK or perhaps even in Europe north of the Pyrenees!”, with “delicious, ultra-fresh seafood” a particular highlight. The preparation at the counter is “still a great piece of theatre” and – buoyed by its “exceptional, friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff” – helps create a feelgood experience. “Don’t be put off by the queuing – it’s part of the fun: sipping on Cava and nibbling on Jamon as you snake your way to the front of the line!”. This year, the group added a “slick outfit in the new Coal Drops Yard development” – “it lacks a bit of the charm and vibe of those in Soho and Covent Garden, but the edibles are still very edible!”
5. Aulis London British, Modern restaurant in Soho Soho - address on booking - W1
Lakeland-based uber-chef Simon Rogan’s eight-seater development kitchen offers “a fascinating and unique experience”, featuring “some of the most creative dishes in London”. Diners pre-book (at £195 a head) and go to a secret Soho address, where a dozen surprise courses and paired wines are prepared in front of them by two chefs. “We went for our anniversary but the other six diners pulled out; what could have been awkward became a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive pampering!”.
6. Maison Bertaux Afternoon tea restaurant in Soho 28 Greek St - W1
This “eccentric but marvellous treasure” is a Soho landmark and “one of the few remaining original London pâtisseries”. “Gateaux to die for” and “wonderful tea and scones” provide a “trip down memory lane” in premises opened by a Parisian exile in 1871 and graced by Karl Marx and Virginia Woolf as well as generations of Soho bohos.
7. Kiln Thai restaurant in Soho 58 Brewer Street - W1
“Stonkingly good SE Asian small-plates” – “spiced to perfection and tasty beyond words” – are delivered from the “more-than-interesting menu” of Ben Chapman’s “brilliant value” Thai BBQ (sibling to Shoreditch’s Smoking Goat): “it’s the kind of punchy and earthy food that you’d normally only encounter in Thailand in non-touristy places”. “Thoughtful” staff help manage the “tiny” space – a “fun”, “very, very busy” and “crowded” Soho environment, “blending in a bit of hipster attitude”. It’s “hard to get a seat”, though, and “there can be some very long waiting times”. Top Tip – eating perched at the ground floor counter is a good option: it’s “fascinating watching the chefs doing their stuff”.
8. Bocca di Lupo Italian restaurant in Soho 12 Archer St - W1
“Italian peasant-food fit for a king” – Jacob Kenedy’s “exceptional and distinctive” fixture, a short stroll from Piccadilly Circus, has carved a massive foodie following with its “wonderfully eclectic and ever-changing range of traditional dishes from across the country” (categorised by region, and available in ‘small’ or ‘large sizes’), with the “exciting” results “so simple and delicious you cannot believe it”. “And they’re complemented by a staggering wine list” which “is itself a trip through Italy” (“it’s worth having a detailed conversation with the wine waiter to discover outstanding vintages at sensible prices” with “lots of interesting options by the glass”). “Unsurprisingly, the place is always jammed”, and the “busy, café-style” interior with “closely packed tables” is such that “while mostly delightful, it’s bloody noisy” (“if not slightly manic”). But the “efficient and friendly staff” help keep the mood upbeat. Some guests “prefer the counter” – “there’s great kitchen theatre perched on the bar stools”.
9. Lina Stores Italian restaurant in Soho 51 Greek Street - W1D
“A tiny restaurant with a big heart… and wonderful pasta” – the “transition from great Italian deli to restaurant is a big success” at this landmark, 75-year-old Soho store, which morphed last year from pure retail to providing an “excellent, counter-dining experience at moderate prices” nearby. “If you love pasta, this is the place to go” – “delicately silky, with the most fantastic sauces” – and it’s “a brilliant stop-off before film, theatre etc”. It’s not going to take 75 years to turn this rip-roaring success into a chain, though: branch no. 2 opens in the second half of 2019 in one of King’s Cross’s ‘heritage buildings’ and will be ‘an 100-cover outfit decorated in the same pale green-and white-stripes that diners in Soho have come to know’.
10. Flat Iron Steaks & grills restaurant in Soho 17 Beak St - W1
“They put the price up from £10 to £11, but it still can’t be faulted!” – for a “a great steak, without any frills” this “always busy, lively and buzzy” chain remains “a winning formula”: “it’s so nice to have a simple menu choice, and what they do, they do very well”; this includes the very impressively “friendly and professional service-with-a-smile”. One catch: “you have to put up with no bookings”, so “be prepared to queue”. But “if you want a great meal on a budget: go visit!”
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