Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Soho
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Soho restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 207 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. Vasco & Piero’s Pavilion Italian restaurant in Soho 11 D'Arblay Street - W1F
“Welcome back!” Every cloud has a silver lining and “having been unceremoniously evicted from its longtime Poland Street location during Covid”, this “delightful” Soho veteran has “found a new, better site just round the corner” (it’s actually the second time the restaurant, founded in 1971, has had to move). “Traditional, Tuscan food as it is meant to taste, with a wine list to match” are served by the “superb” staff in a “most convivial” setting. “They are good at remembering their customers” and “it’s a great place to have a conversation, as they play no music”.
2. Obicà Mozzarella Bar, Pizza e Cucina Italian restaurant in Soho 19-20 Poland St - W1
This international chain has three London representatives – in Soho, the City and Canary Wharf – and focuses on light Italian dishes (pizza, pasta and salads) showcasing the eponymous cheese from Campania alongside other Italian produce; plus a range of cocktails and wines. A good spot “for post-work drinks and nibbles”.
3. Bentley’s Fish & seafood restaurant in Piccadilly 11-15 Swallow St - W1
“A classic for oyster lovers!” – acclaimed Irish chef, Richard Corrigan, continues to be a superb steward of this 106-year-old veteran (established in 1916), cutely tucked away in a side street near Piccadilly Circus, which he has rebuilt over the years into one of the Top 40 destinations in our annual diners’ poll. “For outstanding oysters or fish, you can’t go wrong”, with tips including “cracking fruits de mer” and “simply delicious fish stew”. His “fabulous” and “professional” staff help create a “lovely” atmosphere, although the top ‘craic’ in the ground-floor bar is often tipped over the grander but more sedate upstairs restaurant. (Another excellent option, particularly in summer, is the superb heated outdoor terrace). On the downside, the pricing is somewhat “prohibitive of a frequent visit”, but fans say “despite the expense, a meal here is an all-round package that is predictable in a good way”. Top Menu Tips – “oh-so-tasty options from the specials board” and “ask for more soda bread!!”
4. Block Soho Steaks & grills restaurant in Soho Clarion House, 2 Saint Anne's Court - W1F
We’re here for quality cuts, big flames and good times.With respect for these things, we serve up joyful food and drink, day and night.Bring a hungry belly – leave the rest to us....
5. San Carlo Cicchetti Italian restaurant in Piccadilly 215 Piccadilly - W1
These “slick and professional” Italians (offshoots of the national San Carlo chain) are “buzzy and convenient sorts of places, where you can enjoy an upbeat bite without hanging around too long”. They serve “an extensive menu of small Venetian sharing plates”: “at best they’re excellent” and almost invariably a meal is “good fun”. The best known outlet is steps from Piccadilly Circus – “it might look like a tourist trap in its prime location but it’s a reliable and smartly decorated venue”.
6. Wild Heart Japanese restaurant in Westminster 20 Warwick Street - W1B
“Great name… even better food” say fans of this casual, Japanese-inspired dining experience within a Soho hotel, whose all-day dining possibilities (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea…) were conceived by star chef Garry Hollihead. Too limited feedback as yet, though, for a full rating of its mix of poke bowls, salads, sliders and main plates, complemented by an oriental cocktail list and sake menu.
7. SOLA American restaurant in Soho 64 Dean Street - W1D
“One of London’s finest gastronomic experiences” – Victor Garvey’s “slightly unorthodox” Californian in Soho (’SO’ho via ’LA’) had its late-2019 debut slightly stymied by Covid, but is nowadays “consistently serving some of the most interesting food in London, using exceptional produce”; and with “brilliant ideas and concepts in each dish”. Staff are “chatty” – “overly so” for one or two diners, but “passionate and knowledgeable” to others – while the setting is “lacking atmosphere” or cleanly designed according to your taste. Dishes inspiring comment have included “amazing extra-large langoustines”, “superb tuna and caviar” and a “delicious grapefruit dessert”.
8. Chotto Matte Japanese restaurant in Soho 11-13 Frith St - W1
“Love the spin on the Peruvian x Japanese dishes” – Kurt Zdesar’s Nikkei concept fueled by its ‘Tokyo to Lima’ cocktail menu is growing like topsy, expanding from its Soho home (undergoing ‘an exciting restyle’ as of summer 2022) to Marylebone Village in January 2022, with forthcoming debuts in Doha, Riyadh and San Francisco as part of a plan to expand to 20 sites globally in the next 5 years. The vibe is as energetic as its expansion plans: “too noisy for the seniors in our group, but all the youngsters loved it!”
9. Zima Russian Restaurant Russian restaurant in Soho 45 Frith Street - W1
Zima is a Russian Restaurant located in the heart of Soho offering traditional Russian dishes with a modern twist.Treat yourself to the best priced caviar in London and other favourites of Russian cuisine, sip on our homemade selection of infused vodka and enjoy the wel...
10. Tapas Brindisa Soho Spanish restaurant in Soho 46 Broadwick St - W1
“Delicious tapas with a view of the River Thames” from “a large open terrace” is going down a storm at the instantly popular, new Richmond branch of the well-known chain (occupying the prominent site that was formerly Jackson & Rye, RIP). Backed by the firm of wholesalers of the same name, the group has steadily grown from its Borough Market origins over the last 10 years, and fans feel “it’s exactly what you would expect from a place run by Spanish produce importers”. On the downside, though, there is a school of thought that “while the food’s done decently, it’s serviceable but unexciting”.
11. Social Eating House British, Modern restaurant in Soho 58-59 Poland Street - W1
With its “sexy and atmospheric interior” and accomplished cuisine, the 10-year-old Soho branch of Jason Atherton’s ‘Social’ brand is a venue recommended both for business meals and for “secret assignations” – kick off the occasion in his speakeasy ‘The Blind Pig’, which is hidden upstairs.
12. The Ivy Soho Brasserie British, Traditional restaurant in 26-28 Broadwick St - W1F
“You wouldn’t go for ‘haute cuisine’, but as a jolly place to eat comfort food in a spectacular setting, it is hard to beat” – that’s the upbeat view, anyway, on this now-“ubiquitous” brasserie chain. Eight years and 40 openings later, the spin-offs increasingly eclipse the Theatreland original (see also), whose Edwardian features provide the style-guide for its nationwide ‘roll out’. “Even if the unchallenging food reaches no heights, there’s a consistent buzz”, which makes them a “posh”, “fun” choice for a get-together, if not a particularly foodie one. This is particularly the case at the landmark London off-shoots: at ‘Chelsea Garden’ (“gorgeous greenery”); Kensington (“slick”, with a “pretty glitzy crowd”); and on the Thames (“great views over Tower Bridge”). But while it’s always been acknowledged that the mass offering is “a shadow of the mothership’s” – with “average grub at not-so-average prices” – the feeling that the brand has become just “a chain that does not excite” is gaining ever-stronger currency. Service seems more “stretched” nowadays, and a sliding ambience rating is making the whole offering seem ever-more “overrated, for all its modern art and perky décor”.
13. Bao Soho Taiwanese restaurant in Soho 53 Lexington St - W1
“The best-ever bao buns: so light and fluffy with absolutely delicious fillings” again win raves for this five-strong chain, backed by JKS Restaurants (which plans a Battersea opening later in 2022). “Worth queuing for, although happily they now take bookings”. Top Menu Tips – “very good Taiwan-style spicy beef noodles”; “the warm bao with horlicks ice-cream is the most unusual!”
14. Andrew Edmunds British, Modern restaurant in Soho 46 Lexington Street - W1F
“The kind of place to bring your lover” – this “perfect”, “sweet” townhouse is an “old-favourite”, whose “cosy, panelled and candle-lit” setting is perennially nominated as one of London’s most romantic. Despite its “Dickensian” charm, it has an “idiosyncratic”, even “groovy” vibe, inspired by its long-term independent owner, whose shop dealing in antiquarian prints is next door (and pre-dates the restaurant, which opened in 1985, by about a decade). From a slightly “limited” menu, the “robust and honest” cuisine “isn’t going to win any innovation awards, but is very well-executed” and well-priced; and it moves with the times. “The real attraction is the superb wines at non-greedy prices” selected by Edmunds (“not as broad a list as Noble Rot but much more affordable”), which helps fuel its “decadent and sexy” appeal. Service can be “hard pressed” but is “so friendly”. Top Tip – the basement has its plus points, but the best seats are on the ground floor.
15. Mildreds Vegetarian restaurant in Soho 45 Lexington St - W1
Investment a few years ago turbo-charged this ‘100% plant-based’ chain, whose stalwart original Soho branch (est 1988) suddenly spawned a handful of “airy” and “jolly” (somewhat “crammed”) modern spin-offs across town. To this number, a new, two-floor Covent Garden branch opened its doors in February 2022 with 120 covers. The expansion has gone well and its “earnest” and “flavourful” cooking is not just favoured by veggies: “I was taken not entirely voluntarily as a dedicated meat-eater but have changed my tune after dining here!”
16. Rita's Soho Mexican restaurant in Soho 49 Lexington Street - W1F
This well-travelled ten-year-old cult pop-up has been “a great addition to Soho” since it alighted in 2021 on the cute, quirky site formerly occupied by Aurora (RIP), opposite the venerable Andrew Edmunds on Lexington Street. Gabriel Price’s highly rated cooking takes an American-inspired approach to the best of English ingredients, pleasing critics as disparate as Jimi Famurewa and Tom Parker Bowles, while Missy Flynn looks after the front of house and guarantees “so much fun”.
17. temper Soho BBQ restaurant in Soho 25 Broadwick Street - W1
“Sitting at the counter with all of its theatre is amazing” at Neil Rankin’s “noisy, buzzy and fun” outlets, whose “really cool (well, hot) feature are the ‘fire pit’ cooking stations”, from which they offer “a great mix of meat dishes” (including rare-breed steaks), plus fish options. There were some “off days” reported this year, though: in particular, service has sometimes been “under pressure” or even “shambolic”.
18. Inko Nito Japanese restaurant in Soho 55 Broadwick Street - W1F
2022 Review: “Our daughters love this restaurant – especially the cubed steak and iceberg lettuce!”. This manifestly cool Soho three-year-old offers sushi and sashimi as well as a wide range of fish and meat from the robata grill.
19. Coqfighter Chicken restaurant in Soho 75 Beak Street - W1F
Fried chicken specialists who have elevated the fast-food classic to delectable and “moreish” culinary heights – this Soho outfit was founded by a trio of transplanted Melburnians who missed one of their home city’s prime nibbles. They also have outlets in King’s Cross, Finsbury Park and the Boxparks in Shoreditch and Croydon, as well as delivery kitchens in Brockley and Balham.
20. Yauatcha Chinese restaurant in Soho Broadwick House, 15-17 Broadwick Street - W1
“Exquisite” dim sum – in particular “addictive cheung fun and venison puffs” – have won fame for these Hakkasan spin-offs, which are quite different in nature. The original site occupies a “blingy, dark, rammed-full Soho basement” (and you can also eat in the ground-floor tea room); while the Broadgate spin-off is vast by comparison and much more swish and corporate, with large outside terraces for cocktails. Both outlets share the shortcomings of Hakkasan, though: they can be “soooooo pricey”, and service can be “slow” or “entitled”. Top Tip – their “cakes are incredible; small and perfectly formed!”
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