Where To Eat in Covent Garden

Food & Drink /


A foodie's guide to the West End

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The heart of London’s theatreland and home to the world-famous piazza, there’s no denying Covent Garden is a tourist hotspot. Yet in recent years, the area has become a food destination in its own right. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to dine pre-theatre, fancy a date night in town or are hosting a big birthday dinner, there’s something for everyone in the ever-buzzing central neighbourhood. Read on for the C&TH pick of the best restaurants in Covent Garden.

Best Restaurants in Covent Garden

LouieLouie Covent Garden restaurant bar

It’s worth dressing up for Louie, the glitzy restaurant in a converted Covent Garden townhouse, chosen by Rihanna for her most recent birthday celebration. A joint venture by French restaurateur Laurent de Gourcuff – the name behind a string of Paris’ most stylish destinations – and Guillaume Glipa of Annabel’s, Zuma and Chiltern Firehouse, Louie is a multi-layered mille-feuille of style and sophistication, each floor offering a different look and vibe thanks to the interior artistry of Maxime Dion. In the first floor dining room rattan contrasts with rich tones of emerald and ruby while crystal glass and silver twinkle seductively under fringed lamps. Head chef Slade Rushing’s menu is an interesting mix of classic Creole flavours with French gastronomy, served with panache. Pig cheeks and langoustine, oysters Rockefeller (with a hint of liquorice), and Louisiana style crab cakes get the taste buds dancing. And that’s the aim. Music is at the core of Louie – the name derives from jazz legend Louis Armstrong and Louis XIV (royalty won when it came to the spelling). DJ sets and live music always feature, with dedicated Tuesday jazz night’s now on the menu. Head upstairs after supper to the lounge bar and cosy into one of the velvety nooks while listening to a celebration of late, great musicians such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and of course, Louis Armstrong. A wonderful way to be transported into the wee small hours. And it has the Rihanna seal of approval – beat that.

13-15 West St, London WC2H 9NE; louie-london.com

Floral by LIMA

Floral by LIMA

Floral by LIMA is the younger, less pricey sister of Virgilio Martinez’s famed Fitzrovia restaurant. Found on Covent Garden’s Floral Street (hence the name), Floral is a more accessible option – classy without being formal, ideal for dates. Expect more of the cooking Martinez is famous for: unusual ingredients cooked with flair and imagination. The slightly lower price tag means you can go all out on the dishes: some of the best are the smoked chicken causa, the sea bream ceviche, and the Chinese cauliflower, served with ginger chimichurri and Rocoto mayonnaise. Afterwards, continue the party at buzzing basement bar The Lost Alpaca, where you can enjoy colourful surroundings and an innovative cocktail list featuring not just pisco, but rum, tequila, mezcal and more.

14 Garrick St, London WC2E 9BJ; limalondon.com

Clos Maggiore

Best Places to Propose in London - Clos Maggiore

Hailed by many as London’s most romantic restaurant, you couldn’t dream up a better date spot than Clos Maggiore. With high-end modern European cuisine, a conservatory featuring a ceiling of hanging flowers, a glowing fireplace and a glass roof looking up to the starry night sky, it’s no surprise the restaurant witnesses several marriage proposals each week. But it’s not all style over substance: food is also excellent, inspired by the country inns of the South of France and Tuscany and made using local and seasonal ingredients wherever possible.

33 King St, London WC2E 8JD; closmaggiore.com

The Lane

The Lane Afternoon Tea

Situated in the newly reopened Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Lane has become quite the hotspot for theatre lovers. The 17th century venue underwent a restoration project headed up by Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber in 2019, and only resurfaced in Covent Garden again last summer with the West End debut of Frozen. Now, with a newly decorated entrance and theatre, as well as all-day dining hub The Garden and the Cecil Beaton Bar, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is back like never before. Head to The Garden for a light lunch amid a botanically-inspired setting, or visit the Grand Salooon for afternoon tea, where artisan baker and cake designer Lily Vanilli has created a special Regency menu.

Catherine St, London WC2B 5JF; thelane.co.uk

Ave Mario

Ave Mario

Jean Baptiste Strub

Restaurants in the Big Mamma Group have always gone big, with larger-than-life interiors and generous portion sizes. But last year it went even bigger, opening a 7,000 square foot restaurant on Henrietta Street. Just like its sister restaurants, Ave Mario is all about the fun factor, dubbed a ‘cheeky interpretation of the Church’. Décor is bold, with red banquettes, black and white striped walls and a myriad of bottles lining the walls of the main dining room. Food is equally extravagant, with a dedicated list of Venetian caviar dishes alongside sharing pizzas made using the ‘Biga’ technique, a 24-hour process that ensures the dough is extra pillowy. The pièce de résistance? A 60cm-tall fior di latte ice-cream shaped into a giant cake, marbled through with crunchy Stracciatella chocolate. Go hungry.

15 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8QG; bigmammagroup.com

The Barbary

The Barbary

Sister venue to Soho hotspot The Palomar, The Barbary is a counter bar restaurant in Neal’s Yard serving food inspired by the Barbary Coast, North Africa’s Mediterranean coastline. Pull up a stool at the bar and get stuck into some sharing plates, which blend North African spices with Mediterranean ingredients. Begin with halloumi fries and za’atar crisps, plus a selection of dips and freshly baked breads to mop them up with (the signature ‘naan e berber’ is a winner). Mains span land, sea and earth, all packed with interesting flavours – think harissa lamb chop, black salmon spiced with dukkah and Jaffa-style cauliflower. With its electric atmosphere and friendly service, this spot is great for catch ups with friends.

16 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP; thebarbary.co.uk

FishWorks

FishWorks Covent Garden

‘Fish and chips’ doesn’t have to mean batter and a tiny wooden fork. One of our favourite fish restaurants in London is FishWorks, now open in Covent Garden and serving up some of the freshest fish and shellfish in the capital, responsibly sourced from Devon and Cornwall’s markets and day boats. Forget popping to the local chippie and take your next fish supper to fine dining standards with a meal in this beautifully decorated restaurant with in-house fishmonger, marble oyster bar and light and comfortable dining area. For the ultimate seafood feast, opt for the tasting platter for two with a selection of hot and cold fish and shellfish treats, including the delicious oysters and must-try Dover sole. And on the side? It has to be the double cooked chips with sea salt. After all, what is the finest fish in London without a deep-fried potato to accompany it?

2-4 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JY; fishworks.co.uk