Where To Eat in Covent Garden
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
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. limalondon.com
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. closmaggiore.com
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. thelane.co.uk
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. bigmammagroup.com
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. thebarbary.co.uk
It’s worth dressing up for Louie, the glitzy restaurant which took over L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s old home back in 2020. With French restaurateur Laurent de Gourcuff at the helm – the name behind a string of Paris’ most stylish destinations – it was always going to be a chic spot, not to mention the fact that it’s overseen by Guillaume Glipa, who helped create Chiltern Firehouse. The four-storey space comprises a dining room, oyster bar and roof terrace, all boasting beautiful interiors courtesy of Maxime Dion. Food is French-Creole, with highlights including New Orleans-style barbecued lobster, deconstructed oyster ‘Rockefeller’ and seafood gumbo, plus some particularly good desserts such as Southern pecan pie and praline bread pudding. louie-london.com
‘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? fishworks.co.uk
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