The past few years have seen Covent Garden transform from a tourist destination to a shopping, restaurant and bar destination. The street performers and theatrical elements remain, which has kept a unique flair to the area, but the capital’s most successful restaurateurs have also entered stage right.
The Barbary is the new restaurant from the team behind The Palomar in Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials. The Barbary’s menu ‘reflects the countries from the Atlantic Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel’. And the food is exquisite.
Open all day from noon until 10pm Tuesday to Sunday, the restaurant has only 24 seats and will operate a walk-in only policy.
The Delaunay, sister restaurant to The Wolseley from restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, sits on the corner of Drury Lane and Aldwych.
The Delaunay restaurant is open seven days a week – until midnight from Monday to Saturday and 11pm on Sunday – serving breakfast, afternoon tea, and à la carte lunch and dinner menus ‘inspired by the grand cafés of Europe’.
Fish and seafood restaurant J Sheekey is a West End institution that oozes old-fashioned glamour. The menu offers fresh oysters, classic dishes such as Dover sole and lobster thermidor and a signature fish pie.
Monochrome photos of stars of stage and screen line wood panelled walls, creating a stylish, intimate atmosphere. J Sheekey is one of our favourite post theatre venues in London.
The Ivy re-opened in June 2015 after an extensive refurbishment – a stunning large central bar dominates the room (ideal for counter dining) and the original atmosphere has been retained with an added splash of glamour.
In the kitchen, Executive Chef Gary Lee remains at the helm, and has created a new menu that comprises recognisable Ivy staples alongside modern dishes with an Asian twist
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is set over three floors in the West End. The ground floor has a dining counter that surrounds the open kitchen and the first floor offers a more traditional restaurant set up.
The style is contemporary, seasonal and achingly French, reflected in everything from the design, the service, menus and, of course, the Montpelier born Head Chef, Xavier Boyer.
On the top floor you’ll find a gorgeous cocktail bar with a large terrace.
Rules in Covent Garden is one of the oldest restaurants in London having been established by Thomas Rule in 1798. It serves traditional British food, specialising in classic game.
The restaurant has become famous for the gilded grandeur of its décor and the sheer quality of its game, oysters, pies and puddings.
10 Cases is a small, unpretentious Bistrot with wine as its main focus. The menu comprises three starters, mains and desserts, as well as a list of daily specials with a wide-ranging menu of little plates to have at the bar.
The restaurant only ever buys 10 cases of wine so there are always new wines to try. With only 10 tables available, booking ahead is recommended.
Great Queen Street
Great Queen Street offers a simple seasonal menu featuring distinctly British ingredients. Despite the casual feel, pub-like look and bustling atmosphere, this is no pub – it is a sit-down restaurant where the cooking is accomplished booking in advance is essential.
Opera Tavern is a beautiful two-storey bar and restaurant in Covent Garden.
Located seconds from the Royal Opera House, Opera Tavern offers Italian and Spanish influenced tapas and has a charcoal grill on the ground floor where some the Tavern’s classics such as mini Ibérico pork and foie gras burger are prepared.
Sticks’n’Sushi is a Danish export – whether you pickle it and add dill or dip it in soy sauce, the Japanese and the Danes share a love of fish!
At Sticks’n’Sushi, the generous selection of sushi is high quality and beautifully presented in rows of vibrant colours. The ‘Sticks’ involves boards of grilled meats and fish on skewers, with robust, smoky flavours.
LIMA floral street
Following on from the success of Michelin-starred Lima in Rathbone Place, Chef Virgilio Martinez’s new addition to his portfolio is Lima Floral.
Less fussy than its sister restaurant, it offers a menu of authentic Peruvian cuisine featuring rare native vegetables, fruits and fishes from remote places in the Amazon basin and the Andes altitudes.
Barrafina Adelaide Street
Barrafina is a modern Spanish tapas bar owned and operated by restaurateurs Sam & Eddie Hart. The menu is made up of contemporary and traditional tapas from all regions of Spain, and a specials board written around the seasons, which changes twice a day.
Barrafina does not take reservations for lunch or dinner so arrive early and be prepared to queue.
Duende offers innovative modern Spanish food from chef-patron, Victor Garvey. Translating loosely as ‘magic’, ‘spirit’ or ‘charm’, Duende is both the name and ethos of this restaurant on Maiden Lane.
Diners can watch the chefs preparing dishes such as cured salmon rulada, crispy sweet potato, red onion escabeche and wasabi alioli; foie gras crema Catalana; and Iberico pork belly with piquillo pepper glaze, in the open kitchen.
Duende offers excellent pre- and post-theatre dining options and is open seven days a week.
The Best Restaurants in Covent Garden
Need further ideas for the best restaurants in Covent Garden? What about New York’s favourite French brasserie, Balthazar? Or steak specialist Hawksmoor Seven Dials? Or the new Café Murano Covent Garden?