With everything from Michelin-starred menus and classy counter joints to quaint wine bars and pre-theatre hangouts, Covent Garden is jam-packed with every restaurant and bar under the sun. Here are a few of our favourites to whet your appetites…
WHERE TO EAT
With an array of all-American classics, you’ll find everything from towering cheeseburgers to creamy mac ‘n’ cheese at this Manhattan-esque brasserie. With luxe leather seats and gold-hued marble accents, this is the coolest setting for cocktails, dinner and boozy New York-style brunches.
4-6 Russell St, Covent Garden, WC2B 5HZ
This bustling, Barcelona-style tapas joint serves everything from tortillas, croquetas and jamón to deep-fried lamb’s brain. Pull up a pew at their counter bar to get a slice of the action.
43 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AJ
The little sister to Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Murano offers back-to-basics Italian fare, and is one of our favourite spots for aperitivo. Grab a negroni and tuck into classics on the menu including truffle arancini, salt cod fritters and bruschetta with smoked aubergine, pine nuts and golden raisins.
36 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden WC2E 7PB
This all-singing, all-dancing immersive supper club comes dripping in old school Italian glamour. Enter through a secret meat locker – you’ll be welcomed by a butcher and hanging meats – into an underground lair of Italian food, elaborate fun and extravagant theatrics.
167 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PG
This achingly cool bistro from the Soho House group comes complete with white-linen-covered tables, suited waiters and a glamorous marble-topped bar. The perfect place to enjoy a lazy lunch with martinis – snapped at every angle for Instagram, naturally.
39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue, Covent Garden, W1D 6LA
Chick ‘n’ Sours
A staple for any fried chicken fan, this good-times diner is wholly dedicated to gourmet fried chicken in all its glory. The buttermilk chicken burgers are so big, it’s likely you’ll be rolling yourself out the restaurant, but make sure you save a little room for a few of their quirky cocktail sours.
1a Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LL
Dishoom has become somewhat of a London institution amongst Indian food lovers – there are venues scattered all over the capital stretching from King’s Cross to Covent Garden – and each one is always packed. Food is served street-style and designed to be shared, so look forward to delicious plates of chilli cheese toast, gunpowder potatoes and succulent minced lamb kebabs, served alongside biryanis, Ruby Murrays and fluffy handmade naans.
12 Upper St. Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FB
Specialising in sustainably sourced food, Farmstand’s healthy repertoire of tasty tidbits is perfect for a laid-back lunchtime bite. Whether you want to sit in or grab and go, the menu is full of wholesome goodies. Choose from brown rice and quinoa, lentils, tabbouleh or roasted sweet potato with a protein fix of slow-cooked beef brisket, harissa chicken, lamb meatballs or a freshly caught daily fish option.
42 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AJ
If you’re after somewhere cheap and cheerful for steak night, Flat Iron is your best bet. Whilst the menu is small, and prices pleasing – you can grab a steak and salad for £10 – you’ll be guaranteed good quality cuts of meat, cooked to perfection. Tuck into succulent steaks served with an array of indulgent sides – think dripping cooked chips, creamed spinach and blue cheese salad.
17/18 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8QH
Flesh & Buns
One of our favourite Japanese food haunts, specialising in hirata buns – thick, warm, chewy dough buns filled with sticky chargrilled meats including the likes of pork and lettuce; fried sole; whole baby chicken with celery pickle; crispy duck leg; and grilled sea bass, as well as a selection of small sushi dishes to start.
41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LX
Bringing together the best of British produce, Native’s innovative menu transforms game, foraged veggies and wild food into delicious works of art. Dishes include Dorset lemon sole with burnt cucumber and seaweed mayo; wood pigeon with fresh ricotta; and smoked merguez courgette with English quinoa.
3 Neal's Yard, Seven Dials, Covent Garden WC2H 9DP
Situated just opposite Drury Lane Theatre, this low-lit, two-storey eatery comes complete with a long bar, and an open grill, where the talented chefs rustle up their mouth-watering Spanish classics. It’s a tapas style menu, so look forward to salt cod fritters with aioli and lemon; chorizo with smoked aubergine and yoghurt; and slow-cooked beef brisket with celeriac puree, watercress, pickled shallots and salsa verde.
23 Catherine Street, Covent Garden WC2B 5JS
An oldie, but a goodie. Expect all the usual seafood suspects at this iconic fish house, including oysters, fruits de mer, shrimp and scallop burgers as well as the iconic J. Sheekey fish pie. Or, for those wanting something a little more luxurious, J. Sheekey’s lobster mayonnaise is so worth sampling.
28-32 St Martin's Court, Covent Garden WC2N 4AL
Tandoor Chop House
Mixing the meatiest elements of a British chop house with the spices of Indian tandoor cooking, Tandoor Chop House specialises in hearty cuts of smoked, spiced meats in the coolest of industrial-style settings. Chomp down on bone marrow naans and chunks of smoky prime cut meats, slathered in aromatic Asian spices and served hot from the tandoor grill.
8 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HZ
The rather exquisite semi-circular glass and marble bar at the recently refurbished Ivy is the bar of the moment to bag a spot in. Perch on one of their plush leather chairs and tuck into quaint English classics including the Ivy shelfish cocktail, dressed Cornish crab and deep-fried haddock.
1-5 West Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9NQ
At London’s first specialist Chinese hotpot restaurant, diners can enjoy their own individual pot, choosing from an array of bubbling broths, with ingredients picked out from the restaurant’s quirky conveyor belt.
64 Shaftesbury Avenue, Covent Garden, W1D 6LU
WHERE TO DRINK
This buzzing little bistro boasts an impressive collection of Old World wines, each one carefully selected to make the final ten-case shortlist. The wines change regularly, so you’ll never find the same thing on the menu, so if you’re looking to brush up on your wine knowledge, this is the place to do it. Alongside vino, there’s a seasonal menu offering a choice of three starters, mains, tapas dishes and small sharing plates.
16 Endell Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BA
Sister hotel to the Experimental Group’s Pigalle in Paris, this chic townhouse hideaway combines luxe lodgings with mind-blowing cocktails – Experimental Cocktail Clubs are a dab hand at putting on damn good cocktail spread. Interiors are achingly cool with a nod to the hotel’s Parisian heritage and cocktails take inspiration from J Ayer’s book of philosophy, Language, Truth and Logic – obscure doesn’t even cut it.
14-15 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8QH
Polpo at Ape & Bird
If you’re an Aperol spritz lover, then Polpo’s charismatic Italian eatery is the place to head. Ignore the main entrance on Shaftesbury Avenue and instead walk to West Street where you’ll find a sneaky entrance to their buzzing Ape & Bird bar. Aperitivo time runs daily, which means you can bag a spritz of your choice with a selection of bar snacks for just £5.
142 Shaftesbury Avenue, Seven Dials, WC2E 7NA
London Cocktail Club
A party palace promising elaborately garnished cocktails, epic soundtracks and a buzzing atmosphere to boot – one thing’s for certain, at LCC you’re guaranteed a night of unadulterated fun and silliness.
6-7 Great Newport Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 7JA
Mr Fogg’s Tavern
Part-pub, part-hidden drinking salon, this old school Victorian-style tavern serves a menu of wild game dishes, whilst upstairs is home to a secret Gin Parlour specialising in no less than 300 different botanical varieties. Quirky, kitsch and downright outrageous, curl up on the velvet chaise longue amid hanging branches and friendly taxidermy, whilst the corseted wench barmaids rustle you up a knock-out G&T.
58 St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4EA
Phoenix Artist Club
This legendary late-night haunt serves up everything from plates of sizzling steak to live cabaret, with open mic nights, impromptu West End performances and a dance floor that bashes out everything from R. Kelly to Barbara Streisand. A theatre lover’s dream.
1 Phoenix Street, WC2H 8BU