Best for opera lovers
Just a one-minute walk from the magnificent Royal Opera House, Covent Garden’s Tuttons Brasserie has a stunning interior of red leather booths, dark wood and soft, ambient lighting. The menu includes a range of salads, risottos, pasta dishes, as well as mains such as chicken supreme and slow-cooked pork belly. Food is beautifully presented and reasonably priced for central London, with most mains under £20 and a pre-theatre menu offering a three-course meal for £19.95.
Address: 11/12 Russell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5HZ
For menu and bookings: www.tuttons.com
Best for a shopping break
There’s all-day dining in Balthazar, an authentic French brasserie close to Covent Garden’s best retail therapy spots, so it’s the perfect place to pop into whenever you feel your feet (and credit card) could do with a rest. Plonk yourself down on a comfortable red leather bench and relax — then choose from the breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner menu. Afternoon tea, consisting of sandwiches, pastries and French fancies, is a delicious pick-me-up, and it's an excellent brunch spot too.
Address: 4-6 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ
For menus and reservations: balthazarlondon.com
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Best for adventurous eaters
If you’ve been glued to ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… and wondered how you’d cope with a bush tucker trial, then head to Lao Café, London’s first Laotian restaurant. Don’t worry though if Malang Tod — herbal fried bugs of the day — doesn’t appeal, luckily Lao Café also serves up traditional Laotian curries, hot pots and spicy salads. Grilled sausages come recommended, best devoured with dipping sauce and sticky rice.
Address: 60 Chandos Place, London WC2N 4HG
For menus and reservations: laocafe.co.uk
Best for family get-togethers
If you want to escape for a little while from the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden, book a table at Café Rouge and retreat to the relaxed environment of this popular restaurant chain. Menus cater for all tastes, with good-value options — and awesome activity packs — available for children. Young diners will certainly give a thumbs-up to the delicious puddings, all nutritionally balanced and approved by the Soil Association’s Out to Lunch campaign.
Address: 34 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BD
For menus and reservations: www.caferouge.com
Best for star spotters
The iconic Ivy restaurant is not just loved by the rich and famous. Anyone who enters the glorious art deco building can’t fail to be impressed by the elegant surroundings, impeccable service and modern menu. Plenty of classic British favourites appear alongside Asian-influenced dishes, and you never know who you may spot nearby. Diners without reservations are welcome to eat and drink an Ivy cocktail at the central dining bar.
Address: 1-5 West Street, London WC2H 9NQ
For menus and reservations: www.the-ivy.co.uk
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Best for a breakfast boost
Start your day the Bombay way — with a moreish bacon naan roll or date and banana porridge, both available at Dishoom. The innovative Indian restaurant chain pays homage to Irani cafes, and at this Covent Garden location, with its monochrome décor, high ceilings and marble tables, you’ll find satisfying breakfast menus, as well as all-day curries, grills and biryani. There’s also a good choice of gluten-allergy, dairy-free and vegan dishes.
Address: 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
For menus and reservations: www.dishoom.com
Best for vegetarian options
Sagar offers delicious South Indian vegetarian and vegan cuisine in the heart of Covent Garden, close to the museums and cinemas. Including dosa (lentil pancakes), a range of curries and thalis and a host of sides and street food.
Address: 31 Catherine Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2b 5JS
For menus and reservations: www.sagarrestaurant.co.uk
Best for a special occasion
Frog by Adam Handling
Celebrating in Covent Garden, or want to spoil a special someone? Then consider fine dining without any stuffiness at the dramatic Frog by Adam Handling. The highly-accomplished and award-winning chef claims his menus combine technical savvy with the best possible produce and an interesting theatrical touch. If your budget won’t stretch to the five-course tasting menu, make a lunch or pre/post theatre reservation — which is much more wallet-friendly.
Address: 34-35 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HG
For menus and reservations: www.frogbyadamhandling.com
Best for theatre-goers
Renowned as theatreland’s classic American brasserie, a quote from Joanna Lumley greets visitors to the restaurant’s website — ‘When in doubt, eat at Joe Allen…it’s divine’. High praise indeed, but after frequenting the popular Covent Garden venue, which is adorned with theatre posters and photos, you’ll discover Joe Allen deserves much applause. As a proud supporter of various theatrical projects, it also attracts the cast and crew of West End productions. Don’t bat an eyelid.
Address: 2 Burleigh Street, London WC2E 7PX
For menus and reservations: www.joeallen.co.uk
Best for museum mavens
Battersea Pie Station
Situated in the heart of Covent Garden in London’s world-famous market, and with London Transport Museum and London Film Museum on its doorstep, Battersea Pie Station is a great restaurant for hungry tourists who need to refuel. You’ll find hearty hot pies aplenty — made with proper old-fashioned pastry and served with delicious mash — on the menu, with baby pies an option for smaller appetites. Enjoy under the arches and soak up the atmosphere.
Address: Lower Ground Floor, 28 The Market, London WC2E 8RA
For menus and reservations: www.batterseapie.co.uk/
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