Covent Garden Restaurants
Din Tai Fung
5 Henrietta St., Covent Garden
Ask any Los Angeleno which restaurant justifies a slow crawl across the I-10 on a weeknight and the answer is almost always Din Tai Fung. The experience runs like a finely oiled machine from start to finish, to the point that it's (blessedly) predictable and outrageously tasty. Now, with an outpost open in Covent Garden, Londoners can breathe easy. Yes, you will wait, but you’ll wait with a ticket and a tick-the-box menu for no longer than half an hour. Once you’re seated, those delectable soup dumplings will be on the table in minutes, and the whole thing will cost you less than your weekly coffee order.
30 Henrietta St., Covent Garden
London is the kind of city where residents find it perfectly reasonable to eat sashimi flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market for lunch and an authentic Bangladeshi curry for dinner. Global cuisine is London cuisine—and vice versa. But when all you crave is unintimidating, wholesome grub executed well (especially before a night at the theater), Cora Pearl delivers. From the same people as Mayfair’s Kitty Fisher’s, the menu is made for rainy Sundays when only a rare roast beef and Yorkshire pudding will do. Monday through Saturday however, Cora Pearl's ham and cheese toastie with pickles, proper thick-cut chips, and old-fashioned trifle to share keep us quiet and contentedly well-fed.
45 Great Queen St., Covent Garden
Margot brings a ritzy, glitzy (expensive) Italian dining experience to the heart of Covent Garden. And the kitchen delivers. Despite the formality of the space, this is still Italian cooking: Plates are meant to be shared. Nothing dispels stuffiness faster than four people helping themselves to an antipasto board of bread, prosciutto, artichokes, and more. Then comes the pasta—thick ropes of tagliolini twirled around prawns and sweet tomatoes, pappardelle with wild boar ragu, you get the idea. For dessert, order the tortino de riso, rice infused with vanilla and Marsala, topped with silky almond cream. You won’t be sorry.
Joy King Lau
3 Leicester St., Covent Garden
Known to its fans as JKL, this 3 storey Chinatown stalwart serves up lunchtime dim sum at quite possibly the best prices in town. It's nothing special in terms of decór, or atmosphere for that matter—orders are delivered to the kitchen via walkie talkie equipped waitstaff—but their traditional Cantonese dishes and dim sum make up for it. Don't miss the pork buns, fried turnip paste, and the scallop Cheung Fun. There's also a specials menu that is geared toward Chinese guests only: a definite mark of authenticity and a temptation for more adventurous eaters.
Indigo at One Aldwych
1 Aldwych, Covent Garden
Perfect for a meal right before showtime in the West End, the Indigo restaurant at the One Aldwych Hotel comes with the added bonus that its entire menu is gluten- and dairy-free. Head upstairs to airy, modern mezzanine overlooking the beautifully appointed hotel lobby and enjoy a guilt-free meal that's also pretty affordable.
16 Neal's Yard, Seven Dials, Covent Garden
From the team behind Palomar, a major hit for its take on Israeli food, comes this spot which delves deep into the food of the Barbary coast in North Africa, which greatly influenced Levantine cuisine. At the Palomar, everyone knows the best seats in the house are at the bar, so now at The Barbary, the only seats in the house are at the 24-seat bar where much of the food is prepared. The vibe is as electric as at its counterpart and the food is as spectacular if not more. Order a wide selection of dishes to share, and don't miss the roasted aubergine, the chicken msachen and the lusciously crumbly, buttery, knafeh for dessert.
16 Maiden Ln., Covent Garden
A mix between a bar and a taperia, Duende serves up some fantastically flavorful Spanish tapas complemented by gin cocktails—the large, Spanish kind that come in glasses the size of soup bowls—and Spanish wines. With its dark décor, slinky bar seating, and spiderweb-like ceiling installation, it resembles a nightclub more than a gourmet restaurant, which makes it a perfect preamble to a night out in town.
The Grand Building, 1–3 Strand, Covent Garden
Located a few steps from Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and the National Gallery, Bronte makes a wonderful haven right on the well-beaten tourist path. In an enormous space with great views of the Strand nearby, Tom Dixon and his Research Design Studio have truly spread their wings and created a gorgeous and memorable space. There's the enormous pink marble bar at the entrance, the luscious green leather banquettes in the dining room, the lighting fixtures, of course, and Tom Dixon's classic fan chair dotted throughout the terrace overlooking Trafalgar square. In all truth, this spot is more about the atmosphere than the food, but there are some good, and affordable, snacks to be had, especially when you stick to standards like burgers and a classic English breakfast.
Chick ‘n’ Sours
1a Earlham St., Covent Garden
What started as a no-frills fried chicken spot in Haggerston with kitschy mismatched China and picnic tables for large groups outside, now has its upscale counterpart in Covent Garden's Seven Dials. It makes sense, too: Their phenomenal fried chicken just couldn't be contained to one small spot in Haggerston. Not only is their chicken incredibly succulent and their crust perfectly crunchy, but the flavors of their sauces are pretty otherworldly. Don't miss the intensely spicy chicken wings, or the K-Pop bun which comes with gochujang sauce, or their General Tso Fried Chicken. In fact, come with a group so you can order the whole menu and sample it all. While the concept of fried chicken and sour drinks is enticing, stick with their sangria, beer, or wine.
16 Henrietta St., Covent Garden
For the last six years it’s been near impossible to land a table at Greg and Marie Marchand’s much-loved Paris restaurant Frenchie and its Bar a Vins offshoot across the street. Lucky for London, the Marchands have landed across the channel, opening the doors to a glistening new space, complete with an open kitchen downstairs as a nod to the original. Here, Marchand’s masterful, tapas-style menu incorporates his tastes from working in New York, Paris, and London’s best kitchens. In fact, Frenchie is a return to London for Greg, having earned his stripes at places like Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, where he also earned his nickname: Frenchie. From his elegant takes on the likes of Cornish Cod and Yorkshire Chicken, you can tell he’s having fun reigniting his friendships with the best London producers, all the while showing his French roots with an ever-changing sampling of French cheeses and worldly wines.
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