51 Greek St., Soho
Every Londoner who frequents Soho knows Lina Stores. The Italian deli has occupied the same spot for close to eighty years, keeping pantries stocked with obscure pastas and excellent tomato sauce. The owners have had the good sense to open a restaurant on nearby Greek Street, and we can confidently say the pasta here is better than anywhere else in the area. Sit at the bar—it’s always the best seat anyway—and watch the chefs prepare your dinner. Classic Roman puntarelle (a bitter chicory) is on the menu, doused, as it should be, in a salty anchovy dressing. Pappardelle arrives in a rich rabbit ragu. The crab pasta is spicy and citrusy, and the gnudi smothered in brown butter and sage are is so good we ordered two. Bonus: practically every dish costs less than ten pounds.
29 Romilly St., Soho
How Soho can absorb one more hotel defies belief, but Kettner’s, in Nick Jones’s signature fashion, feels like it has been there from the start. The property dates to 1867, and if you believe the rumors, it was once owned by the chef to Napoleon III. Most recently, it has been restored to all its Georgian glamour. The hotel restaurant is straight out of Paris with mirrored walls, elaborately sculpted cornices, and lavishly upholstered seats. The champagne bar feels like an old-world lounge with an original mosaic floor, sink-into armchairs, and horseshoe-shaped marble bar. Each of the thirty-three bedrooms is a hybrid of an English country manor and a 1920s boudoir. The sofas are clad in rich buttery velvet, the wallpaper is vintage, and the sheets Egyptian cotton. Thoughtful touches like deep tubs and Cowshed products in the Georgian-style bathrooms, Roberts radios, and proper alarm clocks make it feel more like the home of an incredibly chic friend than a hotel. Go big and book into the Jacobean suite for a dose of period grandeur—wood-paneled walls, a bed the size of a small ship, a freestanding copper tub,…
12 Denman St., Soho
What started as two school friends operating a small enterprise out of a ship container at Pop Brixton has grown into a beautiful restaurant in the heart of Soho. Kricket does Indian—flecked with Anglo influence—small-plate style. The menu is direct, divided into declarative categories, like meat and fish, rice, and vegetables. Our favorite: Keralan fried chicken and kulcha bread with date and pistachio, which is perfect for sharing. The space is all industrial: exposed pipes and brick, unexpectedly softened with pink leather stools, and pretty tile floors. Just arrive early; it’s near impossible to get a seat after 6:30 p.m.
The Blue Posts, Cellar, 28 Rupert St., Soho
How do you create what is possibly the perfect restaurant? Take a beautiful grey marble bar, put the kitchen right there in the bar, slide eleven seats around it, and serve rich, fresh dishes inspired by southern Europe. Come with one other person or go big and book out the entire restaurant. Then order the mackerel with pickled carrots, the rich duck capelletti, and the unexpected cuttlefish ragu with tapioca crisps. Whatever you order, you won’t regret. And finish it off with a bottle of…sake. The selection is impressive and unexpected (there’s also a wine list if you want to go that route).
463 West Broadway, Soho
It's no surprise that Major Food Group's take on the deli has been a big hit. Come in the morning for bagels, smoked fish, and chopped salads, and in the evening for a dimly lit brasserie vibe, with roasted salmon and spicy fried chicken on the menu.
25 Broadwick Street, Soho
Temper is chef Neil Rankin's first foray into London's culinary big leagues, with all the space, high design, and hype that goes along with it—and it's great. Greeting guests upstairs are a humble tortilla machine, some sacks of maize, and a few bottles of mezcal, innocently belying the dark, clubby man-cave below. Here, it's all about performance: All eyes are on the kitchen, where burly dudes grill, char, smoke, and blow-torch hunks of meat and fish, served up on beautifully handmade tortillas. While the Mexican roots here are undeniable, the tacos, grilled meats, and side-dishes here are otherworldly. After a couple rounds of blowtorched mackerel, beef fat and aged cheeseburger tacos, diners emerge from Rankin's cave stuffed, a little drunk, and reeking of barbecue, which only adds to the experience.
29 Poland Street
With its terrazzo-tile bar, kitschy neon lights, and Art Deco entrance, Corazón could easily be tucked away on a side street in Mexico City. And the menu, with its tribute to the city's famed tuna tostadas at Contramar, really drives it home. This place has the heart (corazón en español) and soul of an authentic Mexican comfort-food eatery with old-school snacks like shrimp cocktail Campechana-style, classic tacos, and arguably the best margarita in town. It's easy to while an afternoon away here, just like in good ol' DF.
39-45 Shaftesbury Ave., Soho
This French brasserie is yet another feather in the Soho House's cap, which means you can expect great food and an always-buzzy vibe. They've really gone all out here, though, and created a charming space that feels just like an old Belle Epoque Parisian institution, complete with classic croques, moules frites, pâté, and the like served all day long. Located right on Shaftesbury Avenue, this makes a great pre- or post-West End show stop. Head upstairs for the best seats in the house, overlooking the main floor.
26-29 Dean St., Soho
Quo Vadis is a classic private club, but the downstairs dining room is open to the public and a wonderful, characterful Soho haven at that. Owned by the Hart brothers, of Barrafina fame, with a kitchen run by Chef Jeremy Lee, their daily changing menu features the best meat and vegetables of the season, though you might be just as happy with their eel sandwich on house-made sourdough. They know how to make a classic cocktail here, too. The whole place is full of old Soho charm, accentuated by illustrator John Broadley's artwork which punctuates the entire space, menus included.
58 Brewer St., Soho
To appease the masses of fans of Smoking Goat, the teensy dive bar that serves up some of the—if not the—most incredible Thai BBQ in town, chef Ben Chapman has expanded into a much bigger, glitzier space in Soho. Here, thrillingly, with a long bar facing the kitchen you get to watch the action unfold in the mighty kiln for which the restaurant is named. It would be hard to name one dish to go for, as all the sharing plates on the menu are pretty unforgettable, so the best bet is to book downstairs with a large group so you can dive in and share it all—it's a short menu.
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