12 Upper St., Martin’s Ln., Covent Garden
This relatively new and growing chain of modern Indian restaurants reveals a new dimension to a city already well-versed in the cuisine. Expertly decorated to resemble an old Iranian Bombay cafe, the vibe is casual and, as tradition dictates, ideal for both large groups and singles reading the paper and having a chai. The long menu of rotis, naans, grilled meats, and stews is spice-inflected but not necessarily curry heavy. There are three more locations in Shoreditch, King's Cross, and Carnaby.
9 Earlham St., Covent Garden
With Jason Goldberg (co-Founder of Fab.com) behind the business and Swedish design vet Petrus Palmér leading the creative, it’s no big surprise this new furniture brand is quickly gaining traction. This week they’re opening their first shop in London (open through January, if not longer), along with a slew of collaborations. There’s Luca Nichetti’s totally customizable lamp, and Japanese design outfit Nendo’s modular bookshelves, among others. Add the big names to the convenience of infinite choice and customizability, and you have a strong player on the market.
8 Earlham St., Covent Garden
It's no surprise that the biggest hits at this Swedish import are the cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron buns, though their breads and smorgas-like filled baguettes are pretty off the charts too. While this is their first venture into Central London, there's also a shop in Hoxton that has a tiny bit more space for customers to stop and enjoy the coffee and baked treats. We love this particular shop for its convenience.
2 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden
It can be surprisingly hard to find a healthy breakfast or lunch to go in London, which is why places like 26 Grains are a godsend. The concept is pretty simple—choose a grain (of which there are twenty-six, duh), a few spices, and a couple of toppings, and you are good to go. Plus, you sit for a meal at the communal table, which is a lovely experience, complete with beautiful, handmade ceramic dishes. At breakfast, you'll find porridge and bircher muesli and at lunch, it's more like quinoa, rice, and the like. Don't miss the turmeric almond milk latte.
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
8-10 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden
From the infamous "Quatre Garçons," a group of French dandies known for their splashy bars and eateries, comes this pitch-perfect wine bar known as the CVS for short. They've intelligently created a two floor suite of comfort, full of soft upholstery, cushions, rugs, and walls painted dark, velvety tones. It has that clubby feel of the kind of place you'd stick around for hours, and undoubtedly will, for the extensive wine list (pages upon pages of mostly European bottles) and phenomenal snacks—the mandatory charcuterie and cheese boards (sourced at Androuet, no less) and an ever-changing sandwich that's earned top marks.
Somerset House, Lancaster Pl., Covent Garden
Set in a huge, light-filled space in Somerset House, Spring is helmed by chef Skye Gyngell, who won a Michelin star for her restaurant at Petersham Nurseries—and then promptly left. She’s finally returned after a long time away and is back to her old tricks: Light, seasonal, Italian-inflected dishes that are essentially perfect. For a private meal or event, there's the Salon, which is a pretty magical light-filled space located under an original glass atrium that can seat up to 45 at tree-lined tables (yes, tree-lined).
36 Tavistock St., Covent Garden
This little sister restaurant to Angela Hartnett's Murano isn’t really a step down: It has a second address on St. James Street and a menu of hearty, Northern Italian dishes, like Fritto Misto, Linguine Vongole, and Osso Bucco perfected by Hartnett's deputy, Sam Williams. It’s the kind of place that’s great for both a leisurely family lunch (there’s even a kids menu) or a dressed-up dinner with friends in the private room that seats 22.
Great Queen Street
32 Great Queen St., Covent Garden
From the owners of Waterloo's famed Anchor & Hope is this stark, low-lit gastropub. The food here is best described as minimal British with an emphasis on game and an avant-garde twist. Be ready to try something you've never had before and to linger; it takes a while to roast wood pigeon.