63-64 Frith St., Soho
Anthony Demetre, the chef at this Michelin star establishment, is serious about seasonality, though while the menu changes constantly, the food remains impeccable. This is a great place for a nice pre-theater meal in Soho. While it's not so easy to get in, if there are just two of you, you can usually snag a seat at the small bar. It is French-style cuisine in the best sense. The duck egg with asparagus served on cast iron skillets is really delicious.
Ba Shan (Closed)
24 Romilly St., Soho
This is one of London's best spots for Chinese. At first glance it looks a bit on the small side, but because it's actually split into several levels, it can comfortably accommodate bigger parties (make a reservation). The home-style tofu is a favorite among locals as are the pork buns, which are served as if they are little burger buns. As a whole, the menu errs on the spicy side, so ask for milder, kid-friendly options.
53 Lexington St., Soho
Baos are soft, doughy rice-and-milk buns, stuffed with any number of Taiwanese-style delicacies, like slow-cooked pork or daikon. And there are lines out the door for them at this sleek, wood-lined shoebox of a spot in Soho at any given time of day. (They also serve really good battered fries and chicken nuggets.) Like many good things in London, the founders first gained popularity for their Baos with a roving market stall that's still going in Hackney (where the lines are just as long). They're so popular that only a few months later, they opened another spot in Fitzrovia which is just as popular (if not more.)
26 - 27 Dean St., Soho
Restaurateurs (and brothers) Sam and Eddie Hart were among the first to bring a tapas-centric menu to London. Their tiny Barrafina, which has three outposts, only offers seating at the bar, and since they don't offer reservations you'll want to get there on the early side. The menu is old-school when it comes to tapas, so we recommend classic favorites like the traditional Spanish tortilla or the chorizo with potato and watercress. The original has now moved a few steps away and into Quo Vadis, the private club that the Harts also own, while there are also two other locations on Adelaide Street and Drury Lane.
Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James St., Soho
The phrase "over-the-top" is basically synonymous with Bob Bob Ricard: There's the hyper-luxe interiors that look like they were created by Wes Anderson's design team, there's the champagne on tap—just press the "Champagne" button at your table—there's the rich Russo-British Chicken Kievs, caviar and the like, and there's the fact you absolutely have to dress up (no sneakers allowed) or else the bouncer at the door won't let you in. It's all in good tongue-in-cheek fun, and if there's one spot that's perfect for starting a big, celebratory night out in London, it's here. And, if your booking is for more than 10 people, you get upgraded into the private dining room, which is possibly even more stylized than the rest of the space.
Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer St., Soho
Bocca di Lupo's Chef Jacob Kennedy recreates classic Italian dishes from all over Italy—from Sicily to Piedmont and back—with true authenticity and at a very reasonable price. All the dishes on the menu, including appetizers, come in small and large portions so you can piece a meal together with a scattering of smalls, or heck, have the appetizer as a main. It’s a popular place, so book ahead.
31 Peter St., Soho
At any hour of the day or night—it's open pretty late—this Soho walk-in spot blares punk rock from the speakers while churning out incredibly flavorful ramen in a seriously complex bone broth. Everything on the menu is delicious but the top choices are probably the Tonkotsu (made with a 20 hour pork bone broth), the Chicken Tantanmen, and the soft shell crab starter with its addictively spicy chili ginger sauce.
Burger & Lobster
36-38 Dean St., Soho
The lobster at this brilliant fast-casual concept is made three ways: steamed all the way through, finished on the grill, or stuffed in a roll (get a side of fries, trust). Each of the nine outposts is perpetually buzzing, so expect lines out the door and truckloads of tourists. But the service is efficient, so you're guaranteed a stellar experience no matter what. They don’t take reservations, so go early and grab a drink. Hugely popular since it opened, there are now numerous offshoots all over the city, though we prefer the Dean Street original.
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.
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.
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