Joe Allen 1

2 Burleigh Street , London, WC2E 7PX

020 7836 0651

Visit Joe Allen

  • Interior Shot Bar Area 7
  • Joe Allen November 2015 2
  • Joe Allen November 2015 4
  • Bar Lamp 6
  • Joe Allen November 2015 6
  • Joe Allen November 2015 8
  • Bar frontal converted 4
  • Joe Allen November 2015 2
  • Joe Allen November 2015 7
  • Entrance 1
  • Joe Allen November 2015 5
  • Joe Allen November 2015 1
  • JA canopy 8
  • Table Row 2

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SquareMeal Review of Joe Allen

It was a dark day in Theatreland when it was announced that the unofficial actors’ canteen, Joe Allen, was going to close – not least because it was to make way for a boutique hotel owned by one of their own, Robert de Niro. But the move around the corner has re-energised this luvvies’ classic that first opened its doors on Exeter Street in 1977. A tighter, less labyrinthine layout concentrates the hubbub of the room, while fittings that have been moved lock, stock and piano from Exeter Street look as if they have been here for years. And the American comfort food is the same as ever – adequate rather than amazing, but more than cutting the mustard if you’ve come to soak up the pre- and post-theatre atmosphere or for a boozy weekend brunch with friends; it’s also as well suited to feeding an eight- or eighty-year-old. ‘Eggs Joe Allen’ is a nicely poached Burford atop a thick slice of potato cake, spooned with hollandaise sauce; well-timed calf’s liver comes with mash that is stodgy not smooth; apple strudel is a as sweet as something you’d want to end Sunday lunch. To drink, a well-priced wine list has bags of choice for under £40, while an evening spent at the bar with classic American cocktails would be a hoot. Remember your waiter’s face: like former staffer Graham Norton, he may well be a star of tomorrow.

Special offers

Daily Set menu - 3 courses for £18.95 per person

From: 10 May 2016

To: 26 May 2026

Max: 30

Daily Set menu - 2 courses for £15.95 per person

From: 10 May 2016

To: 01 May 2026

Max: 30

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7.8

Food & Drink: 7.3

Service: 8.5

Atmosphere: 8.7

Value: 7.4

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Sarah E. bronze reviewer 20 December 2016

Had a wonderful evening at Joe Allen's restaurant on 9th December with my closest work friends, i've booked this restaurant many times over the past ten years for my colleagues but had yet to experience it myself, finally I made it and it did not disappoint we had a really nice night and staff were super friendly and helpful with menu choices, really is a special venue a hidden gem, I cant wait to return. Sarah

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 2.0

Timothy B. 19 December 2016

Sad to say the food was a real disappointment. I can't say it was an 'off' night. I just think what they are serving is poor. The Turkey Christmas main course was really in the realms of 'ready meal' quality, Slices of turkey that obviously were of some kind of compressed variety. The stuffing appeared to be out of a tin. It was round/oval and flat. The 'crispy bacon' was nowhere to be seen. I found a couple of lardons by the side of the plate!! The roast potatoes could have been Aunt Bessie's. The parsnip, carrots and sprouts were dry, not even tossed in butter. The gravy was of the bisto variety. I was expecting a lovely slap-up Christmas feast, instead I received a bad school meal. My wife had the half chicken with skinny fries. That's exactly what you get, nothing else. The chicken was ok, but the fries are so thin they are crisps. How about a nice side salad to go with it, rather than a little lump of watercress. The main courses are around £15! There are so many better places to eat for this money. Our meal for two was £100. What an utter waste. You should be able to get a great meal for this money. Well, not at Joe Allen's

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

sarah f. 13 March 2016

The food is fantastic. Simple food beautifully cooked and presented. The atmosphere is buzzing and happening The staff go out of their way to ensure you have a great time. My booking hadn't appeared so they weren't ready for us and gave us a drink on the house to compensate. It didn't matter as the bar kept us happy til a table was ready. We had a snug spot close to the piano which spunded awesome. All at a very reasonable price. Unbeatable

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 4.0

sh k. 13 February 2016

We enjoyed an efficient and tasty pre-theatre dinner. The choices on the pre-theatre menu were sufficient with 3 or 4 selections for each course. We had steak and frittes, three bean chilli with tortilla chips for mains and lemon drizzle cake and cheeses for pudding. We were served quickly until the end when we wanted to leave for the theatre - we had to chase the server for a bill but we made curtain time without a problem. We would not have had time for coffee/tea as the house was full by 7:15 and servers were running around, but we didn't mind. We had been to the restaurant before and would happily return.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

rosalind s. 05 September 2015

We only had one hour and a quarter to order, eat and pay before we had to leave for the theatre! Welcomed by lovely smiley team, menus delivered promptly and order taken all in about 5 mins. This meant we could sit back and relax. Dinner served within 10 minutes, piping hot wonderful fresh succulent chicken. Great food all washed down with a lovely cold bottle of Rose. Really enjoyed Jo Allens , will definitely be back.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 2.0

Peter T. 17 February 2015

I have enjoyed half a dozen or so meals at Joe Allen, however, over the past 2 visits I have been very concerned. The ambience is wonderful, the front of house staff are efficient and attentive, when busy they work hard. I go out of my way to make them enjoy serving me/us. But, the food...this visit, the starters were not to bad, however the main rib eye steak was tough (also 2 previous reports on Trip adviser), my Lasagne was akin to a supermarket budget range, in taste and presentation, my wife had cod, what there was of it. To be fair, the steak was taken off the bill. Our visit was shared by around 10 or so other diners in the restaurant, so no excuse for the lack of quality. If it is under new management, they need to get their act together. I will not go again.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Briege K. 03 March 2014

We had an early dinner 5.00 sitting due to attending the opera We explained this on arrival and the staff where very attentive and got out out on time. We both had the Seabass which was delicious. Before dinner I had a dry martini straight up with a twist as I like it which was made just right I enjoyed every drop. I would definitely go again – it is a jewel in Covent Garden…

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Ian A. 19 January 2014

Been going to Joe Allen's for about 30 years, first time back since the take over last year. VERY disappointed in the new menu … Where are the staples of the past? Certainly no longer mimics its New York counterpart. Seems it is now predominantly steaks. Ordered rib-eye steaks … very poor quality. Staff serving at the tables need training… can't ever recall seeing the servers lean across guests with plates of food intended for other side of the table! Very doubtful about returning.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

W&B 07 January 2014

There are new restaurants opening in London left, right and centre; Pop-ups with rhyming names and keen attempts at unique menu angles, over -styled cafes filled with new furniture made to look dog-eared and ancient, more often than not with some kind of blackboard element and a metal stool thrown in for good measure. Joe Allen isn’t dog eared, but it is ancient. Hidden underground in a quiet Covent Garden side street, its exposed brick walls are scattered with hundreds of theatre posters and photographs. These walls are steeped in history. They could tell stories of theatrical affairs carried out in dark corners, drunken spats between Hollywood stars and bar-side dancing into the wee hours. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for a touted new London tuck shop. I am unfailingly excited about the never-ending openings across the city, however Joe Allen has what almost all of these lack; history. Its walls are its long-standing home. Its renowned name is synonymous with its street. Joe Allen’s is not popping-up temporarily, no bookings allowed, queue round the corner in the rain for a £10 peanut sized taco… It is open 7 days a week and has an authentic old soul. Joe Allen’s is a theatre institution, “the West-end’s canteen”. The menu is typically American, the wine list is worldly and the extensive list of American beers includes Brooklyn Lager and San Francisco’s Anchor Steam. The Covent Garden restaurant is owned by the incredibly charming Lawrence Hartley and Tim Healey and is almost a replica of its New York counterpart. The big white menu is scattered with typical American brasserie staples; house salads, baby back ribs, fishcakes, steaks and grills. The legendary Joe Allen burger remains off the menu but is always available, you just need to ask. Order it. It is secretive and delicious. The French fries are perfectly salted and crisp matchsticks. The bar is stacked high with umpteen bottles and bartenders in white shirts knock up a very good cocktail (I highly recommend the Dark and Stormy). The large piano in the entrance greets guests on arrival and more often than not sits an old chap tinkering out a happy tune. In November I spent Thanksgiving with Joe Allen and was treated to a feast of pulled pork and duck terrine, roast turkey with all the trimmings and cranberry ‘hootycreeks’ which, it transpires, are jarred cookie-mix concoctions topped with cream . It was my first ever thanksgiving dinner and was most definitely one to be thankful for. For the anti-pop-up, a cosy setting with wonderfully warm hospitality, good grub and the high chance of a celebrity spotting, head to Joe Allen. It’s still there. It’s still good. It’s doing its thing very well.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Clare W. 02 November 2013

Had the 3 course set pre-theatre menu – which included a glass of wine. All courses were excellent – especially the dessert which was a warm marinated clemetine with marscapone and ice cream,really yummy. Also tried a new starter which was beetroot soup – again, lovely. Although it was a Friday night all courses arrived really promptly and the service was excellent. Atmosphere was great and we had a nice large table for 3 of us. Some restaurants squeeze 3 diners onto tables meant for 2 – we had a table for 4 so had lots of room. Have been before and would go again – a firm favourite for pre/post show meal.

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  • Bar Lamp 6

Private room for 24 to 50 seated guests or 70 standing situated just off the main dining area. (Please note, all guests, both seated and standing, must order food and beverages due to licensing.)

Private Dining Room
Capacity: 50
Special offers

Daily Set menu - 3 courses for £18.95 per person

From: 10 May 2016

To: 26 May 2026

Max: 30

Daily Set menu - 2 courses for £15.95 per person

From: 10 May 2016

To: 01 May 2026

Max: 30