Looking for a restaurant in London to visit before or after the theatre? Not sure which restaurants are the best for pre-theatre and post-theatre dining or which are within close proximity to your chosen show? Well, we've done the hard work for you.
London is a veritable paradise for fans of the theatre, with the West End packed full of fantastic shows. Luckily for discerning diners, the capital is also chock-full of great restaurants offering pre- and post-theatre menus for those with a curtain to catch or a serious case of the post-show munchies.
As well as being handy for a succinct meal in London’s theatre districts, pre-theatre menus are an excellent way to sample some of the best restaurants in London for a snip of the price. High-end restaurants can charge big bucks for dining a la carte at prime service times, but many of these same restaurants offer a pre-theatre menu that’s great value in exchange for getting their tables back before the main dinner service begins. Take Wild Honey St James’s for example - undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in London, with prices to match, but you can eat for a fraction of the price of the a la carte on the pre-theatre menu, and many of the dishes are the same. Similarly, if you’re willing to wait until late, you can take advantage of an off-peak table in a top London restaurant for less, thanks to its post-theatre menu.
Below you’ll find our round-up of the very best London restaurants for pre- and post-theatre dining. Each entry has been tried and tested by us and our own users, so check out the reviews and book a table online with SquareMeal today.
Bardo, St James's
What: Encapsulating the Dolce Vita era, Bardo St James's is now offering theatre-goers an elegant array of refined Italian staples. At £39 for two courses or £47 for three, and a location that is surrounded by theatre options, Bardo is a must go to before catching a show. The menu kicks off with your choice of antipasti followed by secondi like breaded Delica pumpkin with Seville orange marmalade. Dessert is included too. The pre-theatre menu is available Monday to Saturday from 5-6pm, so make sure you reserve a table.
Where: 4 Suffolk Place, SW1Y 4HX
Book now: Bardo
Rail House Cafe, Victoria
What: Part of the Riding House restaurant group, this Victoria outpost offers an excellent-value pre-theatre menu for just £35 per guest, and includes a selection of exciting dishes to share between two, four or six guests. Think sourdough with black tahini butter, truffle mac and cheese with crispy shallots and rocket, and king prawn skewers with aleppo pepper and fennel. It's available from 5pm, and you can also choose to add a wine flight to your meal for an extra £18 each if you like.
Where: 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ
Book now: Rail House Cafe
Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, Mayfair
What: The pre-theatre menu at Bentley’s is one of London’s best kept secrets. It’s not cheap, but if you’re in the market to share a hefty shellfish platter between two - with complimentary Champagne - where better than at one of London’s most famous seafood spots? Make sure you pre-book - this is a relative bargain for Bentley’s and tables get snapped up fast.
Where: 11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG
Book now: Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill
What: Centrally located in the heart of Soho, this former concert hall is bound to set the tone for your evening at the theatre. The set menu at Sucre is available from 5-6.30pm and then again 9.30-11pm, making it the perfect spot for an early dinner or an after-show pick me up. Choose from two courses for £29 or three courses for just £35 and enjoy a taste of Sucre's open-fire cooking with the Argentine beef entrana or chicken a la brasa.
Where: 47 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7JP
Book now: Sucre
The Delaunay, Covent Garden
What: This glam European restaurant’s Menu Rapide is a smart choice for diners looking for a quick pre- or post-theatre dinner. This set menu includes a classic tarte flambée served with a mixed leaf salad, a glass of wine or beer and tea or coffee. You’ll need to book ahead though, as the pre-theatre slot is phenomenally popular.
Where: 55 Aldwych, WC2B 4BB
Book now: The Delaunay
Hawksmoor Air Street, Piccadilly Circus
What: With 10 theatres all just a couple of streets away, this branch of ever-popular Hawksmoor is well-placed for pre- and post-theatre dining. A brilliant example of essential London dining for less, the express menu is just £25 for two courses and includes its signature rump and chips.
Where: 5a Air Street, W1J 0AD
Book now: Hawksmoor Air Street
Haxells Restaurant & Bar
What: Located on the ground floor of the Strand Palace hotel, modern British restaurant Haxells is just a hop and a skip away from all the major West End theatres. Its pre-theatre menu is served from 4-6:30pm and includes two or three courses at a fixed price - starting from just £22.50! Choose from a range of steaks and grills, chicken with salsa verde, garlic mash and roasted baby carrots, and chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream to finish.
Where: 372 Strand, WC2R 0JJ
Book now: Haxells Restaurant & Bar
Bocca di Lupo
What: One of London’s best Italian restaurants and a SquareMeal gold award winner, Bocca di Lupo in Soho gives diners a taste of chef Jacob Kenedy’s plates for less if you pitch up outside of the rush. Perfect for before or after a show, the £18 two-course menu changes with the seasons but always celebrates the transformation of humble ingredients into something really special. An example menu might feature tomato and mozzarella rice croquettes followed by a big bowl of cacio e pepe with salad on the side. For £6 extra you can add a sweet, like a mini bombe with runny jam. To be able to partake in the offer you’ll have to book your table either between 5-6.30pm or 9.30-11pm.
Where: 2 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
Book now: Bocca di Lupo
Wild Honey, St James's
What: Anthony Demetre’s Michelin-starred Wild Honey is within striking distance of over 10 London theatres, including Theatre Royal Haymarket, Wyndham’s and The Harold Pinter. Many of the dishes on the Early Supper menu are taken directly from the a la carte, making this an incredibly affordable way to eat at one of London’s very best restaurants.
Where: 8 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5NG
Book now: Wild Honey
What: Buzzing from breakfast to midnight, this popular Gallic brasserie is ideally situated for visitors of the Royal Court Theatre. Although there's no set pre-theatre menu, you’ll find everything from small plates to plats principaux on the classic Parisian all-day café menu, making it a great choice for mixed parties at varying stages of hunger.
Where: 50-52 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AX
Book now: Colbert
Cafe Murano, Covent Garden
What: Served every day, the Menu Del Giorno at this casual sibling of Angela Hartnett's Michelin-starred Murano is very generous indeed. For just £23, diners can tuck into two fiercely seasonal antipasti and secondi courses before hopping off to a show, and there’s dolce as well if you’re feeling something sweet.
Where: 36 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PB
Book now: Cafe Murano Covent Garden
Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly Circus
What: Theatre-goers after a good French meal in the West End at an incredible price will find Zédel hard to beat. The prix fixe is just £17.25 for three courses and the restaurant is literally surrounded by theatres. If that doesn’t take your fancy, there are plenty of other very affordable options on the menu.
Where: 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Book now: Brasserie Zédel
Wiltons, St James's
What: Prices at this historic Jermyn Street oyster house can be eye-wateringly high, but for those who identify as savvy rather than Savile, there’s an excellent seasonal set menu that offers two courses for £40 or three for £48. You won’t get Wilton’s Royal Warrant oysters, but the food will still be top-notch and it’s the experience as much as anything that’s kept this impeccably groomed grandee in business since the eighteenth century.
Where: 55 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6LX
Book now: Wiltons
Margot, Covent Garden
What: Who says fine dining can’t be fast? Not Margot, with its tempting £35 two-course set menu. Dishes like swordfish carpaccio, chicken breast with king oyster mushrooms, and almond panna cotta with peach and amaretto crumble promise to keep hunger pangs at bay throughout the show.
Where: 45 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AA
Book now: Margot
What: At £36 for two courses, Roka Aldwych’s pre/post-theatre menu is pricier than most, but this is high-gloss contemporary Japanese dining at its best. Smooth service and a sophisticated setting combine to make it a top choice for theatre-goers celebrating special occasions before or after a show.
Where: 71 Aldwych, WC2B 4HN
Book now: Roka Aldwych
Cora Pearl, Covent Garden
What: Perfectly situated in the heart of London’s West End, Cora Pearl dishes out the sort of food that pre-theatre diners might consider missing the curtain-up for. The stripped-back menu contains a handful of lovely bistro-style savoury dishes, as well as a couple of little desserts - mix and match as you please.
Where: 30 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8NA
Book now: Cora Pearl
Pivot at 3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden
What: Mark Greenaway's London venture offers a pre-theatre meal for the more gastronomically-inclined. At £45 a head it's no drop in the ocean, but the food is exquisite - there's a gently-braised Roscoff onion, stuffed with lamb haggis on a silky potato mousse, then a tranche of halibut with a vanilla veloute and a rolled lobster cannelloni. The portions aren't huge, but if you don't want to be overfaced by big portions before you head to Theatreland, Pivot is perfect.
Where: 3 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8LU
Book now: Pivot at 3 Henrietta Street
Little Social, Mayfair
What: The pre-theatre menu at Little Social is about the most accessible way you'll find to eat Jason Atherton's award-winning food, including dishes like confit duck rillette with pistachio, cornichon and caramelised apple; and corn-fed chicken paillard, with feta, confit lemon and wild rocket. At the time of writing, you're paying less than £30 for three courses, which is a cracking price - doubly so when you get to enjoy this beautiful dining room as part of the bargain.
Where: 5 Pollen Street, W1S 1NE
Book now: Little Social
Paro, Covent Garden
What: Located inside The Lyceum Theatre, Paro is the perfect spot to go before or after your theatre trip - especially if you've got tickets to The Lion King. Only a short walk from many of London's top theatres, it's the perfect place to pop in before or after your show! Enjoy a three-course theatre menu for just £25, and delve into the flavours of West Bengal with their onion bhajis, creamy butter chicken and tangy rogan josh.
Where: 21 Wellington St, WC2E 7DN
Book now: Paro
The Ganton Arms, Soho
What: Though it doesn’t offer a pre-theatre menu per se, the small plates selection at The Ganton Arms is perfect for those looking to share a few casual Mediterranean-style plates before skipping off to the West End. Choose from the likes of halloumi fries with tahini and hot sauce; ham hock croquettes with mustard aioli or tiger prawns with chorizo butter, lemon dressing and coriander – which all come in under £10 each.
Where: 18-20 Ganton Street, W1F 7BU
Book now: The Ganton Arms
Instead of a restaurant before your evening entertainment, how about a night where the restaurant is the entertainment? Check out these fun places to eat in London, including live music, performances, karaoke and even a bit of mini golf!