Covent Garden is full to the brim with incredible restaurants, and it can be difficult knowing what to choose in a myriad of good. We’ve therefore gathered the great ones we think should be at the top of your list.
The conservatory at Clos Magiore is dubbed 'the pretty room'
Why Claimed to be the most romantic restaurant in the world
What If you manage to nab a table amid the twinkling fairy lights, blossoms and foliage in the glass-roofed conservatory (open to the stars on balmy evenings), you are well and truly in for a treat. Bookings aren’t guaranteed in this inviting space, though, but you can always settle for one of the less enticing dining areas. Either way, expect finely tuned French-accented cooking with some noticeable Mediterranean nuances.
Where 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Look forward to dainty food at Frenchie
Why A truly modern, eclectic menu served by staff brimming with effusive charm
What French cook Gregory Marchand (affectionately nicknamed ‘Frenchie’ by Jamie Oliver), serves up a menu that champions British food and produce. Controversial? We don’t care, because the food is delicious. With dishes such as clotted cream with irresistible bacon and maple syrup scones; Keen’s Cheddar accompanying ‘cauliflower’ mushrooms; and sea bream tartare buried in pear, yuzu and quinoa, we’ll have the French cooking British food any day.
Where 16 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QH
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London's oldest restaurant certainly looks regal
Why London’s oldest restaurant, serving proud, British fare
What Opened by Thomas Rule in 1798, it is not unlikely that Charles Dickens, or the likes of, would chow down on British dishes and ingredients such as potted shrimps or steak and kidney pie. These dishes are still served and are as excellent as ever. Expect to be treated like royalty from the moment you're greeted by the top-hatted doorman.
Where 35 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7LB
The signature Pac-Man dumplings is as much fun to eat as to look at
Why The frenetic and fun delivery of Cantonese street food
What This might not be the place for Chinese food purists, but a place for adults trapped in a child’s body (were it not for the rowdy, grown-up-orientated atmosphere it would be perfect for entertaining the little ones). Sit on the long sharing tables clad in gingham tablecloths and tuck into wacko dishes such as the signature Pac-Man dumplings (Instagram at the ready), cheeseburger spring rolls, or soup dumplings with straws poking through them.
Where 9 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ
Restaurant or garden centre? We love the use of shrubs at Sushisamba Covent Garden
Why For a fusion of Japanese and South American food with stylish interiors and a buzzing atmosphere
What What the group's second site is lacking in City views (the orginal Sushisamba sits proudly on the top of Heron Tower), it makes up in fantastic interiors. The signature spiral staircase is decked out in the brand’s traditional bright orange hue, the ceiling is covered in foilage and there are sexy, red velvet booths. The food is just as good as in the City, though. Gorge on moreish green bean tempura served with a slick of black truffle aioli or springy gyoza stuffed with intensely meaty Wagyu beef served on a neon yellow pool of sweet-tasting kabocha. The colourful sushi rolls are a must-try too, and so are the cocktails.
Where Opera Terrace, The Piazza, WC2E 8RF
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Experience la dolce vita with English ingredients
Why A menu that transports you to Italy by way of an English country garden
What Devour the utmost delicious Italian food surrounded by glistening chandeliers, an abundance of cut flowers, Murano glass and interesting artworks. The kitchen observes the seasons with gusto, but always offer much-loved Italian classics such as risotto, ragu and various pastas. The all-Italian wine list also impresses.
Where 27-31 King Street, WC2E 8JB
Adam Handling's food is daring, but rewarding
Why Off-the chart tasting menus from MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Adam Handling
What The Frog’s five or eight-course tasting menus impress with high-octane combinations, including butter whipped with chicken fat topped with crispy chicken skin and served with sourdough, and razor clams shrouded in dry ice. Make sure to visit the moody basement bar themed with Adam and Eve imagery for a drink before you leave.
Where 34-38 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HF
READ MORE: "I'm a little rebel" – read our interview with Adam Handling
Now this looks good doesn't it?
Why Finger-lickingly good food in an atmospheric dining room
What The sister restaurant of 2015's most fashionable restaurant, Kitty Fisher’s, Cora Pearl has a lot to live up to. And does it? Absolutely. Our top tip is to get the veal fillet, which comes with a fantastic celeriac purée and a jug of Bordelaise sauce bobbing with bone marrow. Save this for dunking best-in-class chips made with layers of pressed potato: surely the most labour-intensive fries in London. Additionally, the ground-floor restaurant is illuminated at both ends by big windows making it the sort of room that is cosy in winter and sun-drenched in summer.
Where 30 Henrietta Street, WC2F 8NA
Sushi and yakitori are sensually plated on dark boards and plates
Why Artfully presented top-notch sushi and yakitori
What Sushi is not necessarily what you associate with Denmark, but this Danish restaurant group is going from strenght to stength, opening sites all over London. Other than the Danish phrases on the waiters' t-shirts, there is very little Scandinavian influences, though – just beautiful Japanese ones. Sticks (grilled morsels of skewered meat) are presented with perfect symmetry while sushi (sashimi, nigiri and colourful maki rolls) sist like jewels on dark slates.
Where 11 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8PY
Explore even more of this beautiful area by browsing our selection of all the best restaurants in Covent Garden. OR if you want to escape the tourist area altogether? Check out our pick of best restaurants in the City of London.