There’s no better way to catch up with friends than over some delicious food, and when it comes to reunions, we say the more the merrier. So whether you’re after a table for 10 or 30, here are some of our favourite restaurants for group dining in Covent Garden.
Balans Soho Society Seven Dials (above)
Biggest table: 30
What: This branch of Balans bears all the usual hallmarks of the restaurant group, including a cosmopolitan vibe, a please-all menu and an all-day offering. Come evening, you can expect a lively atmosphere backed up by an international menu featuring the likes of Thai-style fishcakes and Cornish crab linguine. Prices are decent too.
Where: 32-34 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9HA
Biggest table: 25
What: This cavernous basement beneath the cobbles of Covent Garden has been serving up moules-frites and Belgian beer for years. Take your pick from eight Trappist brews and 13 fruity offerings alongside blondes, whites, ambers and darks. The plates of mussels meanwhile come in 10 versions, including a spicy Korean-style variety.
Where: 50 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LJ
Biggest table: 12
What: A bastion of the Covent Garden scene since 1991, this independent brasserie stretches over three floors and is lit by candles in the evening. Traditional French fare on the menu includes everything from coq au vin, to classic steak-frites. It’s also handily located near The Royal Opera house, perfect for culture vultures.
Where: 40 Wellington Street, WC2E 7BD
Biggest table: 18
What: Challenging preconceptions of the Mexican dining experience, Cantina Laredo tosses aside chilli-laden, sombrero-clad stereotypes and puts the food centre stage. Well-informed staff dish out the likes of pork belly or duck tacos, and lamb cutlets drizzled with an Amarillo curry mole. On hand to wash it all down are quality Tequilas and hard-hitting cocktails.
Where: 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard, WC2H 9FB
Biggest table: 28
What: If you’ve ever wanted to run away and join the circus, this cabaret venue with its acrobats, dancers and burlesque performers is for you. The food is no novelty act however, with the globetrotting menu featuring pan-Asian dishes such as white miso salmon with pickled baby ginger and a dessert bento box containing a yuzu meringue curd tart.
Where: 27-29 Endell Street, WC2H 9BA
Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar
Biggest table: 14
What: This Basque restaurant from three-Michelin starred chef Eneko Atxa features slick interiors of chestnut tables and deep-red corner booths, while the menu of sharing dishes features the likes of suckling pig tempura, and beetroot tartare with barbecue sauce. Finish off with a steamed Basque vanilla sponge, served with a scoop of caramel crumble ice cream.
Where: 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ
Biggest table: 10
What: This legendary Theatreland spot survived a move down the road in 2017, thanks to sticking with its winning menu of American comfort food. You’ll probably be more interested in the atmosphere and star-spotting here than the cooking, but dishes such as calf’s liver with mash, and sweet-as-can-be apple strudel, will guarantee your return.
Where: 2 Burleigh Street, WC2E 7PX
Maxwell’s Bar & Grill
Biggest table: 10
What: Over 40 years after opening its doors, Maxwell’s still wins over Londoners with its wide-ranging stateside menu and daily theme nights (such as Wingsday Wednesdays where you’ll find all-you-can-eat hot wings). Other menu highlights include the stacked burgers and the baby back ribs, while the buzzy bar turns out vintage cocktails alongside US craft beers.
Where: 34 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Biggest table: 20
What: With branches peppered across London, this mini-chain touts affordable dim sum and drinks all day. The pan-Asian menu covers traditional offerings alongside regularly changing specials such as crisp truffle-laced spring rolls. Fun and informal, Ping Pong ticks the boxes for anything from a quick bite to a lively special occasion, and offers great value too.
Where: 23-24 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA
Smith & Wollensky
Biggest table: 12
What: This smart US import follows its transatlantic forebears by focusing on USDA, British and Irish beef butchered on the premises and hung in an impressive dry-ageing room. The gloriously 1920s decadence impresses, as do the hefty portions (the truffled mac ‘n’ cheese side could easily feed four). There are great US wines to choose from too.
Where: 1-11 John Adam Street, WC2N 6HT