Whether you’re pre- or post-theatre, pre- or post-bar or just looking for some of the most lively restaurants in London, Soho is the epicentre of West End nightlife. Read on to find our pick of the best dinners in Soho, and book a table with SquareMeal today.
10 Greek Street
What: From the prosaic name to the determinedly plain decor, everything about this pint-sized Soho favourite is purely functional – apart from the food and wine. The short, daily changing menu pulls in ideas from Western Europe to point up its larder of British ingredients; Tamworth pork partnered with savoy cabbage and a scattering of soft pancetta is typical. You can reserve a table for lunch but dinner is no-bookings only; a brilliantly affordable wine list is the prize for queuing.
When: Mon-Tues 5.30-10.15pm, Wed-Sat 5.30-10.45pm
Where: 10 Greek Street, W1D 4DH
What: Dim lighting, shabby-chic furnishings and candlelit tables are just some of the charms that make Andrew Edmunds one of the most romantic restaurants in London. The eclectic handwritten menu changes daily and features good-value mains such as a chunky Old Spot pork chop or fillet of stone bass with pine nuts. Expertise and reliability characterise the superb selection of Old World wines – in fact the whole outfit is a friendly celebration of old-school restaurant values.
When: Mon-Sat 5.30-10.45pm, Sun 6-10.30pm
Where: 46 Lexington Street, W1F 0LP
What: Strictly a domain for chilli-heads, this smart, light-filled Chinese delivers a riotous flavour ride, Szechuan-style. Dry-wok options (stir-fried frog’s legs, pig’s offal and duck tongues) all arrive emblazoned with dried chilli, as do appetisers such as sliced pork belly. The menu also includes soups and stews to cool down your palate, and can be topped off with soothing ice creams for dessert. High prices are a downer, but you’re paying for an authentic and thrilling taste of central China.
When: Sun-Thurs 12N-11pm, Fri-Sat 12-11.30pm
Where: 28 Frith Street, W1D 5LF
What: This quirky slice of rural France offers twists on the classics in a homely setting featuring cottage furniture and flamboyant pastoral scenes painted on tiled walls. The mid-priced menu offers a range of seasonal small plates peppered with European influences – think smoked mussels paired with black pudding and artichoke purée – while a varied selection of French charcuterie and cheese invites a wine-focused visit. It's all very amiable and charming, right down to the cow-shaped milk jugs.
When: Mon-Sat 12N-11pm, Sun 12N-9pm
Where: 9 D’Arblay Street, W1F 8DR
Bob Bob Ricard
What: “That restaurant with the Champagne buttons” is more than just a gimmick, although ostentation is undoubtedly blingy Bob Bob Ricard’s primary selling point. Luckily, the palpable sense of enjoyment lends warmth to the glitz and gold. Cloistered booths explain why celebs enjoy hiding out here, as does a sumptuous menu of comfort food – think mighty beef Wellingtons and deep-filled, steaming pies. Not cheap, but lots of fun.
When: Mon-Wed 6pm-12am, Thurs 5.30pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-1am, Sun 5.30pm-12am
Where: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF
Bocca di Lupo
What: Sit at Bocca’s marble bar for a quick refuel or book one of the wooden tables at the back if you have more time: the vibe is the same – busy, buzzy, noisy and fun, with a menu offering some of the very best Italian regional food in London. The menu is broken down by region with seasonal dishes and year-round staples: pork chops with garlic, parsley and finferli from Bologna, or lamb prosciutto from Sardinia, say. There are also some terrific Italian wines by the glass or carafe.
When: Mon-Sat 5-11pm, Sun 5-9:30pm
Where: 12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
Dean Street Townhouse
What: Atmosphere is this classy Townhouse’s trump card, so the menu plays it simple with lots of comfort on offer – from delectable lamb rump with grilled artichoke to partridge and oxtail on toast. Service is as cosseting as the soft armchairs, and a broad wine list should reveal something for most tastes. If you’re headed to the theatre and need to dine and dash, then the pre-theatre set menu should slip down a treat.
When: Mon-Thurs 7am-12am, Fri 7am-1am, Sat 8am-1am, Sun 8am-11pm
Where: 69-71 Dean Street, W1D 3SE
The Duck and Rice
What: Think of this Soho restaurant as the place where Pilsner Urquell drinkers rub shoulders with Chinese food fans, as it’s the love child of gastropub culture and Chinese influence. Nibble on dim sum dishes or crispy duck, or step it up a notch and get the spicy Szechuan chicken or the savoury melting jasmine-smoked pork ribs. The upstairs dining room is calmer than the ground-floor pub, although both serve the same one-page menu.
When: Mon-Thurs 12N-11pm, Fri-Sat 12N-11.30pm, Sun 12-10pm
Where: 90 Berwick Street, W1F 0QB
What: Cloaked in the shadow of the Ham Yard Hotel, you could easily miss this Soho Japanese, although those in the know are handsomely rewarded – especially fans of Kobe beef. With just 29 covers and an abundance of clean lines and pine, there isn’t too much to distract from the open kitchen’s theatre. You can watch as the chefs prepare morsels of sashimi, sushi and snacks as a warm-up to the beefy headline act – served perhaps in cheese-oozing croquettes or simply seared with an extravagantly presented salad.
When: Mon-Sat 6-10pm, Sun 6-9pm
Where: 2 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
What: Though hidden in the cellar of The Blue Posts pub, Evelyn’s Table is one of Soho’s hottest dining destinations. It’s an intimate, romantically-lit space, with a ‘private’ sign on the door and 15 diners around the horseshoe counter. Small plates with a southern European accent feature some top-notch suppliers: Hedone sourdough, La Fromagerie cheeses and fish from the dayboats at Looe. Don’t miss the chewy tarte Tatin, sweet as a toffee apple.
When: Mon-Sat 5.30-11pm
Where: 28 Rupert Street, W1D 6DJ
What: Cooked up by Rik Campbell and Will Bowlby, casual Kricket is a ‘modern memoir to time spent living and working in Mumbai’. The succinct small-plates menu changes daily, and Kricket’s game is a gentle one – the heavy pepper dusting on the signature Keralan-fried chicken is as fiery as it gets. With its fair pricing, cool vibe and bright, eager-to-please staff, Kricket is a Soho star – and you can book if you’re a table of four or more.
When: Mon-Sat 5.15-10.30pm
Where: 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
What: Offering an idiosyncratic taste of old Soho, this multileveled townhouse dates back to 1741 but officially became L’Escargot in 1927. Staying true to its namesake, diners can order six or 12 snails drenched in a garlic and parsley sauce, or opt for other French classics like coq au vin or confit duck. The menu has yielded to changing times with the odd plate of pak choi or dash of chilli but, like the homely open fire in the front dining room, it’s not concerned with the cutting edge.
When: Mon-Sat 5-11.30pm, Sun 12N-6pm
Where: 48 Greek Street, W1D 4EF
What: One of the best Soho restaurants to impress your friends is found on Rupert Street. Driven by the infectious joie de vivre of the chefs in the open kitchen, the menu serves the food of modern Jerusalem with influences from North Africa, southern Spain and the Levant. So, your dinner could consist of chicken with lentils, citrus and courgettes, or octopus with chickpea msabacha. Dessert options are as sweet are as the menu is savoury – think Iranian pistachios with hibiscus syrup among other options.
When: Mon-Sat 5.30-11pm, Sun 6-9pm
Where: 34 Rupert Street, W1D 6DN
Social Eating House
What: Informal, fun and serving great food, Jason Atherton’s regularly rammed Soho outpost is a noisy Michelin-starred hangout that mixes cool-dude vibes and moody lighting with cooking that bears all the chef and restaurateur’s culinary hallmarks. The seasonal menu shows a trademark commitment to native sourcing as well as a fondness for all things creative and cheffy, there’s a well-curated wine list and spot-on cocktails, while staff are hip, happy and on point.
When: Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-10.30pm
Where: 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR
What: Temper is dedicated to the art and craft of cooking meat: below the small, ground-floor taco bar lies an expansive room featuring a theatrical open kitchen with a wood-fired grill and clay oven – bag one of the counter stools for a ringside seat. The name refers to chef/owner Neil Rankin’s commitment to tempering his meats, whether it’s Essex beef, Yorkshire pork or Welsh lamb. Well-considered cocktails, Aussie wines and mezcal flights dominate the drinks list.
When: Mon 4-10.30pm, Tue-Wed 12-10.30pm, Thu-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-9pm
Where: 25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF
Vasco & Piero's Pavilion
What: A resident of Poland Street since 1989, this unassuming low-key Soho Italian still exudes the comforting vibe of a well-loved neighbourhood restaurant. The kitchen delivers a succession of delicately rendered Umbrian dishes from a menu that changes twice a day – perhaps handmade tagliatelle with a rich ragù or roast Tuscan sausages with black truffle butter and Pecorino. Prices are modest considering the location, an all-Italian wine list explores the regions, while service is superb.
When: Mon-Sat 5-10pm
Where: 15 Poland Street, W1F 8QE
What: This elegant Rupert Street spot offers a classy taste of Taiwan. Pronounced ‘Shu’, the restaurant serves more than the steamed bao buns that owner Erchen Chang introduced to London at Bao. Highlights include ‘numbing’ beef tendon set in a jellied terrine pooled with fiery chilli vinaigrette, a pungent whip of creamy crab meat with fermented shrimp, garlic and more hot chilli, and sensational onion rice. Finish off with a sensationally sweet ma lai cake.
When: Mon-Thurs 5-11pm, Fri-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-10pm
Where: 30 Rupert Street, W1D 6DL
What: Ultra-cool Yauatcha stakes its claim with smart, snappy decor and an inviting patisserie bar out front. The trademark blue-glass frontage gives way to a frenetic grey-toned room, while a glowing fish tank, candlelit tables and twinkling lights await diners who descend to the stunning brick-lined basement. Wherever you sit, expect ultra-professional service and a comprehensive menu of steamed-to-perfection dumplings and other luxe Chinese ideas.
When: Sun-Thurs 12-10pm, Fri-Sat 12-10.30pm
Where: 15-17 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL
More interested in drinking than eating? Check out our list of the best bars in Soho.