The Best Pre-Theatre Restaurants in Covent Garden

Tuttons Covent Garden offers a two- or three-course pre-theatre menu
Tuttons Covent Garden offers a two- or three-course pre-theatre menu | © Mo Peerbacus / Alamy Stock Photo
Harriet Clugston

Covent Garden is awash with tourists enjoying the plaza’s street performers and musicians. Given its proximity to the West End’s many theatres, it’s hard to beat for a pre- or post-show dinner. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the area’s best theatre restaurants.

1. Joe Allen

Restaurant, British

Joe Allen
© Steve Joyce
Joe Allen was originally the unofficial canteen of the West End, packed each night after curtain down as the theatregoers, stage actors, film stars, celebrities and even royalty made a beeline for it. These days the crowd may have moved on, but the new owners have stayed loyal to the theatrical history, with bare-brick walls covered with classic theatre posters, photographs and art prints.

2. The Ivy Market Grill

Restaurant, British, European

The Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden
© Ashok Saxena / Alamy Stock Photo

This relaxed yet elegant all-day British brasserie on the cobbles of Covent Garden Piazza is the sister venue to nearby celebrity haunt, The Ivy. Although a step down from the luxury of its sibling, the food at The Ivy Market Garden is a solid crowd-pleaser, with several dishes inspired by Ivy staples (albeit more accessible versions).

3. Crusting Pipe

Restaurant, Wine Bar, British

You can’t get much more Covent Garden than the Crusting Pipe, the British restaurant that sits in the arches on the lower ground floor of the market. Arranged around a central courtyard (which hosts live operatic performances throughout the year), the Crusting Pipe offers traditional, hearty food, with a reasonably priced pre-theatre menu.

4. Clos Maggiore

Restaurant, French

Consistently lauded as the most romantic restaurant in London, Clos Maggiore serves French-inspired food in a beautiful setting, inspired by the country inns of Provence and Tuscany. The standout feature is the mesmerising conservatory – complete with a fully retractable roof and a striking stone fireplace in the centre – in which you can dine beneath cherry blossom trees adorned with twinkling fairy lights. The pre- and post-theatre menus offer two or three courses of delicious, Provençal cuisine.

5. Cafe Murano

Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, Italian

Cafe Murano is understated on the outside and all elegance inside, with a long marble dining bar and dark leather benches. The daily printed menu is dominated by Northern Italian dishes, with a focus on hearty, big-flavoured, slow-cooked classics, complemented by a 100 percent Italian wine list. While a meal here normally adds up quite quickly, the pre- and post-theatre menu is great value.

6. Tuttons Covent Garden

Brasserie, British

© ibeep Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Tuttons serves classic British food in a sophisticated brasserie overlooking the plaza, complete with an outdoor terrace, and is one of the longest-standing restaurants in central London. The elegant eatery has an old-fashioned, cosy interior, decorated with red leather banquettes and dark-wood panelling.

7. Hawksmoor Seven Dials

Bar, Restaurant, Butcher, British, Seafood

Courtesy of Hawksmoor Seven Dials

Hawksmoor is consistently rated as one of the best places for steak in London, and the Seven Dials site doesn’t disappoint. Lying in a former brewery, this branch offers an express pre-theatre menu, a bar menu that features burgers and sandwiches, as well as the full list of prime cuts and indulgent sides.

Heading to the theatre to see a musical or ballet? Book one of the best hotels in the heart of London’s theatre district now through Culture Trip and ensure you’re at the heart of the action.

Additional reporting by Cassam Looch.

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