Covent Garden is awash with tourists enjoying the plaza’s street performers and musicians. Given its close proximity to the West End’s many theatres, it’s hard to beat for a pre- or post-show dinner. Here’s our guide to the area’s best restaurants.
The Ivy Market Garden
This relaxed yet elegant all-day British brasserie on the cobbles of Covent Garden plaza is the sister venue to nearby celebrity haunt, The Ivy. Although an obvious step down from the luxury of its sibling, the food at Ivy Market Garden is a solid crowd-pleaser, with several dishes inspired by Ivy staples (albeit more accessible versions).
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, in which you can dine beneath cherry blossom trees adorned with twinkling fairy lights, a striking stone fireplace in the centre. The pre- and post-theatre menu offers two courses of delicious, Mediterranean cuisine.
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.
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.
Hawksmoor’s steak and seafood restaurants serve some of the city’s best cuts of meat. The express menu lets you feast on such Hawksmoor staples as bone marrow with onions, delicious rump steak (courtesy of The Ginger Pig butcher), and beef dripping fries, all washed down with fantastic cocktails and a wide selection of wines.
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Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, 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 peasant 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 a great value.