Whether you’re a tourist who’s trying to see as much of London as possible or a busy worker who’s only got an hour for lunch, Covent Garden is full of paces to grab something that’s fast, filling and tasty. Avoid pre-packaged food from chain cafes and enjoy something fresh from our picks of the best lunch spots in the area.
Deli, Restaurant, Healthy, $$$
Farmstand is all about healthy and sustainable food, that means everything is sourced from UK suppliers and the food is dairy, gluten and added sugar-free. Whether you follow a healthy diet or not, the food at Farmstand also tastes great and makes for a perfect workday lunch. You can build your own salad from protein choices like salmon with miso, harissa chicken or red lentil coconut dhal and add two sides from the colourful veggie selection. If you’re not in a hurry to get back to our desk they have spaces to sit in too.
With its rows of salads, selection of homemade hot dishes, like chicken pie, cheese tarts, chilli con carne and cakes, it’s no wonder that Kastner & Ovens is a popular place for lunch. It’s a tiny shop so it’s takeaway only but you do get a box filled with goodies for around £5. Don’t leave it too late though as the food disappears quickly.
At first glance The Black Penny looks like your standard café, but don’t be fooled as the food is of a very high standard. Not only are the counter salads vibrant and flavoursome (which you can get to eat-in or takeaway), the hashes like crispy confit duck, sweet potato and spinach topped with a poached egg, are particularly good. Don’t skip the coffee either, even if you have to grab one on the way out.
Bored of salads and sandwiches for lunch? Spice things up with a trip to Jamaica Patty Co. You can pick up proper Jamaican patties baked fresh in-store, curried goat and jerk chicken if you fancy something a little more substantial and Tortuga Rum Cake imported from Montego Bay. Be sure to pick up a juice too, as Jamaica Patty Co. is one of only a few places in the country to sell fresh soursop juice.
As a place that specialises in porridge, 26 Grains is best known for its breakfast offering. However if you miss the morning rush, this cute Neal’s Yard café serves savoury bowls, like savoury oats with kale, egg and avocado, hot smoked salmon with broccoli and black rice and yellow dahl with garlic yoghurt and spelt flat bread, which are ideal for lunch. Not only is it very good for you, but the portions are generous too.
If you can’t make it into New York-French brasserie Balthazar for lunch, just pop next door to their standalone boulangerie. It’s full of cakes, pastries, artisan breads (all made in-house), salads, sandwiches and tarts with classic French fillings. Not only can you get everything to take away, you can also have it all boxed up and delivered right to your office.
David Abrahamovitch has established quite the empire with Grind (there are ten branches in London so far). Just like the others, Covent Garden Grind brews up a mean coffee but their food offering is strong too. They have a salad and sandwich available from midday as well as small plates like burrata with beetroot and pork belly with charred onion, if you want something a little different.
As well as having locations across London, brasserie, patisserie and boulangerie Aubaine has a deli in the heart of Covent Garden Market. With seating on the cobbles outside, it’s a great spot to enjoy Provencal flavours, whether that be in a sandwich made with their own bread or a sharing board al fresco.