West End restaurant guide: Where to eat before a show
London's West End district isn't just made up of theatres. Did you know that in London, there are over 18,000 restaurants? Yes, 18,000. You could go to a different restaurant nearly every day for the next 50 years and have nearly visited them all.
Obviously, with such a wide selection of London restaurants to choose from, it's a mammoth task to go through them all and pick the perfect place. Here's where we come in. We've listed a few of our favourite places to eat in the capital, with options catering to all price brackets and cuisines.
28 The Market Lower Ground Floor, WC2E 8RA
Never had a pie and mash in London? You're missing out. As soon as you take your first bite into these pies, you'll wish you could have them night after night. There's traditional fillings like chicken, or beef, and ale. But, will you dare tuck into the East End specialty of jellied eels? Don't worry, they're not like Sweeney Todd's worst pies in London...
20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Often, you'll find theatre fans visiting Brasserie Zedel for an intimate concert, led by their favourite West End star. But, have you seen the authentic French menu on offer? As well as your french onion soup for starters and your "steak et frites" for main, the quintessential European ambience will leave you feeling as if you're on the Champs Elysees.
21 Wardour Street, W1D 6PN
We couldn't do a roundup of the best places to eat in the West End without including Chinatown. There's over 100 authentic Chinese restaurants on these roads, but combining affordability and a vast menu, we'd recommend Cafe TPT. There's food you'd expect to see on any Chinese takeaway menu; however there's plenty of seafood and poultry dishes you'll only find in Chinatown. You may even find a new favourite meal at Cafe TPT.
28 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7JS
Fill your nostrils with the exotic spices and scents inside Cinnamon Bazaar, a modern Indian restaurant connecting empires gone by with communities today. Enjoy a chat and a chaat — a savoury snack — with friends and family, or soak up the restaurant's indulgent atmosphere, with theatrical style curtain swags decked out on the ceiling. Each dish is custom to Cinnamon Bazaar, packing a punch in both flavour and heat, so get ready to be transported to another world.
40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX
For those who can't control their gluttony, Circolo Popolaire is a diner's paradise. With pizzas measured by the metre and maybe too much spaghetti to twirl your fork at, get ready to stuff your stomach with food, XXL style. This sunny, Italian restaurant will have you feeling as if you're in Rome, rather than a rainy London. But, if you're really seeking that true Mediterranean vibe, take a seat on the terrace and eat refreshing scoops of gelato. Bellissimo!
28-32 St Martin's Court, WC2N 4AL
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside (in Covent Garden). Considered to serve the best seafood in London, the menu offers a smorgasbord of fish dishes, including scallops, tuna tartare or even a lobster thermidor. Or, why not sample the catch of the day with the restaurant's set menu, perfect for theatregoers wanting a bite to eat before the big show.
2 Burleigh Street, WC2E 7PX
One of Theatreland's stagiest restaurants, get ready for an acting amuse-bouche before seeing some live theatre. This American restaurant was first imported to our shores in the 1970s, but has quickly become a must-visit location. Its menu is a mix of Stateside grub and British goodness, with all meat sourced from UK and Irish farms. The restaurant is so big in the theatre community that they sponsor an award — the Joe Allen best West End debut award.
34 King Street, WC2E 8JD
This all-American diner is really the master of "go big or go home' other restaurants dream of. Whether you like your burgers so tall that you can't bite into it, or an oreo cookie sandwich that's oozing with ice cream, it's the ultimate restaurant for foodies that can never get enough. As well as the Stateside classics like ribs, fajitas and chicken wings, Maxwell's is renowned for its freakshakes, combining desserts and milkshakes in one. Curious? We definitely are.
42-44 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7NB
Just because the menu goes back to basics, it doesn't mean the restaurant quality is low quality. Said to be one of the leading steakhouses in the capital, this Soho haunt specialises in cooking British beef to world-class standards. For casual diners, there's pork belly and rack of ribs from the smoker. But, if you want to get your meat sweats on, treat yourself to a chef's cut of ribeye or porterhouse.
1a Henrietta Street, WC2E 8PS
Across the country, diners tend to visit a "The Ivy" restaurant to celebrate a special occasion. Located in the centre of Covent Garden, the restaurant's all-encompassing menu means that even the fussiest eaters will find something to tickle their tastebuds. The restaurant's name is theatrically inspired too, thanks to the French actress Alice Delysia who said "Don't worry, we will always come to see you, we will cling together like the ivy" when founder Mario Gallati spoke of creating a restaurant.
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