Out of all of the guides to Soho’s buzzing restaurant scene that you’re reading right now, this is – with only a shadow of a doubt – the very best one.
Reality Check #1 – These are just our opinions.
Reality Check #2 – Elvis is
Kindly peruse our top picks, and if you have any feelings on what should be added or removed to our list just let us know by tagging #TheNudgeLondon on social.
If you really want a taste of Old Soho, there comes a point where you just have to get yourself to a (former) strip club. Preferably, one which has been taken over by three ex-Hawksmoor employees who are now using the space to serve up a huge variety of delicious grilled meats. Read More.
Good for: Sunday Lunch, and Monday, and Tuesday…
Reservations? Until 6pm, or anytime for groups of 6+
2. THE PALOMAR
If you like food, and in particular, eating it, you should probably check out The Palomar, where they’re quite good at cooking. Enjoy Levantine dishes like grilled octopus steak with chickpea masabacha in a skylit, wood panelled room, or in the thick of the action at the counter. Read More.
Good for: Dinner with cooking theatrics.
Reservations? For the dining room and first sitting at the bar.
Roadside eateries. They’re pretty middle-of-the-road. Not so, however, in Thailand where highway-adjacent restaurants are actually somewhat amazing; and which have inspired Soho’s Kiln, the latest from the talented team behind Thai BBQ house Smoking Goat. You’ll find a sleek steel counter, behind which they’re cooking up dishes like roast suckling pig, and fattened lamb skewers with Szechuan peppers. Read More.
Good for: Casual dinner with sharer plates
Reservations? Yes, for 4+
4. SOCIAL EATING HOUSE
Jason Atherton’s intimate, leathery, industrial wanna-bistro has all your modern European cravings covered. And covering all that is the upstairs cocktail bar, The Blind Pig. Read More.
Good for: Seamless dinner, to drinks… to Lucky Voice.
Reservations? You bet.
Every night this tapas bar gets a standing ovation. Mainly because people are standing to eat and drink at the bar, but if they could also clap without it being super weird, they probably would. Dishes stray from the beaten tapas path, with top-shelf numbers like Sherry-braised pig cheeks, and rosemary ice cream with apricot crumble.
Good for: Relaxed tapas and drinks
If you like BBQ (which you do), and you like cocktails (which you also do), then you can’t really go wrong with Shotgun. Head there, and enjoy any of their eight pit-barbecued meats and cocktails from The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Read More.
Good for: Brunch. Lunch. Dinner. Repeat.
7. 10 GREEK STREET
Remember the days when restaurants were just in charge of making good food, instead of offering a niche concept like a tasting menu of vol au vents served by cats? Well, 10 Greek Street is just like that – unpretentious and quietly brilliant, serving up quality seasonal food. Read More.
Good for: Long lunches with an old friend
Reservations? Lunch only
Every day at around ten to noon, a queue begins forming at the corner of Lexington Street. A long one. And the people in it are all there in order to get a taste of light, fluffy, cloud-like bao buns with fillings like braised pork with powdered peanut, and soy-milk-marinated fried chicken. You should probably join them. Read More.
Good for: Eating too much for lunch
9. BOB BOB RICARD
Yes, there’s a button for champagne. But what’s more important is the buttons BBR will be pressing for you, which, incidentally, is all of them, thanks to its luxurious decor and Anglo-Russian dishes like melt in-the-mouth roast cod with beetroot-filled potato dumplings. Read More.
Good for: Out-and-out glamour.
Reservations? Almost exclusively. Best to book weeks ahead.
For a moment, the future of Barrafina Soho’s Michelin-starred tapas was hanging in the balance – but luckily Quo Vadis took them under their wing when they were faced with eviction from their Frith Street home, housing them on the ground floor of their new refurb. The queues are still there, but at least there’s different scenery for you to enjoy now. Read More.
Good for: Absolutely the best tapas in town
Reservations? Walk-in only.
11. LA BODEGA NEGRA
Check the address of this secretive Mexican restaurant very carefully, because thanks to its understated exterior (read: Soho peep show with garish neon lighting), get it wrong and you could end up with a bit of an eyeful. Get it right though, and you’ll end up with mouthfuls of soft shell crab burger and steak fajita instead. Read More.
Good for: Serious date points
Reservations? Necessary. Make sure you book for the downstairs restaurant.
From the same team behind Gymkhana and Bao, Sri Lankan roadside-style eatery Hoppers has the feel of a much smaller, family-run place. Their showpiece is the eponymous hollow pancake made with rice batter and coconut milk, accompanied by curried sides like black pork and red pumpkin. Trust us, ‘Sri-ly good. Read More.
Good for: Impressive lunch
This Peruvian joint offers small plates including the eponymous ceviches like salmon in Nikkei tiger’s milk, as well as grilled steak and braised octopus skewers, thanks to the traditional expertise of founder Martin Morales.
And the Morales of the story? You should go. Now. Read More.
Good for: Flavours that border on ruining all other food for you.
14. CASITA ANDINA
Of course, we can’t mention Ceviche without giving due credit to sister restaurant Casita Andina, a picanteria serving Peruvian comfort food with character – and it’s all gluten free to boot. Read More.
Good for: Mo Morales, mo problems choosing what to order.
15. BOCCA DI LUPO
Surely one of London’s most abused restaurants, because it’s had awards and accolades constantly hurled at it. And with good reason, since it’s one of the best spots to get solid, honest regional Italian cooking in London. Read More.
Good for: A home from home. That’s also Italian.
Reservations? Yes, and generally necessary.
Main image: The Palomar
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