Covent Garden & Holborn Restaurant Guide | The Best Places To Eat, Full Stop
Think Covent Garden’s & Holborn’s restaurants are solely there to cater to tourists? Then the only thing you’ll be eating are your words. Here are the places you absolutely can’t miss:
Hawksmoor Seven Dials
Perhaps no restaurant has so rapidly become enwoven into the fabric of the London restaurant scene as The Hawksmoor, who’s flagship sits underground on a Covent Garden side street. You’ll find juicy steaks (Yorkshire Longhorn, sold by weight from the blackboard), classic cocktails (each one has a small biography printed in the menu), excellent sides (the chips are triple cooked, or course), and gorgeous interiors (it’s like stepping into the very finest restaurant the ’30s could provide).
Frenchie is one of the best restaurants in Paris. So it makes sense that this second branch, over in Covent Garden, isn’t too shabby either. Like its Parisian counterpart, the space itself is pretty damn gorgeous, with elegant parquet flooring, bright white walls, and exposed steel beams keeping both of its two floors where they should be. And also like it’s Parisian counterpart, the menu is thankfully much the same – although all the ingredients all come from the UK this time around (except the cheese… which in the Parisian restaurant is all British).
Following up one of the best reviewed restaurants in London (The Palomar) is tough. But The Barbary makes it look easy. You’ll find it tucked away in Neal’s Yard, with all the dining all taking place along the weathered zinc bar that wraps around the open kitchen, which itself is serving up Barbary-inspired (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya) goodness like grilled duck hearts, and huge Galician sirloin steaks.
Noble Rot is a wine magazine. And knowing a fair amount about wine, the people behind the operation decided to open a wine bar. And knowing that people like to eat stuff too, they teamed up with a couple of chefs from The Sportsman (a Michelin Starred gastropub) and St. John. And the result is a cosy, almost-perfect wine bar & restaurant.
Chick N Sours
Housed just off Seven Dials, CnS’s serves Chick (that is, fried chicken, including buttermilk-brined thigh sandwiches, and their Whole Fry Sunday which see them dip an entire crispy-coated bird into the oil), and Sours (that is, sour cocktails, including an all-new number which involves blackberries, lavender, lime, and black pepper vinegar).
Parked on the border between Covent Garden & Soho, this dive-bar-esque Thai restaurant does not serve your standard Pad Thai’s. No siree. It serves wood grilled feasts of slow roasted duck or smoked lamb ribs, cutlery-free “Whole Cornish Chilli Crab” experiences, house-label beers, and daily changing cocktails.
Set inside the airy HQ of what used to be one of London’s leading stained glass manufacturers, Lima The Sequel’s serving up ambitious, colourful dishes largely made up of mysterious Andean ingredients which – unless you’re familiar with cherimoya and maiz morado – you’ve probably never heard of.
You might know Rules as the self-proclaimed oldest restaurant in London. Established by Thomas Rule in 1798, it serves hyper-modern Asian fusion cuisine traditional British food. We’re joking, but it hasn’t made it this far by refusing to yield to new ideas, and although the menu involves classic game pies, puddings, and roasts, they’re throwing in new & inventive ingredients like pomegranates, dandelion, and and there is an all-new cocktail bar
Flesh & Buns
Despite sounding like a strip club, F&B is actually an Izakaya style bar/restaurant where you’ll find a simple, no frills interior with a long table eating up the central space, and a menu boasting fluffy-as-cloud bao buns self-filled with crispy piglet belly, sirloin steak, salmon teriyaki, duck leg, and more.
Hopefully, Barrafina’s extraordinary reputation precedes it. If not, allow us to give you a very brief rejoinder: Imagine walking into a scleral-white, cozy eatery packed with stainless steel, marble and mirrors, and sitting down at an open kitchen bar where London’s most prestigious Spanish Tapas chef and her team are plating up a colourful mixture of contemporary and traditional Mallorcan and Catalan tapas dishes.
For the sake of completeness, no list of great Covent Garden restaurants would be complete without a few casual spots to round it out, so we present Homeslice. Serving huge 20″ pizza by the slice or the whole disc, they cover them in inventive toppings like bone marrow & spring onion, or strong fennel salami. Then wash it down with wine from the tap, or their house beer.
On the Bab
Korean food is hot right now. Party because of the hype surrounding it, and party because they cover a lot of it in chilli. At On The Bab, you’ll find all the expertly prepped classics, including Korean fried chicken (with sauces like special soy, sweet spicy, and spring onion), bulgogi beef (thin sliced and marinaded), and bibimbap (a mixed rice hotpot). Plus, a Korean burrito. Because why not.
Tucked discreetly away from the madness of Leicester Square down a little side-street by the Wyndham Theatre, Sheekey’s decor is elegant and unfussy, leaving the spotlight to shine on the excellently sourced and prepared seafood, from melt-in-the-mouth stone bass with prosciutto, to razor clams served in their long shell, to the oysters they’ve been famed for since they opened in 1890.