The Best Restaurants In Soho
BEST FOR AN INTIMATE EXPERIENCE:
The Blue Posts dates to 1739 and combines three floors of drinking and dining. Opened by the siblings behind The Palomar, The Barbary and Jacob the Angel, the space we love the most is Michelin-starred Evelyn’s Table, an intimate 12-seater kitchen bar serving seasonal dishes passed straight from the range to guests across a marble counter. Head chef James Goodyear’s menu takes inspiration from Britain, Japan and Scandinavia – think black bream, grilled bone soy and kombu.
BEST FOR FUSION DISHES:
Angelo Sato is taking his excellent Soho restaurant Humble Chicken to new levels this year, launching a Japanese-led, eight-course tasting menu with European flair. The menu is inspired by Sato’s East Asian roots, as well as his time spent working in some of the greatest European kitchens. Priced at £95pp, the dinner menu is available every Wednesday to Saturday. Highlights include mussels with citrus kosho ponzu and nanbanzuke winter vegetables; and wasanbon ice-cream, almond brittle and shaved miso-cured foie.
BEST FOR OENOPHILES:
Noble Rot Soho took over the former site of The Gay Hussar for its second restaurant. Launched by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, the duo behind Noble Rot magazine and Keeling Andrew & Co wine importers, the menu is overseen by head chef Alex Jackson (ex-owner and head chef of the much-loved Sardine) and executive chef Stephen Harris of The Sportsman in Kent. Dishes might include clams and white wine or semolina cake and calvados ice-cream.
BEST FOR AUTHENTIC THAI FOOD:
Kiln serves some of the most uncompromisingly spicy, authentic Thai food in central London. All cooked on hot coals beneath tao pots and grills, it's the type of food you genuinely couldn’t make at home. A seat near the open kitchen is the place to be, as you watch the chefs create the likes of pounded hake with Cornish radish; sour curry of mussels with winter squash; and the must-order clay pot-baked glass noodles with Tamworth belly and brown crab meat.
BEST FOR TAIWANESE DISHES:
With locations in Soho, Fitzrovia, Borough Market, Shoreditch and King’s Cross, Taiwanese steamed bun experts Bao make the best in the capital. There’s often a queue outside, so be prepared to wait, but once you’re in, expect signature buns stuffed with the likes of tender pork belly with peanut powder and pickled lettuce; soy milk marinated fried chicken with kimchi and Sichuan mayo; and lamb shoulder with coriander sauce, garlic mayo and soy pickled chili. Save room for something sweet – there’s a fried Horlicks ice cream bao on the menu that deserves a go.
BEST FOR VALUE:
Established French favourite Brasserie Zédel offers traditional Gallic dishes in beautiful art-deco surroundings (it’s been described by Pierre Koffman as “the only real brasserie in London”). We like the surprisingly affordable set menu, which allows diners to tuck into a carrot salad, followed by steak haché with French fries and pepper sauce for just £15.75. Away from cassoulet and escargot, there are cracking cocktails to be had in Bar Américain, and live music in cabaret bar Crazy Coqs.
BEST FOR SRI LANKAN:
Another award-winning South Asian eatery (this one is the proud owner of a Bib Gourmand) from the Sethi family who also run Trishna and Gymkhana, Hoppers is one of the very best exclusively Sri Lankan restaurants in the city –what’s more, it’s very reasonably priced. Aptly named after one of Sri Lanka’s popular dishes, egg-topped pancakes, Hoppers offers a drool-inducing menu that’s brimming with flavour. The restaurant – a small room with a sexy Soho take on all things Sri Lankan – is always buzzing, and the fiery flavours are guaranteed to get the taste buds tingling.
BEST FOR MODERN ITALIAN:
Much-loved Soho pasta joint Lina Stores now has sites in King’s Cross, Marylebone and the City. But we still love its first restaurant on Greek Street, which sports the same signature green and white stripes of the original deli (round the corner on Brewer Street) and is stocked with the very best Italian pantry essentials to eat in or take away. Diners can enjoy the theatre of the open kitchen while they wait for dishes such as black truffle tagliolini and pappardelle with beef shin ragu and horseradish gremolata.
BEST FOR OLD-SCHOOL GLAMOUR:
Quo Vadis, a members club on Dean Street, is housed in a fun, beautiful three-storey townhouse where its small, stained glass-lit restaurant is open to non-members. The kitchen is headed up by Jeremy Lee – one of the capital’s most charismatic chefs – and serves a rotating selection of seasonal British dishes such as bream with crab broth alongside a pie of the day and Jeremy’s famous smoked eel sandwich. Emerging from a refurb in mid-Feb, the ground-floor restaurant will have 40 seats instead of 20 and will sport a red colour palette.
BEST FOR UDON:
Since co-founders John Devitt, Shuko Oda and Junya Yamasaki launched Koya on Frith Street in 2010, it has become renowned for its handmade udon and dashi. It’s still the only restaurant in London to make its own udon. The menu has evolved over time, but many staples have remained, alongside its blackboard of innovative specials that push the boundaries of Japanese cuisine, such as Asian kedgeree and an English breakfast udon, featuring noodles, egg, bacon and shiitaki.
BEST FOR CLASSIC DISHES:
The French House
This legendary institution has been serving locals and those in the know for over 100 years. Customers might be territorial over the best seats in the house, but you can secure a spot by booking a table at the restaurant upstairs, which is headed up by chef Neil Borthwick (Angela Hartnett’s husband). Menu highlights include chicken liver parfait with pickled onions and sourdough; skate with brown butter and capers; and dark chocolate mousse. We love the no-phones policy.
BEST FOR LATIN AMERICAN FUN:
In a former concert hall on Great Marlborough Street, Sucre draws on Latin American and European influences to create dishes with seasonal ingredients cooked over open fires: think think stone seabass tostada with lime, sesame and avocado; saffron risotto with veal ossobuco; chicken a la brasa and aji amarillo; and bitter chocolate cremeux with Maldon salt, cardamom and mole sauce. Post-meal, guests can head downstairs to Alma for experimental cocktails and excellent disco, soul and funk records.
BEST FOR A FUN ATMOSPHERE:
This lively Middle Eastern restaurant has a 16-seat zinc kitchen bar where you can sit and watch the chefs at work. A mosaic marble floor leads to a 40-cover dining room at the back, with dark oak panelling and royal blue leather banquette seating. There’s a selection of small plates to choose from, including homemade pittas, green olive labneh, bulgur wheat with pomegranate and goat’s cheese, Persian lemon chicken with spicy chickpeas, and slow-cooked cabbage with artichokes and tahini. The baharat crumble with Jerusalem artichoke foam and cocoa powder is not to be missed.
BEST FOR CHINESE-STYLE COCKTAILS:
Wun's Tea Room & Bar
Z He and Alex Peffly, the husband-and-wife team behind Bun House and the Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall, opened Wun’s Tea Room & Bar a few years ago. Here, you can sample nostalgic Cantonese dishes from Z’s childhood such as salt and pepper cuttlefish with sesame and chilli, crispy duck leg with jasmine-vinegar syrup, and fried chicken kung pao butter. There’s also an excellent choice of Chinese-inspired cocktails and refreshing iced teas – we like the melon oolong blend.
BEST FOR A TRATTORIA VIBE:
Bocca Di Lupo
Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo opened Bocca di Lupo in 2008 and the restaurant has since received countless awards and accolades for its stripped-down, honest regional Italian cuisine. Despite the slick Soho surroundings, it’s a family business that feels like a traditional trattoria. Almost everything is homemade, from the breads, sausages, salame, pickles and mostarda down to the pasta – the artichoke and ricotta ravioli is an SL favourite. Be sure to arrive with plenty of time to try a couple of wines – and save space for dessert and coffee.
BEST FOR GREAT VEGGIE DISHES:
Bubala opened a second London site on Soho’s Poland Street last summer. The restaurant seats 50, including eight on a counter with views of the open kitchen and yakitori grill, and serves much-loved classics from Bubala Spitalfields, such as confit potato latkes with toum and aleppo chilli, as well as new creations including baba ganoush with curry leaf oil and pine nuts, and Chinese cabbage skewers with preserved lime and maple – plus some of the nicest hummus we’ve tried in London.
BEST FOR STYLISH KABABS:
Berenjak is named for the handfuls of crunchy toasted rice eaten as a snack at funfairs in Iran. It takes its inspiration from classic hole-in-the-wall kabab houses that line the streets of Tehran, as well as from founder and chef Kian Samyani’s childhood spent gathering around the dining table with his Iranian family. Part of the same family as Bao, Gymkhana and Lyle's, you know what to expect – a bold take on traditional world dishes, served in stylish surroundings. Make sure to order the bademjoon (blackened aubergine with whey, walnuts and dried mint) and the jujeh chicken kabab.
BEST FOR A FUN BRUNCH:
Sri Lankan hotspot Kolamba serves up the likes of hoppers, hot butter cuttlefish and prawn fry, alongside excellent veggie curries, such as beetroot, toasted pumpkin or breadfruit. The team also serves a great weekend brunch menu alongside its more traditional lunch and dinner offerings: think egg hopper with perfectly seasoned kithul-glazed bacon; a pol sambol toastie with date and lime chutney; and Kolamba granola with fresh shavings of coconut.
BEST FOR HEAT & SPICE:
Speedboat Bar is the second Thai restaurant from critically acclaimed chef Luke Farrell and JKS Restaurants. The fun bar aims to bring a taste of the Thai-Chinese restaurants on Bangkok’s neon-lit Yaowarat Road to London: think wok-flamed cooking of sticky meat braises, drunken noodles, fermented vegetables and zingy seafood salads hit with acid and chilli. There’s lots of heat and spice, so make sure to wash it all down with a refreshing whisky soda.
BEST FOR CREATIVE COCKTAILS:
Gabriel Pryce and Missy Flynn launched their long-awaited follow-up to the much-loved East London restaurant Rita’s ten years after the original pop-up in Dalston. The menu is heavily inspired by nostalgic, personal experiences, as well as the pair’s travels across the Americas. Highlights include jalapeno popper gildas; the pair’s signature hot bean devilled eggs; buckwheat waffle with trout roe and bottarga; buttered shrimp and grits and puddings such as coconut rice pudding with clementine jam and pistachio.
BEST FOR ULTRA FINE-DINING:
For those who enjoy interacting with the kitchen team, you’ll get no better chance than at Aulis. Every diner at this tiny eight-seater Simon Rogan restaurant sits up at the counter in front of the kitchen. The main man’s trusted team offers an experimental foodie experience like no other, with sample dishes including crispy chicken skin with Cornish crab, horseradish cream; BBQ miso-glazed maitake mushroom; and Tunworth cheese ice-cream with truffle honey and hazelnut. Pricier than some options on this list, this is an experience to be savoured by a small party of fine diners.
BEST FOR A SUNDAY ROAST:
Blacklock is in the basement of an old brothel on a side street in the centre of Soho. With a week-round focus on quality meat (mostly cooked over fire), Sunday sees the restaurant come into its own. We recommend kicking things off with a ‘Breakfast Martini’ and the pig’s head on toast (don’t be squeamish – it’s delicious). Grab a group and go all in: for £20pp you’ll get a whole Cornish leg of lamb, 55-day aged beef rump and Middlewhite pork loin, with all the trimmings (plus bone marrow gravy) for the whole table.
BEST FOR TAPAS:
Barrafina’s Barcelona-style tapas joints – arguably the best in London – serve everything from tortillas, croquetas and jamón to deep-fried lamb brain. Pull up a seat at one of the no-bookings counters for delicious, fuss-free dining – and make sure to order a sherry over ice for company during the queue.
BEST FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL:
Launched in 1985, Andrew Edmunds is one of the last bastions of 'old Soho', made all the more poignant following Edmunds’ death last year. Set in an 18th-century townhouse, a relaxed atmosphere, seasonal menu and reasonably priced wine list have ensured the site’s enduring popularity. Loved for its traditional, hearty fare, dishes here could include anything from Scottish langoustines with marie rose sauce to brill, chips and aioli.
BEST FOR A LATE SUPPER:
Bob Bob Ricard
With its red and gold gilded interiors, Bob Bob Ricard really sets the scene for an atmospheric late-night bite to eat. With an ‘elegant’ dress code, the restaurant serves British and Russian classics with a modern touch – think anything from lobster mac ’n’ cheese to elevated beef wellington. For an extra dash of extravagance, order bubbles via the restaurant’s famous ‘Press For Champagne’ button on every table.
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