Thanks to the success of hits such as “Hamilton” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” among others, London theaters have finished with the best year ever with attendance topping more than 15 million. Consequently, as the shows have gotten hotter, so has the food scene. Here are some top eats, sorted by type of cuisine, in and around London’s West End.
British: Tredwells, is a farm-to-table-style casual restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing. The menu offers a varied selection of local meats and seafood, but the veggies are the star of the show here, with a variety of vegan options for mains, starters and desserts. Recently, we enjoyed a standout roasted carrot with aquafaba (chickpea foam) that was equally matched by a spectacular peanuts mousse for dessert. For steaks, the top spot is Hawksmoor, where you choose cuts of British grass-fed beef, accompanied by classic sides — all followed by London’s best sticky toffee pudding.
French: The London outpost of Frenchie, by Gregory Marchand, whose Paris editions are booked up months in advance, is more accessible and equally delicious. For more of a bistro feel, there’s a Balthazar off Covent Garden, just as good as the New York original.
Iconic: Revitalized, century-old The Ivy with its renowned Art Deco bar serves English classics such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, or duck confit, as well as London’s best Baked Alaska. They’ve also opened an Ivy Cafe right on Covent Garden. The Ivy offers packages, which include set meals and theater tickets.
Indian: Bold, flavorful dishes at Dishoom (“From Bombay With Love”) near Seven Dials include crispy samosas, spicy tikka and its signature black daal. Advance bookings can only be made for parties of six or more, which can mean a potential wait of up to an hour (well worth it). Alternatively, Tandoor Chop House serves up yummy breads, meats and veggies all done in the tandoor oven.
Italian: Bocca di Lupo makes its own authentic Italian breads, sausages, salami, pickles, pasta and gelato. The setting is rustic and the food is as good as you get in Italy. If you just want dessert, check out Gelupo across the street for inventive gelato and hot chocolate.
Quirky: The tasty pre-theater plates at Jar Kitchen, a 50-seat independent cafe, are created by rising culinary star Ashley Finch, who began his career at the two- and three-Michelin star restaurants in The Berkeley and The Dorchester hotels. The two-course menu is a bargain at £16 (about $23).
Spanish: Serving a modern take on traditional Basque dishes in the five-star One Aldwych Hotel is Eneko, the first London outpost for chef Eneko Axta, whose three-Michelin star restaurant, Azurmendi, is one of the World’s Top 50 Restaurants. Booking ahead is advised. For tapas as good as you’ll find in Madrid or Barcelona, head to Barrafina on Adelaide Street, Dean Street or Drury Lane. Be prompt for the 5:30 opening or expect to wait an hour at the long bars watching the chefs prepare potato tortillas, chorizo and various seafood. They don’t take reservations, but it’s worth the wait.
Sushi: A favorite newcomer to Covent Garden is Copenhagen import Sticks-n-Sushi, with inventive rolls and cooked dishes (the cauliflower appetizer is not to be missed). They also do sushi platters for sharing. Reservations are advised.