Soho is where you'll probably find the most concentrated area of restaurants and bars in London. There's a LOT of competition here, and you'll really need to have a semblance of a plan before heading here (although there are plenty of walk-in spots if you're willing to wait). We've picked some of the choice spots in the area...
Former Head Chef of critics' fave The Wapping Project, Cameron Emirali, teamed up with Luke Wilson for this restaurant in Soho which has become a perennial Soho favourite. Expect a daily-changing menu that will concentrate on seasonality and fresh ingredients. And on top of that, a particularly good wine list too.
Often cited as one of the most romantic restaurants in London, this Soho stalwart is also a great old-fashioned bistro with a decent wine list. If you're looking for somewhere to be flatteringly lit by candlelight - this is the spot.
Mikael Jonsson wowed many with his first restaurant, Hedone, but being all the way out west in Chiswick and being rather spendy it was never going to be everyone's cup of tea. Jonsson is one of the partners in this wine bar in the middle of Soho which means whatever you drink, you must also order some bread to go with it.
One of the most successful example of street food vendors going permanent, this is one of the toughest places to grab a seat at in Soho. But when you do, the steamed milk buns that are at the heart of the menu make it all worthwhile.
The original Barrafina moved from its Frith Street location to take up pride of place beside (and quite a chunk out of) Quo Vadis. This is the Spanish tapas brand's main location in Soho and features some of the best Spanish food in London, as well as great counter action. It's no-reservations, just like all the other Barrafinas, but there's also plenty of space around the side to grab a drink and snack.
If you love nothing more than getting stuck into a kebab then prepare to have your horizons widened by Berenjak, which focuses on recreating proper Persian-style kebabs, stews, sides, with a Soho twist. It all comes from JKS, the same people who've had successes with Hoppers, Trishna, Bao, Brigadiers and more.
Blacklock's main speciality is chops - beef, pork and lamb and all at pretty good value. You'll want to go all-in with the chops dripping onto flatbread, but keep an eye out for some great meats on the specials board. With most cocktails costing just £5 a good time is guaranteed.
Blanchette is from three brothers Maxime, Yannis and Malik Alary who have opened this "French bistro serving simple, classic and inventive French food". Similar to Salt Yard, it's primarily based around sharing "French tapas" plates. Look out for its sister restaurant in Shoreditch too.
Bob Bob Ricard remains one of our personal faves in town. Whether it's the fantastically blingy design, the rich food with just a hint of Russian in there, the "press for champagne" button or... No, hang on, it's definitely the Press For Champagne button...
Jacob Kenedy's Soho Italian wins universal praise for its cuisine, a well-chosen wine list and for one of the most beautiful counters in town - a top counter dining spot.
Breddos is seen as many as being king of the London taco scene. This is double the size of the original restaurant, with a breakfast menu, a downstairs bar and lots more new dishes.
Asma Khan's Kingly Court restaurant has been a huge hit from the word go, but it's much more than just that - Khan's all-female team are an inspiration to others. With a Netflix Chef's Table documentary on Asma due out, expect interest in her Soho restaurant to go through the roof.
This restaurant comes from the people behind Salt Yard and takes its inspiration from the rural Basque and Italian methods of smoking and grilling over charcoal. The menu is almost entirely cooked on a custom built charcoal fired grill.
Alexis Gauthier brings his own take on French cuisine in the marvellous setting of this Georgian townhouse. Having gone vegan, much of the menu here is plant-focused, with the aim to bring the entire menu over to vegan in the coming years.
Mark Hix's restaurant in the heart of Soho is perennially popular with the media crowd. Besides the ground-floor restaurant there's also one of the best basement bars in Soho.
Coming from the Sethi siblings, best known for Gymkhana but also behind Bao, Lyle's and more, this is inspired by roadside shacks (boutiques) of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. These shacks focus on hoppers and dosas which is with Hoppers. It's a popular no-reservations spot, so be prepared for a wait at peak times - but it's worth it and very affordable.
This restaurant is from the founder of the Smoking Goat, still focusing on Thai food but going for simplicity. Expect a short grill menu and a daily noodle dish and a regularly changing wine list by Zeren Wilson. It's primarily counter dining too and the very devil to get a seat at due to its popularity.
Koya Soho may only seats 25 people but it has a huge reputation that belies its size. Expect some of the best Japanese udon noodles in town here - and there's a great breakfast if you're after a top way to start the day.
After beginning life in a shipping container as one of the first restaurants in Pop Brixton, Kricket has come far. Inspired by Indian cuisine, they offer an ever-changing menu of Indian small plates. And they feature what may be one of our favourite snacks in town, the samphire pakora dish.
This classic French institution has been in Soho for more than 100 years, serving up classic French cuisine. And, as you can imagine from the name, it serves the very best snails in London. A wonderful institution that still has great life in it.
The original Lina Stores deli was open for 75 years in Soho, giving them plenty of time to get things right before opening this, their first restaurant. Counter dining on the ground floor allows you to see all the action - and the pasta, as you'd expect, is great.
Ex Arbutus and Wild Honey chef Andrea Mantovani's North Italian restaurant was a bit of a sleeper hit at first until word got out about how great the food was Descend to the basement restaurant for dishes like pappardelle with slow-cooked hare or hand-chopped raw veal with Parmesan as well as a 10 seater bar specialising in Vermouth.
This was Yotam Ottolenghi's first full-blown London restaurant, following in the footsteps of his still-crazily popular delis. Expect plenty of sharing dishes - there's also two communal dining/chef's tables in the basement.
Pastaio is Italian for someone who makes pasta by hand - something you'll see plenty of in this venture by Stevie Parle (Dock Kitchen, Rotorino, Palatino, Craft) in Soho. Fast, casual and good value - particularly for this area - the pasta is super and the Prosecco slushies a must.
Milanese baker Rocco Princi's empire is all about the bread - so the focaccia pizza slices are always a good bet as are the pastries here.
Quo Vadis has Jeremy Lee in the kitchen and he's been cooking up a wonderfully British menu. Alas, the restaurant isn't quite what it used to be - with over two-thirds of the space given up to Barrafina. But the food is still great and if you're a member, there's an excellent upstairs restaurant too.
Victor Garvey's Soho spot features a very Spanish menu focusing on Catalan cuisine. The space itself is all light and sunshine, making you feel about a million miles away from Dean Street when you dine here.
Randall and Aubin is a Soho institution, having been here for over 20 years. And there's a reason for it - eating here is a lot of fun. There's a big emphasis on sustainability, on French and British seafood classics - as well as some great rotisserie chicken.
This restaurant is from Jason Atherton and, to date, his only one in Soho. Expect a very British menu, with plenty of starters in jars too. As with all of Atherton's places, the bar is just as important - so make time to head upstairs for a cocktail or three.
Russell Norman's Polpo was a hit the minute it opened its doors. This smaller successor is billed as 'a sort-of speakeasy with food; like a machine-age downtown NYC Italian diner' and seats just 30 people. It's a particularly good spot to hit up for late night dining.
This is the first of Neil Rankin's Temper restaurants, taking over a huge basement spot in Soho. The room is dominated by a central kitchen where all the smoking happens. From that you can expect tacos, meat piled onto freshly baked flatbread and a lot of mezcal.
The French House is mainly known as a classic Soho pub - but it also has a dining room upstairs. It's a small affair - it almost feels like a private dining room - but it's hosted some great names. Currently, it's home to ex-Merchants Tavern chef Neil Borthwick who's cooking up French classics.
Hands down one of the best counter dining experience in town, albeit not the quietest one. Expect a Jerusalem-style menu here, with additional influences from Southern Spain and Italy, North Africa through to the Levant. You can grab a table at the back - but try for the full-on counter experience if you can.
The duo behind Bun House and Pleasant Lady have turned their original site into a bar and restaurant inspired by the late-night scene of 1960s Hong Kong.
People may complain about the sharp table-turning at this subterranean Chinese restaurant - Alan Yau's follow-up to Hakkkasan, but you'll never hear a bad word about the dim sum. If it's something sweet you're after, head for the street-level patisserie and tea shop.
This meat restaurant in Soho is from the same people as Burger & Lobster and Goodman. It's pitched at half way between the two with a strong focus on meat and steak - but with cuts that help to bring the prices to below Goodman levels. Expect new cuts of meat to appear regularly.
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