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, one of the most impressive wine lists in town too.
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.
Blacklock's main speciality is chops - beef, pork and lamb and all at pretty good value too. 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 too. And knock back lots of cocktails for a fiver.
Blanchette is from three brothers Maxime, Yannis and Malik Alary who are launching a "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 for the Champagne button...
This has been set up by Alan Yau, opening right next door to his old restaurant Yauatcha. He's reinvented the space as a Chinese gastropub - so there's a more pubby environment downstairs with a Chinese restaurant upstairs. Expect a big focus on the duck, of course.
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.
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 too.
One of London's oldest restaurants, the Ivy has recently undergone a big revamp and has re-built almost the entire restaurant. Chief among the changes is a new central bar area with plenty of counter dining spaces added. There are new paintings too - but expect some old favourites to appear too. The menu has a mix of classic Ivy dishes like the Shepherd's Pie and more contemporary fare.
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.
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.
This is the sister restaurant to the original Koya, which has sadly closed down. But Koya Bar is still going strong - even if it only seats 25 people. Expect some of the best Japanese udon noodles in town here - and there's a great breakfast too.
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.
Quite possibly 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.
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 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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