Where To Eat Before Or After The Theatre guide image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

LDNGuide

Where To Eat Before Or After The Theatre

The best restaurants when an Angus Steakhouse just won't do.

Sometimes going to the theatre is good. Sometimes it’s not so good. Sometimes it’s an endurance test that ends when you shout ‘WHY WON’T HE JUST MELT’ at a levitating snowman as children sob around you. Thanks dad. Whatever it is, you’re always concerned about the food situation. Will you eat before? What about a set menu? Is there anywhere open after? This guide covers everything you need pre and post theatre.


Soho To Trafalgar Square

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8.4

Bocca Di Lupo

££££

12 Archer St, Soho
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If the prospect of two and a half hours of Les Mis is making you feel, well, miserable, fill up at Soho's Bocca Di Lupo beforehand. It’s one of London’s best Italian restaurants, and their pre or post theatre menu means that you can get a starter, pasta, and a main for just £15. You can throw in a tenner for dessert and a glass of wine as well. And, with any luck, you’ll nod off during the Paris Uprising.


The George is a decadent take on a pub in the middle of Fitzrovia. The upstairs dining room is a hideout for anyone looking for classy versions of scampi, steak, sausages and mash, and the like. The downstairs pub has a similar but paired-down menu of properly done classics: a ploughman’s, fish and chips, and a gooey black pudding scotch egg.


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Despite a late lunch and your extremely surreptitious crisp-eating-via-jacket-pocket throughout loud musical numbers, you’ve still left the theatre hungry. Finish your evening in style by heading to J. Sheekey in Covent Garden. You can get their classic fish pie with a glass of wine for under £25 up until 12am. Because eating at a white-clothed table is a lot better than eating from your grubby pocket.


Covent Garden To The Strand

If you’re looking for a restaurant where servers will smile warmly at your family rendition of Hakuna Matata, don’t come to Frenchie. This French brasserie in Covent Garden is fun, but it’s adults-out-to-play type fun. The pre/post theatre £33 set is your best bet, as things aren’t cheap here. But a bacon scone, some foie gras, a beef cheek, and banoffee to finish, is our kind of circle of life.


Cafe TPT is an all-people, all-occasions, all-dependably-delicious choice in Chinatown, that’s open until 1am. So if you’re looking for an all-rounder, TPT is where to head. The honey-glazed char siu pork is a favourite—piled on top of rice with some cursory (but appreciated) steamed cabbage underneath. It’s juicy and generous in flavour and portion.


This Covent Garden restaurant has an almost cult-like following of lamb chop-yielding enthusiasts claiming that Fatt Pundit’s chops are some of the best in London. And we can confirm that they are indeed meaty, tender, and a cause we can 100% get behind—but that’s not all that’s impressive. The menu is split into vegetarian, seafood, and meat dishes, meaning it’s great for a group of meat lovers, your vegetarian friend, or for a solo monkfish curry.


The South Bank And Southwark

Nothing says I’m-excited-but-also-want-to-anaesthetise-myself-ever-so-slightly than organising to go to the pub before a show. The Anchor & Hope isn’t any old boozer though. This Southwark pub serves some of the best food that can be bought alongside a pint of bitter. The food is sort of British European—think potted shrimp and spinach gnocchi. The only problem you’ll have is leaving on time.


Yamagoya is a casual ramen spot across the road from the Young Vic and two minutes away from the Old. Their signature pork ramen is a perfect filler post-show, or nap-inducer beforehand, and it’s under a tenner. Other than meat and vegetable broths, there are donburi bowls and small plates available, as well as Asahi on tap.


Seabird is a sunny holiday masquerading as a Southwark rooftop, serving the kind of huge lobster dishes and cocktails you save for vacations or celebrations. It also happens to be one of our all-time favourite places to eat oysters in London, especially if you’re getting involved in the Louët-Feissers. 


Borough And Tower Bridge

Handmade pasta restaurants are 10 a penny in London these days and, like free wifi, they aren’t all reliable. But Legare is. It’s a small, simple, and Ikea-ish space in Tower Bridge, making 8/10 chewy orecchiette with lardons and breadcrumbs, and a bowl of gnocchi with mushrooms that, if it were the ‘90s, we’d make a mixtape illustrated with felt-tipped hearts for. 


The food at Gunpowder is an innovative take on traditional Indian dishes—spicy rasam soup, for example, comes in a shot glass, and keema mince is packed into an incredible little crunchy ‘doughnut’. Their Tower Bridge location, around the corner from the Bridge Theatre, has plenty of big indoor booths and outdoor space if you're going for a matinée. 


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Bar Douro

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Bar Douro is a charming little Portuguese spot housed in one of the old railway arches on Southwark Bridge Road. The classics should definitely be on your table—ibérico, garlic prawns, the sausage croquettes, more ibérico—but they’ve also got dishes like octopus rice and onglet to get involved in. Perfect for a snack and a drink pre-theatre.


Sadler’s Wells And Angel

Quality Wines is the shop, wine bar, and small plates restaurant attached to Quality Chop House in Clerkenwell. All it’s missing is a sleeping bag or two and, quite frankly, we’d be there 24/7. It’s open during the day serving killer sandwiches, salads, and pastries that are baked in house, before switching into a candlelit, lardo on toast, and wine-serving den in the evening.


OK, so The Eagle in Farringdon might not offer a set menu but it does offer some of London’s finest pub food at a very good price. The menu changes daily, but come for things like clam chowder or a whole grilled fish, plus a dessert, and still get change from £25. If you’re looking for a one dish wonder, then their beastly Portuguese bifana steak sandwich is the thing to get.


Nothing says you’re ready for a bit of interpretative dance than a meal of grilled squid, lamb fattee (a delicious mound of rice, chickpeas, aubergine, and sauces), and a trifle to finish off, does it? It’s a good thing you’re watching, rather than performing said dance. Get all of this plus an excellent atmosphere at Moro on Exmouth Market.


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