The 21 Best Restaurants In Soho

Our 22 favourite spots in London’s most famous area for eating and drinking (and repeating).
The 21 Best Restaurants In Soho image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Anyone who used to work, party, or pass through Soho is bound to tell you that it was much better back then. When sex shops were rife and pints were a tuppence. It’s true that Soho might not be as edgy as it once was but it’s still London’s most popular area for eating and drinking. There are incredible and legendary restaurants around here, as well as some real middle-of-the-road duds. So you want to know what’s worth your time. And if you forget the order of what street is where, just remember you’re Going For Dinner With Billie Piper (Greek, Frith, Dean, Wardour, Berwick, Poland).


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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The upstairs dining room at The Devonshire is the kind of warm, Dickensian-esque place we always want to be, perusing a handwritten menu of comforting British classics while a fire roars, then mopping up leftover gravy with duck fat chips. Come for some of the city’s best British food that’s single-handedly rehabilitating the image of suet pudding and lamb hotpot. The downstairs pub is also a charming, crowded place serving one of London’s best pints of Guinness.

Koya is a temple of noodles and soups and all manner of good things, and it legitimately can lay claim to having the best udon in London. It’s a great place to come for a Japanese-style breakfast, to eat at the bar with a friend or two, or even solo should you have an hour to yourself. Besides the noodles, order some of their sides like the braised pork belly which will make you very happy.

An evening around Carnaby Street can make dinner in the bowels of hell seem appealing, but Donia acts like noise-cancelling headphones to the stresses of Kingly Court. The room has a warm modernity to it which is matched by chummy service and elegant Filipino dishes with a sprinkling of Soho pizzazz. When dishes sing here, they belt. Chicken inasal is vibrant with vinegar, the lamb caldereta is one of the best pies in London, and the ube choux will have you coming back to Carnaby Street weekly.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

$$$$Perfect For:Date Night


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If you’re the kind of person who loves first editions and candlelit romance, you’ll appreciate Andrew Edmunds. It’s an old-school Soho bolthole that takes mood seriously—you’ll eat by candlelight and order from a modern European menu scrawled on a chalkboard. It’s obviously ideal for a date, but the food is really good too. The braised squid and dressed crab are excellent, and the goats’ curd with courgettes is a good vegetarian option.

Noble Rot's Soho location is right in the thick of it on Greek Street. Despite no official bar area, this sibling spot to the original Bloomsbury location retains the magical sounds of chatter and clinking glasses, alongside the reassuring glug of glasses being refilled. Add in the European menu—smoked mackerel pâté, Toulouse sausage, braised savoy cabbage, and a sour cherry and almond roulade—and you have the perfect early evening to before-bedtime venue.

At Kiln, the heat of the glowing coals pulsates against your head and, if you’re looking for respite, you better slurp the rest of that jungle curry down first. The Thai restaurant on Brewer Street is hot in more ways than one, but it’s also one of the coolest restaurants in London. The walk-in only counter is a bunfight all week but boy is it worth it. There’s electric laab, aromatic curries, and crab claypot noodles you could eat by the trough. Sitting at this counter, you’re reminded of what eating out in Soho should always feel like: invigorating and brilliant.

Few London pubs are as well-known as The French House in Soho: this place is a classic and the French food very much follows suit. While the downstairs of this drinking institution is still kept to mostly that, if you walk up the creaking stairs you’ll find a red-walled, bright dining room. This is London’s finest location for the longest of lunches. Come on a Thursday for impeccable steak frites, rich, boozy chocolate mousse, and, of course, wine.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

This spot is Temporarily Closed.

Walking through Rupert Street, you might go straight past this small moody Sri Lankan spot. But that would be to the detriment of your stomach. This is a place where you’ll get exciting, flavourful sharing plates like a spicy, sweet breadfruit pastry with tangy pineapple ketchup. And a sea bass curry which pairs excellently with lamb fat-infused paratha roti that will leave your fingers greasy and your heart happy. Come with a small group to try a little bit of everything, although the bar stools facing the window also make this one of our favourite places for solo dining.

The days of napkin-essential fried chicken and tequila-heavy frozen cocktails at Rita’s previous incarnation in Hackney may be gone. But this version is something different and better. Here it’s candlelight and Roy Davis Jr playing in the background, groups of penny loafers clip-clopping in from a gallery opening nearby, and trademark punchy martinis alongside cream cheese and chilli water-laden gildas. The room isn’t big or elaborate, but it is comfortable. Bowls of homely clams with sugared Idaho scones, and a plate of still-mooing bavette with creamed greens could be on the changing menu. It’s a dash of Americana that feels completely at home in London.

As far as Soho institutions go, it doesn’t get much more classic than Quo Vadis. It’s a great spot to escape the chaos of the street outside, and to eat excellent British food in a highly British environment. The service and food are exceptional, and you’ll be reminded of how good a simple soup or roast can be. We like to pay it a visit for an upmarket lunch from time to time, and it’s worth dropping in for the legendary smoked eel sandwich, sticky toffee pudding, and a martini.

Although it feels like it’s been in Soho since the glory days, Bocca Di Lupo opened in 2008. The Italian spot on Archer Street has an air of irresistible cool about it: all brown leather tones and dark, rich sauces. Words like ‘rustic’ and ‘hearty’ feel appropriate to describe the menu, but so too do ‘bolshy’ and ‘brave’. Bocca Di Lupo traverses Italy, from Venetian fried squid to Calabrian cow intestine stew. There are more mass appeal regional specialities too and a plate of orecchiette at the gleaming marble bar is one of the smartest things you can do around Soho.

Ducksoup, a European small plates spot, feels way more neighborhoody than its Dean Street location suggests. Natural wine flows, the soundtrack is strictly vinyl, and people who own a whippet sit elbow-to-elbow at the bar. Dishes change depending on what’s in season but are always lush. So come with someone you’re happy being close to and dunk bread in whipped labneh with dukkah, fork mackerel with tomatoes, and share roast chicken with buttery potatoes.

It isn’t easy being inconspicuous in the middle of Soho but Jugemu manages it. This tiny sushi bar off Wardour Street requires a degree of both patience and persistence. Enter through the curtain, take a seat at the wooden counter, and watch Jugemu’s owner and chef carefully sculpt each piece of nigiri. This family-run feeling may not be for everyone but the quality of the small plates and fish will be. Miso aubergine, takoyaki, and agedashi tofu are all delicate but deeply flavoured. If you’re looking for an after-work catch-up or date spot with a difference, settle in for the omakase menu.

Taiwanese spot Bao has become a local legend both for its pork buns and for the lines needed to get in, which are a Soho landmark in their own right. We like the buns fine (the pork confit bao is the one to get) but some of the other dishes, like the fried chicken and beef with aged soy sauce, are the true must-orders. Nowadays you can book but know that Bao is a small, in-and-out kind of place, so don’t bring a big group and don’t expect to linger. Our advice? Go solo and take advantage of the excellent-value single diner menu.

Barrafina is a brilliant tapas restaurant that makes some of the best Spanish food in London, in very swish, upscale surroundings. Whatever the occasion—a casual date (that’s not really casual at all), bringing friends from out of town, and so on—a dinner sat at the marble bar will knock it out of the park. There’s a very good chance there’ll be a queue, but make like the regulars and order a glass of cava and some of their fantastic bar snacks while you wait.

Entering Brasserie Zédel is like walking down a flight of stairs into 1920s Paris. On any given night, this art deco dining hall is packed with people eating French classics like steak au poivre and oysters, while a swing band plays. Aside from the room and ambience, the most impressive thing about Brasserie Zédel is the price. For the setting, it’s very affordable if you get the £20 three-course prix-fixe. The adjoining Bar Américain is a good spot for a late-night cocktail or aperitif before hitting the main room.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightHalalLunch

There are three things you need to know about Hoppers. Firstly, this cupboard-sized Frith Street spot is always busy. That means bookings should be made in advance. Secondly, it’s one of the best Sri Lankan restaurants in London. And thirdly, the lamb kothu roti is a must-order. The bone marrow varuval curry is also (rightly) popular and the tender roasted kalupol chicken is perfect for sharing. Come with one other person for your best shot at a walk-in, but we prefer this place in a small group to get a little bit of everything.

Once a yakitori counter, now this 18-seater spot on Frith Street has shapeshifted into something more fine dining-y and it’s still pretty good, if less fun. The skewers have been swapped for little Japanese and European-influenced dishes with a backstory. Some of them are superb but the vibe is so-so. Your ears might cringe at the sound of Blue’s One Love playing over the speakers and, despite the small size, it feels like a lot of separate experiences going on at once rather than a shared one. That said, if you’re looking for an out of the ordinary meal around Soho, this should be close to the top of your list.

We can’t think of anyone you shouldn’t go to Bancone with. Friends, colleagues, family, dates are all welcome. Hell, bring your ex—you’ll look fantastic sitting at the counter in the candlelight. Whether you’re at the main bar or the oval counter around a live olive tree, Bancone is a truly lovely place to be. The handmade pasta is excellent, like the signature silk handkerchiefs in a glossy walnut butter sauce, plus you can easily go all in with wine or cocktails, and still have a pretty affordable meal.

Milk Beach has a laid-back sense of cool that's contagious. By day, carefree staff and the abundance of avocados on sourdough transports you from Soho straight to a Byron Bay beach club. At night, the lighting becomes dim and flirty—like us after a few negronis. The menu is Australian, with South East Asian influences: think, a moreish miso butter for dunking potatoes, Sichian peanut crumb scattered over aubergines, and fermented chilli mayonnaise that we suggest hoarding.

Casual and ostentatious aren’t words that usually go together, and even less so when you apply them to a rotisserie chicken spot in Soho. But Bébé Bob is all of those things. This kaleidoscopic, art deco pad of a restaurant mixes late ‘80s glamour with a straightforward menu. Sure, there’s caviar. And champagne. But beyond that, it’s like a children’s restaurant that’s been made to grow up. Schmoozy business lunches take place over ludicrously tender chicken—it’s the only main on the menu—while friends slide into big banquettes ready for piles of truffled fries.

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