14 Of The Best Places To Grab A Pre-Theatre Dinner In London

Our beloved capital is famous the world over for being one of the best places in which to see plays, musicals and West End shows. But most shows start by 7.30pm latest, so where the hell do you go when you’re looking for some pre-show grub we hear you ask. Well fear not dear reader, as we’re here to help. Most –if not all – of the restaurants listed below have actual ‘theatre menus’ which give you two or three courses for a specific deal – winner, winner! So, without further ado, here’s a rundown of 12 of the best spots to enjoy a pre-theatre dinner in London. You can thank us later.

1. Fatt Punditt, Covent Garden and Soho

A selection of dishes served as part of the pre-theatre menu at Fatt Pundit
Photo: Joe Howard

Kicking off this roundup of where best to go for a pre-theatre dinner in London is Fatt Pundit – a fantastic little spot in both Soho and Covent Garden that rustles up some absolutely delicious Indo-Chinese cuisine. Originating in Kolkata, the cuisine combines traditional Chinese cooking techniques with the spices of India. The pre-theatre menu here is a curated version of the larger main menu, featuring starters, small plates, sides, and desserts.

The menu starts with a serving of momo – which are Nepalese steamed dumplings – and is followed by the likes of sticky sesame vegetables, Bombay chilli prawns, Malabar monkfish curry, mouthwatering Szechuan honey duck and more. Follow this up with a ‘snowflake gelato sizzling brownie’ for dessert and you’re in for a real winner here.

📍You’ll find Fatt Punditt at 77 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 8TH and 6 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7NA.

🚇 Nearest stations are Oxford Circus and Charing Cross.

The interior of The Petersham restaurant in London's Covent Garden
Photo: Petersham Nurseries

We’re a major fan of Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, so we were ecstatic back in 2018 when they decided to open a sister branch back in 2018 right in the heart of Covent Garden. Aside from looking bloody lovely, this elegant, à la carte spot is one of London’s best pre-theatre restaurants, and it offers all-day dining in a swishy setting with a menu heavy on delightful Italian flavours.

The pre-theatre menu here runs on Mondays through to Saturdays from 5-6pm, and it costs just £32 for two courses and £38 for three courses. There’s also a rather charming courtyard you can sit in when the sun is shining – a little oasis of calm away from the thronging tourist crowd of Covent Garden itself…

📍You’ll find The Petersham at 27-31 King Street, London, WC2E 8JB.

🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.

3. NoMad, Covent Garden

The charming interior of NoMad Restaurant – one of the best places for a pre-theatre dinner in London
Photo: NoMad

Next up on this roundup of the best places to tuck into a pre-theatre dinner in London is NoMad – a glitzy hotel set within a former 19th-century courthouse right across from the opulent Royal Opera House.

The pre-theatre menu here takes place in the namesake restaurant with its soaring glass ceiling, and incorporates a diverse selection of first and second courses, so you can expect starters like sea bream cured with melon, cucumber and horseradish and an aubergine, fig and pine nut salad. Main dishes include – but aren’t limited to – melt-in-the-mouth suckling pig, confit with strawberries and mustard greens and a Rigatoni courgette ragu with tomato and parmesan. The menu is £45 for two courses, and guarantees to set you up ahead of a night of theatre.

📍You’ll find NoMad at 28 Bow Street, London, WC2E 7AW.

🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.

4. Joe Allen, Covent Garden

First opened in 1977, Covent Garden’s branch of Joe Allen is the sister brasserie to the original New York site, named after its owner and creator. Their American all-day menus are perfect for a pre- or post-theatre dinner as they’re right in the epicentre of Theatreland, and favourites on the set menu include grilled gilthead bream with fennel, lime, mint and jalepeno peppers and a delicia squash lentil ragu.

The menu itself is available from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 12-6.45pm and on Mondays from 4-6.45pm, and it costs just £25 for two courses and £30 for three courses. They’ve also got live piano music here most evenings – perfect for a post-theatre hang!

📍You’ll find Joe Allen at 2 Burleigh Street, London, WC2E 7PX.

🚇 Nearest station is Temple.

5. Gunpowder, Tower Bridge

A delicious spread of food served at Gunpowder restaurant in Tower Bridge
Photo: Gunpowder

This authentic Indian kitchen uses responsibly sourced ingredients to shine a spotlight on the banging flavours of the Indian subcontinent. The emphasis here is on celebrating traditional family recipes and giving them an innovative and unique twist.

Delectable options on the bill include Goan-style black tiger prawns marinated in lashings of garlic, black pepper and herbs, and lamb cutlets soaked in ghee made in the Kashmir region of Northern India. While you may think that there ain’t any theatre here, you’d be wrong, as this one is just mere steps from the Bridge Theatre – the home of the prestigious London Theatre Company. The theatre menu runs from 5-6.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays, and two courses are just £22 per person!

📍You’ll find Gunpowder at 4 Duchess Walk, London, SE1 2RZ.

🚇 Nearest station is London Bridge.

6. Whitcomb’s, Leicester Square

This fantastic spot right on bustling Leicester Square is one for the foodies, as they whip up some bloomin’ fantastic French-come-Mediterranean fare. Based in five-star Londoner Hotel, they offer a coveted collection of wineries from all across the world, and their set menu is the perfect choice for pre-theatre dining, with three courses and an accompagnement for just £39.

There’s everything here from fried calamari to pan-seared sea bass with white wine, parsley, shallots and lemon, and they’ve even got a lemon tart with olive oil for dessert. Sounds like a winner to us…

📍You’ll find Whitcomb’s at The Londoner Hotel, 38 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7DX.

🚇 Nearest station is Leicester Square.

7. Bocca Di Lupo, Soho

A beloved Italian restaurant situated right in the heart of the West End, Bocca Di Lupo specialises in ‘the obscure’ and has an ethos to highlight the different cuisines and wine from all across the country’s twenty different regions.

Literally translating to ‘mouth of the wolf’, it’s a relatively cosy, trattoria-style spot whose menu changes twice a day. Their pre- and post-theatre special is served daily from 5-6.30pm and 9-11.30pm and costs just 15 quid – yep, seriously – for a starter, main and salad. Add on an espresso and a dessert for just seven extra quid and you’ve got real bang for your buck here!

📍You’ll find Bocca Di Lupo at 12 Archer Street, London, W1D 7BB.

🚇 Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.

8. Spring, Covent Garden

Spring at Somerset House run their daily ‘Scratch Menu’ on Tuesdays through to Saturdays between 5.30-6.30pm, and it makes for the perfect venue for a pre-theatre meal! Like the rest of the menu here, all the food on offer here is ingredient led, and isn’t fancy or over complicated.

It’s created using ‘waste’ produce that would otherwise be thrown away and is a key representation of creator Skye Gyngell’s pioneering attitude towards sustainability in the hospitality industry, drawing real attention to the important issue of food waste. The menu here is priced at £30 per person for three courses, and includes standouts like beef kofta with slow cooked greens and a yoghurt, anchovy and soft herb dressing as well as a potato and taleggio soup with almond piccata.

📍You’ll find Spring at Somerset Place, Lancaster Place, London, WC2R 1LA.

🚇 Nearest station is Temple.

9. Aquavit London, Piccadilly Circus

Aquavit London, a Nordic-inspired restaurant in Central London specialising in Nordic cuisine
Photo: Aquavit London

Nestled right in the heart of St. James’s Market lies Aquavit London – a Nordic-inspired restaurant offering delicious and daily changing dishes from lunch through to dinner. It makes for the ideal spot to enjoy long lunches, pre-theatre dining, work meetings and date night dinners.

On the menu, you can expect to find dishes like loaded shrimp skagen on sourdough with dill mayonnaise; and the signature Swedish meatballs served with lingonberry, pickled cucumbers and creamy potato mash. They’ve also got a great wine list, and it’s also doggo friendly perfect if you’re looking for somewhere to bring your pooch along to!

📍You’ll find Aquavit London at 1 St. James’s Market, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 4QQ.

🚇 Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.

10. Clos Maggiore, Soho

A delicious meal served at the romantic Clos Maggiore, one of the best places for a pre-theatre dinner in London
Photo: Clos Maggiore

Whilst London is blessed with beaucoup French restaurants, Covent Garden‘s Clos Maggiore stands out from the crowd. Yes, they have fancy food and an award-winning wine list, but the ace up their sleeve lies in their gorgeous Tuscan-style conservatory ‘The Fairy Room’.

Incredibly romantic, it’s a great spot to take a date – and what better date night than dinner before a theatre show we say!? Running from 5-6pm on Mondays through to Sundays and costing just £32.50 for two courses with a glass of bubbles – and £39.50 for three courses with bubbles – it’s a real steal for this neck of the woods! Merci beaucoup.

📍You’ll find Clos Maggiore at 33 King St, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD.

🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.

An interior picture of the SUSHISAMBA restaurant in Covent Garden in Central London

SUSHISAMBA sits atop the historic Market Building in Covent Garden, and it runs along the entire east side, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views across the piazza while you wine and dine. Characterised by a jungle-like interior, a bespoke light installation above the sushi bar, and a theatre-style open kitchen, it’s a lovely spot to be and they do a fantastic pre- and post-theatre dinner menu here too.

They offer three courses for just £36 per person, and this runs on Mondays to Fridays from 12-6pm and after 10pm until close too. You can expect dishes such as robata salmon with miso, quinoa and a salsa criolla as well as a tuna ceviche with a pomegranate leche de tigre, maiz morado, wasabi peas and basil.

📍You’ll find SUSHISAMBA at 35 The Market, London, WC2E 8RF.

🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.

12. Café Murano, Covent Garden

Another fantastic location for a pre-theatre dinner in London here, Café Murano is all about ‘true Italian dining’ and is the brainchild of the highly-regarded chef Angela Hartnett.

The Mayfair branch is so good it’s bagged itself a Michelin star, and the Covent Garden one ain’t bad either let’s be honest! You’ll get two courses here for just £23 (and three for £28), and these are served every day from 5-7pm. Dishes on the bill include potato gnocchi with a lamb ragu and mint as well as a rigatoni with fennel sausage, pecorino and double cream. Yum, yum!

📍You’ll find Café Murano at 36 Tavistock Street, London, WC2E 7PB.

🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.

13. Kahani, Sloane Square

A selection of delicious dishes on offer at Kahani, one of the best places for a pre-theatre dinner in London
Photo: Kahani

Kahani has some incredible theatres right on its doorstep, such as the renowned Cadogan Hall right next door, as well as The Chelsea Theatre, The Royal Court and The Victoria Palace Theatre which are all just a stone’s throw away.

They do a fantastic pre- and post-theatre menu here – which comes to just £29 a head for three courses! It’s all about the Indian food here, and standout dishes include a soft shell crunchy crab with Mangalorean spices, Keralan fish curry and, for something a bit sweeter, a sticky toffee pudding with an Indian twist. You’ll need to eat between the hours of 5-6.15pm or after 9.45pm, and if you’re here another time, they also do a standout bottomless brunch too.

📍You’ll find Kahani at 1 Wilbraham Place, London, SW1X 9AE.

🚇 Nearest station is Sloane Square.

14. L’oscar London, Holborn

A delicious spread of sandwiches, tea and bubbly served at L'oscar in London
Photo: L’oscar

Rounding off this list of the best places to grab a pre-theatre dinner in London is L’oscar London – a charming, bougie hotel set right by Holborn station which offers a delectable afternoon tea for you to savour right before your show.

You’ll be able to indulge in a selection of yummy savoury sandwiches, sweet scones, hand-crafted and show-stopping pastries – all paired with a selection of the finest Newby teas, from just £49 per person. Ok, so it’s not really a fixed-price ‘dinner’ but can you blame us for including this one?!

📍You’ll find L’oscar London at 2-6 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4AA.

🚇 Nearest station is Holborn.

So there you have it – 14 of the best spots to catch a pre-theatre dinner in London. Whether you’re looking for Indian or Italian, there’s something for everyone here, and you’ll be able to get some proper good deals here too which is always a bonus!