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Apr 22, 2007 11:31 AM

pre-theatre dining in london

hi everyone- ive been browsing message boards compiling a list of dinner places in london for when my parents visit in may. however, they have booked three nights at the opera, two starting at 7:30 and one starting at 7:00. they dont like eating late, so we must go early... any recommendations for pre-opera dining around covent garden? many of the great places recommended on here open at 6pm for dinner. thank you for any help!

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  1. No specific recommendations, I'm afraid, for early dining. But a number of the bistro-style restaurants around Covent Garden offer pre-Opera deals. Presumably they will be used to getting you fed and out of the door in plenty of time even if they may not be great dining experiences. Google should help to pin down a couple.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Brit on a Trip

      Mon Plaisir remains a pre theatre favourite. Just basic bistro stuff but quite well done

      I also like to pop into The Cork & Bottle which is one of London's great treasures and has one of the best lists of wine by the glass in the city

      Moti Mahal is near the opera house and is worth a try

      1. re: Simon Majumdar

        Maggiores near Covent garden was very good .

        1. re: Simon Majumdar

          My wife ate at Moti Mahal last night whilst in London on a business trip. She said it was excellent - very different "Indian" food from the restaurants we have around Manchester (which mainly have a Bangladeshi background). They offer a two course pre-theatre dinner.

      2. thanks for everyones tips so far.. another idea i had was to just have a big lunch the day of- for that i was thinking the ebury in pimlico or the restaurant in the national portrait gallery... any other suggestions? thank you!

        1 Reply
        1. re: dianageorgia

          There are some great lunch bargains available

          Why not try lunch at the restaurant at Tate Britain? The food is good and it has one of the best wine lists for bargains in town.


        2. Thank you Simon for your suggestions.. here is what I have planned so far please let me know what you think

          Monday: dinner at Gordon Ramsay's at Claridges.
          Tuesday: lunch at National Portrait Gallery, dinner at Zaika
          Wednesday: dinner at Indigo, theatre menu before the opera
          Thursday: dinner at Tentazioni
          Friday: big late lunch either at the Ebury or the Tate Britain before 7pm opera.
          Saturday: undecided.. considering Spanish- possibly Tendido Cero or Moro- any suggestions?

          -Also... one of the days we will be walking around Regents Park/ up to Primrose Hill- any lunch recommendations for that area?

          Thank you so much!

          2 Replies
          1. re: dianageorgia

            I really enjoy The Engineer in Primrose Hill for lunch. I would suggest you book.

            For pre-theatre dining in Covent Garden we usually do something lighter, as I don't like to sit with a heavy meal in my stomach. Two of our favorite (very very casual) places are Food for Thought on Neal Street (vegetarian restaurant, order at the counter and grab a table-type place but lovely food) and Rock and Sole Plaice (fish and chips) on Endell St. Fish and Chips is a bit heavier, but it's quick and cheap and you can sit outside (and go as early as you'd like).

            1. re: dianageorgia

              I have been to Indigo before not as good as it was several years ago, ditto Zaika....Moro is fab at Tendido Cero the helpings can be tiny...

            2. An idea would be to eat Covent Garden - there is the Ampitheatre Restaurant, the Balcony Restaurant overlooking the floral hall, and the floral hall & amphitheatre bar for sandwiches and salads - they are all very geared up for serving people pre-performance, during the intervals etc.. However, my favourite is the Crush Room is gorgeous - I am very fortunate to go frequently to the Opera House and eating there is the best option so you don't have to gobble down your food and fly to the theatre in time - you can organise it so you have one course pre curtain up, one course first interval and coffee at the second, or we have drinks beforehand, then one course at the first interval and coffee at the second. Just an idea the food is good (for the most part) done by Leiths and the atmosphere in the Crush Room is special - just an idea...

              1 Reply
              1. re: LotsC

                I agree about the amphitheatre deli/bar -- very good sandwiches and salads, with an outstanding view. For a more formal meal pre-theatre, we always went to Orso on Wellington Street. The food is good, and reasonably priced for London. (I moved away two years ago, though, so it may have closed since then.)