Places for a good meal in/near Soho, London
September 16, 2006 3:41 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for a good place to have a meal in or not too far from Soho in London?

I'm hoping to take some friends somewhere for a meal before a stand-up comedy gig at the Soho Theatre, maybe try out a restaurant we've never been to and a type of food we've never had before. (So anything that's not Italian, Chinese or Indian.) We wouldn't really want to spend too much money - ideally less than £25 per person? Any recommendations?
posted by Ira.metafilter to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This was nice and is in your price range (in a fairly pricey area for eating out). It is sushi (and so not the most adventurous in the jaded noughties) but is excellent and ticks your requisite boxes I think.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:31 AM on September 16, 2006

There's a splendid sushi bar in Brewer Street, called (from memory) Nulu Nulu. You can eat for considerably less than that if you want. (Similarly, there's Itsu in Wardour Street which is a bit posher).

More cheap but nice food: Bistro 1 on Beak Street; the over-priced and over-rated Harry Ramsden's Fish and Chips; and also on Brewer Street you'll find Thai West which does quite decent thai food.
posted by jamescridland at 4:32 AM on September 16, 2006

yeah, go to Itsu, it's good
posted by matteo at 4:40 AM on September 16, 2006

Wagamama is my current fave in that part of London for casual, economical and fast dining. Always a good bet.

Criterion is at the other end; perhaps slower, definitely leaning towards "smart casual" and pricier. You could get in and out for about 25 quid / per head w/wine, but you'd have to careful when ordering.

On the other hand you can't beat that over the top elegance.
posted by Mutant at 4:57 AM on September 16, 2006

Another Japanese one - Ten Ten Tei on Brewer St. Haven't been for a while though, but I've always had good sushi there.
posted by crocomancer at 7:09 AM on September 16, 2006

Hi Sushi on Frith Street is also lovely. They also have noodles and tempura and things, and their downstairs seating area has orange plastic tables that look like the inside of a lava lamp.

Or you can head to Garlic and Shots at the north end of Frith Street opposite Ronnie Scott's. It's run by mad Swedes who serve 1) Food with garlic in it and 2) vodka shots. The garlic bread's to die for and you can have quite a nice meal off the various garlicky tapas; I recommend the Swedish garlic meatballs as a main course... but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T TOUCH THE DESSERTS. Their garden out back, heated by gas heaters, is quite nice.

Across Charing Cross Road into Seven Dials, there's a Brazilian café called Canela on Earlham Street. The food's lovely, the owner's nice, the prices are good. It's non-smoking, if that matters either way.

A quick search reveals two Moroccan restaurants have opened in that area: Zaytouna on Frith Street and Souk Medina on Short's Gardens (again, off Seven Dials.) I haven't been to either yet, but they both seem to have scored decent reviews in Time Out.

Finally, Bodean's on Poland Street serves up some fine Southern American-style barbecue, at least for this side of the Atlantic. Probably not the best for vegetarians, though.

That's probably more information than you needed. Have fun tonight!
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:24 AM on September 16, 2006


You will be making the biggest restaurant mistake of your life.
posted by randomination at 8:38 AM on September 16, 2006

Arbutus. Food that's absolutely to die for at pretty reasonable prices. In fact, I just drooled a bit while sitting here thinking about it.
posted by jobby at 12:52 PM on September 16, 2006

Simurgh is an Iranian restaurant at 17 Garrick Street in Covent Garden
Bodeans is also good
posted by prjo at 2:52 PM on September 16, 2006

Response by poster: NO! NO! DO NOT GO TO GARLIC AND SHOTS! EVER!

You will be making the biggest restaurant mistake of your life.

...if you're a *vampire*...

Just out of curiosity, what did they do to traumatise you so much? I'm intrigued. :)

Thanks very much everyone for all the suggestions! We're going next weekend, so there's still time if anyone has any more ideas. Right now it looks like it'll be either Bistro 1, Itsu or Ten Ten Tei (Arbutus looks good but is probably a bit formal for this occasion, and Simurgh is probably a bit expensive) - but all of your ideas look good and I'll be saving this thread and hoping to try out all of them in the near future - thanks again!
posted by Ira.metafilter at 4:43 AM on September 17, 2006

Just out of curiosity, what did they do to traumatise you so much? I'm intrigued. :)

Ehh... ok, well you asked.

- We arrived at 6.30pm and they refused to seat us. I told them we had a reservation, they kept us waiting for ten minutes while they argued with each other in Swedish before letting us sit down on the table nearest the fireplace.

- We ordered garlic beer. Now you might think that garlic beer would be lovingly brewed, with smoky flavours of garlic and herbs, and would have a spicy, aromatic, herby aftertaste. But we got two pints of luke-warm Carling with bits of chopped raw garlic floating in it. I had precisely three sips. Mmmm.

- Then the restaurant suddenly filled up with bearded metalheads, who all started ordering vodka. The resulting fug of BO at least meant that I couldn't smell the beer any more.

- The waitress then served us, but then moved us to a 2x2 table where an equally non-plussed Kiwi couple were seated. We sat in uncomfortable silence in the midst of all the roaring curly beards and sweat and spilled vodka and wet tables.

- A garlic tortilla, for £10, was a piece of mashed potato with onions and no taste of garlic, in fact no taste of anything, whatsoever. My girlfriend refused to risk eating her chicken and picked at her overcooked, nutrient-free, brown vegetables.

Garlic and Shots is the only restaurant at which I have ever refused to pay the automatically-added on 'service charge'. And they added it on anyway after I told the waitress not to! I had to go up to the counter, demand the manager, and get a refund from the till.

That restaurant deserves to burn down for such abysmal service, food, pricing and clientele. Every day it still stands is a personal affront to me.

However, I second/third Wagamama. It's great for large groups. The service is excellent and they do free green tea.
posted by randomination at 4:55 AM on September 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

I heartily recommend Kettners - it's a champagne bar with huge Oscar-Wilde-esque style (there's a grand piano in the restaurant and someone tinkling away) --- but it serves most pizza/pasta dishes at reasonable prices and is run by the guy who runs Pizza Express.
posted by badlydubbedboy at 6:43 AM on September 18, 2006

Response by poster: Wow randomination, guess I'll give them a miss then - thanks for suffering so we won't have to :)
posted by Ira.metafilter at 6:55 PM on September 19, 2006

Food for Thought, a veggie place in Covent Garden. We're not vegetarians, but my wife, son, and I all loved it.
posted by lukemeister at 1:03 PM on September 22, 2006

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