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An Appetite for: 12 Soho restaurants to try

Soho - home to all restaurants legendary, Michelin-starred and, unpretentious.

Soho is home to some exquisite dining experiences. From the transformed Japanese yakitori joint, Humble Chicken, offering an intimate omakase dining experience to Andrew Edmunds, a Soho institution with historic charm. Lovingly curated by the culinary aficionados at Appetite, these eateries exemplify the diverse, innovative, and delicious dining experiences that Soho has to offer.

Humble Chicken

Dishes at Humble Chicken  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

In a thrilling change of direction, Angelo Sato, once known for his Soho yakitori joint Humble Chicken, a beloved institution among Soho restaurants, has transformed the establishment into a premier omakase dining experience in one of the busiest parts of Central London. This hidden gem, previously known as one of the best restaurants in Soho, once charmed patrons with its cosy Soho atmosphere and delicious Japanese chicken skewers. Now, Sato has reinvented his culinary offering, introducing Humble Chicken 2.0, a must-visit for any London restaurant explorer. It's an exquisite 13-course East Asian-themed meal at a reasonable £115. The seating is intimate, common amongst Soho restaurants, with just 18 seats arching around the counter - offering guests a front-row seat to witness the dishes being masterfully prepared in the open kitchen.

The first dish to be presented is a breath-taking stuffed mussel, brimming with slivers of avocado and an invigorating citrus kosho ponzu sauce, a vivid sensory experience. Following this startling opener is a delicate miso-cured foie gras tart, paired with fresh melon and almond brittle, a cold and creamy bite like no other. Over the next two hours, you are taken on a culinary journey, punctuated with wave after wave of delicious and visually stunning food, ending with a grand finale in the form of Humble Chicken’s donabe rice pot, adorned with a neat crispy chicken leg. The unique culinary storytelling of Sato continues to thrill guests, placing Humble Chicken 2.0 among the best restaurants not just in central London, but the entire city.

54 Frith St, London W1D 4SJ

Speedboat Bar

Outside of Speedboat Bar one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

Nestled between Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue, the Speedboat Bar emerges as one of the best restaurants in Soho, introducing a fresh take on Thai cuisine. Upon this Thai 'party canteen', one might feel slightly overwhelmed by the bustling atmosphere - which is perhaps a signature trait of Soho restaurants.

Speedboat Bar does not shy away from serving authentic Thai spice levels. It might catch those expecting a Westernised version of Thai food by surprise. Luke Farrell, who partnered with JKS for this venture, has been known for his bold flavours since he started opening restaurants in London in Autumn 2021. The food at Speedboat Bar incorporates native Thai herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables, many of which are grown in Farrell's own greenhouses in Dorset. Sweetcorn fritters serve as crunchy appetizers, while chicken skins with zaep seasoning add a zingy twist. In the competitive central London food scene, Farrell's passion shines through at the Speedboat Bar, placing it firmly on the radar for anyone looking to explore the best restaurants in Soho.

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL

Quo Vadis

A table at Quo Vadis  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

Step into Quo Vadis, an institution steeped in the old-world charm of Soho, recently transformed from a mood-enigmatic French house into a vibrant, inviting members club. This splendid eatery, doubled in floorspace with a complete makeover in early 2023, now brims with the warmth of red leather banquettes, modern wall art by Kate Boxer, and inviting lighting. Once cloaked behind stained glass windows, the lively social scene of oyster-loving patrons and wine aficionados now unfolds before passers-by, all relishing the innovative dishes curated by celebrated chef Jeremy Lee.

Quo Vadis is a testament to the area's vibrant history. Having been everything from a brothel to Karl Marx's home, it evolved into one of the best restaurants in Soho since its founding in 1926. The recent revamp has been a much-anticipated event, enhancing its appeal and synchronising it with Lee's rising culinary fame, solidified by his well-received book, 'Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many'. The new Quo Vadis offers a delightful dining journey from start to finish, serving British classics elevated to new levels by Lee's magic touch. With Jeremy Lee at its helm and a newly reimagined dining room matching the grandeur of its cuisine, Quo Vadis proves that indeed, the best things come to those who wait.

26-29 Dean St, London W1D 3LL

Social Eating House

Dishes at Social Eating House  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

The Social Eating House is a standout even amongst the best Soho restaurants. The chef’s counter at the Social Eating House offers a unique dining experience, akin to a backstage pass into a buzzing West End kitchen. The six-course menu, priced at £95, offers a medley of seasonal dishes, each an innovative take on classic British cuisine. The plates, ranging from a Waldorf salad to flank tartare, are lovingly paired with selections from a collection of over 20 European wines.

Jason Atherton's journey from being a novice under Gordon Ramsay's mentorship to becoming a culinary wizard in his own right is nothing short of remarkable. After establishing the deluxe bistro Little Social and the acclaimed Pollen Street Social in Mayfair, he expanded his ambitions to Soho, entrusting his long-time head chef at Pollen Street, Paul Hood, with the reins. The result is the Social Eating House, a Soho restaurant that combines a cleverly designed space with a lively dining room, teeming with a kitchen team at the top of their game. From the jalapeño ice served with marinated Cantaloupe melon and pickled cucumber to the smoked avocado-accented raw Orkney scallops, the Social Eating House remains a testament to Atherton's culinary prowess and Hood's imaginative execution, making it a much-revered destination amongst the best restaurants.

58 Poland St, London W1F 7NR

Paradise Soho

Dishes at Paradise  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

A jewel among London restaurants, Paradise has masterfully captured the essence of Soho's dining room culture. The institution offers an inviting blend of intriguing Sri Lankan-inspired small plates, an impressive selection of natural wines, and inventive cocktails, all within a minimalist brutalist-inspired interior. From the gigantic Ceylonese-spiced prawns, served with sweet seaweed butter, to the cashew curry with a spicy kick, complemented by a curry leaf brittle - each dish on the menu tells a tale of creativity and exquisite flavours. Paradise is a Soho restaurant on the must visit list, with a unique and tantalising dining experience being guaranteed.

61 Rupert St, London W1D 7PW

Andrew Edmunds

Dishes at Andrew Edmunds  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

Situated in an 18th-century townhouse and rooted in the annals of London's dining history, Andrew Edmunds stands proudly among the best Soho restaurants. Celebrated as one of the last vestiges of the 'old Soho', this unassuming restaurant has cultivated a loyal following over three decades. Its magic recipe consists of a relaxed ambiance, a seasonally rotating menu, and an acclaimed yet affordable wine list. The restaurant's understated black frontage gives way to a warmly lit interior that emanates a romantic charm that's become nothing short of legendary.

Inside the cosy corners of this Soho restaurant, diners are treated to an eclectic menu, handwritten daily, ensuring a fresh culinary narrative on each visit. Starters such as succulent confit pork cheeks harmoniously paired with almond, peach and fennel, or an elegantly composed lobster bisque provide a tantalising introduction to a menu that champions simplicity with a touch of sophistication. The intimacy of the space, the charm of hand-written menus, and the delectable offerings from duck liver to roast pigeon, create an ambiance that's undeniably special. Andrew Edmunds is more than just a Soho institution - it's a vibrant testament to the enduring allure of old-school restaurant values.

46 Lexington St, London W1F 0LP

Dean Street Townhouse

A table at Dean Street Townhouse  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

Dean Street Townhouse has earned its place among the must-visit Soho restaurants. Housed in a pair of lovingly restored Georgian terraced houses, this establishment exudes a distinct blend of sophistication and homely comfort. The impressively versatile dining offerings cater to every imaginable whim, be it an 11am coffee, an afternoon tea, or an 11pm martini. A true gem within the Soho restaurant scene, the Townhouse shines not only with its obliging service and handsomely decorated bar but also with its unfalteringly delicious fare, which spans across an array of dishes featuring fish, shellfish, meat and game.

Staying true to its name, the Townhouse offers a distinctive ‘at home’ dining experience. Each room of this Soho institution - Tiny, Cosy, Small, Medium, and Bigger - is designed with a unique charm, effortlessly merging Georgian aesthetics with modern digital conveniences. The interior design calls to mind the comfort of a traditional living room, complete with a period fireplace, plush sofas and warm wooden floors. The Dean Street Townhouse dining room serves up an array of dishes that range from the comforting familiar, such as mince and potatoes, to the indulgent, like oysters and Scotch eggs. Ultimately, whether you're seeking a smart breakfast meeting venue or a cosy spot for a luxurious affair, Dean Street Townhouse remains a leading contender among the best restaurants in Soho.

69-71 Dean St, London W1D 3SE

10 Greek Street

Dishes at 10 Greek Street  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

10 Greek Street - an unpretentious dining haven. This small, yet charming restaurant has built a reputation on its brilliantly curated, concise menu. Renowned for its seasonal offerings and commendable value for money, it's a Soho institution that remains refreshingly down-to-earth. They've recently added 'Roman style' pizza to their menu, taking advantage of the area's pedestrianisation to extend their seating outdoors. Whether you're a seasoned regular or a first-time visitor, the adept and friendly staff make you feel right at home.

The daily menu is chalked up on the board, offering a delightful array of dishes that change with the seasons. The staff are genuinely passionate about their food and drink offerings. They are always ready to make honest recommendations, or accommodate patrons' unique preferences, from mixing and matching dishes to exploring off-the-beaten-path culinary delights. Whether it's the luscious burrata and truffle or Parma ham and melon appetisers, the hake and clam or courgette flowers with gooey ricotta mains, or even the lemon posset and summer berries dessert, the dishes are always a treat. Accompanied by some of the finest shortbread you'll ever taste, 10 Greek Street is a hidden gem that keeps its patrons coming back for more.

10 Greek St, London W1D 4DH

Bob Bob Ricard

Dishes at Bob Bob Ricard  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

The brainchild of Leonid Shutov, Bob Bob Ricard has redefined dining, transforming it from a mere stopover to a destination to be journeyed to. Making their mark in the heart of Soho, this establishment is designed with an opulence that would make even King Henry VIII take a second glance. The multi-million-dollar fits, the imaginative display of whole swans nestled on caviar beds, the necks arching to spout champagne - these are visions brought to life, only at Bob Bob Ricard. The ambiance of these restaurants is a cornucopia of colours and meticulous design details that demand to be admired.

Picture a miniature grand salon filled with surprises, not least of which is the “Press for Champagne” button playfully located on every table. The restaurant also boasts a diverse menu that has stood the test of time, offering perennial favourites such as Lobster Mac and Cheese, Beef Wellington, and Chicken Kiev. At the helm, executive chef Eric Chavot introduces a Gallic touch and caters to vegan patrons, maintaining the relevance and appeal of this Soho stalwart. Indeed, whether you're at the bar or the dining room, the magic of Bob Bob Ricard is one to be experienced.

1 Upper James St, London W1F 9DF

The French House

Dishes at The French House  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

As much a chronicle of Soho's history as a pub, The French Houses' patrons included Charles de Gaulle, Dylan Thomas, and Francis Bacon. Today, its charm lies in its compact, bustling interior brimming with memorabilia, and its dining room, currently presided over by Chef Neil Borthwick, serving French classics.

Stepping into this Soho institution, you'd think you were stepping back in time, surrounded by a hushed atmosphere of old-school debauchery. Amidst the claims of "Soho is dead", the French House shines as an enduring beacon of traditional charm. Borthwick's menu is a testament to hearty, earthy cooking with limited, but decidedly French, vegetarian or vegan options. The French House is more than just a pub or a restaurant – it's a piece of Soho's rich tapestry that continues to enchant its patrons.

49 Dean St, London W1D 5BG

Bocca di Lupo

Dishes at Bocca di Lupo  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

An Italian phrase for 'the mouth of the wolf', symbolising good luck, Bocca di Lupo effortlessly marries vibrant and modern cooking with swift service. As you step inside, the restaurant captivates you instantly with its open kitchen set behind a pristine white marble bar. Move further into the space and a bustling dining area unfolds, lit by a magnificent circular chandelier and adorned with captivating artworks created by the chef's mother.

The brainchild of Jacob Kenedy, former culinary genius at the fashionable Exmouth Market eatery, Moro, Bocca Di Lupo has revolutionised Italian dining with a unique approach. Their menu is an ingenious offering of flexible servings, accommodating both shared tapas-like feasting and a more traditional dining experience. Moreover, it's refreshed twice daily, keeping the offerings as fresh as the ingredients themselves. From Lazio's parma ham to Liguria's risotto and Sicilia's braised ox cheek, followed by a decadent caffe alla nocciola from Napoli, the menu takes diners on a gastronomic tour across Italy's diverse regions. Their dedication to authenticity extends beyond the food to a carefully curated list of Italian wines, complemented by a selection of classic cocktails, beers, and traditional Italian aperitifs and digestifs. In essence, Bocca Di Lupo is more than just a restaurant—it's a lively plunge into Italy's culinary culture, where every dish served radiates the confident simplicity that Italian cuisine is renowned for.

12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB

Brasserie Zédel

Dishes at Brasserie Zédel  one of Appetite’s best restaurants in Soho

A stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus lies Brasserie Zédel. An embodiment of Parisian grandeur, the restaurant draws the masses with its Art Deco charm and reasonably priced traditional French cuisine. As you descend into the opulent, marble-clad interiors, the lively and relaxed atmosphere invites you to immerse yourself in the Parisian experience - right in the centre of London. This subterranean sanctuary, opened in 2012, is not just home to a brasserie, but also hosts ZL Café - a casual eatery with alfresco seating, Bar Américain - an authentic American cocktail bar, and Crazy Coqs - a lively music and cabaret venue.

Renowned for its sumptuous offerings of Gallic staples, Brasserie Zédel doesn’t just feed your stomach but also your soul with live music playing through the air in the evenings. Here, you can sample a prix fixe menu that boasts three courses for under £15. Start your journey with a hearty bowl of soupe à l’oignon or escargots drenched in parsley butter. Main courses range from a humble haché with pepper sauce to the exquisite rib-eye with Café de Paris sauce. But save room for dessert, as their crème brûlée and lemon meringue tart are too tempting to miss. If you have dietary restrictions, fret not, their separate gluten-free menu offers a wonderful variety. Adding to the allure, Brasserie Zédel is perfectly situated for a meal before or after a West End theatre show or a day of sightseeing around Central London. Its remarkable value and the unpretentious quality of food have won the hearts of many, including culinary great Pierre Koffman, making it a must-visit destination for every food enthusiast.

20 Sherwood St, London W1F 7ED


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