This article was first posted in February 2013 and was updated in October 2014 and May 2016
1. Asia de Cuba
The St Martin's Lane Hotel's sign-less, glassy exterior hints at the quirky ground floor restaurant inside. You'll find huge columns covered in bookshelves, black and white portraits and even pot plants in this luminous gallery-like space — but more importantly, a menu that fuses Asian and Central American cuisines to great effect.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £25, three courses £30
Nearest theatres: The Duke of York's, Noël Coward, London Coliseum
45 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4HX (+44 (0)20 7300 5588)
2. Boyd's Brasserie
This historic brasserie in a former 19th-century hotel combines a lovingly restored traditional dining room with an 'unashamedly British' menu. The pre-theatre menu is also remarkably flexible, with a choice of tapas in place of starters (you choose two) as well as three main course and dessert options.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £19.50, three courses £23.50
Nearest theatres: Playhouse Theatre, Trafalgar Studios, Her Majesty's
8 Northumberland Ave, Westminster, Greater London WC2N 5BY (+44 (0)20 7808 3344)
Mark Hix's elegant flagship restaurant sits in Soho, on the edge of Theatreland. Inventively used local and seasonal ingredients are the hallmark of Hix's menu, and his décor — look out for works by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £19.50, three courses £24.50
Nearest theatres: Piccadilly Theatre, Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue, Criterion
66-70 Brewer Street, London W1F 9UP (+44 (0)20 7292 3518)
An ever-changing menu means you can never be quite sure what a visit to this Frith Street eatery will entail. Head chef Anthony Demetre consistently thinks outside the box when it comes to ingredients, creating a menu that overflows with simple and seasonal offerings. Go classic with the pan-fried sea trout or experiment with the mackerel and squid hamburger.
Pre-theatre menu: Three courses £25
Nearest theatres: Soho Theatre, Prince Edward Theatre , Palace Theatre
63-64, Frith Street, London, W1S 3JW (+44 (0)20 7734 4545)
5. Clos Maggiore
Clos Maggiore claims to be London's most romantic restaurant, so this is a great choice for an anniversary theatre trip. The romance factor is certainly high — the indoor terrace, shaded by flowering branches and fairy lights, is probably the best seat in the house and the service is second to none. The pre-theatre option is a great taster of CM's huge and indulgent à la carte menu.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £24.50, three courses £29.50
Nearest theatres: St Martin's, Adelphi, Arts Theatre, Noël Coward
33 Covent Garden, City of London, WC2E 8JD (+44 (0)20 7379 9696)
6. Portrait Restaurant
From Nelson’s Column to the Houses of Parliament, Portrait Restaurant provides stunning panoramic views of the West End’s most iconic landmarks. Order the beautifully presented wild mushroom pearl barley risotto for your main course and the indulgent panettone bread and butter pudding for dessert. The restaurant is also situated within the National Portrait Gallery, so be sure to leave plenty of time to peruse the paintings before your show.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £19.50, Three courses £23.50.
Nearest theatres: Noël Coward, Donmar Warehouse, Cambridge Theatre, Adelphi Theatre.
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE, ( +44 (0)20 7312 2490)
MASH (short for Modern American Steakhouse) is actually the first UK outpost of a Danish chain, recently opened on Soho's Brewer Street. Vegetarians beware: the menu is meaty. The pre-theatre sticks to the classics — think strip steak, onion rings and cheesecake — and includes coffee.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £22, three courses £25
Nearest theatres: Lyric, Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue, Gielgud, Queen's
77 Brewer Street, London W1F 9ZN (+44 (0)20 7734 2608)
8. Les Deux Salons
From the team behind Arbutus and Wild Honey, Les Deux Salons is styled as a Parisian brasserie and is ideally situated for Covent Garden and the Strand. Delicately assembled French dishes and a 'cheese of the day' grace the pre-theatre menu, and its website lists some 30 theatres nearby, ranked by minutes walking distance.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £17.
Nearest theatres: London Coliseum, Duke of York's, Garrick, Wyndham's
40-42 William IV Street, London WC2N 4DD(+44 (0)20 7420 2050)
9. Hawksmoor Seven Dials
One of three branches of the much-hyped London steakhouse and the best situated for London's theatres. The Hawksmoor's 'express' menu is available early evening and has crowd pleasers such as Caesar salad and apple pie as well as the inevitable steak. Be sure to allow time for one of its signature pre-prandial cocktails.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £23, three courses £26
Nearest theatres: Cambridge, Donmar Warehouse, Ambassador's, Palace
11 Langley St London WC2H 9JG (+44 (0)20 7420 9390)
Fresh platters filled with flavoursome salads greet visitors to this Yotam Ottolenghi owned restaurant, with signature dishes by chef Ramael Scully providing an appetisingly light pre-theatre menu. Share courgette and manouri fritters with cardamom yoghurt, twice-cooked baby chicken, and sea bream with rose harissa and coconut.n, and sea bream with rose harissa and coconut.
Pre-theatre menu: Dishes to share £24.50
Nearest theatres: Criterion Theatre, Soho Theatre, The Lyric
21-22 Warwick Street, London, W1B 5NE (+44 (0)20 74949584)