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 £22, three courses £27
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 £16.90, three courses £19.90
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 course £24.50
Nearest theatres: Piccadilly Theatre, Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue, Criterion
66-70 Brewer Street, London W1F 9UP (+44 (0)20 7292 3518)
A Soho institution. It may be owned by the Gondola restaurant group (Pizza Express, Zizzi) but this Romilly Street townhouse still has heaps of character. The rococo white décor, live pianist and champagne bar will suit a special occasion, while a simple menu of brasserie favourites coupled with speedy service make it ideal for pre-theatre.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £18.50, three courses £21.50
Nearest theatres: Prince Edward, Palace, St Martin's, Ambassador's
29 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5HP (+44 (0)20 7734 6112)
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 £19.50, three courses £24.50
Nearest theatres: St Martin's, Adelphi, Arts Theatre, Noël Coward
33 Covent Garden, City of London, WC2E 8JD (+44 (0)20 7379 9696)
6. Cinnamon Soho
Adding a bit of spice to the standard pre-theatre fare is Cinnamon Soho. This informal offshoot of Vivek Singh's Cinnamon Club parts ways with the classic curry, instead adding an Indian twist to British dishes like Cullen skink and shepherd's pie.
Pre-theatre menu: Two courses £16, three courses £19
Nearest theatres: The London Palladium, Gielgud, Lyric, Criterion
5 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PF (+44 (0)20 7437 1664)
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: Three courses £21
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)
10. Spice Market
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Asian fusion restaurant does the hard work for you by curating four bento boxes from his extensive menu. You can choose between Classic (hearty Asian favourites), Garden (vegetarian), Healthy (brown rice and steamed fish) and Gourmet (adventurous and indulgent). It's part of Leicester Square's glossy W hotel — just look out for the huge illuminated W round the corner from Chinatown.
Pre-theatre menu: All £15 apart from Gourmet (£20)
Nearest theatres: Queen's, Lyric, Apollo, Prince of Wales, Harold Pinter
W Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QF (+44 (0)20 7758 1088)