If you’re a theatre buff, a cinema-goer who loves a late showing or just one of the many of us who fancy a couple of glasses of wine and a late dinner rather than a table at 8pm on the dot, here are the best places for good late-night dining. Take your time, enjoy your evening and never have to wolf down a main course with the chairs being stacked up around you again.
Michelin-starred chef Andrea Mantovani together with Peter Hughes created Mele e Pere (apples and pears in Italian) to be evocative of a family-run Italian trattoria. The restaurant is relaxed and authentic. All breads and pastas on the daily changing menu are made in house, the produce is to die for (and I’m half Italian) and the specials are as creative as they are mouth-watering. Being in the heart of Soho makes it the perfect place for a post-theatre dining delectation.
Try spicy Ascolana olives for starters and dive into the black ink orecchiette with clams, courgettes and chilli. Mele e Pere specialises in home-made vermouth, according to the owners the “king of aperitifs”. Enjoy home-made citrus- dry white vermouth, or build your own Negronis and Martinis à la James Bond.
Latest orders: 10.45pm
Location: 46 Brewer Street, Soho, London W1F 9TF
Less than a year after it opened, this is one of our favourite new restaurants in London. Good quality plates of proper tapas, served by people who love food. Lobos Meat & Tapas is a cool cellar-vibe restaurant in Borough Market and is a warren of quiet candle-lit tables with a open-plan bustling kitchen at its heart. it serves some of the best serrano ham in London, as well as gorgeous garlic seafood plates and succulent cuts of pork for main. The chips are salty and even the puddings are good.
We love tapas (who doesn’t?) but Lobos does tapas with heart and fire. Share the Iberico meat selection comprising of pork fillet, secreto and presa meats. Pair this with regional Manchego. Round your late evening off with with a Dulce de leche cheesecake. Muy Bien.
Latest orders: 10.45pm
Location: 14 Borough High Street, London SE1 9QG
One of those London establishments you need to go to if you haven’t already been. This classic French bistro is perfect for wintery evenings where you fancy a late-night steaming bowl of moules or a steak frites.
The atmosphere at the candle-lit tables, the properly garlicky, thigh-slapping French cuisine, the reasonably priced menu and the wine list. A good, dependable staple. Out of towners will also love the ambience.
Last orders: 11pm
Location: 10-12 Garrick St, London WC2E 9BH
Asia de Cuba, located in St Martins Lane Hotel, serves dinner until around midnight so is great for the post-theatre diner. New chef Luis Pous focuses on healthy cooking, and the menu is full of fresh, zingy flavours, ceviche, shrimp churros, and incredible Mexican doughnuts to finish.
The location and artsy interior and the Blind Spot, the bar within the hotel – a moody golden cocktail lounge that’s open until 2am.
Last orders: Thursday to Sunday 12.15am, Monday to Wednesday 11.45pm
Location: 45 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4HX
A pop-up concept menu inspired by the best of British makes a big feature of the restaurant’s stone oven. Expect extremely succulent meat and fish dishes in cosy surroundings.
The boutique Arch hotel is walking distance from Marble Arch and Oxford Street and there is a shortened menu available after the last table seating at 10.30pm. A great place right in the hubbub of central London where you can relax and get a late-night sharing board.
Last orders: alcohol 11pm, food 11.30pm on the reduced menu
Location: 50 Great Cumberland Place, W1H 7FD
Murakami, a contemporary Japanese restaurant ideally located for a post-theatre or ballet meal, is open until 11:30pm Monday to Thursday; midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10pm on Sundays.
Since opening earlier this year, it has now successfully settled on a succinct menu, sleek and stylish interior, killer cocktails and Japanese craft beers.
A tempting menu of fresh sushi and sashimi, a wide range of hot and cold tapas, dumplings, salads and dishes from the Rabata grill. Firm favourites include the Yellowtail jalapeno roll, Salmon seared in hot oil with yuzu soy, Ebi tempura and grilled rib eye with sweet soya sauce.
Last orders: 11pm
Location: 63-66 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4JS
New boutique hotel Leicester House is a haven away from frenetic Chinatown. Thislittle-known West End gem has a well-priced menu served in a Georgian style dining room complete with bright chairs and wood panels. The French-Vietnamese fusion menu is a great late-night offering.
With an open kitchen and a Robata charcoal grill, the theatre-central West End restaurant delivers punchy Vietamese food and a wine list to please any Francophile. Dinner is served until 11 and you can blissfully keep drinking cocktails until 2am. The bar menu provides delightfully filling bites to accompany the cocktails, such as steamed buns with crispy pork belly, or lime smoked ribs until 2am.
Latest booking for dinner: 10:45pm
Location: 1 Leicester Street, London WC2H 7BL
Chantal Borciani is travel editor at High50, responsible for food, travel and business. She reports on destinations and wellness and specialises in travel trends for over 50s. Twitter: @ChantalBorch