Reserve your table at Joe Allen Book a table
Covent Garden, London
13 Exeter Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7DT
- Temple Station (0.3 km)
- Covent Garden Tube Station (0.3 km)
- Contact us:
020 7836 0651
102 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN
“Since 1996, we have been pleased and proud to offer you the very best of Turkish and Lebanese cuisines, in our three distinctive and lively venues on the ever- popular Upper Street. We take great care and pride in serving you top quality,...” more...
18 reviews of Joe Allen in English
Sparsely populated on a Saturday afternoon, but service was extraordinarily slow. The famous "off menu burger" is now listed on the menu, but wasn't actually available (I've had it in the Paris branch and it was fine).
Instead I had a chicken salad the like of which I haven't had since the dark days of the 80s, when London restaurants were a joke. Utterly vile. Couldn't tell which elements were chicken and which were potato. Horrible dressing. Our dishes sat waiting on the kitchen counter for a waitress for 15 minutes. But the chicken in the salad certainly hadn't been cooked that day, so it wasn't in a hurry... It had died in vain.
My dining companion ordered a second glass of cranberry juice "without ice this time please". The second juice arrived in a far smaller glass to compensate for the padding that the ice offered in the original. They really have their eye on the bottom line here. London is absolutely jammed full of great pre/post theatre dining options. This is a pathetic anachronism. Someone should put it out of its misery.
Oh, and it was also £56 for two salads, a glass of red wine, a fizzy water and two cranberry juices.
As mentioned in other reviews, you could miss this place, signage is minimal. Down the stairs and we were immediately sat at a table, luckily as it was quite busy (guess others had the same in mind).
I had the chicken, another had turkey/stuffing, another surf & turf, the other half of HampsteadLife just had cheesecake.
And of course a round of martinis! All was tasty. It's a bit pricey for what it is, but hey, they're open late and the food was tasty!
Whilst I wouldn't go here during normal London food serving times, for a late night meal, would be back here in a flash.
Today my plan was originally to try the burger you could get at the newly opened Boxpark in Shoreditch. After reading that the burgers there are perhaps not too good, I decided to change my plans. Boxpark will be around for some time, so I can still try that burger another day. But today, without particular reason, I simply wanted to have a properly good burger. Once again, I checked out young&foodish’s Top 10 list at http://youngandfoodish.com/london/top-10-burgers-in-london/ – and decided to try the current #6 – Joe Allen.
After having a coffee at Notes Covent Garden (http://www.qype.co.uk/place/2153720-Notes-Covent-Garden-L...) I walked down to Joe Allen. From the outside, it looks like nothing special. After opening the door, you have to climb down some stairs, and end up in a dark-ish but nice restaurant.
I ordered a sparkling rose and the cheese and bacon burger with fries (yes, as other people already pointed out: the burger is not on the menu, but they’re happy to serve it anyway :). An excellent choice, I would say. The burger is not as small as I expected after reading some reviews. For me, it was definitely big enough, and the handcut chips with skin were also delicious. The burger is very simple: a thick patty, melted cheese on top of it, and two strips of grilled bacon on top of that. And all in a tasty bun, that’s perfectly sized for this burger. That’s a burger how I like a burger to be. No green or saucy distractions. ;)
Really a burger I can recommend! It’s also not really expensive.
After the burger I needed an espresso, so that’s what I ordered. I got an illy-branded cup with an okay-tasting espresso – but what I missed was a glass of water. Perhaps I’m wrong, but at a serious restaurant, I expect a glass of water with an espresso.
Anyway, the food was good, I also liked the atmosphere, it was light enough to read while I waited for the burger and the espresso. It was not very busy, as I was there on a late Sunday afternoon – not the busiest time for any restaurant.
Definitely a restaurant I should visit again! And then I will order some water, if I choose to have a espresso… ;)
Descend down the dark staircase into the basement space, bare brick walls covered in West End folio posters from shows currently on and those that are 30 year old. It’s comfortable, clubby and always busy. Grab a drink at the long bar and listen to Jimmy the pianist hit a range of showtune standards on late week nights.
The menu is a dogs dinner of vague Americana and 70’s oddities. It’s hardly a thing of beauty, but guests can chose from a mash-up ranging from Caesar Salad, Chilli Con Carne and cornbread through to 70’s relics such as chicken with orange sauce. The best advice I can give you is not to follow suit. The portions might be large, it’s an American restaurant after all, but what I’ve sampled over the years has struggled to raise the bar beyond the pedestrian at best, and can be sub-TGI Fridays at it’s worst.
Go for the burger. And only the burger. It’s not on the menu, but don’t feel bashful, everyone knows about it these days. It’s a thick charred bombe of a patty served medium rare as standard housed within the soft sweet cathedral of a brioche bun. Good crispy bacon and melted (cheddar) cheese are a worthy accompaniment, as are the spears of gherkin served on the side. Add skin on fries, occasionally over salted but generally as good as these things can be, and serve with a side of salacious gossip, preferably about who’s doing who in the current show you’re working on.
No idea why I hadn’t heard of this place before it came up on Groupon.
This cavernous, underground restaurant in the heart of the West End must be one of Covent Garden’s best kept secrets, unless I’m just out of touch!
Set menus are the way forward here, and there are plenty to choose from, to suit every budget. The portions are hefty, the food is good and you can tell they’ve got their kitchen operating like clockwork.
A London institution!
I think Joe Allen themselves would admit they're not trying to win any food awards, but what they have delivered for years is total consistency. Burgers, salads, chile con carne, soup, breakfast etc.
The staff have all been there for ages and take it very seriously. They're not transients killing time waiting for the dream job or the agent to call... and are of a grade that is hard to find in London. They scan each table in passing. Things arrive and disappear with the kind of clockwork efficiency that you witness in an old school Parisien brasserie.
The brick walls are adorned with theatre posters from a bygone era and a piano player gently plays low key tunes in the background.
For what it does, it's excellent.
I love this place - definitely a must if you're into theatre - and I mean doing theatre, not just watching it, because then you'll get the in-jokes on the walls and pick up on the gossip surrounding you. My favourite thing to do is to get a table for dinner at about 9ish, and then make sure you're at the bar for drinks after when the cast and crew from the local shows make their way in. A vibrant, chatty and massively camp atmosphere, a bit like my own theatre bar but much bigger - to an American tourist it would be 'cute', to a German tourist it would be bemusing, to a non-theatre lover it would be sickening. But if you love a bit of outrageous theatrical banter and giggling over your third tequila after a BRILLIANT meal - then this place is for you.
Oh, make sure you book - it's bleedin busy!
I may be way behind the times, but I hadn't even heard of this place until recently. But when someone suggested it as a venue for a breakfast meeting, I asked around, and everyone responded with rave reviews.
Although most people knew it as a busy post-theatre hotspot, at 9.30am we had almost the entire place to ourselves. Some people like a bit more buzz and feel conspicuous if they're the only diners, but for us, it was an ideal setting for a long leisurely natter and a delicious feast.
My friend tucked into an epic place of waffles with syrup, while I had a mammoth bowl of granola with yoghurt and fresh raspberries. I'd expected it to be far pricier than it was, but my granola was only £3, which seemed reasonable to me considering the teensy yoghurt pots in coffee chainstores cost £1-2.
The theatre posters everywhere and friendly staff made it feel friendly and informal, but the service, décor and quality of the food means it's still swish enough to take clients or fussy friends to without worry. I'll be back, hopefully to try the dinner menu next time.
Black pudding and scallops, very tasty (particularly the black pudding), calves liver with sauteed sweet potato, very tasty, cheesecake disappointing.
Maybe would have got four stars if I'd been drinking, although the virgin mary was excellent.
My sister booked this place for my Dads Birthday this year, she can be quite demanding but they where very happy to carry out her requests of decorating the table before he arrived, bringing a cake for them to serve amongst others .
The restaurant is in classic retro American style with lots of theatre poster adorning the walls.We found it quite busy despite it being a weeknight when we went , so booking would be recommended.
The food was very good. The menu had a good choice on it including a set menu. The service was friendly though we did have a wait a bit.
Booked this restaurant for a party of five on their website. This was really easy and straight forward way of doing it, and would be great if more places had this facility. The night was standard Joe Allen affair. Lots of atmosphere, good food, and friendly staff. It seems to be the place to go when you have friends from out of town. It has something for everyone on the menu - in fact they don’t even put hambugers on it (something you would expect from an Amercian diner), but you can get them if you ask.
Certainly worth visiting.
I recently had a late night meal in Joe Allen and I wasn’t disappointed. On Sunday and Monday nights they have a £20 menu that gives you three courses, half a carafe of wine or some champagne and water! You can’t beat that for value. I didn’t opt for that on my last visit. I had something off the menu but should be tried and that was their burger. £10, and you get some beautiful beef with cheese or bacon or both. I just had cheese and it comes in a beautifully toasted brioche bun. I had some chips with mine but my restaurant fella had a jacket potato and sour cream. The meat just melted in the mouth and I wanted more, even though they had a massive hunk of cow in my bun. We had come Caesar salad as a side and that was perfection.
Given I had quite a simple meal I feel I should go back and try more of the menu on the basis of “research”. It is highly worth paying a visit to.
Joe Allen is one of these comforting places that has always been here and never fails to deliver. It also serves the latest dinners and saved me from many a hangover …
Staff are extremely courteous and friendly and the food is excellent (chicken and haddock main courses on our last visit, followed by a yummy peacan pie).
The fact that it is in a basement location helps forget everything else around you and being transported into a different time.
A classic restaurant that’s been there for a generation. Traditional America food (Chile con carne, lobster, fish and meat etc) with a warm underground atmosphere - good for almost any occasion. Live jazz on some evenings.
I always feel quite excited going to Joe Allen, something to do with going down the stairs and sitting at the bar before heading to the table to eat. It’s got a great atmosphere, I always feel like I really could be in America. The food is a bit hit and miss but the burger and chips always goes down well and the salads are really good too. You used to see lots of celebs there on a regular basis, not sure if that’s still the case but I always look out anyway. They do great cocktails, the service is very friendly and it’s a calm place to go to escape the chaos and noise of Covent Garden.
Set in the heart of theatreland, this is a fabulous place for a pre or post show meal.
American in style, (it has a counterpart in New York) the menu includes signature “Eggs Joe Allen” dish as well burgers and fries, but there are many more gourmet style dishes with good choices of fish and meat as well as interesting salads. Don’t miss out on the puddings either, with brownies and ice-cream that are unmissable.
You may often spot a theatre star or two, relaxing after a show, so keep your eyes peeled!
This basement restaurant is a well known haunt for the theatre types - actors and journalists alike dine here pre and post theatre. It’s a great little place, and its basement location gives it a cosy, homely feel. It’s location on a side street gives it an air of secrecy. It is how you imagine the pub in 'Cheers’ would feel if it was a restaurant. The food is fairly good, and the menu varied enough to have what you fancy. Apparently there is a secret 'off-menu’ burger that is well renowned, but you have to ask for it.
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