Near Russel Square and getting hungry? Not to worry! Our local London foodie in has compiled this list of the 10 best restaurants near Russel Square and the British Museum.
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The Top 10 Places to Eat Near Russel Square in London
The British Museum in London is #1 most visited museum in the city of London. If you are anything like me, all that walking around and learning really works up an appetite. That is why I made this easy and curated list of some go-to restaurants in the area. Enjoy!
€€ – €€€ | Seafood | Big Portions
The perfect place to order a ton of food to share with your friends. The Shell offers a wide variety of fresh, locally sourced seafood, along with beautifully cooked steak, and a fine selection of wine. Tucked away beneath a bright blue neon sign, The Shell’s cozy interior doesn’t have the stuffy, straitlaced atmosphere of other restaurants of its kind, but that’s why we love it.
And talk about value. With platters titled “The Big” and “The Huge”, piled high with shrimp, crab, oysters, whelks, winkles, and prawns, you are not leaving this place hungry. It’s the best seafood near Russel Square, bar none.
Address: 124 Southampton Row, Holborn
Hours: Weekdays – 4 to 10 PM, Weekends – 12 to 10 PM
The English Garden Restaurant
€€€ | Continental | Close to the Museum
If you’re not looking to walk far from the museum, then head to the Grange White Hall Hotel on Montague street for this hidden gem of continental cuisine. To start, we recommend keeping it simple with warm goat’s cheese melted over freshly baked French bread, before moving on to one of the varied entrée options. On the menu, pork tenderloin medallions and tender lamb cutlets appear side-by-side with chicken curry and stir fried egg noodles. All of it is delicious and presented beautifully.
In terms of atmosphere, the title says it all. There are windows surrounding all sides of this elegant dining room looking out into the hotel’s lush garden overlooking the British Museum, a lovely place to stroll after lunch. It’s definitely one of our favorite restaurants near Russel Square.
Address: 2-5 Montague St, Holborn
Hours: 7 to 10 AM, 6:30 to 10 PM
€ | American and Mediterranean | Quick and Easy
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, then Leon is the perfect place. It’s a great spot to grab an egg muffin or shakshuka in the morning before hitting the museum. For lunch, you can keep it simple: cheesy loaded fries, sweet Carolina BBQ burgers, and hearty slaw. If you’re not in too much of a rush, however, we’d recommend taking a long look at the menu. The grilled eggplant, paprika chicken and sweetcorn ribs are fantastic.
Address: Unit 2, Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury
Hours: 7 AM to 10 PM every day
€€€€ | Italian | Authentic
A list of top restaurants near Russel Square would be incomplete without this gem of authentic Italian cuisine. Isolabella is just a ten minute walk from the British Museum, and offers an extensive menu of Mediterranean dishes in an intimate setting. To be honest, the menu is a bit overwhelming in terms of options, but we’ll highlight a few.
The Bresaola Rucula e Parmigiano consists of cured beef sliced thinly, drizzled with parmesan, and is the perfect choice for a starter. The Suprema Di Pollo Crema e Funghi is a chicken filet covered in cream and mushroom sauce that pair beautifully with the wide selection of white wines available (try the Verdicchio Classico ?.)
If you’re a vegetarian, then you might have a little trouble with this menu, but the cannelloni (baked in béchamel sauce and filled with spinach and ricotta) are a great choice.
Address: 45-46 Red Lion St, Holborn
Hours: Weekdays 12 to 10:30 PM | Saturday 5:30 to 10:30 PM | Sunday 12 to 9:30 PM
Nostimo Mediterranean Gastronomy
€€ | Greek | Affordable
Just a five minute walk from Russel Square, Nostimo Gastronomy is Greek food done right. That means the freshest ingredients, impeccable service and recipes that have been passed down for generations. While you can certainly make reservations, Nostimo is also a great place to pick up a gyro or some moussaka to share. And with most mains hovering around £13, it’s the perfect balance of quality food and reasonable prices (a rarity in London, I can assure you.)
Address: 9 Brunswick Centre Unit 9
Hours: 12 to 10 PM every day
€ | Burgers and Fries | Trendy
Like Leon, MEATliquor doesn’t try to be fancy, but if you’re looking for cheap, deep-fried deliciousness then it gets the job done. Five minutes from Russel Square and set inside a cozy interior plastered with Warholian pop art posters, MEATliquor offers cheeseburgers with fries and a drink for only £10. Paired with any of their beers or alcoholic milkshakes, the food here is a knockout (in many ways, literally.)
All of their meat is halal and sourced from the Scottish Highlands. We’d recommend the Dead Hippie burger, which includes two patties fried in mustard and covered with onions, cheese and pickles. They also make some great vegetarian burgers out of tempeh, roasted potato, white onion and seitan, so there’s something for everybody.
Address: 15-17 Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury
Hours: 12 to 10:30 PM every day
€€ | Indian | Vegan
Speaking of vegetarian options, Namaste Holborn is the place to go if you’re looking for one of the best vegan restaurants near Russel Square. Authentically Indian, Namaste Holborn offers several Meal Box options that include lentil Dal, paneer curry and soft basmati jeera rice. It’s the kind of place that you’ll want to order a bunch and share with friends, just because there’s so much good stuff on the menu. The vegetable massamam curry, and the eggplant-based Baingan Bharta are fantastic, and pair perfectly with freshly baked tandoori roti.
With its rustic interior, walls paneled with aged wood and lit with yellow incandescent bulbs, Namaste Holborn is perfect for a quick lunch or a romantic dinner.
Address: 33 Boswell St, Holborn
Hours: 4:30 to 8:30 PM, Closed on Sundays.
€€€ | Chinese | Intimate
Bringing authentic Jiangsu cuisine from eastern China to Red Lion Square, Restaurant HE is our top choice for Asian restaurants near Russel Square and the London Museum. Though HE doesn’t have a huge menu, it makes up for it by the sheer quality of the options available. Starters like the hot and spicy Jiang Nan Kou Shui Chicken and Plum Tomatoes Salad are a great place to start before moving on to your entrée. We’d recommend the Sweet and Sour Squirrel Fish special if you want something that you’ll likely never find in other Chinese restaurants. It’s a recipe that’s been passed down for over a century, and it’s easy to see why.
Keep in mind, you’ll definitely want to make reservations. Restaurant HE is quite small and seats can fill up quickly, but it is definitely worth the extra effort.
Address: 27 Red Lion St, Holborn
Hours: 12 to 10 PM, Closed on Sundays
€€€€ | French | Authentic
Named after a film by Robert Bresson, it doesn’t get more French than this. A great spot to grab a coffee and some freshly-baked pastries, Balthazar on Russel Street is a great place to stop if you’re on your way to the Museum from the South. The menu is graced by a number of breakfast options ranging from a pancakes and croissants to eggs made however you like. If you’re looking for something light, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate profiteroles or the apple tarte fine with salted caramel ice cream.
That’s not to say you can’t head here for dinner. In fact, Balthazar’s set menu includes classics like Duck Confit, Roasted Chicken with Truffle and Crème Fraiche, as well as oysters, lobsters and caviar. It’s like a little Paris in the heart of London.
Address: 4-6 Russell St, Covent Garden
Hours: 11:30 AM to 10 PM, Sundays – 10 AM to 10 PM
€€ | Tapas | Seafood Specialty
We’ll finish off this list with the perfect place if you’re traveling in a group. Barrafina on Drury Lane is an intimate tapas bar that takes its offerings from an authentic Spanish culinary tradition. It’s not a huge menu, but everything is great, and if you’re with friends you’ll be able to try a lot.
Barrafina’s specialty is seafood, and there are some great options to choose from. We definitely recommend the king scallop or the mussels a la brasa. Paired with a side of roasted aubergine and padrón peppers and chips, along with a bottle of sherry to go around, these tapas really bring a group together.
Address: 43 Drury Ln, Covent Garden
Hours: Wed to Sat 5 to 10 PM | Sundays 12 to 4 PM, Closed