Top 5 places to eat before Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre


Where’s best for a quick but decent bite when dashing to an al fresco production?



Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in full swing. Photo: David Jensen
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in full swing. Photo: David Jensen
A summer night at Regent’s Park’s verdant amphitheatre can be the most chilled and lovely post-work pursuit. Just as long as you haven’t had to bolt down a burger on Baker Street, then race blindly through the Park to make it on time. Unlike the West End or decent fringe spots, pre-theatre dining options are a little thin on the ground in the immediate vicinity, which is stronger on its boating lakes and rose gardens. Of course the venue famously offer a range of pre-booked choices, from swanky picnic hampers enjoyed on the lawn, to reserved tables to which one can return in the interval for tea and cake. All very civilised indeed, but what to do if you haven’t been quite so organised?

There are a number of different approaches to the theatre, but all of them should take in a stroll – not a dash – through the Park. Here’s our guide to a decent dinner from each of the key routes.

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Coming via Great Portland Street?

Queen’s Head & Artichoke

Queens Head ArtichokeIt’s tempting to sit down and tuck in to one of the fine gastropub mains served at this lovely old pub, with a history dating back to the 16th century. But for an ideal quick pre-theatre bite, the always reliable, extensive (and often surprisingly good) tapas menu really can’t be beaten.
30-32 Albany Street

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Coming via Baker Street?

The Garden Café

Garden CafeThe one place right on the doorstep of the Open Air Theatre is this faithfully restored 1960s design icon, all bright and airy with striking geometric pastel flourishes. Company of Cooks do their upscale canteen thing, serving modern British fare such as Scottish rope-grown mussels in a saffron, tomato caper sauce. With extended summer opening hours to cater to the pre-theatre crowd, the two course set menu is £14.75 or three for £18.95. This summer, look out for the Herbfest menu too, featuring a range of dishes infused with freshly plucked flavours from herb gardens planted around the café.
Queen Mary’s Garden, Inner Circle

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Coming via Primrose Hill?

Greenbury Café

Greenberry CafeMany mourned the loss of the Trojka Russian Tea Tooms in this location, but its unfussy if well turned out replacement has been a huge hit. A decent prix fixe at £11 for two courses, £13.50 for three is a good pre-theatre option. Expect globally inspired, locally sourced dishes, plenty of healthy salads, loads of different wines by the glass and, if there’s the time or the inclination, great cakes and ice cream.
101 Regent’s Park Road

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Coming via Camden Town?

York & Albany

York & Albany PizzaGordon Ramsay’s outpost at the top of Parkway offers set menus, (£19/£22 for two or three courses) between 6-7pm, but we’d suggest taking this at a more leasurely pace on another night. For a pre-Open Air supper, head for the rustic-luxe ex-coaching house stables next door, where inventively topped pizzas are £11.50, posh bangers and burgers around the £14 mark. For a romantic twist, book a night in the townhouse hotel upstairs and wander back via the roads through the Park to tuck up in crisp Egyptian cotton sheets.
127-129 Parkway

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Coming via St John’s Wood?

The New Inn

The New Inn St John's WoodAway from the chains on St John’s Wood High Street, this traditional backstreet boozer is ideally placed for eating before the picturesque short stroll down to the theatre. The main menu plays it safe: a brace of well-loved pub classics from signature chicken club sandwiches to hearty beef stroganoff. Meat, cheese or fish sharing boards (£14) are a good swift option (make sure you tell the laid back staff you’ve got a play to get to though). The new burger menu (£12-17.50) looks tasty, if unashamedly decadent too.
2 Allitsen Road


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