The neon sign outside reads ‘sex shop’; the mannequin in the entrance wears a PVC gimp suit. But the real excitement begins when you descend the stairs into the bowels of this nightclub-like restaurant. It’s so dark and loud you’ll need a moment to adjust (the light bulbs have been blacked out). By comparison, the homely Mexican cooking can feel run-of-the-mill, though effort is put into presentation. On our visit, soft flour tacos with a tender beef filling arrived beautifully arranged on a specially designed wooden board; a crunchy cheese and roasted tomato quesadilla was served ‘open’; pinto beans with a spicy chorizo kick came in a dinky glazed bowl. The real highlight was the dish least concerned with its own looks: a rich lamb shank in intensely dark juices. Seafood cazuela (a one-pot dish like a wet paella), containing clams, squid, prawns and mussels, was creamy, tangy and perfectly fine, though not especially memorable. Factor-in the small portions and two-hour table limits (though you can decamp to the bar), and you might wonder what the fuss is all about. But that would be missing the point. You come here to see and be seen, and for a thrilling atmosphere and exceptionally friendly service. A must-try.
|Venue name:||La Bodega Negra (restaurant)||Contact:|
9 Old Compton Street
|Opening hours:||Open Mon-Sat 6pm-1am; Sun 6pm-MIdnight|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square tube|
|Price:||Main courses £11.50-£27.50. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £65|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:13
- 4 star:16
- 3 star:7
- 2 star:10
- 1 star:18
My friends always go there and rave about it so I thought I would try it out for myself. The atmostphere and food were amazing I have to say, I highly recommend the quesadilla and octopus and chorizo skewers, the margheritas are spot on as well. I had such a great night out and the staff were attentive and fun! I will defo be back!
From the outside we thought at first have we got the right address? As we were greeted by a friendly staff member we were assured we were in the right place. The decor was fantastic and was very authentic. The porn-star martinis were amazing and the soft shell crab tacos are a must! I would definitely recommend La Bodega Negra to everyone who is looking for a quirky, fun restaurant in the heart of Soho!
I LOVE this place... The Atmosphere is always buzzing and Staff are always lovely lunchtime or evening. Its great for a quick evening bite in a place that is never dull. Best to sit at the bar and watch the food come out if you dont know what to have. Nice wine selection to boot. If you Love Mexican definitely try this,. and especially for the lunchtime deals. Whilst it is still a chain this one is just always consistently good.
I really enjoyed this place (slightly biased due to my obsession with Mexican food.). Food was great, service was very warm and courteous. It is quite trendy (great location also).
if you feel for a cocktail/cervesa and a bite, definitely a great choice.
We ate in the upstairs daytime restaurant a few weeks ago which has a different vibe to the evening downstairs area but is definitely still worth a visit. The food was tasty and is served pretty quickly. We asked for a recommendation from the waitress and she was really helpful. Being able to order the selection of tacos is really good! We tried a few of the cocktails from the menu which were all delicious and then went rogue and started ordering espresso martinis - best espresso martini I have had in ages!!
I'd been wanting to go here for absolutely ages so was really pleased to finally go. I went with my sister so we decided to order from the set lunch menu and share everything. We tried the burrito and tacos both of which were very nice but the table next to us who had ordered from the wider menu definitely looked like they had made a better selection. We went at lunchtime but I think the evening tends to have a better atmosphere. Would definitely go back but would order slightly differently and go in the evening!
Whenever I have been there for lunch, the food has always left me wanting more. It's fresh and tasty and unique however the portion sizes can be quite small so be prepared to order lots of variety and share. Service could have been a little sharper considering there were only 3 or 4 tables in that day.
Really cool space, not very friendly service. We went for my birthday meal last night thinking we'd just try a couple of dishes as we weren't that hungry and it's really pricey, and were immediately made to feel unwelcome by our waiter who is obviously used to customers spending a fortune. He didn't smile at us once, was visibly annoyed that we didn't order more and seemed quite pleased to have his precious table back (even though it was 7pm and the restaurant wasn't full). The food we did try was lovely (though £5.50 for a small pot of guacamole and six chips is crazy), but the service really let it down and means we won't be going back. Great if you're pushing the boat out, but if you just want a light bite, don't bother.
Dined here last Friday night we got a last minute table from the waiting list, and I am so glad we did! Such a fun place! As soon as you step inside you are welcomed by the staff and made to feel really at home. We decided on a couple of drinks before our meal and were shown through the extensive cocktail list by the lovely bar tender. Once sat we chose a load of share-y bits to start I definitely recommend the prawn ceviche and soft shell crab tacos- yum! And for main the slow roasted lamb - the meat literally fell off the bone! We skipped dessert and had more cocktails in the bar. Very fun night. Will definitely be back with friends.
The food was good and i don't mind waiting for a table when i can have a drink beforehand, which we were able to. The problem i had was that they felt it compulsory to charge me a service charge for two bottles of beer... this service was the barman turning 180 degrees, bending down to the fridge and opening two bottles of beer and handing them to me on the other side of the bar.
I have no problem paying a service charge for dinner, when someone is actually servicing but that was a joke and i won't go back because of it.
1 star is generous after the service I received tonight. I was told to arrive on time or my table would be given away and then when I arrived on time they told me my table wasn't ready and I would have to wait. They then lost my card and as I was with a friend I had no money to get home at which point they said they couldn't help me! Again they were rude and to top off the food was average at best.
I had a similar experience to Majia, as she descirbed below. I had been planning a visit here with six friends. When we called to make a reservation for six of us, we were asked if we were an all female group. As we were, they refused to take a booking from us. Absolutely appalled at such blatant discrimination. I'm only relieved I didn't try book a table for me and my husband, or I would never have discovered their sexist policy. Needless to say, we took our business elsewhere.
I decided to visit La Bodega Negra with my boyfriend for his birthday, as we both love Mexican food and had heard lots of good things about the restaurant. Well, unless the good reviews came from blind, and deaf diners with no taste buds to speak of, we must have gone to the wrong restaurant. First diners in for the night, we were neglected for a good 20 minutes before anyone even brought over a menu. When a waiter finally did, we were told that there was an hour and a half turn around time on our table, which had now become an hour and 10 minutes. Hmm.. Secondly, the cocktails.. these I must say could have been the only redeeming feature of the night, if they weren't so ridiculously small. Three (small) mouthfuls and the very expensive, tasty margaritas were done for. Finally, we come to the food. Now, having experienced authentic Mexican cooking for many years I can say that some effort is made here in to sticking with tradition, but that's about as good as it gets. The portions, once again, are ridiculously small for the price. The tacos are the smallest that I have ever seen in my life, the fillings handed out in meagre portion sizes. Not only that, but when they arrived the edges were stale and dry, yet when picked up they disintegrated in to nothing indicating that the tacos were not fresh. Odd, considering we were the first diners of the night. The seasoning and spicing is way off the mark: I absolutely adore spicy food, but when mine and my partner's eyes and noses began streaming so badly that we had to get the bill and leave, I was extremely disappointed. To conclude, La Bodega Negra is a trendy Soho cavern that deserves no praise at all other than for its inventive signage and concept. The food is badly flavoured and small, the staff snotty and rude. The only reason that any diners should go there is if they are interested in boasting that they ate in an overpriced sex shop. Who on earth taught the chefs at La Bodega Negra to cook? And why are they allowed to wreak such havoc in the kitchen?! Instead of visiting this place head to El Camion around the corner for excellent cocktails and really tasty, authentic Mexican food (even though the portions are a little small). If you would be willing to go slightly further afield, the BEST Mexican food in London can be found at El Burrito, just off Goodge Street. Sure the restaurant looks like student halls with benches plonked in the middle of it, but since when did eating out become about anything other than the quality and freshness of food on your plate, served by a knowledgeable and smiling server?
They told me when I sat down for dinner that we were only allowed to stay at our table for an hour...
We never even made it to the restaurant due to their ridiculous reservation policy. Myself and a group of friends like to meet up for dinner once a month or so. I had heard read a great review on this place and suggested it as our next venue. I emailed to reserve a table for 8 on a Tuesday night only to be faced with a number of questions which included what the ratio of men to women was... I replied to say we were 7 females and 1 male. A couple of hours later I recieved a snotty reply saying they did not accept large groups of same sex parties as they do not allow hen dos incase they behave erratically and disturb other diners! Err ITS A TUEDAY - We are all late 20s professionals. What did they expect that we'd drink shots and dance on tables? I replied with my obvious disappointment and explained that we were a group of friends looking for a quiet catch up and they were having none of it. They are obviously making too much money if they can turn down custom like this. The food and drink isnt cheap and our will would have easily edged nearer the £200 mark. I get they want to be exclusive and maybe on a weekend a large party of women or men it might be rowdy, but it was a Tuesday ! Absolutely ridiculous.. I for one will never visit this place and hope others avoid it like the plague too Totally pathetic.
From the moment of booking the arrogance of this place should have made us cancel. If you’re willing to pay extortionate prices for what is essentially overrated under flavoured (with the exception of the tuna tostadas’ -1 for £7!!) Mexican then head here. Staff were rude and in effective and then had the cheek to add 15% service. On a plus point the cocktails were excellent
Great night. Loved everything about it - food, drink, music. Super cool vibe. Stayed late at the bar after dinner.
I had dinner there last week. The food was so good, authentic Mexican not this tex mex rubbish. The staff were lovely and very attentive. I had a great evening and will definitley be going back.
This restaurant is awesome. And London needs more places like this. Yes the music is loud but it's great music and a laugh. The margaritas are delicious. Yes the food is more expensive than wahaca but it's way better - pork belly tacos, ceviche, corn salad, open quesadilla (more like a thin pizza) is amazing and I am happy to pay more than wahaca as La Bodega is way better than a brightly lit canteen - I don't know how you can compare the two. La Bodega is the restaurant that starts your night off - each time I've eaten here, we've gone out after. If you are looking for a quiet night, no music, cheap food then don't come here. It's simple. But, if it's something else your after, then definitely give it a try...
This place clearly rates themselves, god knows why! I experienced horrendous customer service and when I asked for the complaints process and the name of the manager they ASSURED me they would send it through. It is over a month later and despite chasing twice I have heard nothing. I am going to ring them, but feel this is my only course of action now. Dont waste your money - GO TO WAHACA!!!!
For tantalizing taste, scenester staff and above average prices, La Bodega Negra is where it's at. The good ole grapevine placed La Bodega Negra on my hit list, so my partner and I hit it up in style for date night and we were utterly impressed. After a moments hesitation, we pushed open the door to the neon light lavished entrance, only to discover that the it was fully booked for the evening. Our panic stricken faces must have conveyed enough disappointment to the receptionist to suggest the cafe as an alternative. Though no doubt the suggestion is offered every time to similarly unorganised clientele who have failed to book in advance. Conveniently located around the corner, we found ourselves strolling into the faintly lit La Bodega Negra cafe. The first thing we noticed were the aptly chosen tunes which made us feel like we were visiting our fashionable East London friends. The receptionist was so cool that she oozed cool all over us, so much so, that we felt cool as a result. We were guided to the bar and offered a table, which we rejected as the bar seemed (and proved to be) laid back, private and in amongst it all at the same time. So, if you haven't got my drift already, we were falling in love without having looked at the food or drinks menu. Then came the moment of truth. The drinks menu. My partner (a fairly relaxed kiwi bloke) was relatively easily pleased to find Pacifico on the menu. That said, it's not an easy beer to come by, a true Mexican pilsner -style beer. The temptation of what the emo.indie.punk.rock. bar staff could do in terms of cocktails was too much and I enjoyed a few Mexican Midnights, which are a delicious combo of vodka, vanilla and cinnamon. Delicimo! The food itself was straight forward, tasty, but delicate. A typical mexican menu with nothing outrageous or worth recommending over and above anything else. Portions are not large and prices are not attached in the same manner. Overall, we enjoyed what felt like a bit of an underground evening, and it's worth a try, if not only for the cool factor that it epitomises.
Honestly....if people want to waste their money on utterly average food (you can get better Mexican food at Wahaca for a 1/3 of the price), staff who think they are too cool for school, a basement setting which is decked out but somehow looks 1980's, and such loud music that you can't hear what your friends are saying......go right ahead. Most depressing and insulting thing......was that for a cheap tasting, Shi**y experience in a place that is so try hard and honestly just CR*P... you have the pleasure of paying £134 for 2 people without cocktails at the bar which were also pretty ordinary.
Had read a few reviews of the place but went with an open mind as I'm a true foodie who loves exploring new places and food and soaking up great atmosphere. To sum up this place..... CRAP!!!! Trying very hard to be cool when it clearly isn't. VERY average food.... a few small starters (average) and one main dish...which honestly was insulting! a small dish of undercooked rice soup with 4 mussels, a few tiny pieces of squid, 5 clams and 1 prawn. Tasteless and a joke. Add to that, the fact that you honestly can't even hear what your guests are saying and have to scream at each other is sh*t! The whammy came at the end... that pathetic meal plus 1 bottle of average wine cost £134 pounds!!!!! Pus an extra cocktail each was another £20.... If other people think that the place is cool and want to throw money at terrible food and a place where you can't speak to your friends and you have to listen to a dire DJ.... be my guest. Not for me! 1 * out of 10!!
Food was lovely especially the ceviche, frozen margaritas were good - but a little small for £10. Decor in the basement is cool - fairly original but unfortunately it does not make up for the ridiculous price of food and drink. After two margaritas I asked the waiter if the white wines on the menu were dry he replied that the two cheapest taste disgusting but didn't suggest or recommend any others... So I had a coffee and finished up! Great music but they seem to think they are more original than they actually are!
its my third visit now, and, everytime, we are looking after very well ever. Food is amazing, you have to try their tacos and ceviche, best in town by far. Cocktails are delightful and the place itself is must-to-see.
Fantastic plce, great vibe, friendly staff and amazing food. Best tacos in town, proper Mexican food. Great cocktails. We will be back in droves!!!!
Go there!!! and manage to get at least one portion of Pork Belly tacos!!! Its to die for!!! Great service and frozen margaritas!! A MUST in London!!
A smart looking place, but with average food and poor service, it's also fairly expensive. I'd award 2.5 stars if I could, but not 3!
I have been probably 5 times to this restaurant and each time I have loved it. I was so surprised to read these comments. I have only ever eaten in the basement restaurant, rather than the cafe but the best dishes were the prawn tacos, pork belly, guacamole, sea bass and scallop ceviche. Great margaritas too. Waiting staff and managers have always been super helpful. The one thing I would say is that the music is pretty loud so if you are more than 6 people it can be pretty difficult to hear but great atmosphere.
Terrible place with arrogant staff and average food! There was a fly in our drink and we pointed this out to the waitress - she didn't even appologise and had no reaction- just brought us another drink and put on the table without words. Moreover, there is a no photo policy in there, and according to them this is because they are protecting their 'unique' interior (even though there are plenty of pictures on google) and 'they have too many high profile guests who don't want to get photographed'...as if this was the sole reason to go to this overpriced restaurant. Food and drinks are overpriced, expectations were not met at all and would not recommend this place to anyone.
Food is below average. The staff are horrendous and very slow. Avoid at all costs! There are so many better restaurants in London!
I went for a birthday party last Friday (group of 20 people) . We had THE BEST TIME. The place is amazing, nice crowd, the food delicious and the music heaving! Ambience wise it totally reminded me of Momo's back in the days. Unlike some other comments, I found the bar staff to be very pleasant and helpful.
Had a date with the boyfriend Food was amazing waitress attentive wine was epic If anything portion sizes were too big had starter and main could not possibly fit dessert So settled for desert wine instead Greeted in a friendly manner with banter Couldn't fault the service Well worth a visit
Food was terrible at best, with no flavour and indistinguishable texture. The Civeche was drowned in lime and was some of the worst i have ever had. Prices sky high as well. One of the worst food experiences I have had in London over the last 4 years. Avoid it like the plague!
Went here with some girlfriends on Thursday night, thinking it would be somewhere a bit cool and a bit quirky. We were SO disappointed! The entrance was great fun and a real surprise to my friends, the decor downstairs I actually really liked and we all thought the music was fantastic (if a little loud to allow conversation while dining). The food was not bad, although when we got the bill I was shocked and felt that it was very much overpriced (£205 for three people and only £40 of that on drinks and no dessert ordered!). The worst part about this restaurant is its staff - totally unfriendly, pretentious, unhelpful and our waitress was so rude. We were told that we didn't have time to order both a main and dessert (due to the two hour table turnaround) even though we had only been there for an hour. She then went and double checked and said she thought our reservation was for half an hour earlier. We were obviously a bit annoyed that we felt like we were being rushed for no reason and after that she took drinks orders for two of us but completely ignored the third lady on the table. Unbelievably bad customer service and something I have never ever experienced before to such an extent. We will not be returning despite its potential to be a good and fun restaurant.
I wish I had read the comments before deciding to go as I also found it to be extremely overpriced, too noisy and dim. Not only are the staff poorly trained but also extremely rude and impatient. The tables are not suitable for large group dining!