Please note, Top Dog Diner is now closed. Time Out eating & drinking editors July 2016.
The hot dogs at this new Soho eatery are about as pretty as hot dogs get. Artful lattices of sauce from a squeezy bottle announce that Top Dog wants to give the humble tube steak the Best in Show award in the Crufts of gastronomy. The proprietors put a ‘healthy’ spin on their offering, and the pups are produced in London.
As someone who grew up eating (and loving) hot dogs in New York, I applaud every effort to get serious about these tubes of delight. And I enjoyed eating a couple of times at Top Dog, which has arrived in Soho to a fanfare of PR and Twitter trumpets. (Lisa Snowdon attended the launch.) It’s a nice-looking place, and blessed with friendly staff. They were still a little flustered in the first week, as some systems were not fully up to speed, but a second visit a week later went much more smoothly.
On our first visit, our duo of dogs disappointed us. We ordered the ‘Soho’ (£4.95) and the ‘Sloppy’ (£7.50). When they arrived, we couldn’t tell which was which and neither, initially, could the waiting staff. After conferring, they pointed out a small fringe of baked beans peeping out of the cleft in the Sloppy. That minimal difference carried on in the eating experience. The two dogs didn’t taste very different from one other. They were perfectly OK, but they were undistinguished.
Second time round we barked enthusiastically for the Chicago and Kimchi version, which were more clearly distinguishable one from the other. The latter didn’t taste like kimchi, the Korean pickled-cabbage condiment that gives it its name, but it was good. Both cost £7.50.
We had two sides, fries and apple slaw. The fries were of unusually good quality, thin-cut and addictively crunchy. The slaw (£2) was more like sauerkraut than coleslaw on our first visit, dominated by the flavours of fermentation. On the second visit it was better, but we thought the recipe could benefit from a rethink.
Hot dog + side dish should = lunch. After finishing here, we still felt hungry. Which wouldn’t be so bad, but this light meal can set you back a schnauzer’s-hair over 20 quid (before tip). Spending the same amount at Herman ze German (there’s a branch one minute’s walk away) could render you immobile.
We liked the idea of Top Dog, and we liked being there. With luck, they’ll do what it takes to make them truly the top dog. They’ve got the bark. What they need is the bite.
|Venue name:||Top Dog Diner||Contact:|
48 Frith Street
|Transport:||Tube: Tottenham Court Rd or Leicester Square.|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £20|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
- 5 star:49
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:1
Want to have food that takes the American dinner food and takes it to a whole new level? Here's the place to visit!
This place is AMAZING! Delicious and actually real meat!! And, it's also Kid tested while being Parent approved: milkshakes and craft beers, dogs with ketchup or Kimchi, root beer floats or Jack Daniels, skinny fries or sweet potato. Plus, it's sort of nice to have good service, even for simple good food in the heart of SoHo. Love it!
Just a awesome owner! I am from America but LOVE London. Bringing a little piece of my home to my favorite place!! Just perfect!!
Top Dog is a brilliant idea. Everything is sourced from the finest ingredients, but it's an old fashioned, casual nosh. Delicious, and a great atmosphere, but one you can relax in.
Great food and great service the staff are extremely friendly and the manager always goes the extra mile
Delicious food my kids adore, and of such high quality that my husband and I not only feel great about treating them with it, we join in! We could fill an album with photos we've taken on that motorcycle! Such fun.
Top Dog brings the fun of America's favorite comfort food and upgrades it for the premium lifestyle, all with a UK flair -- haute dogs, indeed!
The food is so so fresh am loving it, my journey to Soho will not be complete with a taste of TOP DOG HMMmmmmmmmm
Soho is a little taste of home for me with the option of a lettuce bun!!! Cool, fun, spot a must try!!!
Best hot dogs in London! I'm a huge hot dog fan having been brought up on them in the U.S., so it's great to have an authentic American-style hot dog joint in Soho. The pulled pork 'n' slaw dog is amazing, especially with a side of sweet potato fries...and a salted caramel shake! I'm also a massive fan of their Bourbon Sour and Bulleits over Broadway bourbon cocktail with passion fruit and mint (I didn't think I liked bourbon - who knew!) I've also hosted a party Upstairs at Top Dog and it was great fun - the staff is super friendly, yummy dogs and drinks for every liking - beer, wine and cocktails.
Ever fancy a hot dog but want somewhere with a bit more pizazz than Herman The German? Top Dog in Soho has you covered. A bit on the pricey side and not as good as Big Apple, but if you're in Soho and need a place to meet a few mates that doesn't involve waiting in queue for over an hour, there are worse places you could be. Drinks range is a plus, they've got Beavertown and Harry Brompton alcoholic Ice Tea.
In America we know baseball and hot dogs..now London knows what a truly wonderful thing a gourmet hot dog can be!
Love, love, love Top Dog. Great team, great location, and the upstairs cocktail space is a total blast (I don't like Bourbon but you wouldn't even be able to tell there was Bourbon in their sour... absolutely lethal)!
Top Dog? More like BOTTOM dog! Amirite? No, seriously, this place is the worst. The hot dogs have this horrible, icky texture. They're horrendously and uncomfortably firm and the toppings are meagre too. And christ above it's expensive. I could buy a Peugeot for half of what my meal here cost me. Ok, an old peugeot but a peugeot nonetheless. Peugeot is a funny word to spell, isn't it? Anyway, skip this place, wait til midnight and get one of those hotdogs you buy off the dudes in the street. The meat might be mysterious but we all need a little mystery in our lives.