The best way to navigate is via the impressive central square and arcade. The cobbled streets which surround the square give it a timeless feel, despite the frequently changing stores that surround the centre, notably including the impressive Apple store. Personally, I like a bargain or at least to feel I am getting my money’s worth, so I wouldn’t recommend eating at the cafes and restaurants around the square but a morning coffee or afternoon beer in the sun is a delight.
For a good meal, I like to travel West. I don’t know what your price range is but with the wide selection of pre-theatre menus mean that a good meal is usually available for a good price throughout the afternoon. Although there are many good restaurants offering food from around the world, I seem always to end up eating Mexican food whenever I’m in Covent Garden, and it’s always good!
It seems like a shame to eat a pre-theatre meal without going to the theatre, and that is surely the main reason many people visit Covent Garden. The choices are endless and frequently changing and whether or not the show and the performance are good, the experience is almost always fun.