You can choose any restaurant in London! Where do you go?
January 16, 2011 12:26 PM   Subscribe

We've been given carte blanche by my boyfriend's aunt, who'll be visiting from Canada, to choose any restaurant in London for dinner Wednesday night. Money, she says, is no object. Help us pick somewhere awesome!

We're in EC1 near Old St station, she's staying in Bloomsbury, but we're OK with having to stray about outside the area. Us: young, Canadian, poor, doing a year in London. Her: fairly adventurous, very well-traveled, loves different cuisines, and has been to London before so we don't necessarily want something too touristy. She wouldn't necessarily go for somewhere that's too trendy or too clubby, but otherwise I think she will be happy to take us anywhere that will make us happy. We both like pretty much everything, especially stuff we may not have had before; my boyfriend is always excited when a restaurant menu features meat he hasn't tried before.

We don't get a chance to experience good restaurants in London that often, so we want to make the most of her kind offer, and to take her somewhere she will really like. She is reasonably well off and really does like treating her nieces and nephews, and going out to dinner in general. Obviously this is short notice, so it does need to be somewhere we can get a table, and we may need to eat a bit early because of this. We are okay with this.
posted by SoftRain to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'd pick Viajante - Undoubtedly THE London restaurant opening of 2010. Glamorous, adventurous uber-modern cuisine, and it's just a short hop from EC1.
posted by roofus at 12:34 PM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gordon Ramsay at Claridges is gorgeous and seems to have space

Or, nearer where you are, Viajante in Bethnal Green for a multi-course extravaganza

For meat you haven't tried before, Archipelago in Fitzrovia.
posted by skylar at 12:36 PM on January 16, 2011

And second I'd pick St John which is the archetypal London restaurant serving modern British cuisine. It's scruffily trendy, rather than glam, but the food is perfect.
posted by roofus at 12:37 PM on January 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

If you like fine dining Pied A Terre is bleedin' awesome and when I just looked had availability for Wednesday evening. 2 Michelin Stars and damned well worth them.
posted by Decani at 1:18 PM on January 16, 2011

St John is pretty much slap-bang between Bloomsbury and t'Roundabout, but it's perhaps not quite an "event meal" restaurant unless you're going with one of the large group menus: which, in a way, is a good thing, because you could conceivably go there on your own for lunch and have something very nice for a tenner each.

I haven't eaten at Viajante, but my London foodie friends who have say very good things about it, and the multi-course tasting menus are likely to appeal to your aunt's travel experience.
posted by holgate at 1:25 PM on January 16, 2011

If was in london, and had £160 per head + wine to splash out on food in London, I'd be visiting the Fat Duck and ordering the tasting menu. Here's the info on the proprietor/head chef
posted by singingfish at 2:54 PM on January 16, 2011

oops, I mean here's the info. Sorry
posted by singingfish at 2:55 PM on January 16, 2011

Best answer: I'm not putting these up against Viajante or anywhere else, just giving you alternatives. Neither of them would exactly break the bank.

Probably my favorite London restaurant currently is Tamarind. They're sort of Indian nouvelle cuisine. I go there every time I'm in London, and I look at the menu and wonder why I came back, and then I order the seasonal/tasting menu, and I remember. Delicious food, fantastic service.

Last visit, I went to Gordon Ramsay's Maze Grill steakhouse. They do a nice thing where they mix a steak sauce for you at your table as per your specs.

Not saying these are the two best restaurants in London, but if you were in the mood for Indian or steak, these would be good choices.
posted by troywestfield at 5:11 PM on January 16, 2011

Regarding Gordon Ramsey at the Claridges-- I went there three years ago and it was a fantastic meal, well worth the hype.

Then I went back about a year and a half ago and I was disappointed. It was a pretty good meal, but not worth the price, and not as good as I remember it being. I don't know if it was an off night, or if the previous chef had left, or what.

For what it's worth, The Fat Duck is regularly ranked among the world's very best restaurants. This list has it at third-best in the world, for examplel. I've never eaten there, but it's at the top of my fantasy list of Restaurants To Go To When I Can Afford To Spend £160 Per Person On Dinner.
posted by yankeefog at 2:10 AM on January 17, 2011

I can't recommended it personally as I've yet to go, but I desperately want to go to Rules just off Covent Garden. Traditional English game food.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:50 AM on January 17, 2011

The Fat Duck isn't actually in London.

I'd second Decani because the best meal I've ever had was at Pied A Terre.
posted by ninebelow at 7:56 AM on January 17, 2011

Came in here to also note that The Fat Duck is in Bray, near Reading - not London. Rules is... interesting more for the people-watching than the food, St John does that sort of thing a bit better (and less expensive).

Providores in Marylebone is nice, if you like fusion-y food and New Zealand wines.
posted by Cuppatea at 8:19 AM on January 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the fantastic recommendations everyone! We were tarrying on the decision (too many choices!), but we wound up booking in at Tamarind since we could get a table there before 10 and I love Indian. I will definitely keep this thread in mind for future special occasions and family visits! (I tried to get into St John, Viajante, and Pied A Terre, but they were all full when I got home tonight. And we can probably go to St John or Bread and Wine on our own at some point).
posted by SoftRain at 1:32 PM on January 17, 2011

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