Stuck for inspiration on where to go for your birthday? A place to eat when the parents come to visit? or just fancy treating yourself one weekend? This list will give you some great ideas on where to eat in London for a special occasion, and tips to do so without breaking the bank!
From great value set menus, dining with a view or pressing a button for champagne! Here are 10 places to eat in London for a special occasion. Get reading and get booking!
1. The Ivy, Covent Garden
The Ivy is an iconic restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden known for its fantastic food, classic service and celebrity clientele. it opened way back in 1917 and has been known to feed some of the most famous faces IN THE WORLD. Everyone from Princess Diana to Lawrence Oliver, Bradley Cooper to Madonna! All these famous customers must mean you’ll need to win the lottery or rob a bank to go, right? Wrong! They do a 3 course set menu of classic dishes for under £30! If your feeling flash, a tip would be to get the two course and then a baked Alaska to share. It’s Ice cream baked in meringue and then set on fire at the table! Seriously fancy! When eating at The Ivy expect traditional, elegance and maybe a face or two you’ll know.
Available: Monday – Thursday 2:30pm – 6pm and after 10pm. Sunday All day
2 Courses: £23.50
3 Courses: £27.50
Dress code: Smart/Casual. Men are requested to wear jackets when wearing a short sleeve shirt. No shorts.
Great for: Pre-theatre dinner or an EXTRA special occasion.
2. Maggie Jones, High Street Kensington
Rustic, cosy and romantic. That’s how Maggie Jones describe it on the website and their not wrong. Tucked in a side street in High Street Kensington, you’d never walk past it of an evening and that’s what makes it so special. It looks like nowhere you’ve eaten before with its wooden tables, hanging baskets and mismatched decor; it feels like your eating in the English countryside. The menu is British inspired with chicken pies, roast lamb and the fillet steak you can cut through like butter. Go in the evening, it’s particularly beautiful with the flickering candlelight.
Available: A la carte menu. Main courses £11.25 – £28.50. All desserts £5.50.
Dress code: N/A
Great for: Date night.
Photo Credit: www.maggiejones.com
3. Balthazar, Covent Garden
When Balthazar hit London in February 2013 the waiting list was about 2 months long. Luckily things have calmed down a little now and getting a reservation is a bit easier. Balthazar opened up in New York in 1997 and has become a must go eatery in the big apple, and now in London. Think French brassiere meets New York with inspired dishes such as a very french coq au vin to very American mac & cheese. Not just mac & cheese, THE BEST MAC & CHEESE EVER. The set menu for under £25 changes every month and always has a good variety of delicious choices. Even that mac and cheese pops up sometimes. Oh yeah, and everyone gets complimentary bread from their own bakery on arrival. And it’s seriously good bread.
Available: Monday – Friday 12pm – 4pm. Monday – Sunday 5pm – 6:30pm.
2 Courses: £19.50
3 Courses: £22.50
Dress code: N/A
Great for: A birthday meal or pre-theatre dinner.
Photo Credit: www.thetimes.com
4.Rosewood Hotel’s Holborn Dining Rooms, Holborn
Holborn Dining Rooms is one of the restaurants at the uber posh Rosewood Hotel. A hotel in central London that boasts a £10,000 a night room that has its own postcode. INSANE. Luckily, their only asking you to fork out £25 for a 3-course meal to eat here. With red leather banquette seats and copper-topped bars, it is a pretty impressive looking place. Think posh comfort food like hearty lamb pot roast or a very indulgent sticky toffee pudding. When you’re done with your food they have a terrace out the back complete with heated seats and warm blankets to enjoy a glass of wine or just a good old cup of tea al fresco. Particularly special at Christmas with a mulled wine, a cosy blanket, and the sparkly lights.
Available: Monday – Saturday 3:30pm – 6:30pm. 9:30pm – 11:30pm
2 Courses: £20
3 Courses: £25
Dress code: N/A
Great for: If the parents come to visit or a christmas outing.
Photo Credit: www.rosewoodhotels.com
5. Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
Deanstreet Townhouse is part of the Soho House Group that boasts some of THE most beautiful boutique hotel rooms in London. Right in the heart of Soho think 4 poster beds and tub style baths that can set you back between £145 & £390 a night. Their restaurant thankfully doesn’t come close to that and if you’re looking for a special place for brekkie this is a good choice. Egg & Soldiers will set you back around £6, and add a cup of PG tips to that £2.25. You could eat here for under a tenner if you really wanted. With the suede chairs, white tablecloths and fancy soap in the toilet, it won’t feel like it, though.
Available: Breakfast £3 – £14. Al A Carte ranges between £11.50 – £36.50
Dress code: N/A
Great for: Treating yourself at the weekend.
Photo Credit: @dstownhouse
Hawksmoor is probably London’s most famous place for a steak, and enjoying one here can set up back £35 for the meat alone. Great if you’re splashing the cash but not so great if your not. Well, book in before 6:30 pm Monday – Saturday or after 10 pm and you can get 3 whole courses for £28. There’s even a steak on the menu that’s usually £18.50, meaning in theory you get an extra 2 courses for under a tenner! How good is that? If you happen to e there on a Sunday, the set menus not available but their roast is. Not just any roast, THE best roast in London with bone marrow gravy and a Yorkshire pud the size of your head. You haven’t had a steak until you had one here.
Available: Monday – Saturday until 6:30pm and after 10pm
2 Courses: £25
3 Courses: £28
Dress code: N/A
Great for: Fathers day, pre-theatre or just if you want to try a REALLY good steak.
Photo credit: www.opentable.com
7. Duck and Waffle, The City
Duck and Waffle is probably THE most famous place for brunch in London. Their reservations come out 2 months to the day in advance and they’re snapped up within hours. Two reasons for this, the food and the view. Set on the 40th floor in the financial district, it has spectacular views over London, and if you’re looking at it eating a peanut butter and jam waffle it looks even better. Recommend is the duck egg en cocotte. A posh version of egg and soldiers swimming in cheese and truffle oil. Or you could just go for a coffee and a pastry which would come in under a tenner. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and if you fancy watching the sunrise with someone special this is the place to go.
Available: Breakfast 6 am – 10 am, Brunch 6 am – 2 pm, All day Al a Carte
Dress code: We welcome and encourage style, however, we kindly ask that guests refrain from wearing shorts, beachwear, flip flops, and sportswear, including athletic trainers. Smart jeans are permitted.
Great for: Birthday brunch.
8. Bob Bob Ricard, Soho
If you’re thinking of taking someone somewhere for a special occasion, what’s more special than a table that comes with its own ‘press for champagne’ button? Yes, you heard it right. A button that when pressed means champagne is delivered to your table in a flash. British inspired but Russian-owned this is where the REAL rich people hang out. The kind of people who eat caviar because they actually like it. Very extravagant and luxurious. The menu is very decadent with truffles, lobster, and steak tartare to name a few, and champagne comes in at £13.95 a glass. A real treat place that everyone needs to go to at least once.
Available: Al A Carte Menu: Main courses range between £17.50 – £23.50
Dress code: Elegant. Ties are not required.
Great for: Girls Night
Photo Credit: www.bobbobricard.com
9. The Shard, London Bridge
Sometimes it’s not always about the food, and if you want to treat yourself or someone to a drink in a nice place this is it. On the 31st floor of The Shard is Aqua Shard. A beautiful bar with floor to ceiling views over London that doesn’t involve buying a ticket or selling a kidney. Anyone can go here and if you’re on a real budget you could always just have a lemonade, juice or just get one alcoholic drink and sip it veryyyyy slowly. The wine starts from around £6.50 a glass and cocktails about £15. Nuts/bar snacks are available to nibble if you get peckish. Keep and eye out for the seats next to the window. Cheaper than doing the ‘view from the shard’ and a must if you’re in London just for the weekend.
Available: Monday – Friday 7am – 11pm Saturday – Sunday 9am – 11pm
Dress code: Smart casual. Aqua Shard regret that entry will not be allowed to those wearing shorts, flip flops, sports kit or sports shoes.
Great for: Looking like you’ve spent a fortune but really you haven’t.
Photo Credit: www.aquashard.co.uk
Dishoom is not your standard Indian restaurant that we know and love in the UK. They describe themselves more of a Bombay Cafe and serve very traditional, authentic Indian food with a modern twist. If you fancy something a bit different this is the place. Indian breakfast consists of naan bread bacon sandwiches, Bombay spiced omelettes and an Indian twist on an English breakfast (think masala baked beans). Or if your thinking more of an evening thing, they do your classics like a chicken biryani and samosas and not so classics like chili cheese toast and okra fries. A great place to get a group of friends together order loads of food to share and get stuck in.
Available: Breakfast 8am – 11:45am . Main menu from 11:45 am.Curry starts from £7.90
Dress code: N/A
Great for: Dinner with a big group of friends.