ST. JAMES, THE WEST END AND VARIOUS LOCALS
Trinity / 4 The Polygon /Clapham / SW4 / Tel 020-07622 1199 / www.trinityrestaurant.co.uk
The food is brilliant modern English style, without too many fussy and heavy foams, jus etc. Chef Adam Byatt's restaurant serves only the freshest and seasonal local foods. Brilliant.
The Wolseley / 160 Piccadilly W1/ Tel 020 7499-6996 / www.thewolseley.com
The room is the star along with the wonderful Bloody Mary's. A grand brasserie with modern British cooking. Great for breakfast or all day dining. Serves early before the theatre.
Cote Bistro/ 17-21 Tavistock St. WC2/ Tel 020 7379 9991 www.cote-restaurants.co.uk
Covent Garden location just voted the Best Value Restaurant in Britain. Good simple fare, reasonably priced. Great for pre or post theatre. The food quality is superb. There is also a location in Kensington.
The Ivy/ 1 West St W2 / Tel 020-7836-4751 / www.the-ivy.co.uk
A wonderful restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden with delicious food. Wonderful updated English dishes. Frequented by many theater and film actors. Book WELL in advance and be prepared to settle for a late seating.
Il Vicolo / 3-4 Crown Passage / Pall Mall W1/ Tel 020 7839 3960 / www.ilvicolo.co.uk/
Charming restaurant with reliable and tasty Sardinian food. Worth knowing about this affordable restaurant
Clos Maggorie / 33 King St. W2 / 020 7379-9696/ www.closmaggiore.com
A romantic restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden. Try to get a table in the conservatory or in the winter, upstairs by the fire. Really amazing wine list and excellent food. Must book.
The Cinnamon Club / Great Smith St. W1 / 020-7222- 2555 / www.cinnamonclub.com
Housed in the Old Westminster Library this Indian restaurant offers stunning and delicate cuisine that's worth the price. Not cheap but oh so good. Service is a tad slow but very friendly. See Restaurant Review below.
As you probably know, it's in the old Westminster Library building located near Westminster Abby, which is a treat in and of itself. I think The Cinnamon Club opened in 2001; I went there initially because the wine guy, Laurent Chaniac (still buying wine for CC!) came from the Stafford Hotel, where I stayed on a regular basis for about 20 years when I was working over here.
I've dined there about 6 times, give or take. The food has been consistently excellent, although it's now getting pricey, even for "upscale Indian." Last night's dinner tells the story: Mindi started with a Welsh lamb appetizer with Indian spices, following that with a grilled sea bream with a chard compote and vermicelli mound. That may not sound Indian, but the chef has a mastery of Indian spices that make it all come together. I started with rabbit tikka (this is not a typo!) with a chili dipping sauce. Delicious! The coup de grace was my "red deer" venison dish. The slices of venison were atop a cumin flavored béarnaise-type sauce and sat next to a meaty, crunchy samosa. But the star dish was a side of sangri beans! We first had these beans in Rajasthan and have NEVER seen them on a menu in London, NY, or DC! They were fabulous - a not to be missed treat.
There you have it!...................William Gardner
L'Aventure/ 3 Blenheim Terrace NW8 / Tel 020-7624-6232 / www.laventure.co.uk
Lovely, romantic small restaurant in St John's Wood. French food with offerings that change twice a day. Absolutely superb. Has a charming vine covered front terrace for summer dining.
The Four Seasons / 12 Gerrard Street W1 / Chinatown / Tel 7494-0870 / www.fs-restaurants.co.uk
The crispy duck is legendary...and cheap! The wonton soup yummy. And we love the Chinese beer. Convenient for before or after the theater. Filled with Chinese locals. Formerly the Dragon Inn, same owners, new name.
Belgo / 50 Earlham Street / Covent Gardens / Tel 7813-2233 / www.belgo-restaurants.co.uk
This place is a hoot! Busy, noisy, crowded but great mussels, offered at least 10 different ways. The beer is all Belgian (over 100 varieties). The food is simple & reasonable.
Enoteca Turi / 28 Putney High St SW15/ 020 8785-4449 / www.enotecaturi.com
Absolutely wonderful family-run Italian. The wine and food are the best and menu changes weekly. Fresh, seasonal cooking. Take the #22 bus.
North Sea Fish/ 7-8 Leigh Street/Bloomsbury WC1/ Tel 020-7387-5892 / www.northseafishrestaurant.co.uk
Succulent scampi, mackerel and a whopping seafood platter. For fish and chips lovers this is a must.
Rules / 35 Maiden Lane WC2E / Tel 020- 7836-5314 / www.rules.co.uk
London's oldest restaurant with a dignified and timeless atmosphere. The food is good and the best deal in London is the pre-theater diner (arrive no later than 5 p.m.). Also a good three-course lunch. Traditional game, fish, puddings.
The Giaconda Dining Room / 9 Denmark St. WC2/ Tel 020-7240 3334 / www.giacondadining.com
Aussie chef Paul Merrony's "jammed" café "feels like a real find"; its "lovely" staff serve up "proper" bistro dishes at "incredibly good-value" prices.
Green's Restaurant & Oyster Bar / 36 Duke St SW1 / Tel 020-7930-4566 / www.greens.org.uk
Very traditional British setting for a selection of traditional British dishes. Everything is delicious from the oysters, roast duck, Norfolk ham, savouries, & wonderful Scottish salmon. The sticky toffee pudding is the best!
The Guinea Grill / 30 Bruton Place Mayfair W1J/ Tel 202-7499-1210 / www.theguinea.co.uk
Old-school grill room in Mayfair. Cozy and atmospheric. Traditional British food and legendary pies.
St. John /26 St. John St. EC1/Tel 020-7251 0848 / www.stjohnrestaurant.co.uk
Nose to tail eating. Legendary Scottish chef Fergus Henderson's restaurant in the Smithfield Market area of London. This restaurant is a must and has an ever changing menu. Not a place for vegetarians as the specialties are game, offal of all varieties, & lovely local fish. There are also beef and pork selections. Highly recommended but do visit their web sight to see if this is for you.
Chez Bruce / 2 Bellevue Road SW17 / 020 8672-0114 / www.chezbruce.co.uk
One of best restaurants in London. British/French cooking in a relaxed atmosphere with superb service. Expensive but worth the cab ride.