London Special Occasion Restaurant

Hoping the collective wisdom of the board can help me here. Taking my wife to London for a milestone birthday of hers in June, staying in Mayfair. While I am an adventurous diner, she is more mainstream and most tasting menus end up having something not to her liking, so a la carte is a must. Looking for a refined but not stuffy space with excellent food and strong wine list. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

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Clove Club or Bibendum are wonderful

If you want a great wine list or the ability to BYO, I was very VERY impressed with Medlar recently

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You might consider Hide, the restaurant associated with Hedonism, the wine shop. It’s in or near Mayfair. The food is good, but not challenging, with both tasting and a la carte options. The room is beautiful with a view over Green Park, and the wine list is extensive. You can order anything from the shop’s enormous inventory, and it will be there within 15 minutes, IIRC. Or they will happily pull it and prepare it for you in advance - the list is online. The prices are on the high side, but the options are impressive. There is a very good bar on the underground floor as well.

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The former #2 at Kitchen Table, Tom Spenceley, is now the chef at recently reopened The Ledbury. I’d go there and eat his cooking in a heartbeat.

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Oh I didn’t know it was open! That’s good news.

Sarah (and anyone else interested),

Spenceley’s Instagram is worth following and his posts give an idea of his cooking.

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Pollen Street Social

In Mayfair.

Have enjoyed the Ledbury but found it a schlep. But it’s more elegant than Pollen Street Socisl.

Oblix West. Beautiful inside, great view, great food. I remember the wine list being good but they don’t seem to have it online. This article references it a bit: Champagne at 110 metres above London – Glass Of Bubbly

Le Gavroche in Mayfair. They have both a la carte and tasting menus. Not cheap. I think 2 Michelin stars if I remember correctly. I haven’t been since maybe 2017 or 2018.

Thanks for all the suggestions, please keep them coming!

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Bumping to see if there are any other suggestions.Thanks.

+1 Le Gavroche. The cheese souffle is one of the most unusual dishes I have ever had. Pre-pandemic lunch reservations were difficult to get, dinner much easier.
Extensive wine list with some nice burgs. Enjoy.

It may not meet with your wife’s tastes, but we had an excellent meal at Kanishka,, when we were in London last fall. Delicious Indian food, unlike anything I’ve had in the US, and nothing too exotic, from a chef who previously held a couple of Michelin stars (he apparently created a small controversy on social media which cost him his positions at the time).

Since I haven’t lived there in 13 years, I’ll just stick to the few classics that ubiquitous:

The Wolseley is always wonderful, although i’d go for lunch rather than dinner. Great scene, food and service. Rules, if you want immovable Edwardian classic that’s been around for donkeys years (since the last 1700’s). Fergus Henderson’s St. John of course, for the simple, nose-to-tail, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsthall style food (but if you can’t deal with sweetbread or trotters, this is not the place). J Sheekey for posh seafood fine dining in Covent Garden. Like a steakhouse for fish. Excellent.

Hide has a number of different areas. You should look at ‘Above at Hide’ which is on the first floor above ground. The River Cafe in Hammersmith is always good and in June you might reserve outside if the weather is kind. The Ninth in Charlotte Street is a perennial favorite as is Noize just around the corner in Whitfield Street. Lunch at the Ritz is elegant and good value. The dress code is jacket and tie for men but the room is very nice as is the food. Bentleys Oyster Bar and Grill on Swallow Street, off Piccadilly, does exactly what it say on the label and has been doing it well for many years.45 Jermyn Street at the back of Fortnum and Mason is great for an informal lunch. My wife and I like to sit at the bar here.

Great and timely thread as we’ll be in London in June for both work and a fun weekend. I booked the weekend dinners at Hyde and Medlar.

Any thoughts on a place for light lunches or snacks ? We try to avoid 2 proper meals when traveling.


It’s been a few years but 10 Greek St in Soho is good for casual lunch. Tight list, Mod Brit menu, some outdoor seating.

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Barry what do you mean by Schlep?
In London in a couple of months and loved Ledbury a few years ago.
How did you find Pollen St Social? Wine list looks pretty exxy or maybe I am too used to local prices!

I loved BRAT. Noble Rot may fit the bill too.

BRAT does lunch and can be light, depending on how you order. We love it.

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