When we’re choosing a restaurant in London, it’s often not because we’re on the hunt for somewhere to go to dinner but to mark some other occasion.
Whether it’s a birthday, a first date or even a business meeting, these events often take place at a restaurant table.
Naturally, the same restaurant may not be appropriate for all of these events but choosing a place in London to suit your occasion shouldn’t be an ordeal. This post will help you find the perfect spot for your special event!
Celebrating your birthday
For a jolly occasion like a birthday, chances are you’re going to want to choose an upbeat venue with a great atmosphere.
If you’re going in a group, pick a place which can cater for large parties. The last thing you want is loved-up couples giving you evils because you’re ruining their romantic atmosphere!
Large chain restaurants naturally do this well but if you want to try somewhere slightly more unique, go for a “sharing” cuisine like Mexican or Spanish tapas. They’re always group-friendly and have a great selection of cocktails!
Or if you want some glamour without the matching prices, try somewhere like Brasserie Zédel – owned by the same group as luxurious eateries The Wolseley and The Delaunay – it’s perfect for its atmosphere, cocktails (pop into its American Bar first) and value-for-money menu.
Impressing on a first date
Remember, this is your first chance to impress your date and first impressions are important! If you’re choosing a restaurant in London as the venue for your first date, you’d better pick a good one!
This doesn’t mean that it has to be a fancy Michelin-starred place, but something that your date will like.
You’ll probably need to do a bit of research on them beforehand to find out what they like – so get Facebook stalking!
A nice quiet place with a great atmosphere is always a safe bet. If your date likes a romantic setting, then perhaps choosing a London restaurant with a killer view of the city, or one which serves traditional French cuisine, would be a good shout.
If you can afford it, Oblix at The Shard is a great spot to impress. If you fancy somewhere stylish but good value, Taiwanese restaurant XU – owned by the same people who launched BAO – is perfect for great food in an atmospheric 1930s’ setting.
However, if your date is a little more relaxed then why not try somewhere trendier? Perhaps a teppenyaki, where they grill your food in front of you! Sen Nin is a north London favourite.
Choosing a restaurant in London for that important business meeting
Generally, if you’re choosing a restaurant to be the setting of a business meeting it’s because you’re trying to win over a potential client.
Therefore, you need to pick a restaurant that reflects you and your business. Naturally, this would depend on what industry you are in but it’s usually safe to go down the corporate route.
Hotel restaurants are an easy choice, especially when travelling for business. Michelin-starred Helene Darroze at the Connaught is an impressive choice. You could also try upmarket Peruvian cuisine at COYA – they have branches in Mayfair and Angel Court.
Otherwise, a classic English bistro would be a safe bet – RULES, in Covent Garden, is London’s oldest and most traditional restaurant.
A marriage proposal in the city
If there was ever a time you wanted to splash your cash on a restaurant, this would be it.
OK, the restaurant choice shouldn’t sway your partner’s decision, but it can’t hurt!
Choosing a restaurant in London shouldn’t be too difficult for this momentous occasion – there are some amazing options out there for stunning views, romantic atmosphere and staff who are experienced with this sort of thing.
Think Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental at the edge of Hyde Park, or Galvin at Windows (you might even spot First Dates’ Fred Sirieux, who is the manager here!).
However, you don’t always have to pick somewhere fancy. Instead, you could opt for a restaurant that means something to both of you – like where you had your first date. Somewhere cosy but upmarket, like Andrew Edmunds in Soho, would be ideal.
Whatever the place, just make sure they don’t accidentally swallow the ring!
Choosing a restaurant in London – a summary
You want everything to be perfect for that special occasion, and choosing a restaurant in London shouldn’t be something to dread.
For birthdays, opt for group-friendly chain restaurants that are fit with long drinks menus and a lively ambience!
For the date you want to impress, do your research and pick a place that serves the food they like. Opt for somewhere with a quiet and romantic atmosphere – great views and an interesting menu will be easy conversation starters.
For the business client you want to win over, somewhere formal but comfortable is your safest bet – hotel restaurants are a perfect neutral option.
And finally, when choosing a restaurant in London that’s fit for your special proposal, look for something sentimental that pulls on the heartstrings of both you and your partner. You won’t be short of romantic and magical restaurants in this city!