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London Restaurants

The Ivy

  • 1–5 West St. Map It
  • $$
  • British

Updated 03/06/2014

Fodor's Review

The triple A list spurns The Ivy for its upstairs private members' club (and other luxe spots like Scott's, 34, and Berners Tavern) but, nonetheless, this venerable landmark still receives a thousand calls a day! A mesmerizing mix of daytime TV stars, gawkers, day-trippers, and out-of-towners dine on salt-beef hash, squash risotto, Thai-baked sea bass, salmon fish cakes, eggs Benedict, and good ol' English classics like Shepherd's pie or kedgeree (curried rice with smoked

haddock, egg, and parsley) in a handsome mullioned stained-glass and oak-paneled dining salon. Desserts are standards like Baked Alaska or sticky toffee pudding, service is unfailingly professional, and for low-to-mid wattage West End star-spotting this is still a happy hunting ground. If you can't snag a table by phone or online, try walking in on spec—it's been known to work.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

1–5 West St., London, WC2H 9NQ, England

Map It

Phone:

020-7836–4751

Restaurant Details:

  • Credit cards accepted
  • Reservations essential

Updated 03/06/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Charles

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May 17, 2005

Truly worth the wait.

I had been trying to get into The Ivy for over 5 months, and finally was able to secure a 8:30pm reservation. Normally they wanted to give me 10:30pm! I was excited, but wasn't expecting too much, as restaurants of this sort are often over hyped. I have to say I was thrilled. I had a fantastic crispy duck salad, a lovely fresh pea and gorgonzola risotto and a beautiful dessert of caramelized peaches with almond and iced lime crème fraiche. Absolutely

brilliant. Service was good, with no attitude and very cozy. Highly recommended.

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By Jeanne

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Sep 2, 2004

Very Overrated

One word, terrible! The tables are jammed together, our waiter was surly, the food was mediocre & the bathrooms disgusting. We couldn't wait to get out of there.

By Stuart

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Oct 9, 2003

It Was "HOT" at the IVY: No Air Conditioning

I went to the Ivy on Sunday, Sept 21. I had called for eservations for this "Hot" restaurant before I left the US. It was hot all right. London was over 80 degrees outside, and certainly hotter and stuffier inside. The waiter said "They're working to repair the air conditioning." But, it certainly wasn't fixed while we were there. (Jacket required if you are not a celebrity, so the warm temperature did not make for a good experience.) We ordered

the 18.50 three course special luncheon available only on weekends. It actually costs 20 pounds because there is an added 1.5 pound charge for eating in the dining room. The alternative is a seat at the bar. The luncheon choices were limited: beef with yorkshire pudding or chicken. The beef was mediocre. I don't remember the "starter." But, the dessert was great: blueberries mixed into ice cream. It was better than it sounds. At least, that partbof the meal was good. Due to the temperature, you had to ear the ide cream quickly.

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By Sarah

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Apr 8, 2003

Grows on You

Fantastic lunch ...... can't wait to go back

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Mar 3, 2003

Can't wait to go again!

My friend and I treated ourselves to lunch at The Ivy on Saturday 1st March, and we were not disappointed. We'd booked our table for 12.30, but arrived at 12.00, and were told we could go straight through if we liked. The menus arrived and it was very difficult to choose because there were so many dishes that sounded wonderful! In the end we opted for a starter (which was a very generous size!) and a main course which was simply delicious (the shepherd's

pie & salmon fishcake - which was about 3 inches thick!!). The food was absolutely delicious. We didn't have room for pud (shame!) so opted for coffees instead, while we watched the waiters flambe the baked alaska at the next table!! The bill came to £35 each including a tip, which we didn't think was bad. I've paid more locally for much less enjoyable food! Mind you, they do have a lunchtime menu which is just £18.50 for 3 courses, but we chose to splash out and eat from the A La Carte Menu. The nice thing was that although there were people smoking at other tables (the man on the next table was smoking a cigar), we hardly noticed the smell, and we didn't come out smelling of smoke at all. Guess they have a very good air conditioning system! All in all, we had a wonderfully relaxed 2 and a half hour lunchtime feed and natter, and can't wait to go again with our partners!! We booked in November for our table last Saturday, and I'll be on the phone next week to book for September!! If you're looking for top-quality food, excellent service and a lovely atmosphere, then you've just read where to go!

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By Lucy

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Apr 25, 2002

They buy puddings from iceland!

Over hyped, under served, dark, smokey and loud. The food was average, not too badly priced, Krug was reasonable but the pudding - baked alaska was rubbery, Iceland does better, and far too sweet. Service was painfully slow, non attentive and generally the whole experience was negative. Ok there were some famous people there, but surely there is more to life.....

By Joe

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Apr 18, 2002

Lucky Last Minute

Called late, 5:30 PM, on our last day in London and was able to get a table at 7:30 provided we were out by 9:30, no problem. Service was good, not overly attentive, but they were there to refill water and wine glasses. Food was very good not excellent. Nice selection to choose from. Very comfortable and attractive dinning room.

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Mar 5, 2002

Good Experience

We booked the Ivy weeks in advance for our anniversary night in London. It was very good- we really did love the food-- but I am not so sure what all the hype is about. Try the Bang Bang chicken salad to start- yummy! Go if you have a few nights but I am not sure I would recommend it for a particularly special night.

By elaine

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Feb 25, 2002

What's not to like?

The Ivy, well-known in the theatre district, should also be reserved months in advance. I dined there Feb 02 and it has become my favorite restaurant in London. Chic crowd, outstanding food, formal but friendly service. Dress ranged from casual chic to business attire. The Caesar salad was only ok imo, but the "fish and chips" couldn't have been better; although battered and fried, the fish was so light it almost floated. The apple crumble for dessert

was excellent. Cost for one person, with water and a glass of wine, was 40 pounds, service not included.

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By Amy

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Jul 6, 2001

Paparazzi at the door

We booked in advance and had a lovely lunch at this in spot. Although the prices are high everything was lovely. Enjoyed learning about traditional English dishes like Bubbles and Squeak.The smoking can be unpleasant.

By Nicole

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Jun 7, 2001

Disappointing

We were unable to get dinner reservations during our recent trip to London, but decided to opt for lunch just for the chance to dine somewhere that came so highly recommended over and over. The atmosphere was very clubby and rather stuffy (more appropriate for business diners than for those of us on holiday), and while the food was quite good, the service was extremely disappointing. No less than 5 different servers waited on us throughout the meal,

which lasted almost 2 hours, but none of them seemed to be around when we needed them. And though we enjoyed a bottle and a half of champagne with our meal, our lunch bill was still a bit startling at almost 200 pounds including service (for four of us). Nowhere near worth the money, and definitely not a place I would return to or recommend to anyone.

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By Lesley

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Mar 24, 2001

I bet Camilla doesn't have this trouble!

We have tried to book for dinner so many times. This time I rang to book ten weeks in advance and was still told they were full and so was the waiting list. What is the point? Sorry can't give any ratings.

By anna

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Mar 24, 2001

Felt Right at Home at the Ivy

We knew it would be difficult to get reservations at the last minute, but I always try by calling around 4 or 5 p.m. on the same day and they usually have something available if you don't mind eating late. The Ivy was not as stuffy as some other London fancy restaurants.

By Jason

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Feb 8, 2001

The Ivy Keeps Growing

Sevice is always great and the food is even better. Nowhere else do I struggle with a 3rd course. I've tried nearly everything on the menu and wouldn't eat anywhere else.

By Jean

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Nov 21, 2000

Call Before You Go

We had heard great things about this place. Tried to make reservations for dinner after we arrived. They were booked our entire stay. Call for reservations a few weeks before leaving home.

By Karen

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Jun 24, 2000

Husband pleaser!

We've never forgotten our first dinner in London on our first trip long ago. My husband is very picky and likes down to earth food and he had plenty of choices. Lovely atmosphere and accomodating waiters. A winner in anybody's book.

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