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xpi6tiva Apr 20th, 2005 08:25 AM

Need London restaurant and after suggestions, please.
Hi. My husband and I will be traveling to London next month for 5 days. As this is a business trip, most of our activities are planned. However, they are giving us some alone time, including one evening.

I would love some suggestions for a restaurant and some evening spots we can check out. Our budget is right in the middle. We are both in our early 30's, enjoy more laid back atmospheres. We are staying at St. Martins Lane in Covent Garden... Local spots we could walk to would be appreciated. Any other near by suggestions would be great too! Shops? museums?
Thank you!

Patrick Apr 20th, 2005 09:07 AM

You're staying right in the neighborhood where I've rented a flat for 9 years (a week to two each time).

A few favorites:
L'Estiment: on Floral Street at the corner of Garrick. Quiet candlelit French. Very reasonable pretheatre three course meal.

Le Deuxieme: LongAcre just east of Covent Garden Tube Station. Pretty and elegant modern and minimalist interior. Quiet and refined, not expensive. Wonderful fish. Also real bargains for either before or after theatre.

Le Palais du Jardin: On LongAcre just east of St. Martin's/Garrick. Trendy brasserie type place. Lively and good food. A little pricier than some of the others.

Mon Plasir: On Monmouth, across from Covent Garden Hotel. Delightful and atmospheric French. Been there forever. Best for more "country" dishes.

Rules: Oldest restaurant in London. Worth it for the atmosphere -- is that Henry Higgins and Col. Pickering across the way? Great game dishes from their own farms in the country. The BEST sticky toffee pudding. Pricey, but very good.

More budget: Belgo Centraal by Neal's Yard (near Covent Garden Tube Station). Mussels or roast chicken and great Belgium beers in a huge basement room at communal tables. Cheap and fun.
By the way, don't miss the Neal's Dairy Cheese Shop and the fun little tea shop with their thousands of pots as well as other fun places in the Neal's Yard area.

ChinaTown is at your door step. Pick a place by the "authentic" looking crowds inside and the menus posted outside. I love the crispy duck at Dragon Inn.

The Lamb and Flag -- very old and historic pub, you get to it off Floral Street though a mini passage, or off Garrick Street on Rose. Very busy with "London yuppies" after work. Good lunches upstairs.

OOOps. I just saw you only have one night alone. I've already given you way to much to think about!

xpi6tiva Apr 20th, 2005 09:15 AM

Thank you for all your suggestions. Yes, I only have one evening and one afternoon alone. They have dinners, tours and activities already planned. There are nights where we might want to go off alone after dinner with the group... The Lamb and Flag might be fun. Are they open late? This is my first trip to London as an adult. Any places with great music in the evenings? What about having afternoon tea? I know I am jumping around too many things. This trip is already going to be a trip of a lifetime... I just want my alone time to be just as fun.

Tulips Apr 20th, 2005 09:58 AM

Patrick's list is very good; you can't go wrong there. If you have only one afternoon and evening, don't have aftertoon tea. IMHO it is a waste of time, that you could spend sightseeing and shopping. And you won't have any appetite left for dinner.
Covent Garden is nice; wander around Floral Street, Neal Street and the small streets around there. Lots of nice shops.

starspinners Apr 20th, 2005 10:24 AM

Any of the places mentioned by Patrick would be a good choice, but Rules would be my number one recommendation , simply because when you dine there you know for sure in London.
It's worth going there just to see all the caricatures on the walls.
Rules serves all kinds of game, plus great rack of lamb, Dover Sole, and more. And the sticky toffee is not to be missed. :-D

I substitute afternoon tea for dinner. I've never been able to do tea and dinner on the same day ...I guess I m not disciplined enough to pass up all the delicious finger foods served at tea; therefore I am too stuffed to even think about dinner.
However, if you book your tea for the earliest sitting, you might still be able to eat a late dinner.
I suggest The Savoy ( hotel) for afternoon tea, you'll be able to walk there from your St. Martin's Lane location.
Tea is served in the Thames Foyer, you be offered a lovely selection of savories and sweets while you enjoy the live piano music.

Have a grand time in London.

xpi6tiva Apr 20th, 2005 12:39 PM

Do you suggest I make reservations? Or will I be able to walk in the even of? I checked out the website for Rules... the menu looks pretty good.

Thank you for all your opinions for afternoon tea. I think I will save it for my next trip to London.

Patrick Apr 20th, 2005 12:59 PM

I would suggest booking for Rules. You can do it right online on their website.
I agree, that would be the number one choice considering what you've said.
The Lamb and Flag is more lunch in terms of food, I guess they serve dinner, but it's more for drinking in the late afternoon and early evening. Just stop in for a pint before or after someplace else.

starspinners Apr 20th, 2005 01:15 PM

Rules is a popular spot for both pre and post theater dining.
Ditto the suggestion for your making reservations, because you are bound to prefer doing other things than waiting for a table on your one free evening . :-)

Good grief..I just saw the typos I committed in my previous message.

xpi6tiva Apr 21st, 2005 09:00 AM

Thank you. I will book dinner reservations at Rules then.

Any suggestions for after dinner? Or something we can do in the late evenings? I don't want to just go back to the hotel after dinner each night. We are also there for Friday and Saturday nights.

Tulips Apr 21st, 2005 10:02 AM

If you are staying at the St Martins Lane hotel, go to the bar there. It's hard to get in when you're not staying in the hotel. We tried (a few years ago) after having had dinner there, and were told it's members or hotel guests only.

sunny16 Apr 21st, 2005 11:30 AM

For after dinner: when I was a student there, one of my favorite things to do was to cross the Westminster Bridge and walk along the South Bank. The view of Big Ben lit up at night up at night is spectacular.

xpi6tiva Apr 21st, 2005 12:19 PM

Oh! that sounds wonderful, Sunny. I hope the weather in nice? I hear it's spotty in May. My company(MINI) is treating us to cocktails and dinner at St. Martins the first evening... forgot the name though. I guess if we like it, it will be our "hangout" for the week.

luckykat Apr 22nd, 2005 02:25 AM

For a blow out experience, Try Hakkasan at Tottenham Court Road. A bit pricey but amazing!

Check my site for a review: There are several other London restaurant and bar reviews on my site as well. If you want more information, post a comment on my site and I'll get back to you.

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