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Please help w/ two budgetless dinners in London!!

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Hi! I know there are lots of postings like this on the UK board but I'm having sooo much trouble narrowing down my options for two dinners in late october. Price is no object and we eat pretty much everything. I'm looking for outstanding food in a livly, trendy setting (nothing stuffy, old, or empty)! If it's possible great desserts and a noise level that at least allows for conversation are prefered and if it makes a difference, I am having lunch at Ivy on day 1.

So what would you pick or what am I missing? Thank you!

Night 1 = Either Zuma, Hakkasan, or Amaya

Night 2 = Tom Aikens, Greenhouse, Maze, Le Cercle, or The Ledbury

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  1. Alright, more narrowing down has occured. I am settled on Zuma for the 1st night.

    For the second night - The question is now:
    Tom Aikens, The Ledbury, Or Locanda Locatelli?

    Which one will be more lively and fun? Which will have the most interesting food? I've heard Aikens is a little overly complicated, but is Ledbury not quite as special? Is Locanda still holding its own?

    Thank you!!

    1. I know its not on your list - but Yauatcha is also a great choice for Asian-Fusion type food.
      As far as your 2nd night goes - was really not impressed with The Ledbury...
      hope this helps...

      1. Tom Aikens is definitely "complicated" food and depending on what you order, a bit of an assault on the senses. Everything we ate was lovely and I would certainly go back for an occasion but I would try to choose a more balanced menu as every plate had a myriad of flavours and textures on it. Given that you're dining at The Ivy for lunch, Tom Aikens could definitely follow on easily. (I wouldn't want two heavy hitting meals in a day) However if you're looking at other factors, it's not a large restaurant and while the petit four are eye boggling (4 truffles on a tray with your coffee it certainly ain't...try tuiles, madelines in 4 different flavours, chocolate truffles...etc etc), I found the setting less convivial and a little stuffy (not snooty, just a bit more reserved).

        I'm a fan of Locanda Locatelli for the food and decor as well as the service. The waiters know the menu and the cooking methods and I've always had a ball there. It's reasonably bustling and when having a conversation you don't feel like everyone in the room can hear what you're saying, yet you don't have to shout. re. the decor, it's kind of retro-modern and doesn't scream "bland hotel restaurant trying to be modern"...which I felt with Maze.

        Not that I wouldn't recommend Maze for the food - if you're interested in desserts, I really enjoyed my dessert selection there. For a piggy with a sweet tooth like me, I did appreciate the fact that I could order a bit of everything that caught my eye. The peanutbutter/jelly sandwich dessert was definitely a hit with me (and quite a few diners, from the reviews I've read)

        wherever you end up, I hope it's a success for you!

        1. We went earlier this month and had a lovely dinner at The Ledbury. It's nestled in a more residential part of Notting Hill, so feels a bit out of the way, in a good way. Great atmosphere, excellent and friendly service, and our tasting menu was fantastic. Was inventive enough without being silly, and there is definitely artistry in the kitchen. It was about US$500 for a party a four with a bit of wine.

          1. Locanda Locatelli is definitely the one to go for. The food is fantastic, the atmosphere is great, and the waiters really know what they're doing. I have had several lovely meals there and it is one of my favourite restaurants in London. If they have the pigeon on, then I would heartily recommend it. I would recommend making a booking (they only start taking them one month in advance of the date you want to visit).

            The Ledbury is alright but I wasn't all that impressed with it.

            I have never been to Tom Aikens but have heard good things about it.

            I hope you have a great meal wherever you decide to go.