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Feb 20, 2007 12:49 AM

In need of restaurant ideas

I come to London from New York frequently and expect to continue to do so for at least the next six months. Although sometimes I have business dinners or lunches, about half of the time, I'm on my own. My office is on Berkeley Square and I usually stay in Chelsea or Knightsbridge. I've read the recent posts but don't know which ones would be most accomodating to me on my own.

Here is where I've been both alone and for business since January with quick thoughts about the experiences:

River Cafe - lovely Italian influenced food and terrific wine list but hard to access
Ransome's Dock - good Modern British food and imaginative, reasonably priced wine list
The Square - overrated - and oversalted modern British, good but expensive wine list
Royal China (Baker Street) - wonderful dim sum, very nice service
Bombay Brasserie - good Indian but nothing like it was years ago
Painted Heron - very good, nicely spiced Indian but very noisy
Lahore Kebab - insalubrious neighborhood but good, very inexpensive Indian
Amaya - very good, really more fusion than Indian, very nice service, overpriced though, particularly expensive wine list
Maroush (Beauchamp Place) - informal place with good Lebanese
Beit Eddine - informal place with good Lebanese
Bar Shu - very spicy Szechuan, dishes come in a random order, rude service, many dishes oversalted
Busaba Eat Thai - informal, good, relatively inexpensive Thai, service is ok but servers know nothing about the cuisine, communal tables, no bookings
Zafferano - slow service but lovely Italian food; nice wine list
Fino - good not great tapas, overpriced wine list with surprisingly few wines by the glass given the tapas style cuisine and wine bar upstairs
Dorchester Grill - really great Dover sole although pricy and expensive wine list
Vama - good but not great Indian
The Don - very nice Modern British food, charming room, nice wine list
Tom Aikens - overrated and overpriced, some dishes were lovely and some, a bit off, extensive but very expensive wine list
St. John - good, not great. Room temperature was quite cold. Imaginative wine list but few nice ones available by the glass and relatively expensive given the adjacent wine shop

Here are a few places that sounded worth trying but I'm open to suggestions:

Champor Champor
Chinese Experience
La Trouvaille
Eight over Eight
Chelsea Brasserie
Le Cercle
Cambio de Tercio

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  1. Tell us more about what you'd like ($, location, cuisine) and I'm sure we can come up with a few for you to visit on your own! Budget doesn't seem to be a problem which is fun for "us" but there are probably some cheap eats as well to consider...

    1. Budget is a consideration but not a problem. I am willing to travel a bit but would prefer central London. Something further would have to be done on the weekend and be fairly accessible by tube or rail. And I would like to think the food was special enough to merit the effort. For example, I took the tube to Hammersmith and then walked about 15-20 minutes to the River Cafe - and it was certainly worth the trip. I am really open to all cuisines and have no dietary issues.

      1. If you come to London that regularly, it would be worth your while to get off the beaten track of central London and explore some of its suburbs. Have you been to Richmond or Wimbledon? Unfortunately, I don't know the restaurants in those areas but they are wonderful neighbourhoods to visit. I do know Chiswick has some very good restaurants, among them Chiswick High Road Brasserie, Sam's Brasserie and La Trompette.

        Others may have suggestions in Hampstead, Greenwich and other areas.

        1. One suggestion but it's only open for lunch...Sweetings, by Bank. Seafoood. You can sit at a counter of about six to eight people, with a dedicated server. Lots of solo diners. Really nice service and food. Classy experience. Great seafood in the window.

          Also, my standby is The Providores on Marylebone High Street. On the ground floor, there are a couple of tables, but it's mostly high-table seating, which is very amenable to eating on your own. The food is really nice and the wine list is great (although definitely slanted towards OZ). Service is either really good or fairly inexperienced.

          Lastly, the Evening Standard ran an article about solo dining recently...