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Jul 2, 2009 02:07 AM

[London] How swanky can I get for ~£50 pp?

I'm looking to treat a friend to a nice meal when she visits in August. Budget will be around £100-120 for two, and I'd like to use the full budget, if possible. I don't have experience with places that run more than about £15 a head, so I'm out of my depth here.

I know this isn't particularly helpful, but all cuisines would be considered!

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  1. Somewhere like Arbutus would be good - they have all their wines by the carafe so you dont have to shell out for a full bottle.
    If it is for lunch, there are loads of deals out there at some of the top places in London - Toptable is a good place to start to find these deals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pj26

      you can do a lot better than arbutus, and its wine policy is sooooo unbelievably overrated its not funny.

      if the wine wasn't so heavily marked up you could buy a bottle!

    2. I went to River Cafe the other night for roughly 120 which included: 2 starters, 1 meat main, 1 pasta main, 2 desserts, a bottle of prosecco, a glass of prosecco, and a whiskey. Excellent food, and great setting in the summer!

      1. Three of us once ate at Maze for £90. One wasn't all that hungry, one is a small eater. If you don't order a zillion dishes, I think it's do-able. We also did not drink any alchohol but we did have quite a few dishes each, including a dessert.

        1. Dinner or lunch? How much do you plan on drinking?

          1. As Nanette has already said, whether you plan to drink much and whether its dinner/lunch will make a big difference.

            what sort of location are you in, prepared to travel to?

            Off the top of my head, presuming dinner:
            if you like Seafood One o One will probably still be running their 50% off dinner special.

            otherwise you could try Chez Bruce in Wandsworth.
            Launceston Place could be fun, quite posh technical cooking.
            if you're looking for exciting stuff, texture is very good.

            the River Cafe would be a lovely spot too.

            7 Replies
            1. re: batfink23

              How is Jun Tanaka's Pearl? I've never heard anybody talk about it.

              1. re: zuriga1

                actually it can be very, very good. I haven't been in about 12-15 months, but on the 3 -4 times I have been its top notch.

                technique driven, modern french food with the odd eastern flourish. it has a very wide by the glass wine list too.

                generally its very good, too expensive for dinner here I suspect.

                1. re: batfink23

                  Thanks batfink. I've admired Tanaka's recipes a few times when he appeared on the telly. Eating in his restaurant was an appealing idea - more so now.

              2. re: batfink23

                We plan to drink, but doesn't need to be a lot. a drink or two would be fine. I'm in Waterloo, but am happy to travel anywhere reasonable. Lunch or dinner is fine--seems like there are a lot of good lunch deals on toptable. Are any of those places good by chowhound standards?

                1. re: Lina

                  If lunch is an option, you could probably go just about anywhere. Le Gavroche has two stars, and an excellent value lunch. You could even have wine.

                  I went for my birthday a month ago, and while I'm not an expert, or as versed in the London scene as many here, I do know that it was good, and quite swanky. Not as modern of an interior as some, but nice.

                  1. re: nanette

                    Gavroche is always fantastic, and its lunch deal is one of the very best in london. if I have a criticism - and its a tiny one - its a bit of a stuffy atmosphere and lunch isn't necessarily representative of the menu proper.

                    but they are minor quibbles, Gavroche is always a treat.

                  2. re: Lina

                    in that case, I'd go for dinner at Chez Bruce. 20 mins from waterloo.
                    overground from waterloo - clapham junction; then change to Wandsworth common. very, very easy trip.

                    its often rated amongst the very best restaurants in london (hardens has had it at no.1 for a couple of years, and Zagats gives it 28 and it has one michelin star) and provides a classy touch, but very relaxed and familiar. had a great lunch here earlier this week.

                    you won't find intimidating menus, or overly inventive dishes, its just simple, perfectly executed dishes. though make no mistake, there is real class and swank here. its not that simple ;o)

                    the wine list is good and well priced, they do half bottle carafes, and it overlooks wandsworth common which is gorgeous on a nice day. a nice dinner at 7:00 would be lovely, and there is a great pub next door too.

                    oh, and its fantastic value for money. which never hurts.