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Jul 10, 2009 08:57 AM

London - Dining Solo

I am heading to London from New York on business and plan on arriving early to do some things on my own. I will be staying in either the Kensington area or Convent Gardens (haven't quite decided). I will be there on a Saturday and Sunday evening and looking for some nice places that are good for solo dining for a female in their 20s.

I am hoping not to go too far from the areas I mentioned. I would be looking for maybe one high-end place (how is Atelier de Joel Robouchon?) and maybe another spot with a nice bar that is more casual but not too loud and crazy. I am not particularly looking for Indian food for either night, but other ethnic cuisines could be of interest. I love Italian food but I do get enough of that in New York. Price is not important.

If you also have some nice lunch suggestions, please let me know. I noticed a nice Sunday lunch menu at L'Autre Pied. How is that?

FYI I am an active CHer on the NY Boards so I will happily return the favor of recommendations for anyone traveling to my city!

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  1. you shouldn't miss out helen darroze. and you shouldn't miss out the lebanese restaurants: ishbilya in knightsbridge is worth checking out.

    fyi, covent garden is a bit manhattany, somewhat like times square (but with much more charm). suggestion: stay in kensington and then go get lunch/dinner at launceston place. there is nothing like that neighborhood anywhere in ny; say hi to it from me if you do go there will you? here i am in the hamptons and i'm already homesick for london.

    1. Hi Stephanie

      I'd go for some of the sit-up bar options as that always seems easier as a solus option. Bocca di Lupo in Soho is a great 'Italian tapas' place, J Sheekey has a new oyster bar with smaller plate versions of some of their classics, Barrafina, also in Soho, is a lovely Spanish tapas joint, as is Saltyard on Goodge Street. And Terroirs in Covent Garden is a lovely new wine bar that does decent plates too.

      You could also try some of the Szechuan joints, not sure if that's big in NY? Very fiery Chinese. Try Ba Shan in Soho or Baozi Inn for a cheaper option in Chinatown.

      6 Replies
      1. re: helen b

        Thank you both. I do get a lot of Szechuan here in NY so I'd rather avoid that in London.

        The bar suggestions are perfect!

        1. re: stephaniec25

          I think you can do better than L'Atelier. Helen's recommendations are spot on - Barrafina or Terroirs would be great, and Dehesa is also good for tapas. Maybe Roka or Zuma would suit you if you like Japanese?

          There are some worthy eat-at-the-bar recs here:

          If you end up staying in Kensington, you might enjoy dim sum at Min Jiang. The restaurant has great views and does a reasonable set lunch during the week. (Search this board for recent positive reviews).

          1. re: DollyDagger

            Great, thanks. I will certainly check those spots out. Min Jiang would be great for a dim sum lunch.

            Are any of these near the theaters? I have theater tickets saturday night and thought I might try something in that area (unless its terribly touristy)

              1. re: stephaniec25

                I often travel alone ( tho I am old enuf to be your....aunt?) and last time in London brought clients to J Sheekey after theater..yes it is in the midst of the theater district and we had a drink in the oyster bar before our table was set and I noted it as being on the list for my next solo trip...very comfortable and good fish

              2. re: DollyDagger

                actually if food quality is your concern, she probably can't do much better than L'Atelier.

                I have issues with the service, and the sometimes self satisfied atmosphere, but the food is cracking.

          2. How similar is L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon NY to the London branch? Might not be worth going to if you can getting something similar in your backyard.

            Second Howler's recs on Lebanese places - I'm also a fan of Ishbilya in Kinghtsbridge. Or Alwaha if you're closer to Baywater/Notting Hill.

            Abeno Too near Covent gardens might be pleasant for lunch - very good okonomiyaki. In Bayswater, check out Gold Mountain for lunch -- get their trio of Cantonese roast meats (char siu, roasted pork belly, roast duck) on rice. Nothing atmospheric, but food's awesome.

            1. stephanie: Ironically, I posted on solo dining in London earlier today. Sorry I didn't see your post till now. Hope this isn't too late for your London visit.

              Given your profile, you may with to consider Maze by Gordon Ramsey in Mayfair. It's more fun and lively than Maze in NY and very appropriate for a solo diner. They have 2 counters: 1 in Maze (elegant small plate menu) and 1 in Maze Grill (simpler, more steak oriented) next door.

              Have a great time in London. Hope you post about the places you like and don't like after your trip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cortez

                Thanks to all I will let everyone know where I end up!