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Honeymoon diner June 2011 - In London

Hello, AZ USA CH'r and was hoping to get some advice here. Going to be going to London - Paris - Amsterdam for the honeymoon and want to do one incredible dinner in each city. Since we are going to France we dont want to do anything French in London...so where is our best amazing dinner going to be found. If i could get a top 3 from a few people that would be great, i dont know exactly where we are staying yet but i think somewhere around the Royal Park Hotel, however it isnt neccisary that it is close by, however if a few places are equal we may choose the closer one. Cost is not an object for this meal, just an amazing dinner.

Already plan on doing tea at the Ritz...is there any other place that is a great English experience not to be missed?

Where will be best pie's and then also fish and chips be at? Street vendor or market would is fine or a pub

Is there any Manchester United pub stronghold in London (i know it isnt manchester) i was just curious, since i wont have a chance to make it up north, it would be cool to go to a Man Utd. pub - havent had much luck on the Red's forums other than for people to say it is London not Manchester

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  1. Any special reason you've chosen the Ritz for tea? I've never had tea there, or heard it mentioned very much as a special place for one. If you search here under 'London tea,' you may come up with some other suggestions as we've discussed favourite places in the past.

    Many of us really like Master's Superfish for fish and chips. Fancy it isn't but the food is terrific if you want authentic with all the trimmings.

    6 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      Fancy for the fish and chips i dont really care about, just good authentic with the trimmings

      Is Master's Superfish a single place or is it a chain? What part of London is it in?

      I read something about a place that serves british pies called pickled pig or something like that on the forums...is that a good street vendor or is it an actual place? Hopefully someone knows what im talking about :)

      I chose the Ritz for tea because Frommers recommend it with 3 stars...i would certainly be open to a different tea options if the CH crew feels it is not very good, just wanted to do a "traditional" British tea because i thought it would be fun and that was the "best" per what i read...i didnt research it on the forums at all because i thought that was a given...guess ill need to do some reading :)

      That marcus wareing place looks awesome, very cool looking inside

      I saw that the square and theledbury are sister restraunts, but on the ledbury site there is no pictures of the place

      i would have to say if i chose decor of the two places the marcus waring is more impressive - at least via website, although the square has a good website as well - they both seem about evenly priced with wine parings between the two

      marcus waring is french cooking sounds like, is phil howard also french? Would like more british style, because we will be in france for 6 days

      1. re: Dapuma

        Master's Superfish is not a chain, and it's about a 3 block walk from Waterloo Station. I usually go for lunch and really don't know if I, personally, would choose it for a dinner because of all the other choices in London, but that's just up to you and if you've already been in France. A week in France usually does me in. :-)

        Brown's Hotel does a great tea, but men have to wear a jacket and that is a bit off-putting for many. I had a lovely, quiet tea not long ago at the Mandeville Hotel. They have details on the hotel website. Service was good, food was good, and the price was right. I'm the one at the Ritz is fine... also good at Fortnum & Mason right down the street.

        June (who once lived in Tucson)

        1. re: zuriga1

          How about the newly re-opened and refurbished Savoy for afternoon tea? The photo's look amazing.

          1. re: PhilD

            Thanks for reminding me about the Savoy, Phil. My niece is moving here in a few weeks, and I think my dining out, including teas, is going to increase quite a lot... as will the waistline! I'm going to check what the Savoy charges - just as a comparison with others.

        2. re: Dapuma

          If you're looking for very British cuisine you can't really do better than St John. Completely different to everywhere else being talked about but undoubtedly top class. Have a read of reviews of it and look at the menu and see whether it appeals.

          Otherwise at the 2* level any of Marcus Wareing/Ledbury/Hibiscus/The Square are going to feel very modern european and will all be superb.

          1. re: ManInTransit

            Actually I'm surprised St John didn't spring to my mind (being my favourite restaurant and all). It is a very alternative experience to what you might be used to in top restaurants, and probably not to everybody's taste, but it is fantastic and a quintessentially 'London' experience.

      2. The obvious choices for your special dinner would be Marcus Wareing, The Ledbury, or perhaps Hibiscus or The Greenhouse (albeit the last two are slightly more French in outlook). I wouldn't get too stuck up on the whole French thing though, as just about every top restaurant uses some sort of French influence (at least in London).

        Nevertheless, I don't know exactly what you're looking for. Is it the best fine dining money can buy, or an all-round magical evening? If the latter I might suggest Galvin at Windows with a particularly good window table. The food is pretty French, and of a very solid one Michelin star level (but no more). The views on the other hand are breathtaking and I'd imagine fantastic for a honeymoon dinner.

        1. My favorites in the "best" category are The Square, The Ledbury and Texture (which may be a bit of an "outlier", but I'm a fan of Scandinavian cooking, after spending much time recently in Stockholm and Copenhagen, and the "new Scandinavian" approach (which Texture follows) is my favorite).

          1. As far as the tea in concerned, I would say the Brown's. Yes I agree the jacket required is a little off putting, but it is worth the trouble. Plus I believe it is much less of a "girly" tea than the Ritz and I have done tea at both.

            Agree dinner at The Ledbury. You could also do the Fat Duck(outside of London), but if you do, make sure to search this board on how to obtain a reservation as it is ridiculously hard to get a table.

            I personally like fish and chips at the Golden Hinde in Marleybone. Beware it is BYOB if you decide to go.

            In Amersterdam I would recommend De Witte Uyl or De Kas. We had incredible meals at both in April. I found both of those recommendations on dutchgrub.com and would recommend you reading there for other more casual meals as well.

            Le Cinq in Paris is one of the best meals we have ever had. If you search the CH France Board you can see several reviews on Le Cinq. Also check out http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/... Talbott is a very frequent poster on the French board and also has his own website

            13 Replies
            1. re: jenniferjones

              Wow the Brown's place looks way cooler than the Ritz, and i can see why you say less girly from the pictures on the website. If you judge by websites Brown's all the way, and i do :)

              I read about Fat Duck, however it looks like it is around 45 minutes outside of London? Is that correct? If that is the case i think that is a bit much to travel because everything is going to be new to us and we only have 5 days in London, and two days are going to be some daytrips, although we may cut that to one -- right now we are going to see windsor castle/stonehenge/bath , was curious if it might be worth going to the Waterside Inn for lunch...not sure if that is close to windsor castle, seemed to be, but that might not really fit in line with the day trip -- also a warwick castle oxford cotswolds - but not sure if that is worth going to (the 2nd one)

              Is St. John's better than Simpson in the Strand, they seem similar by reading frommers, but their websites they seem nothing a like - I did read that Eccles Cake is a must try, is that correct?

              St. Johns seems reasonably priced all things considering and they seem to have a reasonablly priced wine list - are their own wines decent?

              Is the Roast Saddle of lamb or the scottish beef worth hitting up simpson in the strand?

              To Zuriga - Do you miss the AZ weather being in London? It is finally getting nice now, down to around 70-80 :)

              1. re: Dapuma

                I do miss the winters in Tucson, but that was a different life, different spouse etc. I miss one of the great bakeries that did fantastic bread! Now on a London food note, just remember that if you do want to eat lunch at The Fat Duck, it would be easy as it's very close to Windsor. Make sure you book it as mentioned on their website.

                For me, I would skip the Eccles cake and get a sticky, toffee pudding instead!

                1. re: Dapuma

                  I think Frommer's is a great resource for travel, but for accurate and up to date restaurant advice, I would rely on other information -- this board, for example, and bloggers whose style I admire.

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    Personally i would go for St John over Simpson but it depends what you're looking for.

                    St John is stripped-down white walls with a great little bar in which a few people will have dropped by for a beer on the way home from work. The food is genuine nose to tail eating but it sounds like you're into your meat so that shouldn't be a problem. It is like nothing you will experience basically anywhere else and in a good way.

                    Simpson will have that old London glamour to it and will serve perfectly good food but you sound like you guys are foodies and I think St John is a unique experience which will be totally different to the classic cuisines you get in France and the Netherlands.

                    All that said, it is a honeymoon and if you're looking for flawless service, more waiters than diners and a tasting menu then you cannot go wrong with any of the modern european two star restaurants.

                    On the Man United thing, one could cynically suggest that almost any pub in London will have a good share of United supporters on any match day. The White Bear in Kennington is a very United pub and they show all the games including 3pm Saturday kickoffs. It's not the world's greatest pub though.
                    As long as you avoid pubs around Islington and Chelsea (and further afield the East End, Wood Green etc) then you are likely to find that the clientele is mixed supporters wherever you go. Certainly I've been watching Tottenham in the Comedy pub on Oxendon Street just off Piccadilly and been completely outnumbered by Man United fans.

                    1. re: Dapuma

                      Just a quick note on your day trips - some of them sound very ambitious! You could go to Bray (where the Fat Duck and Waterside Inn are within a stone's throw of each other) and combine it with either Windsor or Oxford and get back to London in a day. Or you could go to Bath and back in a day. Part of it depends on whether you're driving or taking a train but give it's a honeymoon and you've never visited London before I'd probably keep it down to 1 as there's a lot to do in this City, some of which doesn't even involve eating!

                      1. re: ManInTransit

                        thanks for the advice on the day trips, and you have sold me on St Johns (along with everyone else on the forum) that sounds like a unique experience and that is what we are after, and we love our meats heh

                        COYS for you :), you guys are playing pretty well and van der vart is the signing of the seaons it appears, if modric and vdv both stay healthy you are in great shape - just keep Liverpool and City out of that 4th spot and I am happy

                        anyone know what you do in cotswold?

                        1. re: Dapuma

                          We will see! Actually we probably won't, Spurs always lose at Old Trafford. We're certainly on the same team to some extent if United can keep Arsenal from winning anything and we can keep Liverpool and City out of the top 4.

                          I'm glad you've gone for St John, you'll have a fantastic time. Make sure you're booking St John on St John Street and not the Bread and Wine version in Spitalfields which while great, is a lot more casual.

                          1. re: ManInTransit

                            Oh thanks, i didnt know there was a difference between the two or that there was even two versions

                            For lunch:

                            Going to be out for Windsor Castle / Stonehenge / Bath trip, have own tour so we can take time out for an awesome lunch

                            Should we be going to Fat Duck or the Waterside Inn?

                            They both seem awesome and get great write ups

                            1. re: Dapuma

                              Just remember that the Fat Duck is more than popular, and one must book it according to their instructions. I don't think you mentioned when the honeymoon is, so hopefully you have lots of time to plan.

                              You are planning Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath all in one day???

                              1. re: zuriga1

                                that was the plan, is that not possible? We have a driver for the day so i dont think we HAVE to do everything, i want to check out castle windsor and Stonehenge for sure - the Bath thing was on the schedule my travel person said would work

                                From what i read you have to call Fat Duck exactly two months in advance to get a reservation? Is that accurate? Do they make exceptions for overseas special occasions or anything?

                                1. re: Dapuma

                                  It's not that you can't drive to all those places in one day, Dapuma. It's just that there's quite a lot to see in Bath and the Windsor area. I'm the sort who likes to take my time when sightseeing and not rush around, but heck... something is better than nothing. Stonehenge is often a big disappointment to people, Avebury is a much better destination for seeing such rocks and being able to touch them.

                                  I have no idea if Fat Duck makes any exceptions... I rather doubt it seeing how popular that place is. But there are other choices, as you know, in the same area.

                                  1. re: Dapuma

                                    Try using a Google Map. It will reveal all. Stonehenge is nowhere near WIndsor but the Fat Duck and Waterside are. Also next door to the Duck is The Hinds's Head - Blumenthal's gastropub which is another option.

                            2. re: Dapuma

                              Was a good night at the lane certainly.

                              On Viajante - I've not been but I have heard absolutely wonderful things about it. St John certainly isn't romantic but for me there's something about that stripped down look that I quite like with my better half.

                    2. my two recs for the dinner would be either a) St. John, or b) Cambio de Tercio

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Simon

                        St Johns would be a great experience - not sure it's the most romantic of places though. You could try Rules for another So British experience (at the very least have a cocktail there, best bartender in London). We actually had a gastronomic plus romantic (the two don't often go together) at Viajante in Bethnal Green, so that's another one to research.

                        Echo the comments above - what is it about Americans trying to do everything in a day! Either 'do' Bath (and you could stop at Stonehenge on the way) OR Windsor and Bray. Personally I'd scrap both of those and 'do' Oxford instead. Hour's train from London. Have lunch at the Magdalen Arms and tea at the Randolph and walk round Magdalen College and Christ Church meadows. A pleasant pint in the Turf maybe too.

                        1. re: zuriga1

                          travel person putting the trip together had a bath / stonghenge / windsor castle all lined up for one day - so i assumed they were all close to each other

                          We had oxford / cotswolds for a different day, but that seemed like too much outside of London for only 5 days there, and Oxford sounds like a college town, and i figured if we were out in bath / bray that is similar to country england cotswold?

                          Def want to go to Stonehenge, but i cannot imagine other than being there and taking a few pictures that there is much to do there - Is windsor castle not an entire day? What is in Bray to take up an entire day? I guess have to do some more research

                          1. re: Dapuma

                            The itineraries you are talking about are the standard coach tours which pack in as much as possible in a short time. Needless to say there is usually no opportunity to sample good food, either they stop at average places for a quick lunch or you are expected to pick up something on the run. Maybe a way to see lots of sights, but not a great way to sample the best of the UK in terms of food and character.

                            I used to live in Bath so know travel times etc. Best bet is to head out of London and visit Stonehenge when the first open at 9:30 (?), this is probably 90mins from central London. A few miles before Stonehenge stop at the "Little Chef" in Popham. this is a roadside chain (like Denny's) that was made over by Heston Blumenthal and is quirky and quite interesting as a result, and the food isn't too bad, so good for a breakfast.

                            Then head cross country to Bath, this goes through some really pretty villages so is a nice trip. Allow at least 60mins for this, but it could be longer. In Bath there are lots of eating opportunities, "The Bath Priory" hotel is very old and pretty and serves a very decent lunch, it is 5mins drive from town. Food in central Bath is a bit patchy, there are a couple of OK pubs (the Raven does fantastic beer and pies) but none of them are outstanding enough to call out.

                            The return drive to London will take between 90 to 180mins depending on traffic, if you get the timing right you could make the last entry to Windsor Castle by 15:00 but this will be tight, if you could do this then maybe supper at the Hinds Head in Bray would be nice (and Bray takes 10 mins to look around not a day) . Windsor Castle can be enjoyed over a good 2 or 3 hours it doesn't require a whole day, but it will be rushed if you try and see everything.

                            Helen's recommendation for Oxford and the Cotswolds is good. Best approach is to head out early and spend the morning in Oxford, then head out to the Cotswolds for an early lunch and then tour the really pretty "chocolate box" villages. The "Nut Tree" in Murcott has a great reputation, The "Kingham Plough" near Chipping Norton is a good one with an ex-Fat Duck chef, and if you ask on the board I am certain others will add other thoughts.

                            1. re: zuriga1

                              thanks for the advice on the travel, i think we will probably stick with stonehenge and windsor castle then! - 730 am is rush hour around london? how early do you need to leave to beat rush hour

                              broken, thanks for the advice on some pubs for a pint - very pumped for the trip! now to see if Wicked is playing while we are there, the mrs is wanting to go... thx for all the advice everyone

                              Is there a good place near Apollo Victoria Theatre to try for pre show dinner or post show drinks? Is West End near Kensington?

                              1. re: Dapuma

                                I'm pretty sure Wicked is still playing - has been here for quite awhile. There's a good Indian restaurant not far from there... Quilon. A search here will probably bring up some comments about it.

                                1. re: zuriga1

                                  wicked IS playing when we are there so that is pretty cool

                                  i do not like indian food, although from what i have read there is alot of good indian food in london...but that you for the suggestion zuriga1

                                  to cbell167: we are pretty adventurous so we will try something new...have been wanting to try sweatbreads for a long time so that sounds like the place to do it if they are good there - looks like the current menu had pork and fish on it....that doesnt sound too off, unless i am reading the menu incorrectly

                                  1. re: Dapuma

                                    I never liked Indian food all that much in the States. Eating it in the UK is entirely a different thing, believe me. Even the 'good' places in NYC can't hold a candle to what is served in London.

                                    I remember you are from Arizona. I lived in Tucson for awhile and can't remember there even being an Indian restaurant back then. :-)

                                2. re: Dapuma

                                  The last trip we took to Stonehenge was during the 'Stone Circle Access' http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/co...

                                  Early and late in the day you can go among the stones, rather than be restricted to the (none too close) path.

                                  1. re: sordftr

                                    we want to go by the stones...that application is only good until march of 2011 - are there different maint days for the summer months?

                                    I didnt think it would be any issue to be right next to the stones...

                                    1. re: Dapuma

                                      Best contact English Heritage directly for dates beyond that form; I found them most helpful the couple of times we contacted them.
                                      And my understanding is that this is pretty much the only way to be allowed to approach the stones.

                            2. re: helen b

                              St John's is great but would just warn that if you don't eat kidneys, marrow, sweetbreads etc. then the menu becomes pretty limited - if you do eat those things then this place is an absolute must

                          2. Just to update - after going back and forth everything is finally aranged! (woo!)

                            I now know where I am staying so is there any places close by that we must not miss?

                            If anyone knows general times to get to any of these places from where we are staying that would be greatly appreciated

                            Staying @ Ashburn Hotel
                            111 Cromwell Road, London SW7 4DP, England

                            Want to make it to Marcus Wareing & St John's for sure

                            Brown's for proper Tea

                            Then a good mixed drink bar: Rules / Purl / Not sure what Milk and Honey is but i have heard of it, there is one in NYC, not sure if that is worth going to

                            Also a Pub: Not sure what a good British Pub near there would be, or even somewhere where we will be, probably going to be all over the city - havent researched that part much

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: Dapuma

                              The Scarsdale (Pub) on Edwardes Square is very close to where you'll be staying and is an excellent place for a quick lunch or a pint/glass of wine.

                              Alternately, there is an interesting pub on Warwick Road called the Warwick Arms which is quite traditional, and is usually populated by interesting sorts. Worth checking out for a pint (and dinner next door at Mohsen Persian restaurant is a good option).

                              1. re: Dapuma

                                I suggest researching your pubs at Fancy a Pint, or else the Good Pub Guide. When you find something that sounds interesting, you can then also check it out with people here.

                                Some of our favorites include: Dog and Duck (Soho), the Churchill (Kensington Church St), The Victoria (off Bayswater, near Hyde Park), The Lamb (on Lamb's Conduit), The Lamb and Flag (Covent Garden area), Market Porter (Borough Market)... and many more. And if you want to eat, you can never go wrong with The Eagle, often cited as the originators of the gastropub concept (Farringdon Rd).

                                1. re: Dapuma

                                  The Draft House (3 branches) has a large selection of beer (on tap and bottles); I've enjoyed the food at the one on Tower Bridge Road.

                                  The White Horse in Parson's Green -- excellent down to earth food and superb beer (they have aged Belgian beers if that's your thing).

                                  Bull and Last in Highgate/Kentish Town -- my favourite gastropub, outstanding food.

                                  The Britannia in Southwark -- huge list of single malts.

                                  1. re: Dapuma

                                    All the recommendations above are good, but nearer to your hotel there's the Queens Arms, as proper a pub as you'll get round those parts, tucked away down a little mews street.

                                    I once had the pleasure of sharing the pub with a Welsh male voice choir as they practised for their performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Who knows who might be 'warming up' there if you pop in ;)

                                    1. re: bodessa

                                      checked out Queens Arm site, looks very cool and "proper pub" also seems like it is non touristy which is cool - the mrs likes different ciders so from what i read sounds like they have a bunch of interesting choices

                                      Just have to toss on the Man Utd jersey and we will fit right in...oh wait it is london :)

                                      Man in Transit: You are going down tomorrow morning (or evening for you!) hopefully liverpool goes down again as well, come on toffees!

                                      Can anyone confirm if any of these 3 places are open Monday's: Viajante (seems like it on their site but hard to confirm) St John's looks like it is, and marcus wareing appears to be as well - in the us monday is usually the day higher end restaurants are closed, it appears sundays are the day in london and we will not be there over the weekend just during the week so i think we are ok...

                                      So hopefully turns out something like this:

                                      monday: sight seeing then: Viajante for dinner
                                      tuesday: sight seeing then: marcus wareing
                                      wednesday: stonehenge windsor fat duck (do they ever make exceptions on their reservations?)
                                      thursday: sight seeing brown's for tea and purl cocktails after
                                      friday: st johns and wicked

                                      google map states that st johns is no where near the theatre (is that right?)...so something in there doesnt work...if fat duck doesnt work would shift st johns over to wednesday night and then find something by the apollo victoria theatre...

                                      and somehow masterfish for lunch ! yum

                                      some advice on logistics would be appreciated - thanks so much!

                                      1. re: Dapuma

                                        St John's is nowhere near Victoria. Why not do afternoon tea on the day you go to the theatre?

                                        1. re: Dapuma

                                          Personally I would switch Marcus Wareing for The Ledbury.

                                          1. re: Dapuma

                                            I think that all of the restaurants you mention are open on Monday. St John and Marcus Wareing certainly are. Viajante probably is as well (but haven't checked). St John and Marcus Wareing are two of my favourite restaurants in London - you have chosen well IMHO. One point to note about Monday is that it is probably the quietest day for eating out in London though - so there may be a bit less atmosphere at the place you eat that night.

                                            I am not aware of the Fat Duck making exceptions to their reservation policy - it is a bit like getting a reservation at the French Laundry (although arguably easier - you just have to go with the process if you want to eat there). If you are not sucessful, an alternative (London) option would be to go to Heston's new place at the Mandarin Oriental. It isn't open yet but I expect it to be the hot destination for London dining in 2011. There are taking reservations 3 months in advance through open table on their website.

                                            Is the plan on the Friday to go to St John before or after Wicked or for lunch? If it is the later, I wouldn't get too hung up about St. John's not being close to the Theatre - it is only a short taxi ride away. However if it is the former, it wouldn't work well as they are not close. For a restaurant option in the west end, I would suggest Arbutus or Gauthier Soho, both of which do good pre-theatre options.

                                            Seeing your earlier post re bars, options to add to your list for me would be the bar downstairs at Hix (Mark's Place). This is in Soho, so might be a fun option after the Theatre but it does get busy...

                                            Otherwise either of the bars in the Connaught are worth visiting. In addition, if you like Rum based drinks, the bar at the Langham (called Artesian is I recall correctly) is excellent.

                                            Finally - have a great time!

                                            1. re: dustbuddy

                                              i love rum based drinks...i have over 10 different kinds at the house to make tiki drinks :) If you have any of the beachbum books Remixed the Skin Diver is amazing

                                              I have seen the Hix bar downstairs mentioned as a great place for drinks on several sights...is that near the theatre? if so that is an interesting option

                                              Tea then the theatre might be a good idea since we will already be dressed up for tea...i havent checked brown vs theatre location

                                              i was thinking st johns for dinner prior to the theatre...so that was my aprehention

                                              1. re: Dapuma

                                                The Apollo is NOT in the West End, so it's not particularly close to any of the places you mention.

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  A very good point - apologies! It also makes it even further away from St. John!

                                                2. re: Dapuma

                                                  Having tea at Brown's will make sure you don't need dinner! Brown's is not that far from the theatre. You could even walk it on a pleasant evening. If that's out then the Tube will take you there in no time.. or a taxi. You'll have plenty of time if your tea is at 4 or so.

                                                  1. re: zuriga1

                                                    awesome zuriga that makes that plan simple

                                                    I am open to swapping out Viajate for something, but the website was very cool and the mixed drink menu looked intriging so it seemed like a good place to check out, unique - think that is a good pick or something differnet should go there?

                                                    @ Robin Joy - already going to cut Bath out, i dont want to be rushed checking everything out - was wondering if they ever allow more a reservation more than 2 months ahead of time for a special occasion - guess i can call and ask, the overseas calling for making reservations is going to be brutal heh

                                                    @manintransit - whew we got lucky...the refs finally gave you a call :)

                                              2. re: Dapuma

                                                Wednesday looks a little awkward. Stonehenge by 9:00, Windsor by 11:00 (maybe), and then either 1 hour (pointlessly short) at Windsor followed by lunch, or is it 8 hours (way too long) at Windsor followed by dinner? Windsor is probably a 3 or 4 hour affair. Edit: Actually, on a re-read, I suppose mid morning at Stonehenge followed by an afternoon at Windsor and FD dinner would be just fine

                                                If you really have the stamina, you could leave London at 7, be in Bath by 9, leave at 11:30, and be in Windsor by 2:30 having taken in 15 (it's wonderful, but it's all you'll need) minutes at Stonehenge (on the route). Then the afternoon in Windsor Castle looks good, followed by an early pub pint and FD dinner. A long day, but not impossible.

                                                The FD's reservation policy is simple. They just commit all their seats, and when the list is full you go on a waiting list. I'm afraid that "It's a special occasion" will not get an existing booking dishonoured.

                                          2. (Warning: not a mainstream approach, potentially more expensive but better value, but also potentially more enjoyable as a CH if you love adventurous off the beaten track stuff and flying by the seat of your pants.)

                                            For your money no matter meal, rather than going to Marcus Wareing, which might overlap with your options in France, try this:

                                            1. Get a nice bottle or three from the Wine Sampler, a wine store (2 branches, Islington and South Kensington). Look for slightly older vintages, they have a reasonably good stock -- e.g. an '87 Henschke Hill of Grace, a '97 Sassicaia. (Looking at their website, the 1945 Veuve Cliquot caught my eye; had tasted the 1955 vintage in '05 and it was fabulous, lesser bubbles but still elegant, and surprisingly profound and smooth, full of toasted almonds; totally curious what the '45 would be like and if would hold up.) While you're there, you might want to try sampling some of their older vintages from special dispensers. Buy some nice stemware too -- they would make excellent and useful mementos of your meal.

                                            2. Do BYOB -- Brixton Village would actually be an awesome place (but for evenings only thurs, fri or sat) -- I consider this is one of the most exciting places for a chowhound in London now, as it offers serious sincere rustic cooking from several small places that is oustanding, if you are willing to overlook the less than refined environs. (Plus I suspect it won't stay in this blissful innocent state for long.) Graze from place to place (start early, will allow you to also taste the wine multiple times over several hours to enjoy it as it changes) - Bellatoni's, Casa Sibilla and Cornercopia would make a nice progression.


                                            For a mainstream approach, I'd seriously consider L'Anima for their highly refined Italian cooking, in lieu of the more French Marcus Wareing, since you want to reduce the French options.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: limster

                                              Hi all

                                              Am joining this thread late but we also went to London & Paris last summer (from the States)
                                              and Marcus Waering and Tayyabs were the highlight in London for us.
                                              And if you need more recs for Paris, we absolutely loved Christian Constant
                                              and Eric Kayser's bakery.

                                              That being said, we're heading back to London this June and am happy to see that Marcus Waering made the top of so many of your lists.

                                              And now we're searching for pizza and Italian recommendations for London.
                                              Perhaps I should start a new thread?

                                              1. re: fvande

                                                For Italian, try Zucca in Bermondsey St. Trullo, in Islington, is supposed to be good but it's a bit of a hot table atm so you will need to reserve well ahead.

                                                For pizza, it has to be Franco Manca in Brixton - it's not on the tourist trail but the pizzas are outstanding. There are a couple of decent Italian choices in Brixton too, Casa Sibilla and Ballantoni's. Do a search on Brixton Village for details.

                                                1. re: fvande

                                                  Princi in Soho is a great place for lunch. It's very casual and has a large Italian, bakery assortment, plus salads and also hot dishes such as eggplant parmigiana etc. I've been anxious to try Mennula on Charlotte St. A few friends enjoyed the fine Italian food there, so it's on my list.

                                                  1. re: fvande

                                                    The day i am having trouble with in Paris is Sunday - most places are closed...did you have any luck finding a good place to go on Sunday?

                                                    Which of the Constant brand cafe's did you go to? (i think there are 3 from what i have read)

                                                    Glad to hear Marcus Wareing was the highlight, it looks very cool! Anything that is a must try?

                                                    1. re: Dapuma

                                                      We've split the Paris discussion to the France board, do continue that discussion at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760796

                                                      1. re: Dapuma


                                                        With Marcus Waering we did the 3-course lunch. I loved everything.

                                                  2. Ok got a few reso's made

                                                    Monday @ Viajante set
                                                    Tuesday @ Marcus Wareing set
                                                    Wednesday @ Fat Duck (not frog ;p) wish me luck
                                                    Thursday @ Brown's for Tea and Theatre

                                                    Need a bit of help here...how long does afternoon tea normally take? We wont be in any hurry for sure, and also how much travel time should i allow to get (if we take a taxi) to the apollo victoria theatre from there ?
                                                    Friday @ St Johns set

                                                    Also if Fat Duck fails - is there another intersting gastro place, maybe like wd-40 in new york to check out? Also it could be in bray OR London because we will be at windsor castle that day

                                                    St John
                                                    26 St John St, Islington EC1M 4AY, United Kingdom

                                                    Fat Duck
                                                    High St, Bray, Windsor and Maidenhead SL6 2, GB

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Dapuma

                                                      If no luck with the Fat Duck North Road in Clerkenwell has had some very good reviews http://www.northroadrestaurant.co.uk

                                                      Not quite the level of the Fat Duck but the tasting menu looks very interesting...

                                                      1. re: Dapuma

                                                        The obvious choice if you miss out on the Fat Duck is the Waterside Inn which is just a short stroll away in Bray.

                                                        Back in London you really do have it rather well covered but The Ledbury would probably be my choice. Sufficiently different to MW and elsewhere and one of the most feted restaurants in the country at the moment. Nothing would compare to TFD though.

                                                        Fat Duck
                                                        High St, Bray, Windsor and Maidenhead SL6 2, GB

                                                        1. re: ManInTransit

                                                          While the Waterside Inn may be in the same village, I wouldn't say it is an obvious choice for an alternative to the Fat Duck - it is very classical French, quite different cooking techniques to FD. If you are looking for something in the neighbourhood, you could try the Hind's Head, Blumenthal's pub.

                                                          Fat Duck
                                                          High St, Bray, Windsor and Maidenhead SL6 2, GB