Restaurants With Great Private Rooms
Restaurant recommendations are a common request here at goop, and the ask is often for spots with great private rooms where you could host a really special event like a birthday party, an anniversary, a rehearsal dinner, or even a wedding. Our picks all have a few things in common: The food is great, the backdrop justifies the celebration, and the excellent service means you can sit back and enjoy yourself, too.
The Arts Club40 Dover St., Mayfair | +44.20.7499.8581
Owner Arjun Waney (he's behind London favorites like Zuma, Roka, and Oblix) seems to have nailed that special formula for modern dining, which obviously involves great food. If the meals alone don't fully justify the membership fee, the art collection (you'll see a John Baldessari and a Tomas Saraceno sculpture in the stairwell) and exquisitely decorated common spaces for gathering over coffee and afternoon tea definitely do. Members and their friends can also book one of the Club's 16 enormous, gorgeously-appointed hotel rooms, which offer 24 hour butler service. Perhaps most importantly, though, members get access to 1863, the club's intimate bar and performance space, where you can see some of London's best musicians perform literally feet away.
Chiltern Firehouse1 Chiltern St., Marylebone | +44.20.7073.7676
Like the rest of André Balasz' hotels and restaurants (the iconic Chateau Marmont in LA and Mercer in NY, to name a couple), his first venture in London is undoubtedly one of the sceniest in town. Part of the allure is the decor, courtesy of Studio Ko, who seamlessly integrated original features like the fireman's pole, brick and tilework, and fire doors with velvet seating, glitzy marble bars, and old-fashioned, flower-print carpeting. And part of it is chef Nuno Mendez' brasserie-style menu that's packed with his near perfect takes on the classics like Caesar Salad and Roast Chicken, plus some of the most delicious and inventive appetisers in town—the crab-stuffed doughnuts are a brunch favorite. A private dining room at a hotel like this is a must, and the elegant—though much less splashy—room here ticks all the boxes and accommodates 12.
The River CaféThames Wharf, Rainville Rd., Fulham | +44.20.7386.4200
The River Café hardly needs an introduction. Serving unmatched Italian since 1987, it is a landmark among restaurants everywhere. They've always been known for their simple, seasonal fare, and the location right along the Thames makes it the perfect spot on a sunny day for Sunday lunch or a special dinner. There's also a private room just off the main dining room that seats up to 18 (fitted out with the Café's signature hot pink rug, and minimal tabletop), which makes an ideal venue for an occasion. You'll definitely want to try something that's been cooked to perfection in their pink wood-fired oven, which has been the central focal point of the restaurant since its renovation, undertaken under the watchful eye of architect (chef Ruth Rogers' husband) Lord Richard Rogers.
Gymkhana42 Albemarle St., Mayfair | +44.20.3011.5900
Modeled after a Raj-era Indian sports club, Gymkhana balances old-world interiors with some of the best Indian in London: It was voted the number one restaurant in London in 2013 before going on to win a Michelin star in 2014. The food is served family-style—Tikkas, Biryanis, Saags—but things get really exciting when it comes to the bread. The duck egg bhurji with lobster, for one, is epic. Perfect for intimate, private dinners, the restaurant also has two beautifully appointed vaults that seat 9 or 12: They are tasting menu only so, go prepared for a big meal.
Kitchen Table70 Charlotte St., Fitzrovia
Tucked behind a black curtain inside Bubbledogs—the catchy champagne and hotdog concept—you'll find one of the most spectacular chef's tables in London. In this cozy, horseshoe-shaped space, up to 20 guests crowd around James Knappett's open kitchen where he continually develops his ever-changing 11-course tasting menu that's won him a Michelin Star. Plus, he's picked up a few tricks at a pretty impressive list of restaurants including Per Se, Roganic, and The Ledbury. This special culinary performance can be hired out for the evening, too.
Berners Tavern10 Berners St., Fitzrovia | +44.20.7908.7979
Jason Atherton is the master at creating a buzzy atmosphere at his restaurants, as evidenced by the fact that it's nearly impossible to land a reservation at Pollen Street Social and the Social Eating House. Meanwhile, Berners Tavern, located inside Ian Schrager's Edition Hotel in Fitzrovia, is no exception, attracting locals in the creative industry for breakfast and lunch meetings, and a decidedly more dressed up crowd for dinners and weekend brunch. Here, inside the large ballroom-like space, which is covered from floor to ceiling in a dramatic display of framed images, Atherton serves up meaty, seasonal British game along with some of the best Dover Sole in town. The sleek private dining room for 12 doesn't lose out on any of the drama, as its situated right under a restored, historic skylight.
Sager + Wilde Paradise Row250 Paradise Row, Bethnal Green | +44.20.7613.0478
After cutting their teeth on the vineyards in Napa, Charlotte and Michael Sager-Wilde brought their love for great Californian wines back to London, where they’re something of a rarity. A meal at their first large restaurant venture, under converted railway arches in Bethnal Green, is pretty transporting (and a lot less than a ticket to Napa), pairing wonderful wines with an Italian-influenced seasonal menu of small plates. The terrace upstairs tucked into one of the railway arches, makes a great spot for a private meal; meanwhile, winos will love checking out the Sager-Wilde's collection in the room's glass cave.
China Tang53 Park Lane, Mayfair | +44.20.7629.9988
Like stepping back into old-world Eastern elegance, this beautiful dining room serves exquisitely-executed, upscale Cantonese classics, like their whole suckling pig, which requires 24-hour notice and £150 pounds. It's a splurge but makes for a memorable meal, particularly if it's served in one of the three adjacent private rooms that seat up to 26—Ping, Pang, and Pong—or combined to seat 80. The dim sum, which is less of an investment, is also great, the seafood and veggie sides are as fresh as they come, and they've totally nailed cha siu. A meal here is best enjoyed with an expense account, but you can always hit the swanky bar for one very delicious cocktail.
Bob Bob Ricard1 Upper James St., Soho | +44.20.3145.1000
The phrase "over-the-top" is basically synonymous with Bob Bob Ricard: There's the hyper-luxe interiors that look like they were created by Wes Anderson's design team, there's the champagne on tap—just press the "Champagne" button at your table—there's the rich Russo-British Chicken Kievs, caviar and the like, and there's the fact you absolutely have to dress up (no sneakers allowed) or else the bouncer at the door won't let you in. It's all in good tongue-in-cheek fun, and if there's one spot that's perfect for starting a big, celebratory night out in London, it's here. And, if your booking is for more than 10 people, you get upgraded into the private dining room, which is possibly even more stylized than the rest of the space.
Modern PantryAlphabeta Building, -18, Triton Court, Finsbury Square, Whitechapel | +44.20.7553.9210
While the word fusion might not have the best connotations these days (conjuring up visions of poor attempts at mixing cuisines back in the '90s) at Modern Pantry the Kiwi chef Anna Hansen is doing a lot to change that. She liberally mixes modern British touches with Indian and her native antipodean ingredients to create a lovely, seasonal all-day menu and a phenomenal brunch, that includes coconut and cassava waffles and a Persian chicken burger that's not to be missed. A meal at either of her restaurants—the second Modern Pantry just opened on Finsbury Square, where the décor is much splashier—is a delight, and for special occasions you can take over the private dining room in either location, both decked out in wooden tables covered in white tablecloths in Hansen’s trademark, simple style.
The Duck & Rice90 Berwick St., Soho | +44.20.3327.7888
It's not a big surprise that restaurateur Alan Yau—Wagamama, Hakkasan, and Yauatcha—has moved on to his next big concept. (He’s sold all three of his ventures.) While the food and the beer list at this Chinese gastropub is undeniably stellar (as expected, the Cantonese roasted duck is the thing to get), the interiors, by Turkish design firm Autoban, might just be good enough to usurp the spotlight—You don't miss out on either in either of the private rooms which seat up to 12.
SpringSomerset House, Lancaster Pl., Covent Garden | +44.020.3011.0115
Set in a huge, light-filled space in Somerset House, Spring is helmed by chef Skye Gyngell, who won a Michelin star for her restaurant at Petersham Nurseries—and then promptly left. She’s finally returned after a long time away and is back to her old tricks: Light, seasonal, Italian-inflected dishes that are essentially perfect. For a private meal or event, there's the Salon, which is a pretty magical light-filled space located under an original glass atrium that can seat up to 45 at tree-lined tables (yes, tree-lined).
Café Murano36 Tavistock St., Covent Garden | +44.020.7240.3654
This little sister restaurant to Angela Hartnett's Murano isn’t really a step down: It has a second address on St. James Street and a menu of hearty, Northern Italian dishes, like Fritto Misto, Linguine Vongole, and Osso Bucco perfected by Hartnett's deputy, Sam Williams. It’s the kind of place that’s great for both a leisurely family lunch (there’s even a kids menu) or a dressed-up dinner with friends in the private room that seats 22.
Blixen65a Brushfield St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7101.0093
This wonderfully versatile, brasserie-style restaurant in Shoreditch comes from Clive Watson, previously of Riding House Café and Bermondsey's Village East fame. Much like them, Blixen is an all-day sort of place, where the local workforce might come for a breakfast or lunch meeting in one of the leather booths, or crack open a laptop at the long bar table, while others might take advantage of the stellar cocktail list and bistro-style dishes—served in conveniently shareable small plates, of course—and make the night of it. Adding to its versatility is the cozy, wood-clad private dining room for 18, where you can choose your set menu ahead of the event.
Casa Cruz123 Clarendon Rd., Notting Hill | +44.20.3321.5400
This is Argentinian restauranteur Juan Santa Cruz's very first venture in London, a restaurant with a seriously clubby feel serving up European dishes with a slightly Argentinian bent—i.e., protein-heavy dishes like beef carpaccio and a perfect, blackened chicken. With dark, velvet-clad walls, a stunning copper bar as a central fixture in the middle of the dining room, and decidedly dim lighting, this newly-opened eatery has serious sex-appeal, and is a perfect venue to rent as a whole for a party. The upstairs, which includes a secluded and leafy terrace (for London's good weather) is also available for rent.
Murano20 Queen St., Mayfair | +44.20.7495.1127
Murano is the crown jewel of chef Angela Hartnett's growing restaurant emporium, and is also the place you're most likely to catch her in the kitchen making her trademark modern twists on Italian dishes and ingredients. A meal here is a highlight in and of itself, but the private dining room is where it's at. Here, Angela and her team will create a special set menu for the dinner party on request, and if you're lucky, the glass partition in the room can be retracted, allowing guests a direct view into the kitchen. There are also two sister restaurants, Café Murano, from Hartnett's deputy, Sam Williams (one on St. James Street and one in Covent Garden).