The Criterion
The Criterion

The Criterion

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.criterionrestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 0207 9300488x
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 12pm - 2:15pm;
    Sunday: 12pm - 3:30pm
    Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:30pm
    Sunday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
    Afternoon Tea: Monday - Saturday: 2:30pm - 4:00pm On Sunday: 3.30pm - 4.00pm

  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Modern European, British
  • Executive Chef: Artan Hasa
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: Live Music during the evening on Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays from 7.30pm

Getting there

  • Public Transit: Piccadilly Circus underground
  • Parking: No
A word from The Criterion
A lavish and luxurious neo-byzantine room in the centre of London serving lunch, traditional afternoon tea, pre-theatre dinner and dinner until late into the evening.
This breathtakingly beautiful restaurant, originally opened in 1874, has recently been re-furbished and now offers a fine Modern European menu.
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The Criterion reviews from OpenTable diners
1026 reviews since 1 November 2013
Average Rating4
  • Food4
    Service3.8
  • Ambience4.3
    Value3.8
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
pre/post theatre (633)special occasions (565)romance (393)business meals (285)fit for foodies (272)afternoon tea (227)outstanding value (183)group bookings (173)sunday lunch (115)brunch (83)disabled access (53)good vegetarian options (44)child friendly (24)outdoor eating (4)Show More
  • Never ceases to impress
    BrianW
    Dined on 29/10/2014
    I have been many times and took my nephew for dinner here. He was amazed he had never been aware of it and how lovely the building was inside - it has the wow factor. Staff were super efficient and the food was first class - I particularly enjoyed the venison ragout. And live music to boot. What more could you ask for?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, outstanding value, pre/post theatre, romance
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Leave me to enjoy my food!
    TableForOnePleaseVIP
    Dined on 29/10/2014
    OK, look, so I'm happy to be asked how my meal is, but to be honest I'd tell you if it wasn't. However, don't do this more than once. More particularly, don't do this more than once PER COURSE. It's annoying. And stop bringing me menus for drinks when I've already ordered a drink. Is it because I was dining on my own? Because the other tables didn't seem to get this special attention. This sounds negative, and it was (a little) irritating. However, overall the place was superb: truly beautiful restaurant with well presented and well cooked food. The celeriac puree was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • wineanddine
    Dined on 28/10/2014
    A great place for a pre theatre meal. Staff were friendly and efficient. Food was very good. We chose from the fixed price menu with a small number of options per course but choosing was not easy as all the dishes were so tempting. A bit disappointed that none of the deserts were gluten free but the cheese was enjoyable.
    Special Features:
    group bookings, pre/post theatre, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Afternoon Tea
    LisaL
    Dined on 27/10/2014
    This was my second visit for afternoon tea with 3 friends. It was my friends birthday so we thought it would be a nice idea. We did have to wait a little while to be served and I did have to remind the waitress that we were supposed to have a champagne cocktail as this was included. We also asked 3 times for some milk and in the end had to get up and ask at the bar area for some. However we loved the restaurant and enjoyed the food and we would definitely come again.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea, outstanding value, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great room but expensive
    boatmusdir
    Dined on 25/10/2014
    Whilst the room is terrific, service is hit and miss, with several miscommunications with the multi heritage staff, for whom many English is a second language. The tariff for the a la carte menu is expensive (the set menu not being available after 7pm. And the pianist/singer was enthusiastic but inexpert - even a rendition of Happy Birthday featured inadvertent bizarre harmonizations. The room is very noisy, so conversation proceeds at a yell. Altogether a room to be seen in, but not necessarily to eat in, and certainly not converse in.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Highly recommended
    Daytripper
    Dined on 25/10/2014
    The Criterion is beautiful and the service was superb. The food was excellent and very good value.
    Special Features:
    brunch, fit for foodies, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Divine
    Rainypants
    Dined on 24/10/2014
    This restaurant really exceeded my expectations and put me in the good books with the in-laws! The food was excellent, I highly recommend the duck. Our main waiter seemed to be slightly distracted but that could have been because he was very busy however the manager on duty more than made up for this with his outstanding customer service. We will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Started badly but ended well
    Hoc1
    Dined on 24/10/2014
    When we arrived we were put right in the main corridor next to all the dirty glasses. It was like being outside in Piccadilly Circus! And then my Margarita arrived without the salt around the rim - it is an optional way to serve it but wasn't asked. Was on point of deciding to go somewhere else but then we moved tables and from then on it was excellent. Have been here many times but this one experience has put me off rushing back.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • John&Jenny
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 24/10/2014
    We enjoyed get another outstanding meal, pure quality. The restaurant itself is beautiful and the hustle and bustle of outside seems miles away once you are in the restaurant
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • lovely restaurant
    london26
    Dined on 23/10/2014
    Fabulous restaurant and the food/service was very good. Not too sure about the fizzy drink that came with the meal, a bit too much citrus for my taste, but I would recommend and go again. Cocktails were also very good (outside the offer)
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely dining room
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 23/10/2014
    The restaurant is lovely. It feels like a haven from the madness in Piccadilly Circus. However, our first course arrived before we'd had a chance to even order wine. Felt rushed and the service was not smooth enough. The food was very nice. Only other complaint is that we did not get the free cocktail that was supposed to be included in the open table deal.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre, romance
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A magnificent place
    plparis02
    Dined on 22/10/2014
    We had dinner there. The food was very good, but the place in itself is magic ! Its lavish byzantine decor is breathtaking and the musical ambience with a pianist and a singer transports you into another world. I highly recommend it to you.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea, fit for foodies, outdoor eating, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Quality Menu to suit diverse groups
    JHLondon
    Dined on 22/10/2014
    I have dined at The Criterion several times with friends. They offer a good red meat, fish and vegetarian starter and main course on their menu. They also offer gluten free bread if you want or need it. Food quality was on par with previous visits and the ambience of the place also makes it worth future visits. I was there on a Thursday evening and there was also a singer/pianist providing background music. Good venue for a good catch-up with friends.
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Evening Meal
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 16/10/2014
    Lovely Building, excellent food, just a little on the tourist side for us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Gem in the heart of tourist town
    luxhair
    Dined on 16/10/2014
    You would not expect to find this kind of atmosphere in Piccadilly Circus. The contrast from the busy outside with its advertising panels hand tourists to the expensive, grand looking interior with the gold ceiling mosaics and opulence could not be bigger. very impressive. Tables are spaced out and you can have a private conversation. Staff and service are very attentive and the food is good. We ate off the set menu and the food tasted good. The only little thing I would say is that the beetroot purée looked more like tomato paste and made the dish visually unappealing. Tasted good though. Would recommend for the impressive interior if you want to eat central and impress your guests.
    Special Features:
    business meals, pre/post theatre, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Wedding Anniversary
    merlin
    Dined on 15/10/2014
    I booked The Criterion to celebrate our 48th wedding Anniversary on the 15th October 14. I already knew about the restaurant as my son had been sometime back. We also had been there as a family to celebrate my Grand daughters 18th birthday. It was brilliant then but this time they excelled. Atmosphere/friendly waiting staff/ fantastic food and a great selection of wines and live music. They just could not do enough for us, so we will be going back there again very soon next time we are in London. I thoroughly recommend this restaurant, Whether you have something special to celebrate or not. I know you will be blown away. We were and cant wait to go back. Book it now
    Special Features:
    outstanding value, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • sloany
    Dined on 15/10/2014
    I have eaten here before. Main was awful but it was replaced quickly with Another meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Charming Ambience, Great Food
    AlixLondon
    Dined on 15/10/2014
    It's always a pleasure to dine at the Criterion. The food's excellent and the dining room decor is exceptional. One tiny niggle: food service is swift but it's never easy to get the bill. Bear that in mind if you're pre-theatre. That said, I love the place and am always happy to go back.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • THE CRITERION IS SPECIAL
    Showbizsimon
    Dined on 14/10/2014
    Whenever I go to The Criterion, the 1874 spendour shines through. This Central London haunt tucked behind the madness of Eros in Piccadilly Circus is ever dependable. Good food and service and the set menu has 4 choices. You can't go wrong.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Great experience!
    FineDiningFanVIP
    Dined on 14/10/2014
    Really enjoyed our dining experience here! It's great value for money to get the set menu which is a choice 2 courses and a drink for £20. The service was good and the portions were large, we couldn't even finish it. Would recommend if interested in having a nice evening out in a classy atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    brunch, business meals, outstanding value, pre/post theatre, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Poor staff communication
    Jamesy76
    Dined on 14/10/2014
    Though the venue is rich in history and well maintained, the standards you would expect from a prime location London restaurant were significantly sub standard. Many other London venues have their fair share of staff whose first language is not English though is usually of an acceptable standard. In addition to getting our drinks order wrong, we were approached at our table on at least three occasions to ask if we had ordered something which we had not. This is a combination of both poor communication with customers and between staff. Huge improvements in the quality of spoken English by its staff are needed if they are to ever be considered a future dining option for me.
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Happy return customer
    kkzz
    Dined on 14/10/2014
    Went there with a friend there for dinner again, never disappointed.
    Special Features:
    group bookings, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • last minute booking
    nzdiner
    Dined on 13/10/2014
    booked this restaurant last minute for dinner and they luckily could squeeze us in for a very nice meal. shared a couple of two course meals and that was more than enough for the two of us, food was a little slow in coming but then again the restaurant was very full. Service was polite and not too demanding and the atmosphere inside is great and the décor of the room amazing - in particular the mosaic roof!
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Great food and service
    PabloVIP
    Dined on 13/10/2014
    Another lovely evening with good food and service in a stunning venue right at the centre of London. Excellent!
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Just right
    Cheese
    Dined on 13/10/2014
    Superb surroundings yet relaxed atmosphere, good food and attentive staff. Unlike many other places the staff are just as attentive and thoughtful to those on the OFFER/VOUCHER menu. This is all staff, not just those on he front line for the tip. In our case a waitress brought soup spoon brought without being asked to help us enjoy with tasty sauce in which the mussels are served.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • sunday lunch
    rick4744
    Dined on 12/10/2014
    Went for Sunday lunch which was excellent value. The staff are attentive but discreet and the surroundings and interior deco is stunning. The price and choice of wines is very reasonable but watch out for the price of spirits which are very expensive!
    Special Features:
    disabled access, group bookings, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions, Sunday lunch
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Saturday Night
    Dinnerman
    Dined on 11/10/2014
    A great location, the food is good but not exceptional and the service can be a bit hit and miss but the staff are very nice. Nothing in the west end is great value but the Criterion isn't overpriced and we've always found it a lovely experience
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Great food and service
    PabloVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Wonderful restaurant in the heart of Central London. Stunning décor. Service is friendly and good. Food is good too. Will go back soon!!
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea, business meals, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Celebration meal
    DessertisChocolateVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    My mum and I had a lovely celebratory meal. We did have some issues with service, but the manager was extremely apologetic and comped our drinks.
    Special Features:
    business meals, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre Theatre Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Fast and excellent service as we only had an hour to be at the theatre. Stuck to the theatre menu. Tables quite close together and by door to WC and service station so not ideal. Brought birthday message on dessert platter - nice touch.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice place, shame about the service
    ThatBigGuyOnTableTwo
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Make no mistake, the restaurant itself is the spectacle here. It's absolutely stunning. You cannot fail to be wowed by the decor and the feeling that you're going out somewhere special. That's where it ends though. The food, whilst pleasant enough, is simply average and not a million miles away from any small local restaurant you could name worldwide that would cost you much less. There's nothing wrong with it, we had a very pleasant meal. It's just... average. The service however, is something else. We had five different people assist us during our meal, which in theory sounds great. We asked three of them for the bill at the end of the meal and we finally picked the right one, as after only thirty minutes wait, it arrived at our table.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Excellent
    Foodie1
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    We were extremely well looked after and the food was excellent. Some of us had the set menu which was very good value.
    Special Features:
    group bookings, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Pre theatre meal
    Pamdh
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Overall v good but extras doubled the bill, coffee, some vegetables and one glass of wine Top table offer is the restaurants standard deal. Service excellent
    Special Features:
    disabled access, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • wonderful meal
    jd136
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    The food and cocktails were delicious. The service while polite was a bit slow. We weren't in a hurry and enjoyed taking in the beautiful surroundings and live music so it didn't matter to us. Would thoroughly recommend.
    Special Features:
    special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tea Time Lacking......
    Teaqueen
    Dined on 6/10/2014
    While tea at the Criterion had some interesting selections of tea sandwiches and sweets, the tea selection was limited & their service was appalling. After delivery of tea goodies, explaining our selections and pouring our first cup of tea that is the last we saw of the wait staff. No replenishing of tea or even a pot of hot water, no replenishing of tea sandwiches, no inquiring if we needed anything, we were just forgotten. It was not due to it being busy, we were only one of four tables having tea. Our table was passed by several times by the wait staff without a word. That is not what I would have expected from a restaurant of this age and status. Although beautiful, you may want to rethink having tea here....and that is from a Londoner.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • fine
    ilze
    Dined on 4/10/2014
    Service at this place is hit and miss. Had a rather surly hostess at the entrance but a lovely waiter for our table who just could not do enough. It was a bit of a wait - at the entrance and much longer once we were seated (we had to actually call someone just to get some water). It was compensated by extra glass of champagne which was a nice gesture and much appreciated. Tea itself was lovely - nothing special but good. Too many scones - possibly could not finish everything off. Panna cotta was divine. I think the price is very adequate, great value. We def enjoyed it and def recommend it.
    Special Features:
    afternoon tea
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/10/2014
    We booked a set menu for 4 at 5:45 (pre theatre). The restaurant itself is very impressive and the staff very attentive. The food was good but main course portions were small, particularly the risotto, it looked like a starter portion. We had to request more bread to eke out the portions.
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pre theatre
    Ali75
    Dined on 3/10/2014
    We attended for a pre theatre menu, only slight disappointment was that we went for a drink first and the bar was a bit upside down and the staff were repeatedly moving the furniture and piano around us. Dinner was lovely, small but lovely and the deal good value for money. We has to check our bill twice as it was wrong but overall a good dining experience in opulent surroundings.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dining with friends
    Exasperated
    Dined on 2/10/2014
    Excellent meal, unfortunately missed opportunity for the offer on Toptables because I could not get back on line the day of our booking to amend it so ended up paying a lot more. Next time will definitely book the special offer, better value.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, pre/post theatre, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • A memorable birthday lunch
    guzzleguts
    Dined on 2/10/2014
    I revisited The Criterion Restaurant with two friends who hadn't been there before and they were thoroughly impressed with every aspect of our experience. Service was friendly and professional - the waitress, having overheard me mentioning it was the birthday of one of my friends, even arranged a birthday cake with candle at the end of the meal. We chose salmon and terrine starters, and risotto, salmon and posh sausage and mash mains. All were delicious. I can't wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    business meals, fit for foodies, pre/post theatre, romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.