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The Criterion
The Criterion

The Criterion Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.criterionrestaurant.com
  • Phone: 0207 9300488
  • 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: Matthew Foxon
  • 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.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked 1000-Point Tables
Diner Reviews
  • "We went for a pre theatre dinner. Excellent food and service, lovely room, good value set menu, especially if you don't have any of the supplements."
    dined on 21/07/2014
  • "Excellent food and service and would highly recommend for any occasion"
    dined on 19/07/2014
  • "I was with a friend who was over from New Zealand, so I was really hoping the Criterion was going to be good, and it certainly was. The staff couldn't have been more attentive or friendly, the set menu had a good selection on it and we were pleased with our choices. Of course the room is just lovely and it was a great experience for my friend. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend or go again."
    dined on 19/07/2014
  • "Absolutely fantastic as usual food and ambience. Service was somewhat disappointing. We arrived at 5.30 when our table us booked. The team was still having a meeting rather than showing guests to the table. We did not get bread served which I really look forward to. I had to ask the waiter after our main meal why this was the case. It took ages for them to clear plates after our dinner. The team seemed new and seemed chaotic. However it was still a enjoyable prior to our theatre trip."
    dined on 19/07/2014
  • "Very nice ambience, very friendly and helpful staff plus lovely food. Lovely cocktails and a very nice start to your evening if going on to the theatre."
    dined on 18/07/2014
  • "Nice service, friendly, non- fussy. Moderate priced set meal option. Good a la carte. Reasonable wine list."
    dined on 16/07/2014
  • "A really good dining experience. The ambience, surroundings and service are not to be missed matched by the limited but very good pre-theatre menu. A good alternative to those theatre package deals!"
    dined on 15/07/2014
  • "The food at this beautiful room was extremely disappointing. It felt like it was all pre-prepared and slopped out -- it might has well have been a cafetaria counter service. On the plus side, food came very, very fast. But on the minus, it was barely worth eating when it arrived. So never mind that the service was great or that the splendour of the room itself is a compensatory factor; the fact that the food is pretty ghastly wipes it all out. It doesn't help that we were celebrating a wedding anniversary...."
    dined on 14/07/2014
  • "Had a meal here on Saturday after the Theatre. We were a bit worried that it would be formal and not much atmosphere but as we are foodies we wanted to try it. The atmosphere was quite lively and not at all stuffy. The staff were friendly and the food was fabulous. It is not cheap but we didn't expect it to be and we were not shocked by the £170 bill for two. Would definitely recommend it for a treat."
    dined on 12/07/2014
  • "I have ate here twice before & enjoyed it. This time the food was awful, the main meal was 2/3rds fat, with little meat, they also served coleslaw with hot pork on top. The starter was ok, the dessert most of it tasteless. The staff were pleasant, but not attentive never gave us options or ask if our meal was ok. The toilets were dirty, the glass smeared, bins thick dust, all in all not good hygiene standards. My experience was not very nice and I would not recommend the Criterion as I have before, there standards have dropped tremendously."
    dined on 12/07/2014
  • "Drinks were slow and it was hard to get anyone's attention which was a shame because the food was great and the £25 for 3 courses including a Pimms is amazing value. The setting oozes glamour and the atmosphere is splendid but the toilets are substandard and it's not clear whether anyone is actually in charge of the staff. Also, I was a bit annoyed when asked to provide my credit card details when called to confirm the reservation and refused. I can understand that a peak times no-shows must cost them but we were in at 5.30pm for a pre-theatre meal deal. Overall it's the best place in the area for the money, but don't expect good service."
    dined on 12/07/2014
  • "Absolutely perfect champagne afternoon tea - good choices of teas, lovely finger sandwiches, and the best scones with clotted cream and jam I have ever had!"
    dined on 12/07/2014
  • "I have never eaten here before but shall certainly be recommending this restaurant to friends for value for money and delicious food."
    dined on 12/07/2014
  • "We chose the Criterion as it is so central and were intrigued with its history. It is a beautiful room to dine in, and the live piano added a bonus. We had the Open Table special of two courses and a Pimms with lemonade for £20 and there were a good number of choices. The service seemed a bit chaotic as 3 different people were involved and we weren't sure who was doing what. They seriously need to expand the number of stalls in the ladies' toilet! There was such a queue that one woman just went into the gents."
    dined on 11/07/2014
  • "I was disgusted to be harassed by this restaurant. Besides the original confirmation of booking, another Email 24hrs pre dinning "Just a reminder, you've got a booking coming up:" There was then a totally unnecessary phone call. People have better things to do than take calls from pretentious restaurants. I would have cancelled had I not arranged my business meeting at the Criterion. The restuarant was neither full nor even busy, the 2hour table policy was & is the domain of weak management. The staff, plenty of them were less than attentive. The table was for four split into for two with a screen, another two diners were placed on the other side, although there was plenty of free space. Another tables wine bucket was parked by our table!"
    dined on 11/07/2014
  • "A group of mums and daughters meeting in London to celebrate a couple of birthdays. The restaurant was chosen for its location. The ambiance, food and service was really good and the venue ideal for this occasion. I would certainly go back and would also recommend it to my friends."
    dined on 08/07/2014
  • "I booked dinner at the Criterion for my fiancee this week and it didn't disappoint. This was my second time to the restaurant in as many months - I canot overstate the quality of the food. Cooked to perfection the food is simply sublime. Coupled with the gorgeous ceiling and lovely ambience, this makes for a fantastic dining experience. Only downside is possibly the seating space on tables for two (a little bit tight), despite this, the restaurant has risen to the top of my favourites list and with the toptable offers you really can't go wrong pricing wise. I'll definitely be back again."
    dined on 08/07/2014
  • "We had the steak and lobster with craft beers which was great value and really enjoyed the steak and lobster. It is a good looking restaurant and the pre theatre menu is great value"
    dined on 07/07/2014
  • "The Criterion is always a pleasure to go to. Service is excellent irrespective of whether you eat a la carte or are there for a special offer. Their special offers are very good value."
    dined on 06/07/2014
  • "Arrived 10 minutes early for dinner and was sneered at. Directed to go & sit at the bar where we could see the restaurant that had about 10x diners in total (it wasn't terribly busy). Waited politely for 20 minutes and then decided that we should make some enquiries only to be told that we were late but they would see what they could do. We were sat next to the kitchen doors at a tiny table with a wobbly partition... in an almost empty restaurant. The food was very average and not especially flavoursome although there was nothing actually wrong with it. £90 and an hour later we've decided we probably wouldn't choose to return. Chalk it down to experience or new management as have been before and had very pleasant meals."
    dined on 05/07/2014
  • "Were greeted politely and promptly on arrival, ordered a couple of aperitives, which again arrived promptly although the entire tonic had been poured into the gin. No barman should do this. Food from the fixed price menu good as it should be, although portions were on the small side for the main courses. Byzantine interior wonderfully evocative of the Belle Epooque. Try it."
    dined on 05/07/2014
  • "The special offer: £20 for 2 courses and £25 for 3 sounded good. Having booked a table we were surprised that our table was not ready when we arrived and we were asked to sit at the bar. Although our meal came with a complementary Pimms we were unable to have it at the bar and had to spend extra on aperitifs. At the table we asked if we could change the Pimms to the house white as we had already had aperitifs, we were told we could but when the bill arrived we were charge an extra £5 each. Although the deal sounded good, we felt staff were trying to maximise extra revenue opportunities. When we got the bill it turned out to be £45 per head and not the inexpensive meal we had planned for. Shame as I have dined there many times before."
    dined on 04/07/2014
  • "We booked at Criterion for a friend's farewell and it turned out a great choice. The venue is fantastic and the food was excellent. We started at the bar with prosecco. The service was great at the beginning but later a large group arrived and we were forgotten for a really long time: no drinks, finished plates in our table... Without the menu offer it would be quite expensive and we were very tempted to have a word regarding the service charge...but still giving it a good rating"
    dined on 04/07/2014
  • "In recent years, the Criteriion always comes top of my list as consistant in providing my girl friends and I with a beautiful place to meet after a busy day in London, providing good food, at a good price. Wine, though, can be expensive."
    dined on 03/07/2014
  • "Food was excellent (the pork in particular), venue is lovely - luxurious and special, perfect for a celebration or romantic meal. The biggest suprise was the bill though - with a free drink included we had spent less per head than I often manage in middle of the road chain restaurants. Absolutely fantastic value. Only let down by a long wait to pay - otherwise perfect, will go again, and soon!"
    dined on 02/07/2014
  • "Excellent food from a good range of old faviourites. Busy but not too noisy: nice buzz and splendid surroundings."
    dined on 02/07/2014
  • "I have been here before and always loved it. What is not to love with the food and setting? However this time the service was outstanding. I had booked for 4 and just as they sat us a friend who had originally had to cancel due to work text me saying she would like to now join us. That made us a table for 5. Despite them being very busy they re sat us in the bar and organised a new table for 5. All done as if it was their mistake not ours and with great humour. If you want a truly memorable night out in a central London 'institution' then go to the Criterion. If you are concerned re the budget then the pre theatre menu at £20 is great value."
    dined on 02/07/2014
  • " I absolutely love The Criterion. It's a beautiful haven in the busy city. It's afternoon tea menu was lovely and the savoury scones were absolutely delicious. I'm allergic to strawberries so was delighted to be given a choice of jam and they accommodated my request for plain sandwiches for my daughter. The tea choice was extensive and excellent. However, for the first time ever service was disappointing. We arrived on time but in a practically empty restaurant our table wasn't ready. So we were placed in the bar area. A waiter asked if I wanted a drink and I thought I'd have a cocktail but told I should wait until I got to my table! I like to linger over afternoon tea but after that attention was slow and the bill took 20 minutes!"
    dined on 02/07/2014
  • "As the restaurant was immediately off Piccadilly Circus I was nervous that it may be tacky/poor value for money, but after reading the reviews I decided to try it out. I was amazingly surprised by the establishment: the décor was beautiful, with wide open space and an impressive bar. The food was excellent, and there was attentive customer service. We went for the 3 course set menu and spent over 3 hours chatting away. I will most definitely be coming back."
    dined on 01/07/2014
  • "We had a delicious pre theatre supper here on 1st July would certainly recommend it for both food and location"
    dined on 01/07/2014
  • "Afternoon tea, with bubbly on the side...a great, central venue with delicious cakes! I loved the savoury scones with leek & tomato try it with mascarpone cheese & black currant jam! And the ambiance is exquisite."
    dined on 01/07/2014
  • "The service is just wonderful, the food is great and the 1920's glitz decor just adds to the whole. Excellant."
    dined on 30/06/2014
  • "We were a group of 6 and had the summer menu. Everyone was very happy with the food, which was great value at 20 for 2 courses. Lovely, historic venue, would definitely recommend."
    dined on 28/06/2014
  • "I had booked the Criterion 3 course deal for my boyfriend's birthday. He wanted a low key celebration with friends. The meal was delicious, great value for money. The waiter was so attentive that he noticed the birthday card on the table and bought over a beautifully presented happy birthday tray of sweets and candle, with no prompting from us at all. It was such a classy touch and made the evening truly special."
    dined on 26/06/2014
  • "We had a lovely long and quiet lunch not having met up for a very long time. We had not read menus quickly and took a long time to choose our food and were able to make it a very long lunch. We got to catch up with no pressure and had a wonderful time. The food was excellent and the wine also. We felt really spoilt. Always recommend to friends especially for a quiet lunch! We were not rushed in any way... Thank you!"
    dined on 25/06/2014
  • "Everything about this place was top notch. Surroundings, staff, food. Absolutely amazing."
    dined on 24/06/2014
  • "Very nice place, with class and style. The service is really good and the food is great. Great place to eat before or after theatre."
    dined on 23/06/2014
  • "Sent my cousin here for his girlfriends birthday and they were treated very well and looked after. They had a great time. Thank you"
    dined on 22/06/2014
  • "We took our friends from LA for lunch and they LOVED it. Everything was really good as usual and as we expected it to be"
    dined on 21/06/2014
  • "Booked it for an anniversary meal with the £25 3 course with complimentary drink. We were a bit worried it would be touristy and bland being smack bang in the middle of Piccadilly but the atmosphere, food and service were first class."
    dined on 20/06/2014