14 outstanding London restaurants for special occasions

For a special noteworthy night, feast on the colossal seafood platter at The Seafood Bar. Credit: The Seafood Bar

Long praised for the must-visit museums and can’t-miss theatre that make it an international cultural centre, London is also rich in restaurants of all sorts, including spots to celebrate special occasions. 

A chic sushi place in Kensington was made for wooing a special someone. For raucous reunions, there’s a crowd-friendly American grill in Covent Garden. In Westminster, a swanky Indian spot is a no-brainer for milestone birthdays and anniversaries. 

London’s most outstanding restaurants for celebrating are highly sought-after destinations—so book your table at one of these 15 places now.

 

Core by Clare Smyth (Notting Hill)

The facade of a restaurant in Notting Hill, with brick walls, white windows, a black gate, plants and flowers, black street lights and a white sign that says 'Core by Clare Smith'

Since opening in 2017, Core by Clare Smyth has quickly established itself as one of the best places to dine in town. Credit: Core by Clare Smith, @Foodstorymedia

With three MICHELIN stars, it’s no surprise that Core offers a truly special occasion-worthy experience. The cosy and colourful dining room is an ideal place to tuck into chef Clare Smyth’s tasting menu spotlighting British bounty. Consider the Core Seasons lineup, which features roast cod and Morecambe Bay prawns or wagyu beef served with Porthilly oysters. For an especially unforgettable feast, gather ten of your nearest and dearest and book the chef’s table. Here, you’ll have an uninterrupted view of the kitchen crew as they prepare your celebratory meal. 

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Brasserie Zédel (Piccadilly)

Two double doors, with No 20 written on them mark the entrance to Brasserie Zédel, a restaurant in London

The iconic entrance to Brasserie Zédel. Credit: Brasserie Zédel

The Art Deco interiors at this Piccadilly gem raise the bar on any occasion. Hidden under ZL Cafe, the elegant Parisian brasserie exudes 1930s opulence with pink marble columns and a dramatic gold ceiling. Kick off your special night with starters such as rabbit rillettes and escargot from a menu of French classics, conceived by chef Charles Hilton. For mains, try the moules marinières (mussels in white wine) and fries or the artichoke heart ragout and couscous. Toast with cocktails including the Hemingway daiquiri (rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur) or a glass, carafe, or bottle from an impressive French wine list. A house band provides the jazzy soundtrack for your extraordinary night. 

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Maxwell’s (Covent Garden)

Tables and a brightly coloured, well-stocked bar, with red leather stools make up the interior of Maxwell’s, a restaurant in London

Maxwell’s bold and bright space caters to any type of occasion. Credit: Maxwell’s

This laidback all-American grill is a special occasion stalwart, especially when it comes to hosting large groups. Maxwell’s has served its signature burgers, fajitas, and wings to families, theatre-goers, and sports fans since 1972. Tried-and-tested favourites include the Cheesebomb Burger, a beef patty sandwiched between crispy bacon, cheese, and a brioche bun, accompanied by a jug of hot melted cheddar. Wash down your decadent meal with a famous Freakshake which comes in playful versions such as rice crispy cake and Oreo cookie. 

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Otto’s Restaurant (Clerkenwell)

A man is pouring sauce on a soufflé dish in the centre of a big white plate at a restaurant

Otto’s iconic lobster soufflé with Oscietra caviar. Credit: Otto’s Restaurant

It’s easy to see why Londoners flock to this French favourite for all sorts of celebrations. They’re partly here for tableside theatre from an attention-grabbing duck press that makes Otto’s iconic canard à la presse possible. The hefty contraption extracts juices from the bird which is served three ways: liver atop morels and sweetbreads, slivers of duck breast in that infamous pressed sauce with pommes soufflées, and confit duck leg with foie gras and black truffle (due to avian flu, pigeon à la presse is on offer instead). Other examples of Gallic gastronomy can be found on the a la carte menu, such as lobster soufflé with Oscietra caviar and lobster bisque. The extensive wine list is also worth a punt, boasting a long list of continental hard-hitters. 

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Rossella (Kentish Town)

Rossella, a cosy, family-run Italian spot in Kentish Town, was made for marking intimate occasions. This slice of southern Italy is steered by Luca Meola who turns out a menu inspired by summers in Naples and his father’s love of cooking. Toast each other over festive but homey dishes such as Neapolitan beef and pork meatballs in a flavoursome tomato sauce and tagliatelle laced with sautéed aubergine, courgettes, and red onion, topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella. 

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The Cinnamon Club (St. James’s)

Rows of tables set in a dining room filled with books at Cinnamon Club, a restaurant in London

The Cinnamon Club’s grand dining room is set in the Old Westminster Library. Credit: The Cinnamon Club

This renowned restaurant has led the charge in Indian fine dining since opening its doors in 2001. A stately dining room, decked with leather-bound books and blue banquettes, adds a dash of grandeur to any birthday or anniversary. Splash out on modern Indian dishes including chargrilled Obsiblue king prawns in an Alleppey-style curry sauce and Hyderabadi black-spiced lamb escalope from the tasting menu. Or share the Cinnamon Club 20th anniversary special: Old Delhi-style butter chicken, pilau rice, black lentils, garlic naan, and fenugreek butter. Saturdays are extra fun with a jazz brunch, featuring a three-course menu alongside a soundtrack of smooth beats. 

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Fatt Pundit (Soho)

A black and white mural of a tiger wearing a turban decorates a brick wall in Fatt Pundit, a restaurant in London

Fatt Pundit’s exposed brick walls are covered in murals. Credit: Fatt Pundit

Fatt Pundit is the spot for an all-out group celebration thanks to inventive small plates and one especially Instagram-worthy dessert. The Indian Chinese restaurant has an energetic vibe enhanced by street signs and murals. Start the party with a fruit cooler cocktail served in versions including a guava sour and Alphonso mango with Szechuan syrup. The drinks are inspired by vendors in India who serve fresh fruit sprinkled with a variety of spices and salts. Tear into shareable dishes such as Tibetan momos, chilli paneer lettuce cups, and sticky sesame vegetables. Cap off your group feast with a sizzling brownie served with vanilla and chocolate honeycomb ice cream. 

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Bistro Union (Clapham) 

This date-worthy Clapham restaurant (the sibling venue to MICHELIN-starred Trinity) showcases a modern British and French menu under the helm of head chef Adam Byatt. The retro-themed dining room adds a playfulness to the serious flavours of the daily menu. Dishes including Comté gougeres, roast chicken à la suprême, and cured meats provide the right kind of fuel for a sophisticated and standout celebration. 

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Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill (The Strand)

One of London’s most fabulous and famous restaurants has hosted epic evenings for Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, and the late Queen Elizabeth II. It’s existed in the iconic Savoy Hotel for more than a century—and is now part of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s empire. The prestigious dining room offers a chance to celebrate in style. A menu focusing on British dishes with a French accent spotlights the talents of executive head chef Michael Turner and his brigade. Feast on succulent beef Wellington, duck à l’orange, and lobster thermidor with fries in a stunning space decked with crystal chandeliers and velvet seats. Elevate the experience by reserving the chef’s table where an eight-course menu includes drama from the live kitchen.

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Side Hustle at The NoMad (Covent Garden) 

A copper pot of churros sits on top of a slab of wood with two sauces, from Side Hustle, a restaurant in London

Churros come with a variety of dips at Side Hustle. Credit: Side Hustle

This lively Mexico-inspired spot is in a former police station, but you’d never know its sombre past life thanks to its jewel-toned glow-up, complete with leather booths and a marble-topped bar. The vibes here are unabashedly festive, fueled by eye-catching agave-forward cocktails (conceived by bar director Liana Oster) and shareable dips. Bring a group to do justice to larger plates such as the ribeye with Padrón peppers or order the number of tacos—fillings include wild mushrooms, Baja-style prawns, or pork carnitas—your crew requires.

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Sachi Restaurant at Pantechnicon (Belgravia)

A selection of sashimi is prepared and plated, garnished with herbs and flowers at Sachi at Pantechnicon, a restaurant in London

Stunning sashimi plates at Sachi at Pantechnicon. Credit: Sachi at Pantechnicon

With its ambient lighting and intimate seats, Sachi at Pantechnicon is the ideal place to woo someone special. Snag a seat at the sushi counter to watch fresh seafood prepared before your eyes. Steelhead trout with hazelnut miso and beef short rib with black garlic and fermented mushrooms are just two examples of the chefs’ renowned Japanese techniques. If you’re stumped by the drinks menu, a sake sommelier can help you navigate.

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Harwood Arms (Fulham)

London’s only MICHELIN-starred gastropub is overseen by Australian-born Brett Graham (chef and owner of the two MICHELIN-starred Ledbury) and head chef Jake Leach. The ever-changing menu at this date-night gem focuses on game, showcasing British meats such as Berkshire fallow deer and wild venison. Enjoy them accompanied with seasonal veggies from the pub’s roof garden while taking in the rustic decor. Harwood Arms is a wildly popular restaurant in Chelsea so be sure to make a reservation for your special day.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych (Covent Garden)

This Theatreland hotel sprinkles magic on any milestone moment by channelling a Roald Dahl classic. On its Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea menu, choose from photogenic savouries such as the salmon and dill quiche and beetroot macaron. Expect sugary treats including sweet scones, “snozzberry” jam, and a box stacked with crafted cakes, candies, mallows, and creams. To wash it all down, there’s chocolate or lemon sherbet tea, fizzy lifting Champagne, and whimsical water-pistol cocktails. With a dedicated children’s menu serving cakes, hot chocolates, and mocktails, One Aldwych is just the ticket for revellers of all ages. 

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The Seafood Bar (Soho)

The blue facade of a restaurant with the name The Seafood Bar in big letters and warm interiors with guests dining and a pick neon light in form of a crab

Food is sourced sustainably at The Seafood Bar. Credit: The Seafood Bar

The Seafood Bar is the only international outpost from the De Visscher family, Dutch fishmongers turned restaurateurs. A reservation at this Georgian townhouse ups the ante on any festive occasion with unique perks: discuss the day’s catch with the chefs at the downstairs seafood counter before enjoying it in the upstairs dining room. Come for award-winning fare such as Nordic Blu salmon, regularly touted as the world’s best and most sustainable, or a fillet of sole sizzled on the huge plancha grill. If it’s an especially noteworthy night, splurge for the pièce de résistance: a colossal seafood platter piled high with clams, oysters, and crevettes. 

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