· By Becca Brown
The best London spots for a Father's Day meal
Being a parent is hard. Be it a Dad, a Stepdad, a Mum who’s also playing Dad, or a family member/friend who’s stepped into the role.
Your parents’ Fathers Day meal, then, should be an opportunity to say thank you. And also a chance to get to places you wouldn’t normally go to with your mates, but which you secretly love.
The restaurants on our list have a few things in common. First, they all take reservations. Second, they’re all comfortable to sit in, because comfort is key after you’ve metaphorically carried another living person around their entire life. Third, all of them have good service and fourth, all serve very good food that isn’t too adventurous, because your dad hasn’t forgiven you for the time you took him to a small plates restaurant and they expected you to share three scallops between four people.
Here’s our list of places you should take your parents to in London.
Cafe Murano - COV
Cafe Murano is parental catnip. It’s a pretty Italian restaurant in Covent Garden, and it’s run by Angela Hartnett, who no doubt you’ve seen on Saturday Kitchen asking celebrities to make omelettes or whatever they do on that programme these days. The food leans more towards actual Italian with the odd regional speciality, but more importantly your parents will love it and you’ll be able to get a glorious pasta-filled dinner out of it as well. There’s also a second restaurant in St James if Dad loathes tourists as much as you do.
Perhaps your parents clicked a link on Facebook of celebs being papped (is that even still a thing?) leaving J Sheekey, and it would be a good excuse to take them to this flawless seafood restaurant for dinner. Not just to show them that you can use cutlery properly and be all fancy, but also because the atmosphere and food are incredible. You can get a nice piece of fish here, and don’t miss the rhubarb pudding if it’s on.
The Anchor & Hope
After a wander down southbank take them to gastro pub The Anchor and Hope for one of the best meals you can get along the river. They’ll appreciate the laid back atmosphere, as well as the excellent food, and you can get a few drinks out of it too. You can eat in the main pub bit or the more formal dining room, and the menu constantly changes so it’s a great all rounder
Dean Street Townhouse Dining Room
Dean Street Townhouse is a no-brainer for a Fathers Day dinner. It’s central and takes reservations, it’s incredibly comfy and parents will love all the velvet and polished wood, and it’s just the right amount of buzzy. The restaurant is always crowded, but comfortably so. The English comfort food is spot-on, and just about anyone will be able to get on board with the dishes here.
Chelsea doesn’t want for posh restaurants with mediocre food, but if you’re going to shell out for dinner with your Father, the food should at least be good. Elystan Street delivers in spades on that front, and is the kind of sleek yet grown-up kind of place that any parents will appreciate. You’ll get formal service that’s also laid-back for this part of town, as well as very good upscale French and Italian food.
St. John might be famous the world over for bigging up nose-to-tail eating, but we all really know that the food there is meat and two veg and everyone (veggie/vegans aside) loves meat and two veg. The menu changes constantly, but anything involving roast meat or fish is a good call, and you might want to order the slightly butch-looking bone marrow salad if only to convince the 'rents that you're a real grown up with mature tastes now. The main restaurant is relaxed and comfy, but the bar is a good spot if your Dad is actually cooler than you.
Nothing charms parents more than a French brasserie, and they don’t come much prettier than Zedel. It looks like a perfectly elegant bistro from the outside, but once you head down to the main restaurant, you might feel like you’ve walked into Louis XV’s private rec room. Despite all this, Zedel is remarkably reasonable cost-wise, so long as you don’t get carried away with the grog.
Hawksmoor Seven Dials
Steakhouses are a sure bet with parents right?. They’re spacious and comfy, and nothing on the menu is even remotely challenging but still very tasty for the most part. Hawksmoor is the best one we have in London, and it’s where you should arrange to take them lest they have a hankering for well-hung beef. The Covent Garden outpost is one of our favourites, and although prices are predictably high, you’ll get excellent aged meat, cocktails, and the waiters will be nice to your folks. Feel free to ignore your mother’s protests that Aberdeen Angus does the best steak in town.
Royal China Club
You grew up eating prawn toast and sweet ‘n’ sour chicken from a place called Magic Wok in Sheffield, but since you arrived in London, you’ve discovered that there’s so much more to Chinese food. Royal China is a reliably good spot with a few locations in town, we like the Baker Street one (and its conveniently close to Shay & Blue HQ) but where you can treat your folks to upmarket Cantonese food in a dining room that’s busy but not loud, and it’s an excellent place to kick back with a few plates of noodles and roast duck. Dim sum here is an excellent call, and the round tables are particularly good if you’re celebrating Dad on a big scale with half the extended family.
Les 110 de Taillevent
We’re still struggling to pronounce the name of this place, which is a shame because it’s excellent. It’s the London branch of a very upmarket Parisian restaurant, and as you’d expect, there’s fancy French food, loads of comfy leather booths, and an exceptional wine list. This is the sort of place you take your parents when you want to show them what’s up, instead of lowballing them with dinner at Côte. You’ll all get a relaxed fine dining experience without any of the typical stuffiness.
If parents are in town, there’s a fair-to-certain chance you’ll end up getting dragged to the West End to see Mamma Mia or something equally cheesy. Pray to Jeebus that you don’t, but if you do, take them to Opera Tavern so at least you can salvage something out of the evening. You’ll eat classy little plates of Spanish tapas, and there’s a nice combination of classic standbys like patatas bravas and tortilla, as well as some more adventurous options. You’ll never regret ordering the prawns.
PHOTO CREDIT: GIULIA VERDINELLI
A restaurant like The Wolseley should be held back for the Fathers Days when either a) Dads had a particularly tough year or b) You’ve been even more difficult than usual (the two till likely came hand in hand) He’lll see you in your smart clothes and, as you enter the restaurant, the stunning space will knock them for six (it used to be a vintage car showroom). They’ll love the banter from the servers, and they’ll be all over the posh French brasserie cuisine and before you know it, all will be forgotten and your rightful place as No1 child will be restored.