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The Criterion
The Criterion

The Criterion Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.criterionrestaurant.com
  • Email: reservations@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 - Sunday: 2:30pm - 4.30pm
  • 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 toptable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerModern European
Diner Reviews
  • "We took friends for a pre theatre dinner and it was just fabulous! On entering you are struck by the beauty of the gold mosaic ceiling. The service was good and not intrusive. As for the food, on the set menu, it was simply exquisite. All four of us ate something different and we were all very happy. It is extremely good value and we will certainly be returning."
    dined on 11/04/2014
  • "Situated right on Picadilly Circus you can tell the place will have a certain kind of magic. The decor is fantastically grand and a real treat. Dress smart though, a perfect and delicious meal before going to the theatre a mere 30 secs walk away. Will recommend wholeheartedly!"
    dined on 12/04/2014
  • "to get some where in such a touristy area that truly feels special is difficult, but the criterion succeeds. The food is very good. The staff and the setting are amazing, and that's what makes it for me! looking forward to a return visit - thanks"
    dined on 11/03/2014
  • "Food wasn't bad. Portions were small but not bad for the price. Service was a bit slow however staff were very friendly. The tables were *very* close together which was very uncomfortable as It felt as if we were sharing a table with another couple. Overall, it could have been better but it could also have been much worse."
    dined on 11/04/2014
  • "Terrible management and service, waited for over 30 mins to be seated having been told when we arrived they were just making the table up (and told on the phone beforehand we could only have the table for two hours). Once were finally seated it was immediately next to a large group of spanish tourists who persisted to take photos over our table and the tour guides leaning against our table. We asked to move but we're told no. No control by waiters at all. Requested wine list and they did a great job of waiting until we had finished our main course before bringing this to the table. We wanted a special evening out before our wedding next week, instead we came away wishing if gone to Burger King. Very disappointed!!"
    dined on 11/04/2014
  • "Without question, the setting at The Criterion is glorious. But, compared with the past, it's now a far more modest restaurant than was the case. The food, whilst being very tasty and sufficient, is no more than that, and the service, whilst being enthusiastic, is slightly amateurish and what you'd find in many average restaurants. Overall, however, we enjoyed our evening and it was certainly very good value."
    dined on 10/04/2014
  • "Very enjoyable meal at The Criterion. Such a beautiful setting. Our waiter was friendly & helpful with great manners. Food was very good, the trifle being a huge surprise!"
    dined on 10/04/2014
  • "I took a friend here (criterion) and upon arrival was treated to a couple of bellinis.. Was asked to wait for a table and was brought over some little finger dish Of peanuts . Ten mins past , then was taken to our table , food was good , staff were Prompt and efficient , overall had a very good dining experiance , Would come again."
    dined on 10/01/2014
  • "A disappointing experience at lunch, starting with a marked unwillingness to seat us side by side, even though the place was only one third full. Resolved by our threatening to go elsewhere. Lobster salad had never seen lobster. Instead a cray fish or langoustine was offered, still icy from the freezer. Service arrogant and verging on the discourteous. Never again."
    dined on 08/04/2014
  • "The esperinece at The Criterion harks back to an era of old time restaurants with a traditional layout, good service and well delivered food. My only critisism is that I seemed to get forgotten as a single diner at one point, but generally the service was friendly and professional. The food was good, well presented and tasty. I would return."
    dined on 08/04/2014
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed my meal but the service really lacked, it was probably at least 30 minutes till we were able to order and had to ask numerous times for someone to come take the order. Also it got really hot in there as the evening went on and apparently since the building is so old there is no air conditioner. The ambiance is nice though and feels quite fancy and classy."
    dined on 07/04/2014
  • "Elegant yet friendly place to experience afternoon tea."
    dined on 07/04/2014
  • "....Really great and interesting food ....a good menu with a value focussed set menu... in a really great location in the west end. Beautiful restaurant - outstanding ceiling - really rather special. The staff are very good from the greeters to the waiting on staff...."
    dined on 07/04/2014
  • "Whilst the ambience and decor is lovely unfortunately our evening was spoilt by an extremely ride and unaccommodating waitress who seemed to think that a toptable customer did not deserve the same service as a non toptable customer. It seemed too much to ask to have the offer explained or the difference in the beers which come as part of the offer. Generally disappointing particularly when I could clearly see her being as a waitress should be."
    dined on 07/04/2014
  • "We had a pre-theatre meal on one of the offers (two courses and a Bellini for £20) which was very good value. But when I arrived the restaurant was almost empty and I was seated at a table at the back of the restaurants and the next people who came in were seated on a table next to me (with a gap of about 2 inches between us!) The restaurant was almost full by the time we left but why seat people on top of each other immediately? The food was very good and the Bellini's were moreish! Great place for a pre-theatre meal"
    dined on 02/04/2014
  • "We have eaten here before and loved the ambience so recommended and arranged dinner for our son and his partner for an anniversary. We wanted to pay for them and tried to do so by phone. The first phone operator said no problems and started taking details. She was then mysteriously cut off. The next said it was impossible, after a cursory chat to her manager - "the first lady was new". Her manager was too busy to speak to anybody (this was outside opening times); I could sense stereotypical gallic shoulder shrugging, which was a shame. The restaurant has not bothered to respond to feedback. Even if this is policy, it was very poorly handled. Having said which, they loved the meal and the Criterion is a very impressive place to go."
    dined on 03/04/2014
  • "....and the food was pretty good, but we left before dessert simply because the place was uncomfortably hot. Mentioned this to the waitress who said "Yes, it's always like this" and to the Maitre D' on the way out who didn't seem either surprised or interested. Given that the couple on the next table were also fanning themselves, and commented to us about the heat, it is hard to see why something isn't being done. It's only early April for heaven's sake - even with the dodgy UK weather we can expect it to get a lot warmer!"
    dined on 04/04/2014
  • "3 of us went for an evening meal using at top table offer from the set menu. It was great food and decent value. We also had a bottle of wine, the cheapest on the menu was £22 which is what we chose and was very nice. They had a pianist right next to our table who was brilliant and played modern songs and without taking over the restaurant ambience. It was very Warm inside but the staff brought us water for the table so it wasn't unbearable. They did whack on a 12.5% service charge which we thought was a bit steep but paid it. Overall would definitely go back but only on another deal as we couldn't afford it otherwise!"
    dined on 04/04/2014
  • "It was an amazing setting! Food was lovely and the value of the menu was great."
    dined on 03/04/2014
  • "The Criterion is a beautiful room in which to dine and with delicious food as well, it makes for a great dining experience. We took the Top Table offer of 3 courses and a Bellini for £25.00. We paid supplements for the lamb and steak dishes and it was necessary to order side dishes with the steak, but it was still good value for the quality of the food. Service was efficient and discreet, if a little on the cool side. The 2-hour table policy was thankfully not enforced, perhaps because the restaurant was not overly busy on a Wednesday evening. I would definitely recommend it for a special occasion."
    dined on 26/03/2014
  • "Staff were very friendly and attentive and as someone with special dietary requirements they were very helpful! Food was gorgeous especially the duck, my compliments to the chef! The setting was above the ordinary and lovely for a special occasion, overall it was a very memorable evenin for all the right reasons!"
    dined on 04/04/2014
  • "I went here for a meal with my Ma. The meal generally was lovely with splendid service. The French do it so well, however the vegetarian main left something to be desired. Excellent in freshness, however a but more creativity and attention to nutritional content, wouldn't have gone amiss. Wonderful ambience, with great decor. I requested The Criterion make an extra effort to make my mum feel special which they did with a flare. I was very grateful."
    dined on 03/04/2014
  • "Overall a great experience, fantastic venue and the food from the fixed price menu good. Service was a bit slow but as we were not in a hurry this did not matter. With five on a largish round table it was sometimes difficult to hear what others were saying as the noise levels were high. Smaller tables won't suffer from this."
    dined on 03/04/2014
  • "Becoming a regular every time we see a show - 2/3 course deals are excellent value, service smooth and slick, great feel of times gone by and the food is just right. David timmis"
    dined on 01/04/2014
  • "I took my family here for afternoon tea on mothers day and was painfully disappointed. We had booked way in advance, but had to wait 25 minutes for our table. Once we arrived at the table, it took another 20 minutes for someone to offer us water and another 10 minutes to be given the tea menu. We had to wait a long time for the food, which included uncooked scones an dry sandwiches. I probably won't visit again."
    dined on 30/03/2014
  • "Buzzing at 7pm on a Saturday where 4 of us ate post-matinee theatre. Great atmosphere, but possibly a little too noisy for a romantic dinner. Excellent value with the Toptable offer of 3 courses for £25 including the nicest steak we've had out (£4 supplement?). Delightful waiter who, despite being very busy, took time to engage with us. We had a lovely experience there. Usual queues for the toilets but hey, you meet the nicest people..."
    dined on 15/03/2014
  • "Food delicious but portions of fish dishes ( on set menu) quite small, so think a grown man might leave hungry, where he to order fish for every course. Men we were with ordered beef, which was much better size, so wasn't a problem... Service for us wasn't the famed 'excellent' that Criterion is renown for. Wine taken away,,rather than left at table in a cooler is fine *IF* it's noticed that glasses running empty, but they weren't and we had to ask to be topped up. Alsdo had to ask twice for the 2 beers we ordered... Still, the setting and atmosphere of the Criterion made up for the slight downsides of service and tiddler fish portions and the mum who was being treated for Mother's Day *did* feel spoiled. #jobdone"
    dined on 30/03/2014
  • "I would not recommend this to my worst enemy. We had the set menu, which seemed a lot poorer quality, something I have not experienced before when booking on top table. The food was very poor quality, portions non existent, wine list very limited and the service from the waiter terrible. He was totally disinterested and did not even ask us how we were finding the food. Had to send one bottle of wine back, as truly undrinkable at 50 pounds a bottle! This was meant to be a special birthday treat for a friend, but we left quite appalled at what we had experienced. Our gastro pub in crouch end knocks this into the park and the staff there actually ask what we think of the food. If you do go, avoid top table menu at all costs!"
    dined on 29/03/2014
  • "We have been to Criterion before. The food is reliable although not exceptional. What makes the place is the grandeur/decor - which makes the place feel special. You walk through the door and "wow" you can't believe you were amidst the hustle and bustle of Piccadily circus only a few moments ago."
    dined on 21/03/2014
  • "My sister and I enjoyed the 2 course set menu with a bellini. All very nice, with a good selection and well cooked food. The key element of The Criterion is the interior of course - I'd recommend on the basis of that alone."
    dined on 29/03/2014
  • "Experienced a very enjoyable Satuday lunch; good food, nice wine/cocktails and a friendly service."
    dined on 29/03/2014
  • "We booked a table for 5.30pm , arrived to find 10 t0 20 people all waiting to be seated, finally shown to our table at 5.55pm, poor organisation and no apologies given , not like the Criterion, where we have previously received excellent service."
    dined on 27/03/2014
  • "Amazing setting, great value food & top quality. Fudge to die for!!!"
    dined on 29/03/2014
  • "We had not been back to the Criterion since Marco Pierre White days. The Criterion is as first class as ever. The Staff are very friendly, personable, helpful, smartly dressed. We had a Time Out Menu voucher and the food on the menu was limited but excellent. However, since I could not eat anything off the starter menu (dietary restrictions - heart transplant), the waitress immediately offered me an alternative. Can certainly recommend - this is a beautiful setting to have lunch - and the food is fantastic."
    dined on 19/03/2014
  • "Always great for pre theatre, the service gets us out inplemty of time for curtain up!"
    dined on 27/03/2014
  • "Given the deocr, the location and the sense of history, the food here is much better than it needs to be. The off peak set menu is very good value for money. It's a magical place in the center of London with very good food and friendly service."
    dined on 26/03/2014
  • "I booked this place a little last minute and was drawn to it by the pictures of the wonderfully opulent interior. The prices seems very fair given the presentation of the place and the menu options especially the set menu. The décor is even better than the pictures suggest, the food is very good and service prompt and efficient. Portions on the set menu are on the smaller side but that is to be expected for the quality of what you get and the price. It's also enough that you won't be hungry during the theatre but not so much that you fall asleep. The only criticism I had was my dinning chair was lacking a bit of padding."
    dined on 26/03/2014
  • "this is one of my favourite places and the Top table deal makes it incredibly good value. Our waitress was a little on the brusque side but otherwise excellent. We were almost an hour early for our booking but the restaurant seated us anyway. There is a two hour turn around on the tables but we went over this and we were never rushed or made to feel we had outstayed our welcome."
    dined on 26/03/2014
  • "We dined here Pre-Theatre. We had the Top Table menu which offered plenty of choice. The service was outstanding - attentive without being invasive. The food arrived quickly, depute the restaurant being pretty full. The restaurant has beautiful decor & a relaxed atmosphere. The food was delicious & well presented. I will definitely dine here again."
    dined on 25/03/2014
  • "Friendly service and great food in wonderful room. Tables for 2 sometimes too close together so not ideal for romance!"
    dined on 25/03/2014