It’s party planning time! Are you taking your team, or your clients, out to celebrate Christmas? Considering London has over 15,000 restaurants, when it comes to larger groups it can be quite challenging to find somewhere which looks great, has a fun atmosphere, serves tasty food and is happy to book larger parties. Booking a table for six is easy but making a reservation for eight or more, especially at the high-end restaurants, you may struggle. Many places are reluctant to take a booking unless you have a private room and a set menu, worried about maintaining the high standards. Fortunately, headhunters like a party and we know of a few gems around the City and West End worth considering, to treat your team or your lucky clients!
Ave Mario - Covent Garden, WC2E
4 min walk from Leicester Square station, 6 min walk from Charing Cross mainline and underground stations
Ave Mario says: “Ave Mario is 700 m2 of pure paradise, managed by our funky squadra of 120 Italians. Inspired by an idyllic day in Florence, a ‘Church version 2.0’, the 295 seats are spread over 3 spaces, and 2 gigantic terraces. The perfect spot for a date with your lover, a lunch with your BFF or a family meal just as you like it.”
We say: “A vision in red and white, this Big Mamma Group (all of their locations are great) Italian restaurant in Covent Garden is an experience. Cool decor, beautiful bars, great atmosphere and efficient and friendly staff. Often dubbed “one of London’s most Instagrammable restaurants”, the bathrooms alone are worth a visit! Plus good tech means you can see your bill in real time.”
Balthazar - Covent Garden, WC2B
3 min walk from Covent Garden station, 10 min walk from Holborn underground station
Balthazar says: “An elegant evocation of a traditional French brasserie, with an authentic Parisian feel, Balthazar offers informal all-day dining from its home in Covent Garden’s historic Flower Cellars building. Classic cuisine, impressive wine and an irresistible bonhomie combine to make every meal at Balthazar an occasion.”
We say: “Another Covent Garden stalwart, this buzzy French brasserie ticks many boxes. It has been a favourite of ours for ages and every time we’ve visited it’s been packed so it seems we’re not the only ones. Live jazz music every Wednesday evening makes it feel like you could be in Paris! The Art Deco décor provides a stylish space for simple crowd-pleasing food, which is good value. The entrance always looks amazing, too.”
SUSHISAMBA - City, EC2N
2 min walk from Liverpool Street mainline and underground stations
SUSHISAMBA says: “Only at SUSHISAMBA will you find a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culture and cuisine. SUSHISAMBA is born of the energy and spirit of these three distinct cultures, a tri-cultural coalition that took root in the early 20th century when thousands of Japanese emigrants travelled to South America’s fertile soil to cultivate coffee plantations and find their fortune. In bustling cities like Lima in Peru, and São Paulo in Brazil, the integration of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cultures flourished. Equal parts imagination and history, the SUSHISAMBA experience is truly unique. Beating at the heart of SUSHISAMBA is a deep appreciation for enjoying life and celebrating with friends.”
We say: “Great vibe, good food and incredible views looking out to London’s skyscraper landmarks. The perfect mix! Probably best if most of your party like sushi as it’s delicious, but there are other equally tasty Latin American fusion options on the menu. For a party atmosphere the music is super cool so it’s a great place for a sociable evening.”
The Libertine - City, EC3V
A stone’s throw from Bank underground station
The Libertine says: “Set in the immense vaults beneath The Royal Exchange, The Libertine is the new home of indulgence in the heart of the city. Sitting on the site where the very first royal alcohol licence in Britain was granted, the space is steeped in hedonism and mischief. The bustle and opportunity around the old Royal Exchange, built in 1571, attracted merchant, heralds and rogues from across the city and beyond. Once the day’s work was done (and often before), the assembled traders would partake of boisterous ‘tippling’ in the vaults under the Exchange. The Libertine is a modern revival of those free spirited times, with spaces for drinking, dining and unwinding well into the night, away from prudish prying eyes.”
We say: “An underground den of decadence! A really quirky alternative to the run of the mill street-level restaurants, this historic vaulted venue has lots of nooks and crannies to explore – very cool for the city. The long tiled bar, chequerboard floor, plants hanging from above and clever lighting all add to the atmosphere and there are lots of table options from booths to two private dining rooms.”
Madera at Treehouse London - Oxford Circus, W1B
5 mins walk from Oxford Circus underground station
Madera says: “Madera at Treehouse London sits at the intersection of elevated Mexican cuisine and experiential dining. As the little sister to Los Angeles-based Toca Madera, this ingredient-forward concept is built for the bustling London diner. Active throughout the day and primed to hit another gear at night, Madera at Treehouse London offers unique interpretations of Mexican food and cocktails served across breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. As the sun sets, so do the lights, but everything else rises—energy, music, expectations. The experience is completely chameleonic, shape-shifting for each meal period while highlighting authentic Mexican flavor complemented by sweeping London views.”
We say: “You might have gathered by now that we do love a view! Sipping a cocktail here while overlooking the London skyline is the perfect setting for a team Christmas ‘do. The Mexican set menu is great for larger parties – lots of sharing dishes such as nachos with incredible guacamole, and enchiladas. The DJ sets the tone for a fun meal with colleagues or clients – a really good vibe with a backdrop of views over the West End.”
COYA Mayfair - Piccadilly, W1J
6 min walk from either Green Park or Hyde Park underground stations
COYA says: “COYA is more than a restaurant. It’s a global destination, a culture, a luxury lifestyle. A place where guests are taken on an immersive journey to Latin America through exceptional, authentic Peruvian food, innovative pisco infusions, cultural events and unforgettable parties. Since bursting onto the scene in London in 2012, COYA has led the way in innovative dining experiences across the globe. Each venue carries authentic elements of the Incan heritage and is decorated with bespoke furnishings and painted murals, allowing guests to begin this journey the moment they walk into COYA.”
We say: “Yes, it’s definitely a luxury lifestyle as it’s quite expensive but worth it if you’re looking to splash out on your Christmas celebrations. Downstairs there’s a great bar serving excellent cocktails (we are connoisseurs). Food-wise the Peruvian char-grill dishes and ceviches are top notch and they do lots of sharing dishes too. Buzzy atmosphere perfect for group gatherings – it will be a memorable event for sure.”
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