Here’s my issue with almost every restaurant… One person gets the comfy cushiony seat, while the other gets a crappy chair. While you’re squirming on bare wood, your guest luxuriates on 10 inches of leather and goose-down. There are two solutions to this, edge slightly ahead of your guest and just before you make contact with the lush cushioning turn and say ‘no, you should have the comfy seat’, at which point they’ll inevitably go ‘oh no, you take it, you’re there now’. The other solution is to head to one of these restaurants with actual booths and never worry again.
Bob Bob Ricard, so good they named it twice, (or is it thrice?) is famed for the gimmick that each table comes with a button reading ‘press for Champagne’. You press it and, well, exactly. But the best feature to this lush, over-the-top restaurant (yeah, yeah, apart from the delicious Russian/British menu) has to be the fact that it’s booth-based!
There’s only one place you want to be sat at Smith & Wollensky, and that’s the banquette seats right at the back. Yes, they’re normally reserved for larger groups, but if you can wangle one then you’re laughing. The American-style meat heavy menu is excellent, and within the semi-privacy nobody will notice your constant belt-notch loosenings.
Where: The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, Covent Garden Riverside, London WC2N 6HT, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Charing Cross (0.1 miles)
Much has been written about the revamp at Simpsons-in-the-Strand, and to be fair the chairs at regular tables are extremely comfy, but thankfully there’s also a good number of booths, lining the right hand side of the restaurant as you enter.
Being English, we all like to have someone to look down upon. And at M Restaurant in Victoria Street you can do just that from the privacy of the booths lining the edge of restaurant. Slightly raised above the bear pit dining below, the booths also have curtains, though I’ve never tried to close them so perhaps they’re simply decorative. The meat here is second to none.
Where: Zig Zag Building, 74 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1E 6SQ
Nearest station: St. James's Park (0.3 miles)
Talking of meat, come to Hawksmoor and talk of nothing else. And if you head downstairs then the tiled, cellar arched booths are perfect for a meat-up. Geddit?
I’m no sports fan. I’m sorry, just don’t get it. But this is a sports bar I can totally get behind. Partly because the food isn’t pie and chips, or plates of sloppy nachos, but actual decent fodder. The city restaurant/bar also does an excellent line in booths, offering both privacy and a view across the entire bar area, which is ideal for people watching as the bankers finish work and bray about their latest multi-million pound deals. Worth checking out.
Although it’s all in one, long, room, there are distinct areas to the new SushiSamba in Covent Garden, you might be counter dining, sat in the main drag, enjoying the bar or in a booth watching the goings on from your valour banquette seating. It’s arguable as to whether you’re best off here, or opposite by the window with a view down on one of the most iconic views in London, but for the integrity of our booth dining guide, just take the booth.
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