Galvin Café a Vin

Price guide: Mid-range

35 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY

Price guide: Mid-range

Gleaming zinc bar

By Jenni Muir, your London expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, Time Out. Read more
#32 of 115
expert-rated restaurants in London
Expert overall rating:4.4 out of 5
Food and drink:
4.2
4.2
Ambience:
4.6
4.6
Service:
4.5
4.5
Location:
4.6
4.6
Value for money:
3.9
3.9
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Couples, Foodies, Stag / hen parties, Relaxation, Romance, Shopping

Expert review of Galvin Café a Vin

Great French cooking, a zinc bar, pavement tables – sounds like Paris but it’s Spitalfields.

You’re unlikely to be disappointed by any Galvin restaurant; a foodie friend from Sydney says Galvin Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street is his absolute favourite place in all London, but let me also point you to this newer, more casual spot with all-day opening in the City.

Food and drink: 

Classic French cuisine with modern touches – daube of beef, for example, comes with polenta, cavolo nero (Tuscan black cabbage) and a horseradish-spiked gremolata. The ‘all day menu’ is a clutch of diverse items (terrine, risotto, fabulous rump of beef) cherry-picked from the regular lunch-dinner menu. Wall mirrors advertise daily specials. The wine list is mostly European but includes diversions such as Massaya Classic from the Lebanon, with plenty of glass and carafe options and wines ‘of the season’. They’re generous with the superb bread and Normandy AOC butter, but do save room for the fabulously light rum baba. Breakfast time sees croque monsieur and crêpe complete joining the usual British options.

Ambience: 

Amazing that they’ve managed to cram so much character into a new build place. The mood is of a sophisticated French wine bar, dim-lit and intimate, yet they happily accommodate groups. The pavement tables will appeal in good weather.

Service: 

I’ve not been when it’s crowded but found the staff well-drilled and friendly.

Location: 

Surrounded by coffee chains and other behemoths on a corporate corner of Spitalfields. The juxtaposition with the adjacent 19th-century, grade-II listed St Botolph’s Hall, which houses Galvin’s Michelin-starred La Chapelle restaurant, is striking.

Price advice: 

You could just have a glass of wine or cup of coffee and some nibbles, or a three-course meal. The prix fixe is £14.95 for two courses. Tarte flambée and pizzas from the wood-fired oven are £8.50-£11, mains £11-£19.50 and desserts a reasonable £5.50-£6.50.

Other useful branches: 

Galvin at Windows is a modern, elegant fine dining restaurant atop the Hilton Park Lane and offers broad views of the West End. The Bistrot de Luxe in Marylebone is modeled on traditional French brasseries. See the website below for further details.

More information on Galvin Café a Vin:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Brasserie, Café, Wine bar
Food:
French, Modern, Pizza, Traditional
Address:
35 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY
Telephone:
020 7299 0404
Website:
http://www.galvinrestaurants.com
Serves:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Mon-Sun 8am-10.30pm.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Essential at peak times
Free tags / Keywords:
Chris Galvin, Galvin brothers

Have you been to Galvin Café a Vin? Would you recommended it?