National Dining Rooms

Price guide: Mid-range

National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Price guide: Mid-range

Within the National Gallery

By Jenni Muir, your London expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, Time Out. Read more
#25 of 115
expert-rated restaurants in London
Expert overall rating:4.6 out of 5
Food and drink:
4
4.0
Ambience:
4.5
4.5
Service:
4
4.0
Location:
4.9
4.9
Value for money:
3
3.0
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Culture vultures, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Mature travellers, Great views / scenery, Relaxation, Special occasions

Expert review of National Dining Rooms

A British café-restaurant with sensational views of Trafalgar Square.

The National Dining Rooms gives museum restaurants a good name. Set on the first floor of the Sainsbury Wing of the superb National Gallery, on the northern side of Trafalgar Square, it serves a great modern British set lunch.

Food and drink: 

From crisp pork belly with pease pudding and scrumpy to steamed sea bream with shrimps, cucumber and mace or a straightforward parsnip soup, the National Dining Rooms serve well-sourced British ingredients in simple but delicious combinations. The puddings tend to the more interesting end of British classics: orange and lemon posset, perhaps, or rhubarb trifle. The bakery section serves soups and pâtés, pies and pastries, and cakes and tea for an afternoon nibble.

Ambience: 

The restaurant looks pretty smart with its bare wood, plumply padded chairs and long mural along the far wall, but the atmosphere is relaxed. There’s plenty of passing trade from people who just happened to be in the gallery (especially in the bakery area, which is closest to you as you enter), but the restaurant sees lots of reservations from those after an affordable treat - or that sensational view.

Service: 

Professional but friendly.

Location: 

Very central, just off the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square. The restaurant is on the first floor of the newer Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, which is one of London’s half-dozen world-class museums.

Price advice: 

The prices are high if you go à la carte, but the two- and three-course set lunches (£22 and £25) are decent value for this quality of food - even though price rises have meant they’re not the cast-iron bargain they used to be.

Other useful branches: 

The same company runs a few other interesting spots in public spaces, including Inn the Park (LINK), and Peyton & Byrne bakeries and cafés which can be found at St Pancras International train station, in the Heal's building on Tottenham Court Road, and at the Wellcome Collection near Euston (check out their fig rolls: gorgeous).

More information on National Dining Rooms:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Café, Restaurant
Food:
British, Modern, Traditional
Address:
National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
Telephone:
020 7747 2525
Website:
http://www.thenationaldiningrooms.co.uk
Serves:
Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea
Opening times:
Mon–Thu, Sat-Sun noon–3:30pm; Fri noon–3:30pm, 5–7:15pm. Bakery-cafe Mon–Thu, Sat-Sun 10am–5pm; Fri 10am–8:30pm
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Suggested
Free tags / Keywords:
Oliver Peyton

Have you been to National Dining Rooms? Would you recommended it?

Community comments (1)

A location that is difficult to better with great food at fair prices