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.
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.
Professional but friendly.
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.
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.
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).
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- Great views / scenery
- Special occasions