Hi all. Well, I’m still lazing around Rome. It’s beautiful here, but I’m definitely missing clean and pretty London! To combat my homesickness, I’m taking the opportunity, while I eat another pastry and drink another cappuccino, to reminisce about my recent visit to the Portrait Restaurant.
I had been to the National Portrait Gallery’s third floor restaurant before, and once again, it’s left me excited for my next visit. Here’s why:
First, a visit to the National Portrait Gallery and the Portrait Restaurant makes for a perfect day. You get to wander around or show visitors amazing works of art, old and new, check out unique book and gift shops, then cap it off with an amazing meal in a beautiful restaurant. Rain or shine, this is a great activity for out-of-town guests, a solo adventure, a first date, or something different with your girlfriends. It does not disappoint.
I’ve already given the National Portrait Gallery a huge “do” in a previous post, so I’m going to skip right to why the restaurant is so spectacular. The panoramic view spans the entire length of the restaurant, offering up London’s biggest attractions all from the comfort of your dining table. Right from your seat, you can see Big Ben, the London Eye, and Nelson’s Column, among other beautiful buildings and structures. This view really is a show-stopper and will wow even the most jaded of residents.
After you take in the view, you’ll be extremely pleased with the quality of the restaurant itself. The decor is modern, clean, and crisp. It has the tendency to seem a little sterile, however, so I highly recommend they up their fresh flowers game for some splashes of color and turn on some pleasant music. Otherwise, it feels a little gray (the typical London sky doesn’t help). But it is sleek and nice, as is the well-dressed staff. Everyone is very helpful and professional, making the restaurant and view really feel like a treat!
You will be very pleased with the food. I have enjoyed all different cocktails including their tasty Bellini. My first experience was for lunch, which did not disappoint, but my most recent was for a traditional Afternoon Tea. My sister and her friend said that this was the highlight of their visit to London! Kudos to the Portrait Restaurant for these high honors! (Their second favorite activity was the Jason’s Trip boat ride to Camden Market–both the ride and market have previous positive reviews on LondonChecklist.org that you can check out).
The tea was lovely. I sipped the Bellini and their house special tea and snacked on the impressive tiered tray of traditional goodies. And I have to add, the best scones I have ever had. The tea is served from 3:30-4:30 and is one of London’s most reasonably priced. Coming in at £32.50 (with the Bellini) you get a high-quality, full service tea, without the price tag that other big-hitters, such as the Ritz, attach to the same meal. This is a great value for a great Afternoon Tea. Every resident and visitor must experience an English Afternoon Tea at least once, and in my opinion, this is where to do it.
So, if you’re in town for a short while, or living in London looking for a way to spend your day, head to the Portrait Restaurant for a lovely tea or lunch experience. The view is amazing and the quality of the food and service is top-notch. Pop in to the National Portrait Gallery rooms before or after to really make this an experience to remember! Enjoy!
National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin’s Place
London WC2H 0HE