The Criterion restaurant is a thing of legend, and also one of beauty: the Grade II listed bar and dining room was formerly frequented by Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George, philosopher Bertrand Russell, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who features it in the very first Sherlock Holmes novel); the Neo-Byzantine architecture is courtesy of Thomas Verity, who also designed The Royal Albert Hall. Marco Pierre White took it over in the Nineties but the past few years have been tricksy and after sadly sitting empty since last summer, it is now home to the Savini restaurant - a sister for the 150-year old Milanese Grand Café that has hosted Verdi, Puccini, Callas and even Sinatra over its history. It is very swanky, with a hearty Italian menu requiring quite the appetite, including all the classics, like rich ossobucco with saffron risotto, plentiful seafood pasta dishes and a rather famous tiramisu. Definitely not a cheap date, but a dramatic one.
224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HP; saviniatcriterion.co.uk