Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“You feel that love is in the air!” at this “very special” destination (yet again the survey’s No. 1 choice for a romantic occasion), especially in “the inner sanctum” – “the lovely glass-roofed courtyard at the back, hung with blossom, a roof that opens in fine weather, and with an open fire for chilly nights”. “Amidst the dross of Covent Garden”, not only is it “an oasis of calm”, but staff are “charming” and “professional”, the French-inspired cuisine is “very enjoyable” and the “daunting” wine bible – one of London’s most extensive lists – is “really something else”. “Securing one of the courtyard seats is a challenge”, but “the experience in the somewhat blander upstairs is still memorable”.
“A man on the next table got on one knee and proposed… she said yes!” This “joyful oasis” remains London’s No. 1 romantic destination thanks to its “magical” interior – in particular its “extraordinarily pretty” rear conservatory. A “well-oiled, very professional operation”, “the food quality is high for Covent Garden too, but gastronomically speaking it’s the enormous wine list that really sings” (“allow an hour to digest it fully!”)
“A girl knows she’s being spoilt” at this Covent Garden “haven” – the survey’s No. 1 romantic choice – where for full effect you must sit in the “magical back conservatory, which is second-to-none for a date”. Service is “charming and courteous” and the cooking “delicious”, if arguably eclipsed by the “massive tome” of a wine list.
“I don’t know how a restaurant could be more romantic!”; the survey’s No. 1 trysting spot is an unlikely “oasis” in the tourist hell that is Covent Garden; but it’s not just the “twinkly conservatory” that sets pheromones pumping – there’s a “phenomenal” wine list to back up “undoubtedly excellent” French cuisine.
Clos Maggiore Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Traditional French cooking of a consistently high standard. Good quality ingredients, rich sauces, excellent wine list, nice atmosphere in conservatory, (though the other small dining rooms are also perfectly acceptable)."
"very attentive service. The main restaurant is very romantic"
"I feel that this restaurant is loosing its sparkle. Food was good but not exceptional"
"Still favourite for my returning friend - even when given any choice in London"
"Still one of the best restaurants in London. The atmosphere is very special, especially on the ground floor. The upstairs is somewhat blander but the experience still memorable."
"Been many times and food was very good though not in the Le Gavroche class. After lunch today I think they are relying too much on the superb decor and conservatory. Starter of herring with smoked salmon didn't work well. Main of pork loin was too sweet. Trout dish lacked flavour. Desserts as usual were excellent. Maybe a touch of complacency has crept in to the kitchen."
Clos Maggiore WC2
How's your Valentine's booking coming along? One excellent choice - though for next year I'm afraid, given that it was fully booked by the end of January - is the subject of today's review.
From the outside, Maggiore's gives every impression of wanting to 'fit in' alongside the mass-market outlets of Covent Garden. By looking like any other pleasant enough tourist trap, it seems largely to have escaped serious critical consideration. The Good Food Guide omits it. Michelin does find a place for it, but their inspectors - in spite of their supposed eye for detail - somehow fail to comment on its truly remarkable secret: a wine selection over 2000 bins strong.
The presentation of said list is baffling (even for the relatively initiated), but those who really care about these things - the US magazine Wine Spectator for instance - have fÃªted the selection here with a rarely-bestowed clutch of awards.
The interior of the restaurant is another shock. In particular, the rear room - decorated with greenery, a glazed roof and a baronial-style fireplace - is as pretty a dining space as you will find in London. In terms of obvious romantic appeal, it's a knock out. (Perhaps in 35 years time it too will be a 'classic' like La Poule au Pot, reviewed yesterday). Service is very charming too,
If there is a reservation about this place - and sadly, there is -Â it's about the food. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with the cooking, but rather that it can sometimes live up (or rather down) to the simplicity of its menu descriptions. If you choose that great and rare bottle, the food is unlikely to be its equal.
As a prelude to an evening at the Opera, however, the pre-theatre dinner here - with a well-chosen bottle of wine - would certainly be a hard act to follow.
33 King St, London, WC2E 8JD
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lunch noon - 2.30 pm, dinner 5 pm - 10.30 pm, Sat 11 pm
Last orders: 11 pm, Sun 10 pm