To be honest I went there because I purchased a Groupon Voucher a few weeks ago. I wouldn't have gotten there otherwise as it is a bit overpriced (for me).
However, the staff was really nice even if I had to reschedule it 2 times (and with a Groupon voucher you are not treated as a "regular" customer...) however I found it a bit rushed (between the little appetizer that was offered (olives and bread) not even 10 minutes had passed and the whole meal was maybe served within 3/4 of an hour. The food was really good and a two courses meal is really enough to fill you in (not like most french restaurant where you end up paying a lot because you're still starving!).
The location is a delight as after dinner you can easily go grab a last drink !
We went here because we had a voucher for a two course meal for two including a glass of wine. Considering its in covent garden we were excited to have a date night around that area. We were a little let down to find out that the cafe des amis restaurant and bar were two different things. To use the voucher we had to go to the bar, eventhough the restuarant was REALLY empty. So we went down in the basement to the bar. It was not a typical date night ambiance. After we set down and ordered our meals we really felt like the service was really rushed.
For the appetizers we ordered the steak tartare and the fried squid. They were tasty but the plates came out like 3 minutes after we ordered! Talk about speedy! For the main course i got fish n chips and my boyfriend got the shrimp linguini. The meals were tasty. Usually the fish is battered when you order fish n chips but mine was not. However, it did taste fresh and lovely. Again, just like the appetizers, the meal came out extremly fast! We were out of there in like 40 minutes!
This review really is mainly for using the vouchers at their restaurant. I really wish they would disclose as to for which establishment the voucher is for.
I came here last night armed with a 50% off coupon, and thank goodness I did. While normally my partner and I would be fine with treating ourselves to a £90 meal for a special occasion, last night was not a special occasion - nor was the food worth the full price.
Between the two of us, we had the hangar steak, sea bass, creme brulee, chocolate soup (more details later - yum!), a beer, and a glass of wine.
The service was friendly, if a bit rushed. While we were eating the waitress cleared our bread plates, even though we were still picking at the bread - something I've never noticed done at any other restaurant. We ordered, were served, and were nearly done with our mains in 35 minutes. Clearly this is the place to go for a quick, nice meal. They also automatically reduced the bill according to our coupon (which we'd mentioned when booking), so we did not have to say anything to them - a nice touch, I thought.
I don't eat red meat, but my boyfriend said the hangar steak was only alright - something he'd pay £14 for in a pub, as opposed to the £20-something at this restaurant. The chips it came with, though, were delicious if lacking in salt.
The sea bass was forgettable. It was bony and lacked meat - it was a very thin piece of fish. The garlic mash was borderline unbearably garlicky (I could taste no potato, only garlic), the prawn salsa was too onion-y, the beans were limp. The single piece of courgette tempura was the highight of the dish, despite it being damp instead of crispy like a good piece of tempura should be.
So, onto dessert - which we primarily ordered because we could only get the discount if we ordered two courses each. The creme brulee was lovely if a bit heavier than I like - the boyfriend loved it, though.
I opted for the "indulgent soup au chocolate" because, well, with a name like that, who could resist? It was, essentially, a bowl of thick, rich, decadent liquid chocolate with a tiny scoop of black pepper ice cream in the centre. I've had black pepper ice cream and didn't mind it, but this was too peppery. Also, I really would have appreciated being told the dish was burning hot - when I reached up to adjust the bowl (it was a bit off centre and tottering on the plate it was sitting on), I mildly burned my finger :-/
If I had to sum the food up in a phrase, I would say it was a bit too, "too.! Too peppery, too oniony, too garlicky, etc.
Was it worth £45? Sure. The full £90 price? Absolutely not.
So one day after calling up one of my friends, I met up with her and her sister in covent garden. After some research she picked Café Des Amis. We walked there pretty quickly and were seated immediately because my friend had made a reservation on our walk to the restaurant. We 3 did the French Brasserie Pre-Theatre Menu 2 courses @ £14.50 or 3 courses @ £16.50.
Starters: My friend and I chose French Onion Soup...(wasn't super amazing but it wasn't bad either) My other friends chose the steak tartare (£2 extra)
Mains: I ordered the rib eye steak with black pepper sauce and chips (£3 extra) it was decent, again it wasn't super memorable
My friend ordered the duck confit with sautéed potatoes (£3 extra) and the other friend ordered the café de amis style fishcake with mixed salad that was small looking to me but then again, I'm american...
I ordered a dessert which was the selection of ice creams...i don't really remember the flavors I ordered but I think they said something about black pepper ice cream was a choice. All in all the dessert was good.
Will I go again? Most likely not...I wasn't really impressed...
I have been here a couple of place. Nice restaurant tucked down a side road at Covent Garden.
It has a downstairs bar which is a nice place to meet friends for a drink.
The restaurant is 2 floors. This night we were shown upstairs however, having declined the table next to the gents toilets they took us to the 'private area'. This section was much quieter than the main section however, much preferable to the gents toilet table!
As we sat down, they told us that there was a 2 hour turn around on the table. We were not aware of this before hand and always find this an annoyance when restaurants do this. But, we were here now.
They seemed to be a little short staffed this night. We had to ask to be provided with wine. I had noticed the glasses on the table had 'bits' in them and had hoped these were for display (you know at some restaurants they always take the glasses off the table and serve you new ones) however I had to stop the waiter pouring the wine in them showing him the little bits at the bottom. I am not sure he was happy for me to point this out!
I ordered the beetroot and warm goats cheese. Whilst there could be a little more cheese, it was a really tasty dish. My friend ordered the onion soup which she said was delicious (no bread served with this or before our meal).
I then had the seared scallops and crab risotto which was delightful. I was very pleased with my main meal and then finished with Chocolate fondant and white chocolate ice-cream which was well made. All in all the food there was great and would definitely come back again. Additional down points were that they seemed to be short staffed. Took us ages to get the bill and they had to go into the other room with my credit card to get signal. These days you really don't like having your credit card taken away from you.
Good point was that I think they were so busy they forgot to kick us off our table at the two hour mark ;)
A simple potted-plant and white linen filled little French place tucked inconspicuously down a tiny street in Covent Garden.
Two-act eating establishment: bar downstairs and slightly more posh upstairs. (Don't worry- there is a bar upstairs as well). The service is great here with staff coming by regularly to fill up our wine glasses and water glasses. They asked how everything was after the first two courses and were outstandingly attentive. Not your typical French-style waiters.
The menu was vast enough for a French restaurant, though weak on veggie options and I was disappointed not to see duck as a main. My medium-rare steak was cooked to its promised degree but fattier than it should be. Further, it just wasn't tender and juicy like steak should be. The peppercorn sauce was forgettable as were the 6 chips on my plate... The portions are small as per French. The French onion soup was sweet and lovely- a pleasant path change from the sometimes salty finish. The dessert was marinated strawberries with sorbet and a lady finger. The strawberries were nice but perhaps a bit hard when I was expecting a slightly more liquored/macerated softness.
Overall a good experience, though for almost £60 a head, I expected the food to be a little more up to par, especially for a central French cafe. The food was unremarkable with little personality and even a little mediocre. Unfortunately the atmosphere was not memorable either. But simple and straight-forward.
The food was so lovely! Beautiful presented and super delicious. We had gotten a deal through groupon otherwise I don't think we would have gone since its quite pricey. But the food was worth every bite to be sure!
Food very bland, we ordered the sea bass and smoked haddock, was not impressed. Service poor and rude staff, not a great experience. We was also charged two lots of 'service charge' which was quickly removed after we complained. Would not visit again.
This is a very smart little french restaurant.
Easily noticeable from the pretty exterior, of potted plants, and little tables with white cloths on outside. This place makes you want to walk down what might seem like quite a forgotten lane.
However it is quite a fair bit more expensive than other places, and the portions are quiet small. I ordered a Beef Fillet for £21.50, but had to pay extra for a side order of chips... and for that amount of money I would have expected more. The waitor was pleasant enough, and informative about wines and what would suit my dish. This place doesn't ooze character, but its the type of place which your mum might like.
The pricetags do not quite match the food. I suppose that's the only reason this is getting a 3. Despite the tastecard discount, I am still not impressed.
The flavours were nice enough. The scallops cooked very well. The tortelloni absolutely huge and delicious. The steak, plentiful and the small jenga-chips, very good. But I never would have paid the full price for that.
Also, the place was so incredibly loud, that I could barely hear my partner across the table! So I can't recommend the place. It's not bad. It's actually quite good. Except that it's not so incredibly good to warrant a detour. Nor would I say there was anything on the menu I am longing to have again or try. So maybe even those three stars are generous.
This was a place initially recommended to me by a work colleague, a little while ago. Upon her recommendation that Cafe des Amis' Champagne & Wine bar was a fine place for an evening of good cheese and wine, I promptly suggested it to friends as a good, central place to meet after work one evening.
My first experience was excellent, easy to get a table, good service, friendly bar staff and the cheeseboards looked delicious (although we didn't order food on this visit). After this I arranged another evening a few months later to catch-up with another group of pals and again we had a good time, even ordering the cheeseboard and mezza dishes this time. The food was ideal, nibbles which were tasty and complemented the wine we were enjoying.
The third time I visited was with a friend who is somewhat of a connoisseur when it comes to fromage! I had highly recommended this as somewhere she might enjoy, but I was left with more than a bad taste in my mouth. When we entered the main entrance and descended down the stairs to the bar area, there was a strong smell of toilet cleaner and disinfectant. Once we'd ingested it (which you couldn't avoid doing given it's strength!), it made for a very unnerving visit to the bar area, but we persisted with my pal remaining gracious and not put-off by initial first impressions.
The smell from the bathrooms subsided a little, and we settled in undeterred for a glass of white and a cheeseboard to share. Both were fine, but the clientele appeared to have changed this time and instead of groups of girls and guys enjoying a tipple after work, we noticed older "gents" at the bar paying particular attention to the female bar staff and any woman who walked in. It made us feel less than comfortable and although the cheeseboard was passable, it'll be the last time I venture into the basement bar of this establishment. A real disappointment. "Must try harder on all levels", is the best advice I can give to the owners of Cafe des Amis to save any reputation they have left...
I have been to this place a couple of times, mainly in Summer, when you can sit on the small but pleasant outside space, enjoying a coffee and relaxing from a busy schedule in Central London without being disturbed.
This restaurant is tucked away in an alleyway off Long Acre. It looks quite small on the outside, but it is surprisingly big inside, spread over 3 floors.
On the lower ground, there is the bar, and the restaurant is on the ground and first floor.
It is usually quite busy at pre-theatre times, especially on the weekends. In fact, it is unlikely you will get a table unless you book for those times.
It is right next to the Royal Opera House, so very convenient if you are going to see a performance there.
Now, the food.... There are some dishes on the menu that are real winners, like the French onion soup as a starter (very filling as well, so it could be your whole dinner if you are not too hungry) and the lamb with lentils as a main course, which is absolutely yummy and cooked to perfection every time I have ordered it. This is a big dish, so you could have it on its own as dinner too (now, you may be a greedy eater like me and have both :). However, some of the other dishes are a bit of a hit and miss.
The desserts are ok, but I would expect much better from a French restaurant. However, I may be a bit difficult to please on this front as I love my desserts, and although anything with sugar in it will satisfy my sweet tooth, I am quite the expert dessert-wise.
If you are into desserts yourself, I'd recommend to order the chef's platter recommendations, in which you get 4 or 6 desserts (full size each dessert!) plus fruit sorbets on the side (these are very nice). This is a real treat, so leave some space for it as it is quite filling as you can imagine, and definitely to be shared. You may be daring and go for the 6 dessert platter between you and someone else alone, like I did once - I learned my lesson and I opt for the 4 dessert one now. These platters will attract the attention of everyone sitting on the nearby tables, I guarantee it.
And the price... it is quite overpriced, with main courses averaging at £19 or so. However, there are prix fix menus that make a 2 or 3-course meal more affordable or there is the super duper tastecard (what would I do without it!?), which will get you 50% off the food bill, and it is available every day of the week, including Sat nights ;)
I will finalise by saying that the service is quite attentive and friendly (even when they are busy), just what you would expect everywhere, although sadly it is not that common.
Visited on a Thursday night, and found the restaurant to be full, and very noisy upstairs. There just isn't enough soft furnishings in there to soak up much of the noise.
Food was good, but not great. I was looking forward to the French Onion soup classic, but it wasn't worth going out of your way for. The lamb + jersey royals side was good.
The bar downstairs was small, but good.
One of my favourite restaurants in London, it's tucked away in a little side street in Covent Garden, really feels like a hidden treasure. It's nice in the summer when you can sit outside and hear the hustle and bustle of the City.
I would recommend the oysters too, always a winner! And i have the taketwo book, so have a 2 for 1 voucher for here. Basically means when i went for dinner with my boyfriend, we only paid for one main course! Great stuff!
The staff are some of the most friendly waiters/waitresses i have ever had- and they always offer tips on what they think you might enjoy.
A great place to go if you're planning to head to the theatre for the night!
Food nice, service nice but front staff 50% rude. Arriving for our reservation the new person at front was gracious pulling up our reservation; when her colleague asked our name...she repeated said NO. We said, yes we had a reservation and yes our name was our name. The food was good, no wow. The place jammed. Seemed like another tourist trap, though with a Tim Out coupon...worth the cost.
Very buzzy restaurant went on Sunday 3 course meal for £15 set menu special offer from bookatable.com great value. The main menu is a bit pricey but good location and not bad service. Lots of people eating the steak £21.50. Must say the management should try switching on air con. All in all we enjoyed our meals. House wine £17.50.
A group of four of us were going out for dinner on a Friday night and one of our group suggested this place. I checked it out and it's on tastecard, and we booked in.
I had a starter of scallops and crab risotto, which was above average, my husband his usual oysters, and our other diners scallops and one with french onion soup. All parties were pleased with their choices.
For main, I had a lovely duck and sweet potato mash. I love duck and this was up to my standards. It paired well with the sweet potato, and both were complimented by the plum sauce. Other choices on the table were two of their fish options, the halibut and one other. To be honest there wasn't a scrap of food left at the end. All being very happily consumed.
For dessert, I had a vanilla and fig coulis cheesecake - highly recommended, and the apple tarts went down a treat.
The staff were decent and I didn't have to remind them about the tastecard. Overall the bill came to £33 a head including 3 courses, a bottle of wine (and a few diet cokes), and service. Would have been about £48 a head without the old tastecard.
The thing about taking the stairs down to the nicely lit bar below Café des Amis is that it often smells pretty strongly of cheese. There's no untoward reason for it - they serve a really good selection of cheeses which they often have out on display on a marble slab - it's a very French thing to do - it's just that when it gets a bit warm they start to do that thing that cheese does -whiff. So I can understand if you're put off investigating after fording only a few stairs....
But if you like the smell of ripe cheese, or it's a cooler day, or you just can't smell it, and you venture all the way down you'll find a quite corner of Covent Garden (the idea of it is like moving into a shared house and discovering Narnia, I know) in which to sup from a really really good selection of wines and maybe partake some cheese. Or olives.
The décor is neither here nor there - padded benches and tables line the walls or you can sit at the bar which takes up all the space in the centre of the small, low roofed room - but the lighting is favourable for a bit of banter and I've seen quite a few 'dates' going on here. It's probably a good place to take someone if you're coming from or going to the theatre and you're hoping to get a bit lucky - I've witnessed some unabashed snogging reminiscent of days on the back of the school bus - maybe it's the French influence again. Or all the theatrical types ducking out from orchestra pits for a swift one in the interval.
Though the wine list seems to fill most of the menu they do serve beers and spirits as well - unlike the Crusting Pipe in the piazza who don't serve beer - but you do have to pay nice wine bar prices.
This French restaurant is tucked away off of the bustling Long Acre in Covent Garden. What sold me was the 12.50 pound 2 course plus a glass of wine deal from toptable. The french onion soup was pleasant but nothing outstanding or leaving me wish for more. The chicken was cooked perfectly but I thought the sauce and mashed potatoes were a little too salty. The service felt a little ackward at times but nothing terrible. I find that it's one of those restaurants you typically get when you take advantage the theatre ticket and dinner deals for 20 pounds on lastminute.com. Atmosphere and location is probably the better highlights of this restaurant.
Very disappointed. Expected a romantic dinner but the place was so noisy we couldn't even hear each other from across the table. Food was average (we had the steak and fish) while first course are about 10 pounds and mains are about 20.
Ate here on the 9/2/13. We were seated upstairs. Lovely area. Nice half booth tables and candles made it very cosy. Service was efficient and not overly friendly, which I liked. Food was excellent. Signed up to their membership online and got 50% off a la carte menu. Great deal. Very nearly 5*.
This is one of those restaurants that tries to justify charging high prices for mediocre food by laying the low lighting and impeccably dressed waiters on thick. It has all the aesthetic elements of a fancy restaurant, but it lacks personality and outstanding, thoughtfully prepared food. My study abroad program came here for our farewell dinner, and we got the entire upstairs to ourselves. My set meal included unlimited soda, ham and asparagus to start, chicken, mushroom, and mashed potatoes for the main course, and a selection of sorbets and ice cream (strawberry, raspberry, and lemon, I think) for dessert. I'm sure the real names of those items are more eloquent, but that's essentially what they boiled down to. The asparagus was good, but the dish felt sloppy -- like something a student at culinary school would make for his first assignment. The chicken was too heavy on the garlic and mushrooms. Dessert was probably the highlight of the meal, but the scoops were so tiny that I finished the plate in three bites.
Service was unremarkable -- they took forever bringing out our appetizers, and the bartender kept mixing up the drinks we ordered. I'm glad I didn't pay for my meal, because I would have regretted it. I wouldn't recommend coming here if you're looking for somewhere nice and tasteful.
This lovely little restaurant features French cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian accents. The best way to enjoy it is to take advantage of the prix fixe menu offering three courses for £16.50, which is the average price for an entree alone on the a la carte menu. The veal with rice pilaf is an especially good main course.
Went for dinner after the theatre as they had a good offer and it included oysters and steak. Unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations. The beef tartare was a bit too course cut and bland. The oysters on the small side. The lamb rump was good, while the duck a bit boring again. The staff was friendly and offered good service. Won't be on my "have to go back" list, even though it was nothing wrong with it.
We went to this place before a show and loved it! Very nice service, lovely environment and great food. I did not notice paying more than in any other place in London. Great location.
I recommend the oysters! I have been here three times now, with my food, usually fish dishes being cooked to perfection. I like the ambiance, the intimacy, the staff were attentive not pushy. Great restaurant.
Very good food here, great location, and it was not loud in the restaurant. The service was fast and polite.
I went here because they have a "roast sunday" special advertised on their website. When I got there, they informed me they don't do the roast sunday, but I could have their daily special. Well ... ok, but don't you think you could update your website?
The food was pretty good. The soup was excellent, and the dessert (strawberries and sorbet) was also excellent. The main course was ok -- a mixed grill that was acceptable.
However, the service was execrable. The waitress failed to bring me olives and water after asking me if I wanted them. I ordered Spinach and she failed to bring it. I had to ask for it. After dinner I had to ask the hostess for the check after waiting for 10 minutes. There is no excuse for service this awful -- especially when there are so many other restaurants nearby.
If I were the owner I would look at why the staff of the restaurant was doing such a terrible job. Somebody isn't doing their job.
The restaurant did have nice, friendly service staff but this is where the praise ends. The food was over priced and late. The chef forgot about my mushroom risotto starter and took an age to arrive. I ordered steak medium-rare when it came the waitress told me it was medium. After walking back downstairs she came back with the same steak, now entitled 'medium-rare'.
We used a taste card to get 50% off our food bill. They did honour this, we paid and left. A few weeks later they charged us £110 to our card, used as deposit for the table, apparently for the wine they forgot to add on. Conveniently rounding to £10 extra per person. Avoid at all costs.
Went for a dinner with the current offer on Toptable. The food was ok, the staff was friendly and attentive. The portions are nice, not just something small on a big plate, so that was positive :)
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