Are you feeling energetic? We hope so, because right now getting a reservation in London means invoking your inner Usain Bolt and moving fast. Like, very, very fast. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s something of a nightmare to get a table anywhere at the moment. With that in mind, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve scoured the web, tirelessly scrolled through restaurant Instagrams, got briefly distracted by Bill Gates’ thirst traps, and then dutifully scanned London’s best booking platforms. Read on for bookings you can snap up if you move quick.
FOR A BIG SEAFOOD SITUATION
The great thing about eating seafood is that if it’s sunny you feel like you’re on holiday, but if it’s raining you can just pretend it’s a nice, erm, refreshing sea spray. We’d eat Parsons’ excellent octopus and pork fat potatoes in any weather, and if you feel the same then know that they have plenty of lunch and dinner reservations available for Wednesday. Meanwhile, south of the river you’ll find Darby’s, a slick Irish and American influenced restaurant in Vauxhall that you can hit up for a big round of oysters or a monkfish fillet on Wednesday or Thursday night. If you don’t mind a 9pm seafood sesh, then Oystermen’s big terrace in Covent Garden has got you covered, as does the deck of The Grand Duchess canal boat, who even have a few Saturday slots available. But if you’re all-about eating sea bass with a side of stunning views, then look no further than Sea Containers, an upmarket restaurant overlooking the Thames with plenty of availability for Wednesday night.
FOR WHEN YOU *NEED* HEAT LAMPS
The only person who hasn’t got the ~grEAtest $ummer Of R LiVes!!!!!!~ memo is, apparently, mother nature. So before she gets with the programme, you’ll probably want some guaranteed warmth if you’re looking for an excellent dinner reservation. Of our 100+ strong heat lamp list there are a few that stand out with space this week. Today (Tuesday), Dalston’s Angelina has availability alongside their flaming, Love Island throwback heat lamps. Otherwise, you can again head to Darby’s in Vauxhall that has both a lovely terrace and a lovely menu of oysters and things off the grill - they’ve got times all week - or combine the warmth of artificial heat with the warmth of a bowl of warming udon at Koya’s location in the City.
FOR A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED PUB LUNCH
Sure, WFH has its perks, but WFP is even better. One such pub perfect for it is The Coach, with the Clerkenwell spot home to a lovely and secret-ish covered garden. Less secret but no less enjoyable (particularly when it comes to the food) is one of London’s OG gastropubs, The Anchor & Hope in Southwark. It’s got Friday and Saturday slots going at the moment. Or if the sound of oysters, Guinness and white tablecloths gets you going, then you’ll want to book at table out front at The Guinea Grill whilst you still can.
FOR WHEN YOU *NEED* RAIN PROTECTION
With the upcoming weather, your puffer jacket is probably your best friend. But that won’t cut it when trying to eat some chips in the rain. In which case, this list of spots with covered seating is your new best friend. For a midweek dinner situation Chicama and Elystan have some covered seating and a few slots left for groups of two and four. For a nice weekend meal that involves all food and no trying to protect your varuval from rainwater, Hoppers King’s Cross has some slots for two on Saturday and Sunday - hurry because the heated tables go quick. And if you’re after something more south London, Negril has plenty of tables for two all week.
FOR DATE-READY WINE BARS
In our humble opinion, 8.30pm is the perfect time for a glass of wine. On that note, Diogenes The Dog have several evening slots available for Wednesday night. If you’re in search of a booking for Thursday, then hit up sophisticated wine bar mini-chain Vagabond in Battersea, or their Victoria branch for a Friday night grape-sesh. A wine bar we’re always happy to hit up, Brixton’s Salon still has plenty of availability for you to get involved in a glass of something nice alongside a round of nduja croquettes. Looking ahead to the weekend, you can get things started early at Albertine on Thursday night, or for a Saturday situation, book a table at Fitzrovia’s Remedy Wine Bar which has plenty of reservations throughout Saturday daytime and evening.