The Best Big Christmas Dinner Restaurants In London

The best restaurants for a Christmas get-together with friends, family, and colleagues.
The Best Big Christmas Dinner Restaurants In London image

photo credit: Chris Coulson

It’s nearly that time of the year. Christmas is coming. Also arriving soon: the heavy duty strategic planning with your partner to ensure the least possible amount of time spent with either family. The unique look of disappointment and disgust from your Secret Santa recipient at work. And the screams from your sibling because you had ‘one job to do’, and that was to bring the parsnips. Which you forgot.

But before all that fun, you may have the task of arranging an end-of-year Christmas meal for a bunch of people that you either work with or whom you call ‘friends’. If you book any of the spots below, it should keep you in the spirit of things before those spirits are broken by the train ride home on the 24th December.

If you're looking for something more intimate, check out our guide to London's best private dining rooms and if you're heading out on New Year's Eve, here's where to have a great time.


photo credit: La Poule Au Pot



$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersBirthdaysClassic EstablishmentDate NightDinner with the ParentsDrinking Good Wine
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La Poule Au Pot makes us nostalgic for Christmasses in the French countryside that we never had. It’s stuffed to the wooden beams with baskets of dried flowers, hanging grape decorations, and yellowing framed prints—perfect for pretending your festive meet-up is in your own charming French farmhouse. The festive menu is just as transportive and wholesome—wine-infused beef bourguignon, rich cassoulet, and a perfect tarte tatin, all served with vegetables that are heavy on butter and bacon.

photo credit: Lateef Photography



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Say what you want about the Big Mamma restaurants—and we have, we ranked them—but these Italian trattorias know how to throw a party. Carlotta is one of our favourites thanks to its big booths, big ego, and big mafioso energy. A more is more Christmas meet-up at this Marylebone spot will involve langoustine and crab risotto, a yule log—supersized, with spiced cinnamon and nutmeg—and tipsy selfies with the virgin mary statue in the bathroom. It’s worth knowing that sister spot Ave Mario will be doing a truffle-stuffed burrata over the festive period and Gloria is celebrating with a mortadella and smoky stracciatella pizza.

Proper, unanimous crowd-pleasers are few and far between, but Mr Bao is one of them. Everyone will enjoy this Peckham spot—mums, toddlers, one cracking through edamame, the other teething on pork dumplings. The Christmas menu includes things like prawn cocktail bao, hot and sour grilled sprouts, and a clementine pavlova. Better yet, the dining room at this Taiwanese restaurant is buzzy but simple and comfortable, so that means Christmas jumpers are welcome.

There’s nothing like an office Christmas party to bring out geography favouritism. Before comments like “I’m not trekking to the end of the Central line” start getting thrown around by the east Londoners, book Hoppers. The King’s Cross spot has got transport links down, and this year you can choose between a festive tasting menu—venison rolls with cranberry ketchup, winter vegetable mallung, hot butter squid—or a Sri Lankan spread which is to be taken by groups of six or more. Both come with unlimited hoppers and dosas, and a festive pudding. 

The closest you come to cabaret most Christmasses is a boozy game of charades. Not this year. This year, start your big Christmas night out in Soho with several negroni sbagliatos and a show at Brasserie Zédel’s club, Crazy Coqs. Previous performers have included a Dolly Parton impersonator, so you know it’s good. Then head over the corridor to Brasserie Zédel itself for a French feast of roast duck breast, twice-baked soufflé, and chocolate and caramel tart.

London’s finest dining experience for canal enthusiasts has Christmas options on both its moving and static boats. The Prince Regent (moving) has a set menu featuring things like Cornish mussel chowder, platters of oysters, and dark chocolate mousse. Alternatively, The Grand Duchess (not moving) also keeps things simple with a set menu for groups of four or more. Expect devilled crab butter, stuffed winter squash, and chocolate and almond éclairs.

Sure the King’s speech is important and all, but eating a mountain of sesame prawn toast at Royal China Club is the kind of celebration of monarchy that we can really get behind. This legendary Chinese restaurant on Baker Street has upmarket signature dishes, like their stir-fried prawns and scallops with XO sauce, and in the past have had Christmas specials like turkey spring rolls. It’s the perfect spot for groups small, big, and craving a lazy Susan.

St. John is sacred ground for performative and genuine offal enthusiasts, so it’s fair to say that they know a thing or two about meat. And at Christmas, their Smithfield dining room is the perfect setting for a boozy festive dinner. This year's Christmas menus are “structured around one central beast or fish”. The beasts (or as we call them, meats) include game, beef pie with horseradish, and goose or, if you’re feeling all Lord of the Flies, a whole suckling pig. You’ll have to choose one menu for the group to share (vegetarians are catered for separately), and the feasting menu is only available for groups of eight or more.

You, your grandmother, and every person who has a secret crush on Colin Firth knows that the Christmas season is all about the period drama. And Quality Chop House in Clerkenwell is the period drama of London restaurants. A proper old-school British restaurant, their Christmas menu not only features things like Christmas pudding ice cream with drunken pecan tart, but a whole turkey with sprouts and bacon. Basically, we can’t really think of a better place to go when you want to feel a bit Dickens and celebrate Christmas present with game terrine. Upgrade to the pricier feasting menu for an additional fish course and some extra options like caviar with confit potato.

Ciao Bella is a perma-party restaurant for much of London and it’s where you go when you value good times more than anything else. This old-school Italian institution knows how to celebrate every day of the week and it’s no different at Christmas time—they’re open all the way until Christmas Eve. The festive set menu is a happy mix of ‘80s wedding classics—think peeled prawn starters or deep-fried smoked cheese—and meaty lamb ragu straight out of Goodfellas. Plus, an obligatory Italian panettone with tea or coffee for dessert.

Sometimes team dinners mean 40 people plus the partners you hear them slag off every day. But sometimes it just means you and those three people who proofread your emails because you’re freelance. For a small, intimate Christmas dinner, there’s Lleweyln’s. This charming little restaurant by Herne Hill station is pretty much the definition of idyllic. Their modern European menu is full of things like venison carpaccio, winter roots gratin, porcini-stuffed pork loin, and sticky toffee pudding. But if you leave without getting the sticky toffee pudding, Christmas is cancelled.

A certified fancy gastropub, The Cadogan Arms in Chelsea has “OTT Christmas lunch” written all over it. With a fireplace, grand curtains, and a menu of British classics, this is a great place to bring a group when you want to spend a whole afternoon out. There are festive à la carte menus as well as set feasting menus, served family-style. Gamebird pie, Christmas stuffing scotch egg, and crispy lamb ribs feature on both.

Without doubt one of London’s finest gastropubs, the Canton Arms is the kind of place we’d like to spend the entirety of December. It’s boozy, full of molten Breville-style toasties, and has a fireplace that absolutely insists on “one more quick drink”. For Christmas they’ve got a feasting menu, with a choice of warming classics like chicken and smoked ham pie, dauphinoise, and a totally unnecessary but also necessary cheese board.

We’ll look for pretty much any excuse to go and celebrate at Brigadiers, so you should probably make a Christmas lunch yours. This upmarket Indian barbecue spot in the City has everything from a whisky vending machine, a pool room you can abscond to if you happen to hate your colleagues, slick booths you can hide your mango-covered face in, and a private dining area with poker tables if you’re looking to go all out. The festive menu includes dishes like turkey tikka masala pot pie, pork cheek and prawn biryani, and a mince pie kulfi.

We love spending time with family at Christmas. Not our real family, they’re a bunch of weirdos. No, by family, we mean the troop of female chefs at this Italian restaurant who once fed us additional lasagne because they were checking out a new recipe. This jolly Italian restaurant on the King’s Road has a festive menu that includes a welcome drink, a mixture of daily changing starters, sharing desserts, a post-dinner shot (yep), and an espresso. Plus, a selection of pastas and mains to be plonked in the middle of the table and shared.

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Suggested Reading


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Where to get dinner with a group when you want the food to be more memorable than the bill.

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Organising dinner for friends or colleagues is a tricky balancing act. Here’s a selection of the best group-friendly restaurants to have that get-together.

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