21 August 2014

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Restaurants at London museums and tourist attractions


museum children summer holidays - iStock_000001762976Small_museum_children_summer_holidays.jpgWhile force-feeding your kids some culture over the summer holidays or nourishing your own inner self, make sure you don’t neglect the needs of the outer one. Find a restaurant pit stop that’s worth its weight in gourmet gold at London’s top museums, galleries, gardens and other cultural attractions.

16” West Brasserie Maritime Museum

16” West’s moniker pinpoints its exact location in the Sammy Ofer Wing of the National Maritime Museum. With an all-day menu that features British, sustainably sourced food, it promises to be a pleasant break from the nautical exhibitions.

blueprint cafe interior - blueprint_cafe_interior.jpgBlueprint Café at the Design Museum (pictured, left)

At this well-appointed restaurant, staff give all tables cute blue binoculars with which to enjoy the views of Tower Bridge – probably the best that any of London’s riverside spots have to offer. The menu offers carefully rendered moden-European dishes such as poached Loch Var salmon with leek and potato velouté.

The Court Restaurant at The British Museum

Housed under the spectacular undulating glass roof of the British Museum, this light, bright restaurant offers unchallenging European dishes such as chicken paillard with rocket salad, as well as decadent – and popular – Champagne afternoon teas.

Dulwich Picture Gallery Café

A deservedly feted café in London’s oldest surviving public picture gallery, the Picture Gallery Café feels like an outdoor ‘room’ thanks to its floor-to-ceiling glass walls and laid-back atmosphere. Menus come with notes about current exhibitions; Champagne afternoon tea is an indulgent must.

Gallery Mess at the Saatchi GalleryGallery Mess - Gallery_Mess_2009_-_gallery_mess_970.jpg (pictured, right)

A prime destination whether you’re visiting the gallery or not, this handsome, white-walled space comprises an intimate inner dining room and a high-ceilinged Italianate loggia area, both decorated with striking pieces of contemporary art; there’s also a terraced area for alfresco get-togethers over big-hearted Brit dishes.

London Zoo Lates

Every year on Fridays, from June to July, London Zoo hosts adults-only after-hours openings, with street food, improvised comedy and cabaret, and a silent disco. You can also pre-order picnics for balmy evenings.

The National Dining Rooms

This restaurant takes its commitment to serving British food very seriously, with a different county’s regional dishes featured on the menu each month, as well as national treasures such as boozy sherry trifle. Sit by the window for good views of bustling Trafalgar Square.

Peyton & Byrne at The Royal Academy

Peyton & Byrne, like any chain, offers diners an army of familiar dishes, an advantage that cannot be overestimated when you’re flanked by a couple of tired and hungry enfants terribles (and we don’t mean of the art world). Enjoy cakes and coffees in abundance here – and at the Wellcome Collection and the British Library – as well as more daring dishes such as rose veal carpaccio with Stilton croûtons.

The Restaurant at Natural History Museum - Restaurant_at_Natural_History_Museum_2010_-_Restaurant_3.jpgThe Restaurant at the Natural History Museum (pictured, left)

This spacious, family-friendly eatery in the Natural History Museum’s ‘green zone’ is run with great panache by accomplished caterers Benugo and is a blessing for foot-sore adults & restless, famished kids in need of a break or a refuel. Catch Benugo at the V&A Café and The Southbank Centre, too.

Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room

With a kitchen overseen by the ever-grounded and likeable Angela Hartnett (working in an executive-chef role), and a location in trendy Whitechapel, this museum restaurant has all the elements of a hit dining destination in its own right. Attention to detail is a strong point of the menu, which serves creative Mediterranean dishes such as polenta with sautéed mushrooms and poached eggs, plus real ales and Union coffee.

This feature was updated in April 2013.

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