You could spend the London Film Festival in the cinema with a bucket of popcorn, but we’d much rather be in one of the restaurants that has provided the backdrop to some of the most memorable scenes in the movies. Check out our pick of restaurants that have featured in films below.
Words: Ben McCormack
The Anchor, Bankside
The movie: Mission Impossible (1996)
The pitch: Do you have your own Mission Impossible to celebrate? Head on down to the Thames at Bankside, where Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt finishes the 1996 blockbuster with a pint of beer. Diarist Samuel Pepys used the pub as his lookout during the Great Fire of London, and there’s a rooftop terrace overlooking the river – a great viewpoint to escape the tourists from nearby Shakespeare’s Globe.
Get in character: The historic spot demands a pint of Greene King’s London Glory
34 Park Street, SE1 9EF
Brasserie Max, Covent Garden
The movie: Match Point (2005)
The pitch: We’ve lost count of the number of famous faces we’ve spotted across the Firmdale Hotels portfolio (Michael Bublé at the Soho, Jennifer Lawrence at Ham Yard). Woody Allen’s 2005 film Match Point was actually filmed at the group’s Covent Garden Hotel and its in-house restaurant, Brasserie Max, where tennis coach Chris (Jonathan Rhys Myers) has an awkward dinner with the two women in his life, Nola (Scarlett Johansson) and Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Should you also find yourself in a love triangle, rest assured there are 58 boutique bedrooms upstairs.
Get in character: Order the Valrhona dark chocolate fondant; Johansson’s favourite film is Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
Covent Garden Hotel, 10 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9HB
The movie: One Day (2011)
The pitch: It’s a brave restaurant that allows itself to be used as a location for a Tex-Mex described as ‘the graveyard of ambition’, but Cubana in Waterloo gamely transformed itself into the fictional Loco Caliente in Kentish Town for this adaptation of David Nicholl’s bittersweet bestseller. On the plus side, it can’t be bad for business if customers turn up expecting waitresses who look like Anne Hathaway.
Get in character: Cubana’s food is better than anything you’d find at Loco Caliente, but order a Mojito – the restaurant claims to be the place that introduced them to London.
48 Lower Marsh, SE1 7RG
Hakkasan Hanway Place, Fitzrovia
The movie: About a Boy (2002)
The pitch: With its moody lighting, throbbing beats and killer cocktails, sexy Hakkasan is a surefire bet for romance. Unless you’re Hugh Grant’s toxic bachelor, whose web of lies fail to charm Rachel Weisz in this adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel. If only he’d bought her one of the signature Strawberry and Basil Martinis, all may have been forgiven.
Get in character: Weisz was vegan in the noughties, so try the stir-fry black-pepper vegetarian chicken with sugar-snap peas.
8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD
Nobu London, Mayfair
The movie: Notting Hill (1999)
The pitch: Which celebrity didn’t eat at Nobu in the late 90s? No wonder that Julia Robert’s Hollywood star Anna takes Hugh Grant’s bookshop-owner Will on a date to the Park Lane Japanese that was the A-list hangout of the era (it helped that the Champagne supernova Met Bar was downstairs).
Get in character: Hold the carbs and go for sashimi instead of sushi if you want to stay celebrity skinny.
COMO Metropolitan London, 19 Old Park Lane, W1K 1LB
The Portrait, Trafalgar Square
The movie: Closer (2004)
The pitch: Looking for a venue for date night? Maybe don’t bring them to this restaurant on top of the National Portrait Gallery, where Clive Owen tells Julia Roberts he will only sign their divorce papers if she agrees to sleep with him for one last time in this big-screen version of Patrick Marber’s play. Classy! Still, the view of Nelson’s Column and Big Ben looked lovely, and is the same today as it was in 2004.
Get in character: Clive’s indecent proposal means that Julia doesn’t feel like eating and sticks to coffee, but pan-fried scallops with tomatoes, garlic and parsley sounds as pretty as the pictures downstairs.
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE
The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green
The movie: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
The pitch: Columbia Road might be best known for its flower market but The Royal Oak is famous for a less salubrious slice of East End life: it was used as the location for Samoan Jo’s, the South Seas-themed boozer in Guy Ritchie’s seminal geezer gangster flick. The real-life customers are a much nicer bunch than the film’s impressively afro’d Rory Breaker, who sets fire to one of the pub’s punters when he asks him to turn down the volume on the football.
Get in character: Ask them to rustle up a Tiki cocktail.
73 Columbia Road, E2 7RG
Rules, Covent Garden
The movie: Spectre (2015)
The pitch: London’s oldest restaurant has turned up in everything from Downton Abbey to The End of the Affair but our favourite scene takes place in James Bond’s 24th outing, when M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw )and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris ) meet up for supper. MI6 clearly has more generous expenses than we suspected. Ask for ‘M’s table’ when you book and Rules will try and accommodate you.
Get in character: Order the Uig Lodge smoked salmon – it comes with Bond’s favourite food, scrambled egg.
35 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7LB
Savini at The Criterion, Piccadilly Circus
The movie: Batman – The Dark Knight (2008)
The pitch: Want to impress a girl, Batman-style? Let her know you own the restaurant she’s eating in. That’s what Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne tells Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) on her date with Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) at Criterion. Who says that Batman is emotionally blocked? These days Criterion is called Savini, but the famous gilded ceilings of the Grade II-listed interiors are as beautiful as ever.
Get in character: Teetotal Batman would probably prefer breakfast or afternoon tea to a pre-dinner cocktail.
224 Piccadilly, W1J 9HP
Tate Modern Restaurant, Bankside
The movie: Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
The pitch: Even in 2001, the funniest thing about Bridget Jones’ Diary was the idea that a thirtysomething singleton could afford to live in a one-bedroom flat in Borough Market. Despite having London’s best food stalls on her doorstop, Bridge prefers to eat out with Shazza and Jude at Tate Modern’s seventh floor restaurant, as well as Momo.
Get in character: There’s New Zealand Chardonnay by the half bottle for £26.
Level 6, Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG
Looking for more celebrities? Follow the paparazzi down to our list of London’s best restaurants for star-spotting.
This article was published 6 October 2017