Las Iguanas Royal Festival Hall

Unit 14, Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road , London, SE1 8XX

SquareMeal Review of Las Iguanas Royal Festival Hall

Fun, fun, fun is the order of the day at Las Iguanas, the still-independent national chain of Latin American eateries. If the promise of ‘carnival atmosphere’ & ‘intoxicating Latin rhythms’ sounds a little heady, fear not, for readers seem to enjoy the experience in spite of themselves. ‘Ideal for families’ but ‘fun for couples’ is a feat few restaurants achieve, but these colourful, buzzy venues don’t simply play it safe with crowd-pleasing nachos, fajitas, burgers & dulce de leche puds; they also roam around South America for lesser-known regional specialities such as Chilean pasteles (sweet potato & sweetcorn pie), Peruvian braised lamb & Brazilian moqueca (coconut curry). Everything is cooked to order & there are deals aplenty. Happy-hour prices help as exotic cocktails get things going for a fiesta every night.

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7.8

Food & Drink: 7.5

Service: 7.8

Atmosphere: 8.8

Value: 7.8

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Nicole K. 22 August 2011

My partner and I visited Las Iguanas around February/March time this year. We decided to walk down the river, via Southwark and eat in the area. We first went into an Italian place a few doors from Las Iguanas (can't remember the name and can't find it for the life of me) but the service/atmosphere/price etc were awful. Therefore we left and went in Las Inguanas instead, which was ten times better. Despite being really busy, we were seated immediately and the service was FAST. Food and Drink menu are both GREAT with a wide selction. I've forgotton what cocktail we had but it was DELICIOUS, and there are loads of them! Food was great also as I said. The place was CLEAN with a lively & unique atmosphere. Ideal for families I guess but also fun for couples too!! I will be going back!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

MLG 02 June 2009

It’s clear that Las Iguanas will never be a restaurant billed for brilliant innovative food. But… nonetheless, I find I have a soft spot for the place with its loud music, excellent drinks and edible, if not inspired, food. The position on the river is fantastic and if you get there early enough to snag a spot in the terrace in summer (and with a 5-7pm happy hour there’s a real incentive to arrive early), it’s an excellent spot to watch the world go by while you enjoy one of their cocktails – the caipirinhas are delicious, if slightly lethal (for the head and the waistline), as are the marguerites. Inside the main restaurant it’s definitely noisy and buzzy – this is not the place to come for a romantic evening. But a wide range of groups enjoying an evening out and (mostly) efficient service makes it a fun place for a meal with friends. The food is mostly standard tapas fare, ranging in quality according to what you order – we had some pretty good nachos and chorizo and some decent prawns to start while the main courses were a bit more hit and miss – a friend’s chicken stew was delicious while my roast chicken with roasted vegetables came with butternut squash only partially cooked. We didn’t stay for dessert but enjoyed a totally drinkable bottle of something or other unmemorable. For a total bill of around £35 a head, it was a fantastic Friday post work evening.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Alison L. 29 October 2008

6 of us went to dinner here last weekend. It has a very ‘buzzy’ atmosphere, with great staff on hand to help with menus and general information. We hadn't booked, but sat downstairs at a high table in the centre of the room which was big enough for us all to have lots of space, and close enough to each other to chat easily. Within an hour of us arriving the whole place was full! We got there 10 minutes before happy hour, but they were happy to offer drinks at the happy hour prices for us, which was great! The food was really delicious – I had the veggie chimmichanga (sp?!) which was great! Fab drinks too. The clientele were a real mix of ages from pre-school up to several retired couples. The music was at just the right volume to add ambience, but didn't interfere with conversation. The staff were very cheerful, and friendly. Our only ‘gripe’ was the 12.5% service charge that was automatically added to our bill – although the staff did a great job, we didn't feel that anything more than 10% was appropriate…and we felt that it was a bit cheeky to add that amount to an already large bill (although the food was good value). I know lots of restaurants do it, but I personally think it's a cheek in any restaurant to just assume!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Food fiend platinum reviewer 26 October 2008

I picked Las Iguanas as a convenient option prior to seeing a movie at the NFT. The food is actually so so but the atmosphere more than makes up for it. There were queues outside when we left about 8pm. I can imagine its going to be a great venue for big parties over xmas. Decor is very in your face – not for the faint hearted or those looking for a quieter nigt out (try Skylon or Canteen nearby) Foodwise i had half a slow roast chicken with salad and my friend had the chicken enchilada. We shared a delicious (but very small) guava type cheesecake slice and the bill came to £32. We both agreed that although the staff were very friendly, didnt push the drinks (althoug happy hour till 7 – buy one get one free), the food is quite standard mexican fare and not worth making a special effort to revisit. Better mexicans include Benito's Hat and Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden but if you are looking for something loud and fun, this is a good choice for groups out to have fun. The location is also lovely in the sense just near the river and making a change from central.

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