Clos Maggiore

French·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Clos Maggiore

Gold Award

“A special restaurant for a special occasion” Clos Maggiore simply oozes magic and romance – with an added soupçon of Gallic ooh-la-la for good luck. Love is always on the cards at this inviting Covent Garden hideaway which is often considered among the most romantic restaurants in London – especially if you’re lucky enough to bag a table in the desirable glass-roofed conservatory with foliage and blossoms climbing overhead, fairy lights a-twinkling and star-gazing opportunities on balmy evenings. The waiting list for this prime piece of dining real estate can be months long though, so our advice is to book well in advance.

If you’re unable to secure a booking in the deeply seductive conservatory itself, you can always decamp to one of the (slightly) less beguiling dining areas: either way, expect “superlative” French-accented cooking with rich, soothing overtones and some noticeable Mediterranean nuances.

Kick things off with pan-roasted Les Landes duck liver dressed with artichoke and hazelnut vinaigrette or a take on vitello tonnato involving fillet of Limousin veal, smoked tuna and anchovy mayonnaise plus pickled vegetables and croûtons. After that, keep things Gallic and seasonal with slow cooked cod ‘rougaille’ or roast squab pigeon and confit leg with a truffle and onion tart, plus a warm lentil and beetroot salad on the side.

Vegetarians might be offered a casserole of new season’s vegetables served with a crispy purse of smoked soya cheese and Provençal aromatics, while intricate desserts always feature the signature ‘caramelised Valrhona chocolate sensation’ with burnt honey ice cream and Armagnac jelly as well as, say, white chocolate mousse and fresh gariguette strawberry ‘volupté with Sicilian pistachios and wild strawberry sorbet.

Service is invariably on point, and Clos Maggiore’s “very extensive” (but accessible) wine list also warrants serious exploration. No wonder this theatreland stalwart has achieved “absolute favourite” status and a legendary reputation among its legions of fans.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
French
Ambience
Cosy, Fine dining, Quiet conversation, Traditional
Food Occasions
Brunch
People
Romantic, Special occasions, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for Clos Maggiore

33 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8JD

020 7379 9696

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun 12:00-14:30
Dinner
Mon 17:00-22:00
Tue 17:00-22:00
Wed 17:00-22:00
Thu 17:00-22:00
Fri 17:00-22:00
Sat 17:00-22:00
Sun 17:00-22:00

Reviews of Clos Maggiore

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68 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
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Anon

Surviving on reputation rather than operation?
19 June 2021  

We arrived at Clos Maggiore excited to celebrate our marriage at what we thought would be one of London’s “prettiest” restaurants. We left after just one drink with quite a different impression.

There was an undeniable air of deceit surrounding our booking. We booked our table having requested the “fairy room” (the cherry blossom room). On the phone, we were told that although the restaurant cannot guarantee a table in that room, they do indeed consider “occasions” when allocating seats. I made clear that we would be celebrating our wedding day, and the gentleman on the phone reiterated, emphatically, that they do in fact give weight to big occasions.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were disappointed and, frankly, a little confused as we were led to a dimly lit and noisy table outside of the cherry blossom room. We asked one of the waiters if there was anything that could be done and were promptly met by the manager for the evening, David Janszki, whom I can accurately describe as smug and curt at worst, and merely unhelpful at best. Without looking into our booking, the manager informed us that nothing could be done. Another waiter, in an attempt to be helpful, told us he would look into the matter. Five minutes later, David returned to tell us again that nothing could be done—at least this time it seemed that he had taken a moment to look at our reservation.

David informed us that some of these people had bookings made in “early May”—this is likely untrue, a point I will return to in a moment. We explained that this was our wedding day, and we were led to believe that although tables in the cherry blossom room could not be guaranteed, they would consider big occasions in allocating seats. Not true, said the manager. That room is booked on a first-come basis, and besides, “90% of our bookings are occasions”. Oh, okay. So please do remember, as all occasions seem to be special occasions, don’t bother going if it’s a special occasion, because ipso facto you’re not that special… surely, there’s a new slogan in there somewhere.

Cue the real deceit surrounding the reservation. Their stock response is simply that they “cannot guarantee” a table in the cherry blossom room. But, instead, it sounds like they can guarantee that you won’t get a table in the cherry blossom room. Think about it: if they allocate that room on a first-come basis, and they know that they have bookings from “early May” (still coming back to that point), well then they know that after the first seven or so of those bookings, anyone who books after will not be getting a table in the cherry blossom room. Why, then, am I being told only that they “cannot guarantee” a table but that they do consider occasions when allocating those tables. My wife asked that very question, if you know that room isn't available, why are you telling people you can't guarantee a table, why not just say it's not available? To this, David said, yes, that would be a good idea... Yes, I agree, David, it would be. At least the "special occasions" point was probably not a lie, just simply wrong.

So, why do I find it unlikely, or at least surprising, that some reservations had been made in early May? Well, my birthday is at the end of May. My at-the-time fiancé, now wife, was actually looking to book a table in the cherry blossom room for my birthday in late May. She tried to reserve a table online, but the website came back with a message that bookings would “be back soon!”. That was 10 May. I’m not quite sure what David means when he says these tables have been booked in “early May”, but whenever it is that “early May” refers to, it doesn’t sound like it’s any earlier than the middle of May.

Aside from (or maybe in addition to) the inaccurate information and generally poor communication surrounding the booking, and an increasingly irritating though persistently unhelpful manager, I mentioned earlier that the table we were given was noisy. Turns out someone decided that Friday evening was a good time to do building works on the female toilet, and it was that work being done which was causing the large ventilation system directly above us to rattle and creak. An early sign of the ineffectiveness from David, he explained this by saying “Ummm, well, there’s, uh, work being done on the female toilet… I think… so…. yea…”. Oh, this also meant that there was no working female toilet. Yes, that’s correct. There was no working female toilet.

Just one other observation: as we were greeted by the hostesses, although they were very nice, they certainly seemed to be surprised when we told them we had just gotten married—they were friendly, they were excited for us, but they were surprised. This was a little confusing for both of us, because by that point the hostesses had already located our reservation in the system, they were just waiting for the table to be cleared. I guess my question, then, was, “why are they surprised? isn’t the occasion noted on our booking?” Who knows, “90% of their bookings are occasions”, so maybe they don’t make note. Still knocking around for that slogan.

In the end, we paid £50 for four glasses of grappa, listened to the sweet sounds of building works through a rattling ventilator, were treated to a contextless story from David about how long he’s worked at the restaurant, and all of us used the only operable (male) toilet. But hey! It was our wedding day, we walked out smiling, happy to leave one of London’s more overrated establishments, and excited to take a table at a competitor restaurant in the area, which we managed to book last-minute, while sitting at our dark, noisy little table at Clos Maggiore.

How about this? “Clos Maggiore: who the hell do you think you are?” Maybe that’s a slogan that works in both directions.

Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Wendy P

06 August 2019  
I always love the classic French menu and the super romantic atmosphere. The food and wine are lovely - a real treat.

Anon

26 July 2019  
Again an excellent restaurant with good food if a little expensive spoilt by the fact it is so difficult to get s reservation especially for two.

Anne W

26 July 2019  
Food and Service superb, beautifully decorated.

Anon

26 July 2019  
Smart, romantic and chic. Fantastic food not overcomplicated. Wine list for all budgets and wonderful staff. Expensive but worth it.

Caitlin H

26 July 2019  
Simply faultless.

Terri D

08 July 2019  
Amazing food, great wine list and cocktails and a beautiful conservatory.

Iain S

28 June 2019  
The food and drink were excellent, we had the tasting menu with sommelier picked wines to accompany the meal. The service was fantastic and the conservatory was wonderfully decorated with blossom. Its a fantastic place do dine and enjoy.

Stewart E

28 June 2019  
Fabulous, intimate and romantic.

Edward G

06 May 2019  
Excellent food. Comprehensive wine list. Excellent service. Wonderful ambience. Expensive but worth it.
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