Savini at Criterion

Silver Award
23 Reviews
££££
Modern European

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SquareMeal Review of Savini at Criterion

Silver Award

SAVINI AT CRITERION CLOSED PERMANENTLY IN JUNE 2018

The definition of elegance, this Grade II-listed neo-Byzantine beauty dates back to 1874 and offers fine Italian dining, at prices as high as the gold mosaic ceiling. The similarly opulent Savini restaurant in Milan dates back to 1867, making this venture a seemingly wise move following the Criterion Restaurant’s descent into administration in summer 2015. The dramatic room features a bar and lounge area, secluded grey booths, chandeliers and glittering marble pillars, soundtracked on our visit by slightly kitsch, old-fashioned Italian tunes and not much else: the room was almost empty (Savini was infamously without a phone line for four months after opening), sapping the atmosphere in such lofty surrounds. A lavish menu redresses the balance however, with not one bum note: pungent yet light artichoke risotto is drizzled with truffle sauce, crowned by carefully cooked pigeon breast; dense pappardelle ribbons are laced with the tang and pepper of wild boar ragu; a slab of foie gras tastes fresher and more vibrant than its appearance suggests, lifted by strands of candied lemon. All-Italian service is as friendly, knowledgeable and classy as this style of dining demands, while classic cocktails and a superb collection of wines offer similarly comprehensive support. Eye-wateringly high prices may also explain a lack of custom for a restaurant at the centre of London’s tourist hub. If the word gets out and London’s fine diners once again fill this historic space, Savini will be a stellar special occasion destination.

Good to know about Savini at Criterion

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
Modern European
Ambience
Big and bold, Formal, Glamorous, Traditional
Food Occasions
Breakfast, Late night dining
People
Group dining [8+]

Savini at Criterion is featured in

SquareMeal Silver Awards

Location for Savini at Criterion

224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HP

Opening Times of Savini at Criterion

Mon-Sun 8am-12M

Reviews of Savini at Criterion

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23 Reviews
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

Food and service does not live up to the wonderful room and setting
04 July 2017
The restaurant obviously benefits from a great central location and a wonderful room . This was the first time I had been here when under new ownership. Under the previous owner it was somewhere to go for good food, reasonably priced away from the Piccadilly crowds. However under the new ownership, the food and service does not live up to the room, decor or setting. The food was almost bland and a did not feel fresh. And was incredibly expensive. Service was a bit nonchalant. And the restaurant was almost empty with no atmosphere.
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Ms/Mrs. Amy M

Almost great
19 March 2015
One of the most stunning restaurants in London, it's a treat just to bask in the decor. Unfortunately the rest of like a game of battleships. We were there for the stunningly good value pre-theatre menu - £20 for 2 courses including a Champagne cocktail - and the service was charming and attentive until the main course. After that, they kind of lost interest. We couldn't find our wine, or a waiter to top us up, had to ask 3 times to pay the bill and one of the boys was bordering on uninterested. The food itself is lovely, but massively underseasoned, which meant that the flavours were sadly lacking. I still say it's great value before a show, but not sure I would go back at full price.
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Stuart C

You get what you pay for.
26 October 2014
This was some of the best food I have tasted, my dining partner enjoyed all 3 courses and the wine without finding any faults, which was a first. The menu seriously undersells itself. This will be a venue that will go straight to the top of my recommendations list if someone were to ask for one.
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Mr. Danny G

28 June 2014
Had wanted to try Criterion for ages and our wedding anniversary was the perfect excuse for a treat. On arrival we were made very welcome and sat in the bar area as we were early, had to wait ages for a waiter and in the end had to get our own drinks menus, whilst various staff stood nattering. Eventually the drinks waiter came so we ordered and got our drinks. We moved to our table which was a OK but right by the kitchen door so not the best, after perusing the menu for a while we both knew what we wanted but again took ages to get someone to come over and talk to us. After burning holes in the waitress with my eyes she eventually came over, and took our order but no apology for the lengthy wait. I had the beef Carpaccio to start which was good and the Peterhead Cod with Lobster, Sandfire and bisque which was excellent and Lemon Cheesecake to finish which was OK, My wife had the Asparagus and Halloumi for main which was good and the Chocolate Torte for dessert which was very disappointing, very stodgy. Felt a bit disappointed for the price.
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Carly W

Friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere and fantastic food
08 July 2013
I took my family to the Criterion on Saturday evening as I'd spotted the set menu deal of three courses for £25 with a glass of Pimms. The selection was sufficient, with a good range of foods and tastes catered for, and the dishes tasted fantasic. The waiters were exceptionally friendly – always wearing a smile and willing to help whenever they could. Food arrived very promptly yet we did not feel rushed. Decor was classic and timeless. Would highly recommend to others – especially with the brilliant deal on the set menu.
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Mr. James C

Great Very Ornate Vintage Leftover
19 March 2013
The guilded ornate gold leaf decor is probably quite off putting to the casually dressed younger tourists outside.This bastion of Piccadilly continues to service surprisingky unpretentious good value meals at the 20-30 pounds for one mark. Its almost an undiscovered gem. Remembered in The 1930s for hosting Sir Oswald Mosleys BUF Blackshirt dinners in grand Mussolini Style!! Toilets are immaculate and lavish.A staff member called a crumb brusher is assigned to you at your table. Meals are nouvelle and cooked excellently.Desserts are surprising and very skilled. No quibbles.
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Ms/Mrs. Catherine B

17 February 2012
Oh Criterion. I really wanted to enjoy your company, but what a dull companion you were. I'd expect the set menu to be a fair representation of what the rest of the menu could deliver, but the choice was really disappointing. A starter of ham hock terrine for him and smoked salmon mousse for me was fine, but only just – the terrine was pretty dull. The mains were a choice of cottage pie, seafood stew, and canneloni. I felt like I'd regressed to the 80's. The veal cottage pie was fine, with nice sprouts (but if you have to turn to sprouts for comfort it's a sorry state of affairs right?), the seafood stew was really dull. Moules mariniere would have been a nicer option. The pannacotta dessert was quite nice but didn't come as described on the menu, no almond biscuit to break up the texture. The man was happy with his brownie, but it would have had to be covered in washing up liquid to put him off. The service was, dull. The toilets were scruffy and on a different planet from the decor in the main room. The food, dull. The wine, nice – but then I chose it and they couldn't get that wrong. I'm so disappointed we went there. The room is beautiful of course, but you can't eat mosaic. £100 down the drain. Unless it changes hands, I won't be back. Sigh.
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Roxi M

17 January 2012
What can i say!!! WOW. me and my friends adore this resturant, we live in Southampton but always do trips to the theatre (for birthdays) and always finish with an excellent meal at the Criterion. We've never had an issue and the food is gorgeous. This resturant is a special treat for us, And the pianist just makes the evening complete. We've just booked up again for my birthday in March and cannot wait :)
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Mr. kofi A

20 December 2011
Like many others, I've been coming to the Criterion on and off for a number of years now. Back in the days of the MPW ownership the food was usually excellent. How times have changed! I went for dinner last weekend with my sons to celebrate my sister's birthday and could not have been more disappointed. The menu itself was quite boring so I opted for the soup to start. It wasn't offensive but just wasn't great. My main of rump steak was similarly not great. Others in my party opted for the lamb and fish (hake I think), none of which inspired teh smacking of lips. I won't describe the deserts but just suffice it to say that they were not worth it. Service was pleasant but uninspired. There was no effort to engage or suggest dishes. Neither did the waitress offer to suggest extras when it was obvious (or should have been to her) that the mains would have been complimented by sides. In short, unless ownership changes again, I won't be coming back here any time soon. The decor is stunning but the food is a big let down. The bill came to over £200 which in teh scheme of things isn't excessive. However, i was left feeling very short changed.
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James J

11 September 2011
The Criterion is, without doubt, one of London's most beautiful restaurants with its gold mosaic ceiling and its perfect proportions (despite being located right in the heart of a part of London where natives never go). I used to come here quite a lot in its Marco Pierre White days and it invariably delivered (it later veered seriously off course), so a pre-theatre meal suggested a re-visit. we booked for 5.45pm (heaven forbid!). We were eight, with two youngsters and arrived in two groups of four – the staff rather ill-advisedly sat one four in the bar and suggested drinks, which needless to say turned up just as the next four arrived. But having checked the curtain-up time of our show we were seated at 6pm. The pre-theatre/set menu offers two courses for £18 (£22 for three). It delivered a smallish portion of smoked salmon with buttered bread and a carpaccio of salt beef. The mains included skate wing – the menu should have said ‘portion of skate wing’ as one skate wing was clearly made to serve at least three people. It came with a tomato and onion salsa and some green beans – in short, it would have made a reasonable starter! (Some of our party went ‘off piste’ and had a nicely seasoned sirloin steak and a good trio of pork.) A decent Stellenbosch Mourvèdre blend (£34) eased the disappointment. We finally managed to pay after traumas with three credit-card machines and took our seats in the theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue with two minutes to spare before curtain-up – not good for the blood-pressure.
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