“The original and still the best!” declares one fan of this West End classic, a genuine icon that has spawned successful spin-offs across the capital and beyond. With its “cosy atmosphere”, “superb service” and “perfect buzz”, it’s easy to see why so many people fall for The Ivy’s charms.
Following a glamorous facelift timed to coincide with its centenary in 2017, this theatreland diva still looks the part. Behind that famous harlequin stained glass, a gorgeous, glittering vintage-styled bar now takes pride of place in the well-dressed dining room, where you’re still likely to spot a celebrity or two.
The crowd-pleasing menu has something for everyone, with its mix of classics, signature dishes and on-trend international ideas – a varied repertoire that the kitchen somehow manages to cook with equal aplomb. Feeling trad? Go for Cornish fish soup and a juicy steak. Or mix and match with nori-spiced scallops, salmon ceviche and finger-licking Taiwanese salt-and-pepper short-ribs.
We have to confess a weakness for the crispy duck and watermelon salad with chilli cashews as well as the legendary shepherd’s pie: always rich and comforting – and possibly even better now that it’s served topped with melting Mayfield cheese.
Desserts range from an indulgent knickerbocker glory or retro baked Alaska to elegant lemon ricotta tart, while the wine list offers plenty of choice to match the globe-trotting cuisine, along with well-crafted house cocktails. “Excellent in every way,” concludes one of The Ivy’s many admirers – and it’s hard to disagree.