Dinner for One at the Savoy Grill in London
Sunday May 19, 2024

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As someone who enjoys traveling on her own, as shared in previous posts/episodes, the trip for me when I head to Britain (or France), begins when I arrive at the airport, and I have also made reservations or have plans for dinner some place welcoming, comfortable and easy to find, but special at the same time.

Having figured out when to leave the west coast here in the states to arrive in London in the afternoon on the next day, this is the beginning of my itinerary that rarely deviates as far as the schedule of events, but involves different specific locations (restaurants, theatre, accommodations, etc.), and on this trip, my dinner plans were quite simple to settle upon – Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill at The Savoy.

First, a bit of history.

It was Richard D’Oyly Carte who, upon opening a hotel to go alongside his Savoy Theatre in 1889, decided to include two restaurants. The Grill was the more casual of the two restaurants located below the upstairs fine French restaurant that Auguste Escoffier would eventually become the head chef of, and in fact, while women were permitted to dine and drink at the Grill, it had more of a gentlemen’s club vibe, so rarely did women frequent it when it opened.

It was in 1904 that the Grill located to where it is today, on the ground floor adjoined to the entrance of The Savoy hotel. One makes their way through the revolving doors (see my tour of the hotel here), and then takes an immediate left 180-degree turn into the Grill Savoy. As it is directly across the private roundabout of The Savoy from the Savoy Theatre, the restaurant became a fixture with the theatre world and women then began to dine there regularly.

An interesting bit of trivia to note, it was during this time in the early 20th century that they rebranded the name of the restaurant to The Café Parisien, but it didn’t catch on, so they returned to what it has always been, the Grill.

Known for exceptional classic fare (as you will see below with my order), the Grill doesn’t adhere to just one type of fare, but rather the beloved choices done brilliantly.

The history of both celebrities, actors/actresses, politicians, writers and artists dining and toasting at the restaurant over the decades cemented the Grill’s iconic appeal, and while I didn’t see or meet any celebrities during my visit, I did have a lovely conversation with an older gentleman, (whose name happened to be Norman 🙃) who shared with me had been dining at the Savoy Grill beginning in the 80s with every trip he made to London, then with his wife, and now, since she has passed away, on his own, as it holds so many memories for him. He was dressed in a proper dinner jacket and tie, and looked quite handsome. He then went on to share with me, (actually, this is how he opened our conversation as he was seated behind me in adjacent half-moon seats) that they had placed me in the best seat of the restaurant. He went on to explain exactly why, and based on being someone who wants to see the restaurant and not be tucked away as well not be in the middle of the traffic, yep, indeed I was in the best seat.

You can see the half moon seats above in the first photo, and in fact, if you have dined at the Grill in the past prior to 2023, you will notice the upholstery and finishes are different as the restaurant underwent a remodel during 2023, and I had the good fortunate of dining at it just afterwards.

The well-known chef Gordon Ramsay was brought on board in 2003 and continues to keep the menu fresh, yet exactly what diners expect when they return whether locals or frequent travelers to the city. It’s worth watching the recent documentary that was filmed just before the pandemic to see what goes on in the kitchen (don’t worry, it is peaceful and kind :)) at the restaurant as well as the hotel. You will be able to see the previous upholstery, but they also show you how they make their famous Beef Wellington, which I had to have for dinner during my visit, and whether you have ever wanted to try a beef Wellington or not, trust me, this is one you will love. Amazing. (learn more about the history of the Grill at the Savoy here.)

So let’s talk about dining for one.

As I was staying at the Savoy for my first couple of nights, when I inquired about a table for one, the staff kindly assured they would have one for me, and after freshening up in my room having wandered about London for a handful of hours upon my arrival, I was ready to sit, dine and relax.

Seated in one of the handful of half-moon seats (accommodating for one or two persons), I had a wonderful vantage point of the entire restaurant, while also feeling tucked away just enough. However, I like to talk to the staff, and as you will be waited on by no less than three people, sometimes four during your dining experience, I had ample opportunity to chat.

From the host seating me, the head waiter ensuring I was comfortable and the sommelier helping me select a wine, followed by my primary server checking in throughout the evening, I felt like a queen, and not bothered for a moment, but seen and not forgotten about.

I chose to order a starter, their Arnold Bennett soufflé which came highly recommended, and Norman concurred I had made a wise choice when I shared with him what I chose for both dishes (we had both finished our meals when we began talking), and for my main the classic (but oh so elevated) Beef Wellington. I paired each dish with a different wine, and concluded my meal with a simple cup of chamomile tea to help me fall asleep which arrived with a couple of madeleines. Oh! And I also choose a vegetable side of roasted broccoli rabe (their sides are seasonal, as you will note looking at their current menu). However, I so wanted to enjoy one of their desserts, but the following day was a special occasion at The Ritz for Champagne Afternoon Tea with TSLL TOP Tier Members (which I look forward to sharing a detailed post about later this week!), so I thought it best to be a bit disciplined. Most certainly, when I return to dine at the Grill again, I will be ordering their Apple Tart Tatin ☺️.

Let’s take a look at the presentation.

Soufflesavoygrill
Arnold Bennett soufflé, with smoked haddock and Montgomery cheddar sauce

Beefwellingtonsavoygrill
~Beef Wellington, glazed shiitake mushroom, truffle, red wine jus~

Teamandolinehandle

Teamandolinesavoygrill
~Chamomile tea with madeleines~

Whenever you too choose to travel and then dine on your own, a restaurant to put on your list is the Grill Savoy. Treated with thoughtfulness, you will be able to relax and enjoy the company of all of the other guests, some who call London home and many who are just as you are, traveling or passing through, and step into a piece of British history while you enjoy a mouth-wateringly delicious meal.

And before I forget, especially for us Americans, the gratuity is already included in the bill, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out your tip. The staff isn’t working for you tip, which for me, made it a bit more relaxing as I didn’t feel I was being schmoozed, but rather genuinely taken care of, as they would for all of their guests. I never felt rushed, but genuinely at ease, and dined for nearly two hours, taking a journal with me, and honestly, just breathing deeply, so grateful to be back in London and having this opportunity, as well as looking forward to meeting the next day the TSLL members who said yes to the first opportunity for our in-person meeting.

You can dine at the Grill for lunch or dinner, and it is a wonderful place if you love the theatre as it is nestled right amongst many theatres and nearby is the West End.

Learn more about the Grill Savoy and make reservations here. I have included it along with all of my other recommedations for London in TSLL’s Travel Guide – click here to explore.

Savoygrillchandelier

May 19 26 2024

42 thoughts on “Dinner for One at the Savoy Grill in London

  1. Everything sounds lovely! Enjoying the first few posts and looking forward to more of my favorite week on TSLL😊

    1. Thank you for stopping by Krislen. 🙂 So tickled you are enjoying British Week so far! There is sooooo much more to come. Do you like gingerbread? Be sure to check out tomorrow’s giveaway (and rest assured, it is not just any gingerbread. 😉

  2. Good morning Shannon,

    Such a fantastic post to wake up to!! Thank for the history lesson. I love the back story and the food sounds amazing.

    I’m looking forward to the week ahead.

    1. What a delicious meal in a beautiful setting! It’s good to know that dining for one is welcomed, and a memorable experience for you!

    2. Thank you for stopping by Nanci. Isn’t the history fascinating? For someone who is drawn to anything with a story, if the contents speak to my predilections, I become even more intrigued, and the Savoy Grill fits that bill perfectly.

  3. What a lovely story, thank you for sharing. Dining alone is definitely its own experience and depends so much on the place and the staff, with a little bit of forethought and know-how thrown in! How nice you crossed paths with Norman. There is definitely a camaraderie among solo diners…very fun. I was dining alone in Belgium and a gentleman the table over had a “fogging” plate of something delivered and we both made eye contact in a “well, isn’t that quite interesting/bizarre”. No words were spoken but a moment was shared, special. I’m definitely more aware of my surroundings (and my food!) and open to spontaneous interactions while alone.

  4. Oh, my goodness! I loved this post! I, too, am a frequent solo traveler and generally love doing so, although occasionally dining alone can be a bit awkward. I will definitely take your recommendation should I find myself in London. The only thing left wanting was to hear about your wine selections!

  5. What a lovely post! I am intrigued by the special encounter you had with a very proper gentleman.

    1. He was lovely. He lives in the San Juan Islands, in Washington state, so we had the shared connection of living in the PNW. And in fact, he had just spent the summer in Provence. Someone who traveled for his work prior to retirement, he now travels entirely on his own as it is nourishment. A lovely human. 🙂

  6. Traveling alone can be such a joy! Thank you for encouraging me to continue to do so!!! Beautiful pictures!!

    1. Have an amazing time! There is so much to be discovered about the places we go in our own company, as well as about ourselves. Love hearing from fellow solo voyagers. 🙂

  7. Such a charming story and lovely to read again, thank you Shannon! What a wonderful meal and the connection with the gentleman traveller such a delight. I am curious as well about the wines, were any British wines served?

    1. No matter about the wines, I have no doubt they were perfection. And oh my, the souffle and the Beef Wellington look absolutely delicious!!💕

  8. Thank you Shannon for such an interesting (and yummy) post! I haven’t been to the Savoy for probably 20 years as I always stay at Number Sixteen in s. Kensington, but I am so intrigued by your post, that I might try it again. I love that you addressed solo dining!

    1. Sharri,

      Thank you for sharing where you stay! As someone who travels often in London and Paris, I trust your finds. 🙂 I think you will find the restaurant and fare quite to your liking. Enjoy!

  9. SShannon staying at the Savoy is definitely a fine experience. It’s the sort of experience which stays with you for years to come.
    I’ve had many meals there over the years but have not visited since the second refurbishment.
    Service is phenomenal. Gourmet glamour.They do a great pre and post theatre dinner.
    Interestingly ,Gordon Ramsay trained under the French chef Guy Savoy in France. If you’re ever visiting the Palace of Versailles then the Trianon Palace Versailles Hotel Michelin *restaurant run by Gordon Ramsay offers diners a feast for the senses. Not to be missed. Here’s to fine dining. Kameela😊

  10. I too enjoy dining alone. When I was a teen, I felt sorry for those dining on their own. Now, I feel sorry for the woman I know who has never felt comfortable to do so. Savoring a meal, reading a book or, like above, journaling without having to fill the time with conversation is an extraordinary way to dine.

    I fell in love with The Savoy by watching the documentary. Prime Video also has a documentary based on The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin that is quite good.

    ~Michelle

  11. What a delicious meal in a beautiful setting! It’s good to know that dining for one is welcomed, and a memorable experience for you!

  12. It’s fun to read your account and imagine the details…you’ve drawn a beautiful portrait of a relaxed and rich experience for all of your senses. The menu sounds splendid, and I probably would have fallen head over heels for both the apple tart tatin and the scones next day…:)

      1. Hello hello…when I was born we lived on my great grandparents’ small apple (and cherry) farm, so those are true weaknesses haha. And now that I’ve found St. Dalfour semi dried figs (I know, wrong week for that!), my discipline is seriously meeting its match. Have a beautiful beautiful Sunday evening. -Liz

  13. That beef wellington looks delicious! Perfectly cooked. My mouth is watering (at 8:30am 😂).
    Your experience of dining at the Grill certainly makes it a destination for dining that I’d like to visit on my next trip to London.
    And Madeleines with your tea! A bit of French fare in London, how TSLL!
    Sarah

    1. Oh my yes, I too was getting hungry while writing the post! Such a deliciously created Beef Wellington. I have a feeling that is what I would have each time I return as it is such a time-consuming dish to make, but worth every detailed step. And the madeleines! I delighted in seeing them as well! Enjoy your dining when you go. No doubt, you will savor it. 🙂

  14. I have never traveled alone, nor dined alone…you make it look and sound like a lovely experience. I could see myself bringing my journal along to capture the memories. Also, the opportunity to enjoy a random conversation with a pleasant person seems lovely!

    1. It is amazing and a must do. The first time you do it, will be daunting and you must steel your nerves as you have become accustomed to relying on someone else. I must say, traveling with someone who isn’t self-reliant is exhausting for the other person, so if you think of it as wanting to be a secure traveler so that you can travel well with someone else, then whether you are traveling alone or with someone, you will know you will have an amazing time. Follow your curiosity, plan ahead, but not everything, and honor your energy levels. When you need to rest, do so. Once you see the gifts discovered by following your curiosity and designing your trip solely for what speaks to you, you learn so much about yourself and realize strengths you may not have known you had.

      Here is an episode to listen to – Traveling Alone Well, #220 – https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast220/

      And one more for dining alone – https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/why-not-dine-alone/

  15. This builds an appetite and no mistake! Yum! 🙂

    As a woman, dinning alone can be awkward but it can also be a pleasure. Tips into that direction are certainly very welcome. I do not dine alone anymore but used to do just that for a long time in my adult life, and found it quite enjoyable (depending on the venue). Sometimes I still lunch out all by myself, mainly when I go to Berlin, and I really enjoy it. I am quite picky on my choice of venue for that purpose because I need feel safe and relaxed, and not like the proverbial unicorn in the room…

    It was super-stoic of you to hold the dessert, Shannon… 😉

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