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26 St. John St. (Smithfield)
(44) 020-7251-0848 | www.stjohnrestaurant.co.uk
HOURSMon.-Fri.: 12:00pm-3:00pm, 6:00pm-11:00pm; Sat.: 6:00pm-11:00pm; Sun.: 1:00pm-3:00pm
BEST FORLunch; dinner
RESERVATIONSStrongly suggested for restaurant; bar is first-come, first-served
BARYes - small dishes served
PRICE (APPETIZER AND ENTRÉE)Appetizer: GBP 3-10; Entree: GBP 10-25
FAMOUS PLATESOffal; crispy pig's cheek; marrow with parsley; eccles cakes
DRINKS AND WINEGreat French wines; British microbrew ales and lagers
# OF SEATS50-100
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?Yes - seats 18
A cultish foodie haven known for serving "forgotten" cuts and sources of meat (think offal or squirrel). Housed in a former smokehouse, the look is clean–the whitewashed walls and paper tablecloths barely even count as "decor"–and the service is polite but not chummy. Notoriously unpretentious, St. John’s philosophy is to spurn hoity-toity airs (and at times even basic pleasantries) for a keen focus on their succulent British revival eats. It seems to have paid off: they scored their first Michelin star in 2009.
Foodies, business diners, and diehard fans
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
Casual. There’s no dress code because it’s all about the food here, so they don’t care what you wear as long as it doesn’t distract from the eats. We’d go with boots, jeans, and a cool sweater.
GO HERE WITH
Adventurous eaters; friends; family
WHY WE LIKE IT
The food, plain and simple. Don’t fret if you’re intimidated by the wilder offerings; even their "normal" dishes are five-star.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The butcher shop aesthetic could use a little pepping up. But then again, it’s all part of the charm.
GOOD TO KNOW
St. John is family friendly, though they recommend young children should come for lunch instead of dinner. While this isn’t exactly a vegetarian fave, there are veggie options on the menu, should you require them. If you can’t score a table in the dining room, try the more relaxed beer-and-wine bar. (No reservations accepted; the bar is open Mon.-Fri.: 11:00am-11:00pm, Sat.: 6:00pm-11:00pm, Sun.: 12:00pm-5:00pm; it can also be booked for private functions.) Finally, if you want to try the suckling pig, order it in advance, especially if you have a reservation later in the evening.
St. John Bread and Wine (London)
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