Year after year, Esca remains in the conversation of the NYC elite. It’s always jam packed, mostly with the business and commuter crowd.

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About Esca

Esca is a Southern Italian Seafood Restaurant created by Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich & David Pasternack. Esca showcases the style & sensibility of Italian coastal cooking. Dave went to Italy & saw firsthand what they were talking about. After years of cooking French food, Dave had finally found the food he had always wanted to cook. The best fish available, prepared in a simple & delicious way. In Italy that means the local catch, but in New York that means the best fish of the Pacific, Mediterranean & our own backyard.

At Esca you can eat the most sought after Pacific Ocean delicacies along side Fluke that Dave caught on his day off. The menu changes daily & is driven by the fish markets of the world & the farms of Dave’s friends. Esca is the place where you can have stunning raw fish, an incredible bowl of pasta & then a Mediterranean Branzino cooked in sea salt. Esca is the best of Italian coastal cooking with access to the world’s greatest fish.

402 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Italian, Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Lunch:

Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 2:30pm

Dinner:

Monday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday: 4:30pm - 11:00pm
Wednesday - Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:30pm
Sunday: 4:30pm - 10:30pm

Cross Street:
9th Avenue

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(212) 564-7272

Website:
http://www.esca-nyc.com/

Public Transit:
Subway to 42nd Street - Times Square

Executive Chef:
David Pasternack

Additional:
Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wine

Specials

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Details
Sun 9:30PM - 11:15PM

Mon - Sat 10:00PM - 11:15PM

Private Dining

ESCA’s intimate and elegant dining room offers a lovely, quiet experience amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City’s Theatre District. All menus are based on fresh, seasonal ingredients (in other words, whatever Chef Dave Pasternack catches that morning).

Esca Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.2

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.1

service

4.2

ambience

4.1

value

3.6

Noise

Moderate

73% would recommend it to a friend

Pre/post Theatre (70)
Fit for Foodies (62)
Special Occasion (54)
See All
Good for Anniversaries (44)
Good for a Date (43)
Creative Cuisine (39)
Notable Wine List (37)
Good for Birthdays (31)
Romantic (30)
Authentic (28)
Neighborhood Gem (26)
Business Meals (25)
Tasting Menu (24)
Quiet Conversation (20)
Local Ingredients (17)
Cozy (15)
Healthy (13)
Great for Outdoor Dining (13)
Casual (12)
Great for Lunch (11)
Handcrafted Cocktails (10)
Seasonal (9)
Hot Spot (8)
Fun (6)
People Watching (6)
Bar Seating (5)
Comfort Food (5)
Gluten Free Options (5)
Paleo Friendly (5)
Worth the Drive (5)
Good for Groups (4)
Late-night Find (4)
Great for Brunch (3)
Sunday Lunch (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Disabled Access (2)
Organic (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Waterfront (2)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Spicy (1)
Tapas (1)
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4575 reviews
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 3 days ago

Food was disappointing given its ratings: the Spaghetti Neri had too much chili, blanketing the delicate flavor of the sepia, the branzino was very good but the broccoli side dish turned out to be an unidentifiable green mass (spinach or kelp) drowned in salt. Very good winelist!

Worst were two tables that confused this restaurant with a rowdy sportsbar with no attempt made by the manager that their behavior spoilt all other diners‘ experience.

Tags: Notable Wine List
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food2
ambience1
service4
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined 3 days ago

Terrible disappointment. We ate here a year ago and loved it. This year they put us in a little table between the bar and the kitchen. Table was clearly an afterthought. Food was fine but it is impossible to enjoy with waiters running by from the kitchen. Then there was a crowd of people yelling behind out table who were drinking at the bar. Experience was miserable. We just will not bother to go back. Too bad

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience1
service3
value1

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 3 days ago

I had not dined at Esca in quite a while and was anxious to return. We had our reservation for early evening pre-theater. The food was excellent. The wine list was okay. We shared a salad and then my companion had very tasty salmon and I greatly enjoyed the pumpkin ravioli. However, the noise level was nearly deafening. Everyone in our vicinity was shouting during their meals to be heard across the table. It was a cacophony and the opposite of a relaxing meal. Energetic does not begin to describe the noise level. When we complained we were told to ask for another room next time and they were pretty snotty about it. I, unfortunately, would not trust them on this and will not return.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience2
service2
value2

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 4 days ago

Food was excellent. Had the tasting menu which offered a nice selection. The squid ink pasta was a standout. Wine list has some interesting Italian picks not found in most restaurants. Service was perfunctory, a bit rushed.

Tags: Good for a Date, Tasting Menu, Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Bar Seating, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies, Pre/post Theatre, Notable Wine List
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food5
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·Dined 4 days ago

The food is good in general but the service is terrible. The ravioli came out burnt black with crispy edges so we had to send it back. The hostess was rude, the server did not bring us food menus for 10 minutes even after telling him that we had a Broadway show to attend in an hour. They sat us at a table next to a large plant that was shedding leaves on the table and on to our plates of food. When I showed one of the managers that the plant was shedding leaves on to our plates, he said “oh no”’and walked away without doing anything.

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food4
ambience2
service1
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 (New York Area)·Dined 6 days ago

The food was delicious but the incredibly high noise level is deafening...you cannot have a normal conversation at your table...for that reason I would not recommend dining at Esca.

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food4
ambience1
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 6 days ago

Except for the music, which just adds to the noise, ESCA is one of my favorites. Great food, nice ambiance, close to the theater, Nico the Maitre D is great. Not sure why they have music on. Adds nothing to the dinner but noise on top of noise. Love this place

Tags: Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
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value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 6 days ago

Esca was absolutely amazing! It blew away my initial expectations. The service was some of the best I've ever experienced in my life. Very knowledgeable and friendly. The wine list was outstanding, and the food was to die for. I can't wait to go back!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Authentic, Romantic, Notable Wine List
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food5
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vip
·Dined on November 14, 2017

Arrived at 7:15 with a party of three people. Didn’t get served our appetizers until 8:30 and main course until 9:15. Fish dish was extremely oversalted and had an extremely fishy odor and flavor. Didn’t appear to be fresh. Returned that for another main dish. It had the same exact problem.

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food1
ambience2
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·Dined on November 14, 2017

Very good quality food and broad wine list . We were given a table near the kitchens on our own despite several empty tables in the main area.The blasting Air conditioning made our red wine turn cold despite asking to turn it off twice, it was switched back on on both occasions. Waiters brought us the cheque without us asking for it and while having coffee. Almost total lack of attention from the waiting staff.

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food4
ambience2
service1
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Excellent seafood in a nice quiet atmosphere. Service was exceptional

Tags: Business Meals, Pre/post Theatre, Quiet Conversation, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Atlanta)·Dined on November 12, 2017

The food here was DISGUSTING. I ordered the zuppe di pesce and it smelled like sewage. It also tasted similarly. I went home and had major stomach pains and felt ill. I wouldn’t go back here if someone paid me to. The people next to us also ordered this dish and were grossed out. My fault for not sending it back but I was too hungry. This is was SO BAD.

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food1
ambience2
service3
value1

 
 (Tahoe)·Dined on November 12, 2017

The food was amazing.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Oklahoma City)·Dined on November 12, 2017

Everytime we have dined here it has been consistently excellent. The crudo and the pasta dishes are to die for and the service is a perfect balance. Very good wine list.

Tags: Romantic, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Our waitperson Samuel greeted us in an appropriate amount of time and we established a leave time based on needing to attend the theatre.
We then waited 30 mins before an initial drink order was taken, and that was by a replacement waitperson, Aly.
After that, service was sporadic at best.
However it should be noted the buspersons were exceptional.
Even though an established leave time was determined, when Samuel finally returned with dessert menus, (Samuel explained he had a large table that took all his time) we were not able to enjoy dessert because of the time based on inconsistent waitering.
While we enjoyed the food, the poor wait service colored the whole dining experience.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience3
service1
value3

 
·Dined on November 11, 2017

Delicious food, great service, and awesome location. Out of the four of us my mom was the only one that didn’t love her meal. She’d ordered the halibut and said it seemed a little over cooked and was lacking some flavor. The rest of us loved it and she enjoyed the appetizer of oysters and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Probably great food, but we never ate. Made a reservation for two. Told at the door that this was a “waiting game” and to wait at the bar. The bar was unreachable. We danced around waiters for about 30 mins. Was never offered a time guesstimate. When we decided to leave because we were too hungry to wait, we spent 5 mins trying to tell the hostess we weren’t going to stick around, but she was too busy dealing with coats. I imagine the food is great which is why it’s so popular, but I wouldn’t bother or recommend it. I only reviewed the food/value bc Open Table requires it.

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food2
ambience4
service2
value2

 
·Dined on November 10, 2017

We were excited to have a reservation at ESCA . We were disappointed. We were seated right away. The menu was new to us and we asked for some explaining and we received it. Waiter was not very helpful. We ordered. Salad came and it was very good and fresh. Main dished arrived, very disappointed. We had 1 glass of wine each and gelato for dessert.. I asked for grated cheese and he brought it, added to my pasta dish and left, did not ask my wife is she would like some (she did) but he had left the area. Did not return to ask how our dinner was. Bread was excellent, but we had no olive oil or butter and were not offered a second piece. We had no coffee or after dinner drinks and our bill was $185.00 without the tip.

Tags: People Watching, Cozy
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food2
ambience3
service2
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vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 10, 2017

This has been one of my favorite nyc restaurants but this visit was mixed to disappointing. My husband had the squid ink pasta with chilies and loved it. My friend and I shared the roasted razor and other clams Some were very tough and flavors were muddy. I had the spaghetti chiatarra w/ crab and sea urchin. Pasta too thick for this and flavor was lacking. Not enough urchin? Desserts also disappointing. Very sad. This had always been one of our favorite restaurants.

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food3
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service4
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·Dined on November 9, 2017

Chef was so personable and friendly. He sent a few complimentary dishes that we devoured. We loved all the entree’s. Remember the golden rule- don’t eat all the bread before the food comes - which was kind of hard to do with their newly imported truffle infused olive oil from Umbria. Black ink pasta, Uni, monkfish liver, and oysters were amazing not to mention the Somelier’s recommended red blend (not necessarily pared. Enjoy. It was a little warm under the booth we stayed but the attention to detail in service and attention by our server and his support staff was amazing.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 8, 2017

I really enjoy Chef Batali's other restaurants but for whatever reason it was an off night. The scallops were under seasoned, the salmon under cooked to our order and the linguine so salty it was inedible. The service was great as was the wine and cocktail selection. I'm sure it is a great restaurant normally but for the over $200 price tag it was not worth it.

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food2
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vip
 (Phoenix)·Dined on November 7, 2017

Really really great. Loud and popular but the service and food made up for it. Loved the side veggies. I made friends with a turnip!! We hand a wonderful meal and were able to make our opening curtain on a rainy night. I’d repeat it for sure.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Birthdays, Authentic, Hot Spot, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on November 7, 2017

the resturant was unimaginably noisy because of the booming music being blared in. we could not hear ourselves think. we will not return,

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food4
ambience1
service4
value2

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 6, 2017

Always outstanding. Crudos a must. The personalize treatment and lengths the GM and waiters go to accommodate are worth every penny

Tags: Tasting Menu
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 5, 2017

It was a chilly damp evening and we wanted a warm cozy dinner. Esca was a great choice; warm, cozy and full. Unfortunately, that is where the positive experience ended. The food - tasted of oil and wasn't seasoned. The service- our waiter dropped off our food and never returned, nor did any other server -ever! The manager-was completely indifferent to our neglect, he made no effort to correct the situation, his attitude made it worse. The waiter had gone home mid-shift, that happens, the manager was rude and that is inexcusable.

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food2
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 (Charleston)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Our food was at best forgettable but it would be more accurate to say it was bad. I had tasteless sea bass that seemed frozen. My wife had gnocchi that was not flavorful and had 4 scallops that were at best a C+. We had three side vegetables - greens that were disgusting, parsnips that were limp and poorly roasted, and mushrooms that were pretty good but nothing special. The sommelier had a big slice of attitude that would likely be effective in bullying an unconfident diner into spending more than they would like to. We did have a terrific waiter with lovely old school manners. Unfortunately, even the cookies that came with the bill were poorly done. A snickers bar purchased at the closet magazine stand would have been better.

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food1
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Service was uninspired from arrival to leaving. Table not ready for 8 oclock reservation. We were told to wait in bar which was small and cramped and full. We were in the way of serving staff making their way from kitchem. Finally seated at table at top of kitchen stairs within earshot of squabbling seving staff. We were a table of six for daughter’s birthday. We ordered oysters, apps, and secondis with cocktails, 2 bottles of wine , desserts, and dessert drinks. Food was uneven. Oysters never came, fish was either under or over cooked. Gnocchi was the only dish that was anything to write home about. Waiter attempted to serve the oysters after dinner???? We refused them. Sommelier was up to the task, but the rest of the service was not adequate. Reception and coat check need lessons in customer service. There was no acknowledgement of a birthday celebration when dessert arrived. A candle or a sqiggled happy birthday would have been appreciated. This was definitely a “fail”. Lots of great restaurants in NYC. ESCA not among them.

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food2
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vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Have been to Esca several times in the past, and enjoyed it.
This time ,both my wife and I found our meals very disappointing.
Not certain what has happened , but we will not be going back any time son.

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food2
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value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 4, 2017

The fish was excellent. I have been wanting to try Esca for a while and was happy that my plans for the theater were right across the street. It was worth the wait. Great for anyone who likes fish.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Quiet Conversation, Good for Birthdays
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food5
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service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Food was extremely disappointing. Calamari extraordinarily bitter. Clams and mussels full of sand and grit. For a supposed seafood restaurant, kitchen seemed quite amateur. Good service. Overall a place that seems content to run on autopilot and get by on business lunches and the Broadway crowd.

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food1
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·Dined on November 2, 2017

I had made this reservation for my mom and myself as a pre-theater dinner and had noted this in my reservation. I was under the assumption that the theater menu would be offered to us, but instead had to ask specifically for it. Not a big deal, but I think that should be provided if theater reservations are being made.

Food - first courses were delicious - octopus (me), salad (mom; second course was very underwhelming for me. I ordered the grilled mahi mahi and it was nothing to write home about, just very boring and kind of bland. My mom did enjoy the gnocchi very much and said it was the best she's had. Dessert was also tasty.

Service - in between the first and second courses a server came to clear glasses/refill drinks. I had asked for the wine menu as I wanted to select something to go with my meal. At no point did any one return to take my wine order, it wasn't until the last two bites that someone bothered to come by and ask if I would like to order anything. At that point in the meal it doesn't make sense to place a wine order. It also took forever in between the main and dessert courses.

Overall, I think our experience could have been better and was disappointing.

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food2
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service2
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 2, 2017

Another quick meal before the theater. I love Esca, hadn't been in a couple of years. So Thursday night worked well. Nice staff, pleasant servers and a fabulous pasta with lobster. One of the best meals ever. Nice salad, too.
Only minor quibble is that the music was too loud.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 2, 2017

The food was good, the service was great, however this reataurant should not be listed as $30 and under. Almost all the entrees were more than $30.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Mississippi)·Dined on November 1, 2017

Best Branzino fish I have ever tasted. Wine was also excellent. We went after the theater and did not feel rushed to get out at all.

Tags: Business Meals, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
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service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 29, 2017

The service was incredible! The food was a HUGE disapointment. The apps were fair. Cerviche was good, my salad had a dressing that was so salty it was almost inedible and didn't compliment the fall roasted vegtables at all. My husbands scallop entree was good, not great and my grouper entree was fair (fish was tough and flavorless, I asked for lemon) but the roasted brussel sporouts with pancetta were totally overcooked and dry. We shared a dessert which was fair. We will not return and couldn't in good conscious recommend to a friend. Very disapointing .. a shame as we were really looking forward to a nice anniversary dinner.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date
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food2
ambience4
service5
value3

 
·Dined on October 28, 2017

Food was fantastic; Service was very tentative and knowledgeable! Definitely will be back.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 28, 2017

This was my second time eating here.
Once again I enjoyed it. The food is good, the servers are polite and professional. It isn’t noisy, so you can have good conversation, and they have a nice selection of wine. It’s not my choice for a casual dinner or lunch, it’s more suitable for an occasion

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Notable Wine List, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (London)·Dined on October 28, 2017

The room is busy and full of people enjoying their food with easy conversations. The tables are just the right size for conversation, even in the bustling atmosphere. The food was excellent, careful, delicious and fulfilling. The staff was great, each and every one. It was a personal and friendly service of well-prepared food & drink in a comfortably bustling room. Generous in every way, and highly recommended. PS: the truffle course was a special seasonal pleasure.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 28, 2017

All but the food was great.

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food2
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 27, 2017

Server was very pushy to order expensive wine, white truffles etc

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food3
ambience3
service3
value2

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