The Giaconda Dining Room – Restaurant Review
Published 6 October 2009
The Giaconda Dining Room is a hidden little gem in the heart of London! Tucked away on a side street near Tottenham Court Road Station, It seems very much like a family run establishment, with only a few tables. While groups of more than 6 had better book in advance to stand any chance of getting a table, the small size of the restaurant does offer couples a perfect intimate place for dinner.
By virtue of its hidden location on a street nicknamed “London’s Tin Pan Alley”, you are guaranteed to have some quiet from the raucous Oxford Street nearby. When you walk in, the first thing that catches your eye is the fabulous wall of wines at the far end of the restaurant, and while we did not order any bottles, wine did seem a very popular choice with many of the diners who looked like regulars.
Although they do have a regular menu, we found that they actually have an equally long daily’s special menu, which the waitresses have to remember by heart and recite! It all sort of added to the charm of the evening having to try to remember all the daily specials available! We can wholeheartedly recommend the fish main courses as it seems to be their speciality and was very well done, as well as the crisped pig’s trotters and the field mushrooms for starters. The starter portions are on the small side for the price paid, but very exquisitely done and full of flavour, exactly what appetizers should be. We also tried the spicy paella with king prawns, chicken, and chorizo, and it was some of the best paella I have ever had in London! The chicken, often hard bits of breast meat in other restaurants, was succulent and tender and surprisingly, was actually tastier than the king prawns.
Unlike many other top class restaurants, they don’t seem to mind if you don’t order any wine, and we immediately received huge jugs of tap water, both fizzy and still, without having to ask. Service was very prompt, but not too suffocating, although at busy times the two waitresses seemed to struggle a bit to keep up with orders.
The one fault I have to say, however, is that they have a very strict rule about Birthday cakes. I had booked the restaurant to be a Birthday celebration of someone in our party, but upon arriving was shocked to find that it was restaurant policy to charge £5 per person if we wanted to have our own cake. Most other restaurants would do it for free, and I was prepared to pay something but £5 per head came up to more than what the cake cost in the first place! They run a similar policy for bringing your own wines.
Verdict: Overall, the food at the Giaconda Dining Room is good and it is definitely more intimate and homely than most of the “big” restaurants around that area. The bill for four people without drinks came up to £80, with each of us having two courses, which given the quality and the quantity of the food was rather good. The starters were a bit expensive, but the main courses were worth every penny. Just remember not to bring your own cake there if celebrating a Birthday!
Rating: 8 out of 10 stars
Cuisine: International, with a British and Australian twist
Price Range: £80 for four, without drinks
Address: 9 Denmark Street, London WC2 H8LS
Nearest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road (3 minutes) or Covent Garden (10 minutes)
Tel: 0207 240 3334
Common misspellings: Gioconda, Gianconda, Goiconda, Gaiconda, Giocondo