Wagamama's communal tables are capital's favourite
Friday 09 September 2005
Now the Wagamama chain of noodle bars, famous for canteen-style communal tables where diners slurp noodles with strangers at budget prices, has gained recognition as London's most popular restaurant.
The more expensive, Mayfair-based Nobu was shoved down one from the top spot, which it has held for the past three years in the Zagat Restaurant Guide. The Ivy was third.
The chain's success reflects Londoners' growing taste for informal and affordable dining, says Zagat Survey's 2006 London Restaurants guide. Waga-mama was ranked only 35th in the guide when it launched 10 years ago. But this year, 50 per cent of reviewers said they were happy to share a table with strangers and a mere 12 per cent said they would walk away if a restaurant offered only communal seating.
Sholto Douglas-Home, editor of the 2006 guide, said: "After a three-year reign as the capital's favourite, Nobu has been knocked off its perch by an energetic Asian chain with communal tables and reasonably priced eats."
He told the London Evening Standard: "Wagamama's ascendancy is all the more surprising given that it does not take reservations and seats diners at communal tables, hardly the hallmarks of a high-scoring restaurant, yet typical of Londoners' growing desire to eat casually."
London's first Wagamama restaurant opened in Bloomsbury in 1992, founded by the Michelin-starred restaurateur Alan Yau. Since then, 49 more outlets have openedin Britain and around the world. This month, Wagamama will open a second outlet in Manchester, and has an opening planned in Norwich this winter.
Ian Neill, the chief executive or Wagamama Limited, said: "I am absolutely delighted to hear the Zagat guide have rated us London's most popular restaurant. I am particularly pleased in the confirmation this will give to our staff that they are doing a consistently great job, serving 70,000 Londoners a week."
Wagamama scrapped a flotation plan last September, but a majority stake was sold to private equity house Lion Capital in a deal valuing the business at £102m in June this year.
The most popular restaurants
3. The Ivy
4. Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's
5. J Sheekey
6. Gordon Ramsay at 68 Royal Hospital Road
9. The Square
10. Le Gavroche
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins