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
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991 with most Brits wanting to stay in'
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years