L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Restaurants , Spanish Covent Garden
Critics' choice
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(9 user reviews)
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The London branch of Robuchon’s high-end globe-spanning chain (there are also outposts in Las Vegas, Taipei and his native Paris) could be anywhere in the world, but thinks it’s funkier than most gastronomic shrines. The ground-floor restaurant – sorry, ‘counter concept’ – is an international nightclub-like red- and black-lacquered room with red leather high stools either facing the chefs at their balancing-act work or at small tables.

Customers are mostly tourists, drawn by the reputation for quality control and clever layering of texture and flavour – distilled in a stunning amuse-bouche of foie gras under a port reduction and hot, umami-rich froth. Flavours are big, such as pig’s trotter with bone marrow on toast, powered up with parmesan (a rewarding choice from the small plates menu). Portions aren’t prissy, either; from the set lunch, chicken escalope dotted with dark olives and roasted cherry tomatoes covered the plate. Steak tartare was exceptionally punchy, though the accompanying ‘hand-cut chips’ were lost in translation – they were actually own-made crisps. Mashed potato was wonderfully rich and smooth, and a side plate of glisteningly green olive oil-bathed courgettes and puréed spiced carrots was no afterthought.

Desserts conjured with refreshing and intensely flavoured combinations of jellies, mousses, foams and ices. Except for lunch, pricing is pitched at fat wallets, with menus and wines matched into accessible packages. Knowledgeable staff come with a twinkle.


Venue name: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Address: 13-15 West Street
Opening hours: Bar Open noon-2am Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun.Ground floor Lunch served noon-2.30pm, dinner served 5.30-10.30pm Mon-Sat; 5.30-10pm Sun. Main courses £15-£55. Set meal (noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm & 6.30pm) £29 2 courses, £35 3 courses, £40 4 courses.1st floor Lunch served noon-2.30pm, dinner served 6.30pm-midnight Mon-Sat
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square tube
Price: Main courses £24-£49
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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Nigel C

This was the best meal I've ever had! I eat out at restaurants several times a week and this tops them all. We went for the 8 course tasting menu with the matching wines and every single element was perfect. It's quite expensive in comparison with a lot of other restaurants but it's well worth the extra for a treat. We were on the first floor restaurant which was perfect for a romantic meal. The service was impeccable too. 

Megan E

It's a chain! And it feels like one. The food is cooked and served as if it were on a conveyor belt in a factory. We're a young couple for whom going to this kind of place is a treat - we went for a special romantic meal to celebrate our anniversary but the way the staff tried to chivvy us through the meal at rocket speed you'd have thought we were a couple of businessman out for lunch. They attempted to serve us the 5 course tasting menu within 2 hours keeping time with some sort of predetermined rota rather than us and had each course ready before we had even finished the last meaning they had to put it under a cover to keep it warm. This happened with the boiled egg meaning it was overcooked which I pointed out to them and was told 'This is how we do things here'. It then happened again meaning the black cod was also overcooked and lukewarm. I had to complain again before they finally, reluctantly, agreed to ease up. This bearing in mind that there were empty tables that remained empty for the entire evening - we did in the end manage to spend a good few hours there. In any case, this is not the kind of restaurant where you'd expect the new fashion of a 2 hour table turnaround to apply and this certainly wasn't stated when we booked or we'd never had chosen it for an evening that was very special to us (we ended up getting engaged earlier that day) and cost us £350+. Unpleasant, unfriendly environment, poor service and the food suffered because of it. I hear this restaurant has already lost one star, based on the other Michelin starred restaurants I've been to, I'd be surprised it is keeps this one for much longer.

Simon C
Staff Writer

Wow, stumbled into L'Atelier to meet friends for drinks one afternoon, what a fantastic little rooftop bar. The staff were very welcoming, they showed us to the unusually dark lift and and sent us to the rooftop where we were met with a smile by the bar staff. We elected to sit outside on the quaint little rooftop terrace area, sipping pleasant cocktails and refreshing Meantime beers. Complimentary bar snacks of olives and nut selection were an added bonus. A gem of a discovery, discreetly tucked away in a central location and feeling of exclusivity. Will definitely recommend to my friends. Let's hope the summer weather continues and I'll be back soon. 


A sultry, sexy interior that's not stuffy in any way (which I find can sometimes be the case in certain michelin starred venues), with impeccable service. Going for the pre or post theatre set meals gives you great value for money and sitting up at the bar area is more fun and intimate than you'd think. The food won't disappoint.

Francis and Mel

We had a great lunch. Six stars for the service: funny good natured maitre d., efficient pleasant waiter, and enthusiastic young person who took us up after the meal to a very agreeable terrace and garden room for coffee. Complimentary bread (various and very fresh), complimentary amuse gueules (oh yes!) and a very good meal. The surroundings are stylish - magically lit, glowing pools of colour - and made us forget the very grey summer outside. Our Time Out booking didn't get through, but they took us anyway, and the coffee and water push the bill up - but altogether, a real treat.


I've been coming to this place for years and they never disappoint. The staff is always lovely and charming; they do an excellent job of catering to your needs. The food is expensive, but this is Joel Robuchon - not some run-of-the-mill Cafe Rogue. It's Haute Cuisine so the flavours might cater to a more sophisticated taste. The portions are small, yes, but the food is anything but average. (And don't come here unless you're planning on spending at least £200 for two people.) This will always be one of my very favorite restaurants in all the world. The wine list is extraordinary and the cooking is flawless.


I love this place. Been coming here on a fairly regular basis for the past 2 years and apart from one mix up with the time of my reservation sometime in 2009 the service has always been outstanding. The food is gorgeous, the wine list is fantastic and the waiters are super charming and helpful. I'm surprised that people are complaining about the price - yes, it's expensive, but most luxury restaurants are. If you're not prepared to cough up the big bucks then there are plenty of good budget restaurants serving french food in nearby Soho. If it's an anniversary, birthday etc then I'd definitely recommend this restaurant: try the foie gras stuffed quail with truffeled mashed potatoes - amazing!


Incredible experience... The best food I have ever had, beautiful service, lovely ambience. I took my girlfriend and spent half my student loan haha... It was worth every penny. Like everything, it will appeal to some more than it will to others.


The atmosphere and decoration are great, but the dishes are tiny, tiny, tiny but veeeery expensive. We paid £120 (no wine - just water, 2 people) and I was very hungry when we left the restaurant. Food does not taste exceptionally well and is just not worth the money. If it's possible just go there for drinks at the bar after or before a propper dinner at a good restaurant.