First Look: The Dover, Mayfair
Published 21 February 2024

This slick New York Italian opened without fanfare at the end of 2023. We give you an early verdict.

Dining out in Mayfair seems to have fallen into two distinct categories over the past few years. There’s the restaurants in and around Berkeley Square that seem to be very much designed for the so-called ‘global jet set’ who seem to be content with eating the same food in the same settings wherever they are in the world. And then there’s the restaurants that Londoners actually go to. The pricy postcode on the Monopoly board seems to be having a little moment again when it comes to restaurants with the likes of Noble Rot Mayfair and Mount Street Restaurant but also the recently opened Farm Shop on South Audley Street with its secret wine bar downstairs, where a glass of something refreshing starts from £6, and the Rex Delicatessen tucked away on Bruton Place near to the old school stalwart Bellamy’s – both seem to be catering for locals and people who aren’t on bottomless expense accounts.

First Look: The Dover, MayfairTowards the end of last year, The Dover quietly opened on the site that was once home to Automat and then the short-lived Moncks brasserie. The New York Italian is from former Soho House chief operating officer Martin Kuczmarski, who knows a thing or two about running restaurants. It has to be one of the most beautiful restaurants in London with the art-deco inspired wood panelling and interiors created by a small design studio from Milan. White tablecloths are back at The Dover and so is proper candlelight. Expect 70s disco and soul on the vinyl – think Sister Sledge – but it’s at a volume that doesn’t ruin conversations with your dinner companions.

First Look: The Dover, MayfairThe menu kicks off with snacks including a mini hot dog and crispy potato cakes with caviar. Starters offer a classic Tuscan minestrone, prawn cocktail and steak tartare. The pasta section of the menu starts from £14 for a penne arrabbiata along with a spaghetti meatballs and lobster ravioli. Being Mayfair there is of course a Dover sole on the menu but there are still five main courses under £30 and the beef arrosto with mash is a up there with the dishes you’d find at the best trattorias in Florence. The wine list starts at £40 for a bottle, which is reasonable for this part of town. Cocktails at the bar, a must pre or post dinner, start from £15.

First Look: The Dover, MayfairIs this the best food in Mayfair? No - but that’s not the point with The Dover. What it does is offer some of the best hospitality in London right now with food you actually want to eat in one of the most alluring dining rooms in the capital.

The Good Food Guide allows three to six months before anonymously inspecting a new restaurant. Look out for a full review coming soon.