Restaurant review: Atrio at Park Plaza County Hall

Where to eat in Waterloo? As one of London’s busiest transport hubs, this is a common consideration for visitors and commuters alike, because while there is undoubtedly plenty of choice, it’s not always obvious where exactly you should choose.

Plus, how far should you walk to find the food you’re after? Pop over to Southbank to try out Forza Wine, Honest Burgers or National Pizza Awards winner Bad Boy Pizza Society? Or how about spin around and head the other direction, aiming for The Cut and its plentiful selection of reputable restaurants? And then there’s Lower Marsh, of course, with its excellent mix of group and single site outfits. Once you delve a little deep, there’s actually a lot of good stuff going on in and around Waterloo.

Atrio is within Park Plaza County Hall

Go West

Now, unless you’re walking to the Houses of Parliament from Waterloo station, taking a left out of the main exit and heading west isn’t something commonly done by those patrolling the pavements of this central London spot. And if you did this, we wonder if you’d even notice the restaurant Dine Out visited earlier this year, sat in the entrance to the Park Plaza County Hall hotel? Odds are you would be more taken by its giant, corporate sister site Park Plaza Westminster Bridge sat opposite, as that really is a monster of a building. But that’s not why we were there – no gala dinners that night.

No, we were across the road to look at another one of those central London hotel restaurants that accommodates the dining needs of guests while making an effort to secure custom from those not heading upstairs after they’ve finished their food. Once you see Atrio’s location, you can understand its name (if you speak Italian, of course). Translated as ‘entrance hall’, the F&B outlet and its private courtyard sits right in the heart of the lobby of the Park Plaza County Hall, meaning it is far more likely to attract some visits from those passing by or working around the corner.

The restaurant also features a private courtyard

Italian influenced 

Atrio actually opened at the end of 2020, but has since operated a successful three years, offering a selection of Italian-inspired dishes in a relaxed and unpretentious environment. With floor to ceiling windows (much like a lot of the hotel), the restaurant is located next to iconic landmarks such as the London Eye and, as mentioned, the Houses of Parliament. 

The menu is as diverse as the clientele observed on a cold February evening. What appears to be a ‘lads night out’ feasted on enormous chicken wings and pints of cold draught beers; a family of four made the most of cauliflower wings, chorizo sausage rolls and crispy calamari and shrimp, offering the trio as a come-and-go buffet for the two little ones. Meanwhile, mum and dad tucked into some larger plates of king prawn and crayfish linguine, and a spatchcock chicken.

Bar and lounge area at Atrio

Our charming waiter recommended the vegetable curry to us, stressing that the Indian chef they had in the kitchen that day takes his curry “very seriously” (a man after our own heart), so we tried that with its biryani rice and fresh naan. Plus, the lads with the wings had made those frosty pints of Pravha and Birra Moretti look so appealing, it seemed the best dish to accompany a few of those. 

Elsewhere with drinks, there’s a refined list of wines, some bottled beers and aperitifs available at the restaurant’s bar and lounge (we were force-fed a hefty lemoncello – when in Waterloo, eh?) so there’s certainly something to tempt those looking for a place to wind down after a busy day at work or seeing the sights. 

You certainly don’t have to be a guest to enjoy Atrio and its casual yet considered offer. The value is decent, the location is convenient and the food is just the job. We’ll be back.

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