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From the elegant gardens running down to the Thames of The River Cafe to canalside spots like Gotto Trattoria in Hackney, we pick some of London's loveliest waterside gems to dine at.


Central London


Blueprint Cafe

Butlers Wharf, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD

With smashing views over to Tower Bridge and the river, this longstanding riverside spot has a new lease of life with a new Head Chef, Mini Patel formerly of The Connaught and The Pointer at Brill.

What's on the menu: Nutbourne Farm tomato salad with lovage and pickled shallots, Colne Valley rump of lamb with samphire and Jerusalem artichoke with lemon posset and shortbread to finish.

Find out more about the Blueprint Cafe

Book the Blueprint Cafe



High Timber

8 High Timber Street, London EC4V 3PA

Once you've found this Thameside restaurant, hidden away off the north elevation of the Millennium Bridge, you'll consider yourself pretty lucky. Settle down with a glass of Jordan Chardonnay - the restaurant is owned by the winery - this is a good place to watch the sun go down.

What's on the menu? Expect a focus on grilled meat and fish for mains. And there's a South African feel to the place too - so you can start with their homemade Biltong and stick with the meat theme by following that with a Jo'Burger.

Find out more about High Timber

Book High Timber



Le Pont de La Tour

36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE

One of the more famous riverside restaurants in London, this institution had something of a revamp recently, with new chef Julien Imbert taking charge. One thing that hasn't changed is one of the most spectacular views of the Thames. 

What's on the menu: We have to say that the brunch is a real tempter, and the signature dish of scrambled eggs, black truffle, toasted brioche and Comte cheese looks like a winner. 

Find out more about Le Pont de la Tour

Book Le Pont de la Tour



Also in Central London

The restaurant at Sea Containers (above) opens out onto the South Bank for the kind of riverside view any visitor to London would love.

Over by Waterloo Bridge, many of the tables at Bryn Williams at Somerset House have lovely river views.

Coppa Club by Tower Bridge has some pretty amazing cabanas looking out over the river. Some you can just turn up and grab, others are bookable.

Head into St Katharine Docks and try out Dokke for Asian fusion, made with British ingredients. 

The Ivy Tower Bridge has a lovely riverside setting, but if you manage to get into their private dining room upstairs, the views of the river are wonderful. 

Grab an outside table at Emilia's Crafted Pasta and gawp at the spendy yachts moored in St Katharine Dock. 


West London


Darcy and May Green

Grand Union Canal Sheldon Square, London, London W2 6DS

Not so much waterside as actually on the water. These two barges, designed by British pop artist Peter Blake,  form the floating restaurant from the Daisy Green people, parked out at Paddington. 

What's on the menu: As with the other restaurants from the group, there's an Australian/Pan Pacific feel to the menu, and if you're after an Aussie brunch on the canal, this is the place to come to. 

Find out more about Darcy and May Green



The Grand Duchess

Sheldon Square, London W2 6PY

Why eat by the water, when you can eat ON the water? The second craft to take to the water from the London Shell Co. is on permanent mooring by Paddington.

What's on the menu? It's mainly seafood here - what do you really want, of course, is the beer battered lobster and angel hair fries with chip shop curry sauce. A strong sparkling wine list includes a great English own-label one that you definitely should try.

Find out more about The Grand Duchess




29 Ransoms Dock, 35-27 Parkgate Rd, London SW11 4NP

Run by the Gladwin Brothers, this restaurant with a large terrace overlooking Ransoms Dock is all about seasonal British food with much of it coming from their family's estate.

What's on the menu? Enjoy a plate of South Coast monkfish carpaccio with chilli, nigella seeds, crispy capers and onion ash along with a glass of fizz from their family vineyard in Sussex.

Find out more about Nutbourne


river cafe

The River Cafe

Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA

Ruth Rogers' riverside restaurant began life as a work canteen but is now one of London's loveliest (and spendiest) Italian restaurants.

What's on the menu? There might be vitello tonnato, or Taglierini al Bosco with wild asparagus, hops, herbs and Pecorino. What it definitely will be, is pricey.

Find out more about The River Cafe



Summerhouse Little Venice

Opposite 60 Blomfield Road, London W9 2PA

Run by the folks behind local Waterway restaurant in Little Venice, this canal-fronting cafe began life as a summer pop-up but now runs all year round.

What's on the menu? Seafood is the thing here (naturally) so lobster with potato salad, watercress and aioli or half a dozen oysters should do the trick. 

Find out more about Summerhouse

Book Summerhouse



Also in West London

Thai Square Putney Bridge (above) has been designed to make the most of its riverside views.

The Stable Kew Bridge does decent pizzas and, as the name suggests, is slap bang on the riverside.

Cottons at St Georges Wharf has a super spot by the Thames, allowing you to knock back one of their super daiquiris as the sun sets.

New opening Rye By The Water in Brentford overlooks the River Brent. A glass of Provencal rose here and a Panzanella salad and you'd be feeling total Med vibes.


East London


Gotto Trattoria

Canalside, Here East, 27 East Bay Lane, E15 2GW

Part of the rejuvenation of the former media centre at Stratford's Olympic Park, this Italian canalside space is from the same people who brought you Soho spot Mele e Pere.

What's on the menu: As the name may give away, it's all Italian here - with a mix of antipasti and a fair choice of pastas for mains (with more dishes added for weekend brunches). 

Find out more about Gotto

Book Gotto



Pavilion Cafe

Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, London E9 7DE

There are now four Pavilion Cafes (including one in Cornwall) but this is the original and the best one for an urban waterside experience with its beautiful terrace overlooking the West Boating Lake in Victoria Park. 

What's on the menu? If you're here for a weekend brunch, make sure one of you goes for the Sri Lankan special breakfast with turmeric egg curry, string hoppers, dhal and coconut sambol. 

Find out more about The Pavilion Cafe



The Narrow

44 Narrow St, Limehouse, London E14 8DP

Gordon Ramsay's East London gastropub has a cracking spot here in the Docklands. If you're not lucky enough to secure a spot on the actual terrace, the conservatory restaurant also has a retractable roof.

What's on the menu? The BBQ menu on the terrace serves up steak, chicken and veggie burgers for a tenner each.

Find out more about The Narrow

Book The Narrow




One Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

Perched on the south side of the Regents Canal as Mare Street crosses over it, Ombra is what would happen if you plonked a Venetian bacaro down in East London. The food marries British produce with Italian recipes.

What's on the menu? Cornish leaves with Le Coste olive oil or Tortelli of Buffalo Ricotta with English Peas & Seaweed

Find out more about Ombra



Towpath Cafe

42 De Beauvoir Cres, De Beauvoir Town, London N1 5SB

Open only over the spring and summer months, this little cafe down on the canal in Hackney is one of London's best waterside spots, so good luck trying to get a table here on a sunny weekend.

What's on the menu? Melon, Yogurt and hazelnuts or maybe marinda tomatoes, mojoverde, toast. It'll all be good.



Also in East London 

Crate - Their taproom and pizzeria right by the canal couldn't be more East London if it tried. And that's a good thing. Plus, when Silo opens here it'll be a bonafide food destination to boot. Oh, and they also have a narrow boat doing booze cruises. 

Royal China Westferry Circus - the Royal China group boast that this waterside restaurant in Canary Wharf has "perhaps the best view of any Chinese restaurant in London".

The Gun - This Docklands pub has a super Gin Garden right by the river and in summer they put on outside cinema and even Shakespeare performances.

Waterhouse - run by the Shoreditch Trust, this canalside restaurant serves a particularly cracking breakfast and helps young people train up in the business.

Number 90 - is it a bar, a restaurant, an arts venue? It's all these things.


South London

The Bingham

Bingham Riverhouse

61-63 Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10 6UT

Head way out west to Richmond and you can find one of the best waterside spots in London at the idyllic Bingham. Expect a high-end food experience to match the view. 

What's on the menu? Expect a seasonally British menu with dishes like watercress risotto or a deconstructed rhubarb trifle.

Find out more about The Bingham Riverhouse

Book Buingham Riverhouse



Pear Tree Cafe

Lakeside Cafe, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

With an ex-Petersham Nurseries team on board, this is definitely several steps above your average park cafe. It's also very popular for private events.

What's on the menu? A vegan main might be chickpea pancake and harissa roasted aubergine with garden radishes, pea shoots and roasted tomatoes - or opt for a tarragon and lemon marinated chicken sandwich with rocket and red cabbage slaw.

Find out more about Pear Tree Cafe

Book Pear Tree Cafe



Rick Stein Barnes

Tideway Yard, 125 Mortlake High Street, Barnes, London, SW14 8SN

South London may be a long way from Cornwall, but Rick Stein has swapped seaside for riverside with his first London restaurant. There's a wonderful view over the Thames here - the spot to covet is the central section with the tables by the window.

What's on the menu: As you can imagine from a Rick Stein restaurant, there's a strong focus on seafood. The Indonesian fish curry is amazing - pair that with a lovely glass of wine chosen by Rick's son Jack.

More about Rick Stein Barnes


North London


The Lighterman

3 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH

Taking up a large part of King's Cross's Granary Square this restaurant was named after the Victorian Lightermen who worked on flat-bottomed barges, known as “Lighters” here on the Regent's Canal. This three floored restaurant makes the most of its position with terraces galore.

What's on the menu? It's a broad modern British/European menu. We've had the crispy squid with chilli and lime a few times now and it's always good. But the Crayfish and crab cocktail with apple, pea shoots and Bloody Mary sauce also sounds like it'd hit the spot.

Find out more about The Lighterman

Book The Lighterman




90 York Way, Kings Cross, London N1 9AG

If farm to table is your thing, then this King's Cross restaurant is the perfect spot for you - all their beef and lamb comes direct from their own farm in Northumbria. Their waterside setting is pretty impressive too, there's a massive wraparound terrace overlooking the Regents Canal.

What's on the menu? Start with their own Texel Lamb tartare with shallot and sherry vinaigrette and a rosemary and mustard aioli, followed by a Corneyside Farm beef Wellington for two to share.

Find out more about Rotunda

Book Rotunda


Also in North London 

Cafe No 5 - This towpath cafe in Islington overlooking City Basin is a favourite with local workers, serving up great coffees and pastries along with the trad smashed avo on toast for breakfast.

The Princess of Wales - this is strictly North East London, but either way, this Clapton gastropub serves out thoughtful food with a nice pub garden overlooking the River Lea. 




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