Hot Dinners recommends

Yes we all know that the River Cafe is marvellous (if you have the budget) and that the Blueprint Cafe has some pretty stonking views over Tower Bridge, but for this piece we've picked out some lesser known waterside gems to dine at by London's rivers, ponds, pools and canals.

Brockwell Lido Cafe


The Lido Cafe, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA

There can't be a better place in South London to enjoy a waterside brunch or supper than this cafe with a perfect view of the Grade II listed art deco pool.

Dish to have: work up an appetite with a few lengths of the pool and then treat yourself with an all day brunch dish of Dry-aged, Longhorn spicy bavette steak with greens and twice cooked chips. If you're here for an evening supper you could pair that with one of their cocktails - we like the sound of the Brixton Sour.

Find out more about Brockwell Lido Cafe




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 spot is from the same people who brought you Soho spot Mele e Pere.

Dish to have: we've had this dish at the Soho original, so if the Tagliata steak, rocket and pecorino is on, then order that.

Find out more about Gotto


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.

Dish to have: The Indonesian fish curry is amazing - and pair that with a lovely glass of wine chosen by Rick's son Jack.

More about Rick Stein Barnes


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.

Dish to have: Start with their homemade Biltong and stick with the meat theme by following that with a Jo'Burger.

Find out more about High Timber


The Lighterman

lighterman3 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 two floored restaurant makes the most of its position with terraces galore.

Dish to have: we've had the salt and pepper squid a few times now and it's always good. But the Crayfish salad with Jersey Royals, shaved fennel, celery, apple and citrus mayo also sounds like it'd hit the spot.

Find out more about The Lighterman


The Coal House cafe

coal houseCoal House Entrance: New River Path via Lordship Road, N16 5HQ

This marvellous cafe is part of the Woodberry Wetlands site tucked behind Manor House station is the second North London cafe from Woodberry wetlands Manor House. You'd have to be impressed by their first customer - none other than Sir David Attenborough.

Dish to have: they've recently scaled back catering, so right now it's mainly coffees, teas, hot chocolates, cakes and pastries - but what a lovely spot. Come early as it's only open till 4pm.


Summerhouse Little Venice

summerhouseOpposite 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.

Dish to have: seafood is the thing here (naturally) so a summer choice of fillet of sea bass, asparagus, peas, radishes, chantenay carrots and jersey potato would do very nicely, thank-you.

Find out more about Summerhouse


London Shell Company

londonshellOpposite 60 Blomfield Road, London W9 2PA

Why eat by the water, when you can eat ON the water? The well-reviewed London Shell Company has had a makeover for the summer. Take a sunset tour down the Regent's canal from Paddington Basin for just £45

Dish to have: everything on the menu sounds lovely, but we'd particularly like to try the Torched mackerel with tomatoes, samphire and fried breadcrumbs.

Find out more about London Shell Co


See also:


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

Dokke is relatively new to St Katharine Dock and its brunch menu does sound rather good - crispy potato with kimchi and black pudding, cloud egg with crispy kale, avocado and chorizo, and supergreen fritatta with kale, edamame, chilli, avocado and fig chutney.

Also new to Tower Bridge is Tom Simmons - the restaurant itself doesn't have riverside views but there are cracking views of the bridge from the two tables outside.

Hot Dinners recommends

Test Drive

Hot Dinners on Instagram