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The dining room at Swan at the Globe, which overlooks the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The dining room at Swan at the Globe, which overlooks the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Swan at the Globe

12 London Restaurants Where the Food Matches the Views

The dining rooms with sweeping vistas where dinner isn’t just an afterthought

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The dining room at Swan at the Globe, which overlooks the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
| Swan at the Globe

Cut to the chase: most London restaurants with a view sacrifice their food in the name of vistas. The premium price goes on the sweeping views of the River Thames, a London park, or just the city’s imposing skyline; strip it away and suddenly diners are dropping £50 on a mediocre plate.

So, without any loss of perspective, here are the best London restaurants with the best London views — the places where the food is an accompaniment, not an afterthought.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Beit el Zaytoun

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15-17 Barretts Green Rd
London NW10 7AE, UK

Lebanese entrepreneur Ayman Assi’s canal-side restaurant is a true beauty, looking out over the barges and waving reeds of the water in Harlesden. Assi’s hummus beiruty, rich and heady with garlic and topped with minced lamb, is a must-order.

2. Rick Stein, Barnes

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Tideway Yard, 125 Mortlake High St
London SW14 8SN, UK

Pretend to be in Cornwall in southwest London at Rick Stein’s outpost in Barnes. Nab a Thames-side table and sip sundowners curated by the capital’s esteemed bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana before a fishy feast. The kitchen bangs out Stein classics like Dover sole à la meunière or Indonesian-inspired sea bass, prawn and cod curry. Pull up a chair at the seafood bar for shellfish on ice — oysters and langoustines — plus razor clams and mussels.

3. The River Café

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Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd
London W6 9HA, UK

On the north bank of the Thames in Hammersmith, the pioneering River Cafe feels like it’s been serving Italian dishes to the rhythm of the river’s lapping against its banks forever. Soak up evenings in the garden terrace which leads down to the river, according to the kitchen’s picks for the season: whatever the weather, there’s always the chocolate nemesis for dessert.

4. London Shell Co.

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Union Canal, Sheldon Square
London W2 6EP, UK

For lunch or dinner on the water, hop aboard The Prince Regent and dive into a five-course, seafood-focused menu courtesy of the London Shell Company. What runs the risk of being a gimmicky concept restaurant, is in reality, just great food in a fun setting. Set sail from Paddington Central and journey down Regent’s Canal and through dishes like zingy, briny Dorset estuary rock oysters, delicately braised squid with borlotti beans, and scrape-the-plate-clean crab tortellini with beurre blanc and seaweed. There is also a “static” lunch service during the week.

5. Galvin at Windows

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22 Park Ln
London W1K 1BE, UK

Chris Galvin is the chef-patron of this fancy Michelin-starred restaurant on the 28th floor of the Hilton at Park Lane. As well as dishes like langoustines with pickles and truffle gnocchi, diners are treated to 360º views of London’s skyline.

6. Decimo

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10th Floor, 10 Argyle St
London WC1H 8EG, UK

Blow-out territory. Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ rooftop looker at the area’s coolest hotel is the best of London’s newest nu-hotel restaurants, combining the city’s critics’ perma-obsession with “FuN ReStAuRanTs,” decent-to-excellent Spanish and Mexican dishes, and the kind of prices that are prohibitive to having a normal one and must lead to “having a normal one” instead. The tortilla with caviar is pretty but no-one in recorded history has ever eaten it, so rely on the deep-water shrimp on ice, mangalitza pork, and mushroom “bomba rice” instead.

7. Swan at the Globe

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21 New Globe Walk, Bankside
London SE1 9DT, UK

A riverside restaurant at one of London’s theatrical institutions is never going to frighten the horses, so don’t come expecting culinary drama. But the Swan’s food is better than it has a right to be for having both views and the need to cater to an audience’s whims, with its 2010s restaurant tropes (burrata; crudo; hispi cabbage; racks of lamb) reliably well-executed.

8. Hutong

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33 St Thomas St
London SE1 9RY, UK

If insistent on dining at the Shard, where the altitude and breathtaking views are only matched by the menu prices, Hutong is the best bet, with decently executed Sichuan staples and even some unexpectedly strong xiao long bao, made with Iberico pork.

9. Towpath

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42 De Beauvoir Cres
London N1 5SB, UK

Okay, the canal-side views might usually be obstructed by a combination of runners, bikes, and dogs, but one of those things is cute. Towpath is — throughout its season — one of London’s hottest restaurants, so some recommendations for bagging a coveted table: at breakfast, get the marinda tomatoes with mojo verde; at lunch, the cheese toastie or the goat curd with roasted garlic. Look out also for Napoli sausages, bean stews, and anything involving raw radishes.

10. Forza Wine

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The Rooftop, 133A Rye Ln
London SE15 4BQ, UK

“Drinks, snacks, views” is the strapline for Forza Wine — and it does what it says on the tin. But of course, this spot is by the people behind relaxed pasta joint Forza Win, so it delivers all that in an effortlessly cool and unpretentious way. The chilled out atmosphere invites languishing over another glass of wine and grazing on those snacks: panzanella, cauliflower fritti, skirt steak with confit garlic. Get one of everything — there’s a reason one of the choices is “the whole menu” —but leaving room for whatever soft serve is on offer is a must.

11. Frank’s Cafe @ Bold Tendencies

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7th-10th Floors Multi-Storey Car Park, 95a Rye Ln
London SE15 4ST, UK

It wouldn’t be right to miss Peckham’s multi-story car park stalwart, which opens for the summer. Frank’s dependable negronis and spritzes — and incredible views across London — are the perfect accompaniments to a lingering summer eve. Food is ideal for snacking and sharing: think datterini tomatoes on toast, barbecued lamb ribs and double-fried plantain.

12. Pavilion Cafe

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Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd
London E9 7DE, UK

Perched on the edge of the lake in Victoria Park, Pavilion’s domed building slings some of the city’s best pastries, buns and breakfasts. Come the weekend, the benches outside are filled with the hungover and hungry feasting on vegetarian fry-ups, Sri Lankan string hoppers with dahl and stacks of fluffy pancakes. Grab a couple of turmeric buns to go, then walk it off around the park.

1. Beit el Zaytoun

15-17 Barretts Green Rd, London NW10 7AE, UK

Lebanese entrepreneur Ayman Assi’s canal-side restaurant is a true beauty, looking out over the barges and waving reeds of the water in Harlesden. Assi’s hummus beiruty, rich and heady with garlic and topped with minced lamb, is a must-order.

15-17 Barretts Green Rd
London NW10 7AE, UK

2. Rick Stein, Barnes

Tideway Yard, 125 Mortlake High St, London SW14 8SN, UK

Pretend to be in Cornwall in southwest London at Rick Stein’s outpost in Barnes. Nab a Thames-side table and sip sundowners curated by the capital’s esteemed bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana before a fishy feast. The kitchen bangs out Stein classics like Dover sole à la meunière or Indonesian-inspired sea bass, prawn and cod curry. Pull up a chair at the seafood bar for shellfish on ice — oysters and langoustines — plus razor clams and mussels.

Tideway Yard, 125 Mortlake High St
London SW14 8SN, UK

3. The River Café

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

On the north bank of the Thames in Hammersmith, the pioneering River Cafe feels like it’s been serving Italian dishes to the rhythm of the river’s lapping against its banks forever. Soak up evenings in the garden terrace which leads down to the river, according to the kitchen’s picks for the season: whatever the weather, there’s always the chocolate nemesis for dessert.

Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd
London W6 9HA, UK

4. London Shell Co.

Union Canal, Sheldon Square, London W2 6EP, UK

For lunch or dinner on the water, hop aboard The Prince Regent and dive into a five-course, seafood-focused menu courtesy of the London Shell Company. What runs the risk of being a gimmicky concept restaurant, is in reality, just great food in a fun setting. Set sail from Paddington Central and journey down Regent’s Canal and through dishes like zingy, briny Dorset estuary rock oysters, delicately braised squid with borlotti beans, and scrape-the-plate-clean crab tortellini with beurre blanc and seaweed. There is also a “static” lunch service during the week.

Union Canal, Sheldon Square
London W2 6EP, UK

5. Galvin at Windows

22 Park Ln, London W1K 1BE, UK

Chris Galvin is the chef-patron of this fancy Michelin-starred restaurant on the 28th floor of the Hilton at Park Lane. As well as dishes like langoustines with pickles and truffle gnocchi, diners are treated to 360º views of London’s skyline.

22 Park Ln
London W1K 1BE, UK

6. Decimo

10th Floor, 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG, UK

Blow-out territory. Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ rooftop looker at the area’s coolest hotel is the best of London’s newest nu-hotel restaurants, combining the city’s critics’ perma-obsession with “FuN ReStAuRanTs,” decent-to-excellent Spanish and Mexican dishes, and the kind of prices that are prohibitive to having a normal one and must lead to “having a normal one” instead. The tortilla with caviar is pretty but no-one in recorded history has ever eaten it, so rely on the deep-water shrimp on ice, mangalitza pork, and mushroom “bomba rice” instead.

10th Floor, 10 Argyle St
London WC1H 8EG, UK

7. Swan at the Globe

21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT, UK

A riverside restaurant at one of London’s theatrical institutions is never going to frighten the horses, so don’t come expecting culinary drama. But the Swan’s food is better than it has a right to be for having both views and the need to cater to an audience’s whims, with its 2010s restaurant tropes (burrata; crudo; hispi cabbage; racks of lamb) reliably well-executed.

21 New Globe Walk, Bankside
London SE1 9DT, UK

8. Hutong

33 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY, UK

If insistent on dining at the Shard, where the altitude and breathtaking views are only matched by the menu prices, Hutong is the best bet, with decently executed Sichuan staples and even some unexpectedly strong xiao long bao, made with Iberico pork.

33 St Thomas St
London SE1 9RY, UK

9. Towpath

42 De Beauvoir Cres, London N1 5SB, UK

Okay, the canal-side views might usually be obstructed by a combination of runners, bikes, and dogs, but one of those things is cute. Towpath is — throughout its season — one of London’s hottest restaurants, so some recommendations for bagging a coveted table: at breakfast, get the marinda tomatoes with mojo verde; at lunch, the cheese toastie or the goat curd with roasted garlic. Look out also for Napoli sausages, bean stews, and anything involving raw radishes.

42 De Beauvoir Cres
London N1 5SB, UK

10. Forza Wine

The Rooftop, 133A Rye Ln, London SE15 4BQ, UK

“Drinks, snacks, views” is the strapline for Forza Wine — and it does what it says on the tin. But of course, this spot is by the people behind relaxed pasta joint Forza Win, so it delivers all that in an effortlessly cool and unpretentious way. The chilled out atmosphere invites languishing over another glass of wine and grazing on those snacks: panzanella, cauliflower fritti, skirt steak with confit garlic. Get one of everything — there’s a reason one of the choices is “the whole menu” —but leaving room for whatever soft serve is on offer is a must.

The Rooftop, 133A Rye Ln
London SE15 4BQ, UK

11. Frank’s Cafe @ Bold Tendencies

7th-10th Floors Multi-Storey Car Park, 95a Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST, UK

It wouldn’t be right to miss Peckham’s multi-story car park stalwart, which opens for the summer. Frank’s dependable negronis and spritzes — and incredible views across London — are the perfect accompaniments to a lingering summer eve. Food is ideal for snacking and sharing: think datterini tomatoes on toast, barbecued lamb ribs and double-fried plantain.

7th-10th Floors Multi-Storey Car Park, 95a Rye Ln
London SE15 4ST, UK

12. Pavilion Cafe

Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, London E9 7DE, UK

Perched on the edge of the lake in Victoria Park, Pavilion’s domed building slings some of the city’s best pastries, buns and breakfasts. Come the weekend, the benches outside are filled with the hungover and hungry feasting on vegetarian fry-ups, Sri Lankan string hoppers with dahl and stacks of fluffy pancakes. Grab a couple of turmeric buns to go, then walk it off around the park.

Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd
London E9 7DE, UK

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