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From the elegant gardens running down to the Thames of The River Cafe to restaurants actually on the canal in Paddington, we pick some of London's loveliest waterside gems to dine at.


Central London


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



Le Pont de La Tour

36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE

One of the more famous riverside restaurants in London, this institution has a series of head chefs over recent years, but one thing that hasn't changed is one of the most spectacular views of the Thames. 

What's on the menu: Right now, steak frites with Cafe de Paris butter sounds just the thing for a long lunch by the river.  

Find out more about Le Pont de la Tour



Also in Central London

The restaurant at Sea Containers London (above) opens out onto the South Bank for the kind of riverside view any visitor to London would love. Reopens 1 August

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.

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 a permanent mooring by Paddington.

What's on the menu? It's mainly seafood here - and what you really want, of course, is the monkfish scampi 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 queen scallops with garlic butter and garden herb crumb 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



sam's riverside terrace

Sam’s Riverside

Where: 1 Crisp Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9DN

USP: Making full use of its riverfront location by Hammersmith Bridge, this large new terrace with room for more than 30 diners. 

What's on the menu? They're serving up a seafood menu with oyster platters and dressed crab alongside frozen margaritas.

Find out more about Sam’s Riverside @samsriversidew6


 best waterside restaurants london

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



Also in West London

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

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.

In Brentford Rye By The Water overlooks the River Brent. Right now they're mainly doing takeaways, but they are doing seating on Saturdays for their Braai by the water BBQ.


East London



Unit 7 Queen's Yard, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN

The canalside terrace at this East London brewery is always busy, and no wonder when the pizzas (and the beer, obviously) are this good. 

What's on the menu? You could go for the usual margarita, but why would you when there are options like the Kashimri Dahl with cumin seeds, chili flakes, crispy shallots and mango chutney?

Find out more about Crate



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.

Find out more about Gotto



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? It's an elevated pub menu here, so beer-battered haddock with chips and mushy peas sounds perfect.

Find out more about 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? There's usually a good set lunch deal with a wide range of cicchetti and antipasti.

Find out more about Ombra




Towpath Cafe

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

Usually 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. It reopens on 10 September and there's also a book of recipes being published this autumn. 


best waterside restaurants london

Also in East London 

The Gun - This Docklands pub has a super Gin Garden right by the river and this summer's menu includes an enticing sounding Cornish crab roll with fries.

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". Reopens 1 August.

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 with MasterChef The Professionals winner Steven Edwards running the show. 

What's on the menu? Expect a menu chock full of seasonal goodness like scallops with watercress and gooseberries, followed by slow-cooked duck egg with smoked sweetcorn.

Find out more about The Bingham 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? It changes regularly but recent specials have included burrata with heritage tomatoes and pickled chilli alongside chipirones with aioli.

Find out more about 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 Charlie.

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 yellow summer courgette flatbread with broad bean and lovage pesto also sounds like it'd hit the spot.

Find out more about 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? How about the Braised short rib of Corneyside Farm beef with skin on fries and garlic herb butter for two to share?

Find out more about 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. 


Currently closed (ish)

As you might expect, several of London's waterfront restaurants and cafes are closed due to Covid. But, many are operating on a reduced basis  - so they're still worth checking out.


Blueprint Cafe

Butlers Wharf, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD

With smashing views over to Tower Bridge and the river, this longstanding riverside spot serves up a very British seasonal menu. But it's currently closed.

Find out more about the Blueprint Cafe



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. Right now it's currently being renovated with plans to open in October, but they do have their milk float shop down by the lake serving up food and drinks. And, as they say, the park's their dining area. 

Find out more about The Pavilion Cafe


See also: 

The Stable Kew Bridge does decent pizzas when it's open and, as the name suggests, is slap bang on the riverside.

Waterhouse - run by the Shoreditch Trust, this canalside restaurant serves a particularly cracking breakfast and helps young people train up in the business. Right now they're collection-only.




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