Don’t let the warm weather pass you by – get out there and enjoy it before it’s autumn again and we all have to shuffle back inside. If you’re bored of picnics and barbecues, leave the cooking to the experts and book a table at one of London’s top riverside restaurants. Where better to spend a sunny day than the banks of the River Thames?
Le Pont de la Tour
Whether you’re visiting for a lunchtime treat or a celebratory dinner, this iconic riverside restaurant never fails to impress. The menu is French with a modern twist, so expect dishes like cannon of lamb with black garlic and ratatouille or halibut with egg yolk ravioli and sauce vierge. There’s regular live music in the buzzy bar and grill and the terrace offers stunning views of Tower Bridge.
A welcome addition to Gabriel’s Wharf, Marsha is a new bar-restaurant with a laid-back vibe and a chicken-focused menu. The waterfront balcony and terrace are already proving popular, so book ahead, kick back with a cocktail, and tuck into roast chicken, tenders with truffle mayo, or a plant-based burger.
Coppa Club’s riverside terrace is home to their Insta-famous igloos, decorated with flowers and twinkling lights. They seat up to six so book ahead and get some mates together for brunch or post-work pizza and summery spritzes. There’s something for everyone on the all-day menu, from fresh salads and small plates to larger dishes like crab linguine and flat iron steak.
Cantina del Ponte
There’s a lot to love about this riverside trattoria, from the authentic Italian flavours to the sun-trap terrace with views of Tower Bridge. Choose from classic dishes like steak Fiorentina, asparagus and gorgonzola risotto, and spaghetti cacio e pepe prepared tableside in a Pecorino wheel.
The City Barge
Head west for dinner and drinks at this historic 14th century public house in Chiswick. On a sunny day, you’ll need to be quick to beat the locals to the tables in the riverside beer garden and the Sunday roasts are pretty popular, too. The menu goes far beyond pub grub, with dishes like tempura soft shell crab and sea bass with chorizo, samphire and lemon dressing.
Butlers Wharf Chop House
As the name suggests, this relaxed riverside chop house is just the place if you’re in the mood for something meaty. They’re passionate about provenance, so expect the likes of Newlyn crab, Colchester rock oysters, and dry aged British beef. If you’re lucky enough to bag a table on the terrace, you can enjoy the view of Tower Bridge while you tuck into a steak or garlic buttered lobster.
At the heart of the Sea Containers hotel is a relaxed all-day eatery overlooking the river. Can we tempt you to crab on toast with avocado and jalapenos? Or roast chicken with confit onions? At the weekend, it’s transformed into a bustling brunch spot, complete with bottomless Prosecco or Grey Goose Bloody Marys.
Gaucho Canary Wharf
With its superb location on the banks of the river, Gaucho Canary Wharf is a popular choice for business lunches and romantic dinners alike. The flame-grilled Argentinian steaks are the main attraction here, but there’s plenty for seafood lovers, too. Whether you dine out on the terrace and watch the sun set or perch at the bar with a cocktail, good times are guaranteed at Gaucho.
Situated on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall, Skylon is a stylish modern British restaurant, bar and terrace. The menu changes with the seasons, but expect the likes of dressed crab, steak tartare, and Eton mess. Don’t leave without trying their Mr Grey cocktail, made with Earl Grey infused Ketel One vodka.
At Blueprint Café, the menu changes daily to showcase seasonal ingredients sourced from British farms and suppliers. With floor-to-ceiling windows offering views across the Thames, it’s a top spot for a romantic dinner or a leisurely brunch with friends. Make sure you save room for traditional British desserts like lemon posset or Cambridge burnt cream.
Updated April 2021.