London has no shortage of dinners with a view, with the gilded towers of the city centre playing host to a range of dazzling restaurants suited for the most special occasions. Whether it’s sushi, bistro cooking or even late-night waffles, you can always find somewhere to watch the city below from the comfort of your table.
Situated high up in the former NatWest Tower – which now goes by the more enigmatic Tower 42 – is City Social, the prestigious restaurant of London superchef Jason Atherton. City Social’s views are one thing – St Paul’s Cathedral on one end and an up-close view of the Gherkin next door on the other – but its food is what keeps turning heads. Atherton’s stereotypical style includes British produce, global influence and classical technique, all of which is in full flow at City Social. Diners can expect to eat in the lap of luxury, with caviar dispensed with wanton abandon across their plates. It’s an experience that will not fail to romance you.
Find a slice of bucolic paradise in the centre of the City of London at Coq d’Argent, which brings the charms of the French farmyard to the top of the appropriately named No 1 Poultry building, complete with a heated rooftop terrace. The food is rich and refined, dedicated to the French classics of the belle époque – think cutlets of veal smothered in sauce or a fillet steak stuffed with mushroom duxelles – belt-busting stuff that’s best ordered just after payday. Its wine list is a work of literature in itself, so peruse its vintages even if you know there’s no hope of ordering a ’95 montrachet any time soon.
You can visit Duck and Waffle a hundred times and never get the same view | Courtesy of Duck and Waffle
Known all over London for being the city’s loftiest restaurant and one of its very few 24-hour establishments, Duck and Waffle is a destination du jour for the most glamorous of hungry late-night partiers. Although it constantly buzzes throughout its regular hours of service, dishing out small plates of ox cheek doughnuts, foie gras crème brûlée and the like, its star dish – the eponymous duck and waffle – is what sets tongues wagging after 3am. A crispy, fatty confit duck leg, already decadent in and of itself, is served atop a freshly baked Belgian waffle, drenched in a mustard-maple syrup and then topped with a fried duck egg. When your date night seems like it’d be derailed by a trip to a kebab shop, there’s Duck and Waffle.
Oblix has two different dining rooms, with two entirely different views of London | Courtesy of Oblix
Tucked away in the rafters of the famous Shard is Oblix, a restaurant that tailors to your every need – even your choice of view, as it has eastward and westward dining rooms. If you’re more for robust grills and bracing cocktails, Oblix East is the place for you, allowing you a panorama of the city’s ever-regenerating industrial and financial centre. For the full fine-dining experience, Oblix West – with its view of the city’s bright lights and busy bars – is a lot more refined and offers some of London’s best seafood. Whichever you choose, both would yield an unforgettable evening.
The OXO Tower Restaurant, an unashamedly modern, glitzy space on the banks of the Thames, boasts some of the cleverest British cooking in the city, alongside near-unparalleled views of the city centre. Jeremy Bloor’s menu, which comes in à la carte and tasting forms, utilises the best produce on hand in the United Kingdom and carefully treats it with a sense of invention that is guaranteed to delight. Beef cheeks are rolled into bonbons, while a rich champagne sauce dresses the wild bass. It’s a luxury that you can enjoy. Its vegan and vegetarian menus are equally thoughtful, in a way that few restaurants of the same standard manage to do.
Plateau offers liveliness and luxury in the centre of London’s business district, Canary Wharf | Courtesy of Plateau Restaurant
Sitting on the border of Canada Place in Canary Wharf, Plateau boasts a truly sensational view of the cityscape. The restaurant features two dining rooms: one more formal main space for fine dining, and a more relaxed grill area. Take your companion out onto one of the restaurant’s two outdoor terraces and look out to the bustling city below. Plateau’s variety of delicious dishes is more than a match for the fabulous views – try the roast Yorkshire Moors grouse served with game chips and covered in watercress and a red-wine sauce.
Nestled in the hallowed halls of the Royal Festival Hall, located on the South Bank, is Skylon. Its position on the third floor and the vast floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views across the Thames and towards the city. Skylon serves a host of inventive, luxurious dishes – such as the dry-aged fillet of beef with black garlic, parsnips and bone marrow – which look ornate on the plate but pack a punch in terms of flavour. If you fancy a truly special night out in the West End, the restaurant also offers pre- and post-theatre dining options.
Equal parts Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian, SUSHISAMBA – nestled high up on the 38th and 39th floors of 110 Bishopsgate – is the place to see and be seen in the heart of the City of London. Standing tall as the second-highest restaurant in London and with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, this space beguiles its guests with its immersive views of the city at night. Order yourself a moqueca mista – a platter of jumbo shrimp, squid, sea bass and mussels with coconut milk, dende oil and chimichurri rice – and you’ll catch a feeling for why people fall in love with SUSHISAMBA.
Head up to the 35th floor of The Shard to Ting Restaurant – an elegant European-style restaurant with just a touch of Asian influence. Tucked into the Shangri-La Hotel, Ting – named after the Mandarin word for ‘living room’ – deploys flavours such as Chinese five spice, shiso and soy to robust staples of British cooking like pork belly and suckling pig, making for a meal that’s equal parts smart and satisfying. Splash out for the six-course taster with paired wines for the full experience, and let the chef de cuisine, Scot Paterson, take you on a journey.