Roofs with a view, tucked-away terraces and riverside gardens are just some of the glorious locations for alfresco dining in London. Here are our favorites, from global fusion at St. Katharine Docks to the height of tradition at The Ritz.
Just remember to bring a jacket for when the sun goes down — after all, this is England, not the South of France.
This new joint is helmed by Neil Wager, who comes to London fresh from looking after clients at luxury private islands around the world. The chef will feel right at home at the newly refurbished St. Katharine Docks, which first opened in 1828 to receive cargo and now provides picturesque moorings to a variety of small- and medium-sized boats.
The menu at Dokke (Norwegian for “to dock”) offers a taste of Wager’s travels, from ceviche of mackerel, salmon and sea bass to pork belly with chocolate miso and kohlrabi.
Take a seat on the spacious waterside terrace and keep your eyes peeled for Gloriana, the royal barge built to celebrate the queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The hotel’s much-admired fine-dining restaurant serves lunch as well as early evening champagne and caviar on its private terrace all summer long. On the menu are rich French dishes with a nod to modernity, such as roasted scallops with smoked eel, apple and watercress. The champagne bar, however, is all about caviar — there are four varieties available.
The establishment’s famous dress code is relaxed on the terrace — gentlemen are allowed to remove their jackets and loosen their ties — but you’ve got to smarten back up before you step back inside.
Tucked away among the private members’ clubs and historic gentlemen’s outfitters of St James’s Street is this delightful brasserie, which specializes in unashamedly classic French cookery.
The dining room is charming, but even nicer is the tiny courtyard out back, where you’ll find a handful of tables in the shade of wide white parasols.
The private outdoor dining area is open all day, serving treats like duck confit and Dover sole meunière on the lunch and dinner menu, plus more modern, international flavors during breakfast, such as huevos rancheros, and quinoa and avocado salad.
Look out for the plaque in the courtyard indicating the building that was home to a delegation from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St James’s between 1842 and 1845.
A longstanding favorite on the London dining scene, this Hammersmith eatery occupies an enviable location on the River Thames, in a former oil storage warehouse that boasts a garden overlooking the water.
The daily changing menu comprises rustic Italian cuisine that relies on the very best seasonal ingredients, a simple philosophy and a load of talent in the kitchen (alumni include star British chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall).
Surprisingly light, fresh pastas are the way to start, followed by treats from the wood-fired oven, including turbot with Amalfi lemons or whole pigeon on bruschetta.
It’s hard to beat the view over the city from the highest outdoor dining terrace in London found at Sushisamba, located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower.
As the name suggests, the menu specializes in a surprisingly successful combination of Japanese and South American food — Brazilian and Peruvian, to be exact — where you’ll find sashimi rubbing shoulders with ceviche and anticucho meat skewers.