After weeks of rain, this week’s sunshine has encouraged us to release our guide to eating al-fresco in London, so we hope we’re not tempting fate!
It’s surprisingly difficult to find an outdoor restaurant in the capital that’s not blighted by traffic noise or cyclists on the pavement.
We’ve chosen our top 10 very simply – as places you can eat great food in lovely surroundings. We would love to hear yours too – just write in the box at the bottom of this article!
The River Cafe, Rainville Road, London W6 9HA
Our favourite in London and a perfect combination of spectacular location and unforgettable food. If you haven’t visited, put aside what you’ve heard about high prices and pick a place on the garden terrace to sit and enjoy scrupulously sourced and prepared food served by friendly and well-briefed staff. Lunch outside on a sunny Sunday is almost perfect but any evening when the clouds haven’t closed in makes the River Cafe worth a visit. Bookings are a must. For more information click here: River Cafe
If you’re going to sit on the street anywhere, you might as well pretend you’re on the Champs Elysees. La Poule au Pot can deliver the authentic French food experience even if Pimlico isn’t quite Paris. Many of us know it as ’The Pot’ but the restaurant itself has managed not to date and still delivers excellent fare with a suitably gallic and gently grumpy customer service.
The outdoor tables aren’t glamorous and are certainly not the place for an assignation but the whole experience is timeless and strangely romantic. For reservations, call 020 7730 7763 .
Serpentine Bar and Kitchen: Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Long derided as a tatty tourist canteen, a new team has transformed the fortunes of this eatery in what must be one of London’s most stunning locations. A rich array of food and drink allows you to grab a quick snack or enjoy a larger but still conveniently quick meal in their huge outdoor seating area.
Avoid the busiest times when it does still feel like a mad cafeteria but absolutely worth a visit and great to bring small children to. For more information click here: Serpentine Bar and Kitchen
Overlooking Belair Park in Dulwich Village, Beauberry House has long been a favourite with locals and when the sun shines it’s one of London’s most beautiful outdoor dining destinations.
Be prepared for a surprising French/Asian combination on the menu but certainly worth the trip and make sure you book ahead. For more information click here: Beauberry House
For those of you who partied at Momo like it was..err…1997, Momo is still the fantastic destination it was when Madonna threw her famous birthday bash. Full to the brim with exotic North African decor, Momo delivers great tagines and couscous with delicious mezze or pastillas to start.
Book ahead to grab that cool streetside table. For more information click here: Momo
No list of outdoor eating in London would be complete without mentioning this Chelsea classic. The menu includes everyones favourite Italian dishes, served in a busy and buzzy back terrace which is as good for people watching as it is for steaming Arista al Cinghale! For more information click here: La Famiglia
There are a good selection of riverside restaurants we like – Pont De La Tour, Oxo and Butlers Wharf Chop House to name just three. Our favourite is Northbank, found next to the Millenium Bridge.
The views of the river and the Tate Modern are spectacular and the British-inspired menu delivers wonderful seafood and well-sourced meat. The terrace area needs booking but grab the opportunity to see the Thames at its best! For more information click here: Northbank
Skye Gyngell may have moved on, but Petersham Nurseries is still a glorious cafe and restaurant is a truly memorable dining experience. Full meals are served in the beautiful old glasshouses, surrounded by exotic plants and tempting gardening implements and decor.
The menu is as good as any in London, with top quality ingredients combined in an exciting and mouth-watering fashion. Book well ahead, as the restaurant is only open at lunchtime from Wednesday to Sunday each week and is hugely popular. For more information click here: Petersham Nurseries Cafe