Eat and drink in style on the banks of the River Thames!
By Steph Dye (follow Steph on Twitter: @HelloIAmSteph)
Eating on the riverside can be a lot things. It can be romantic or fun; care-free or posh; cosmopolitan or countrified. However, it is nearly always expensive, as you are paying for the view every bit as much as the food. There are lots of places where you can eat on the Thames, or by one it’s several canals, for a reasonable price and with the annual, Totally Thames festival coming up for the whole month of September, what better way to celebrate London’s iconic, historic river than by eating alongside it?
The venues mentioned are all reasonably priced, however some are obviously more expensive than others, allowing you to choose between a budget eat and a cost effective yet still decent treat for a special occasion. Refer to the ‘£’ for more details: £= a bargain, no more than £15 for a two course meal or a decent, satisfying meal | ££ = £15 and above per person. | £££ = an opportunity to treat yourself, these restaurants will generally come to at least £20 per person, but no more than £25 for a decent meal. The venues are arranged from West to East, beginning in Kingston and ending in Hackney for a complete mapped-out tour of the river.
#1 The Riverside Vegetaria | Kingston | ££
What is it?: Set up in 1989, The Riverside Vegetaria is an eclectic mix of all things vegetarian and vegan. Whilst everything is meat-free, the meals – which are influenced by flavours from around the world – are still meant to be robust, so even the hardiest of carnivores will leave feeling satisfied. The restaurant also puts a huge emphasis on local produce and tries to use mostly organic product.
How much is it?: A two course meal will probably put you back just over £15, as starters cost between £5.95 and £7.50, mains are £8.95 to £10.95 and desserts are £4.50 to £6.75.
Where is it?: 64 High Street, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 1HN
When is it?: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-11pm; Sunday, 12pm-10pm.
Try the: Masala Dosai (£9.50) – crispy lentil pancakes filled with fried potato and your choice or eith mild or hot spices. The pancakes are also served with coconut chutney and vegetable curry for dipping, as well as a salad.
#2 Stein’s | Richmond | ££
What is it?: A veritable Bavarian feast on the banks of the Thames in Richmond, Stein’s is an offering of all things meaty and German. Expect traditional favourites such as bratwurst and goulash and take as many friends as you can find, as there are several platter-style options, for a get stuck in, hands-on approach to casual dining.
How much is it?: Most main courses are priced between £7.90-£12.40 but bear in mind the platter options if you are bringing friends – the more people you bring, the more price goes down!
Where is it?: Richmond Towpath, TW10 6UX.
When is it?: Summer – Monday-Sunday, 10am-10pm; Winter – Saturday-Sunday, 12pm-Dusk.
Try the: traditional currywurst (£10.90) – a spicy, baked pork sausage, served with homemade curry sauce and fried potatoes.
#3 The Duke’s Head | Putney | £
What is it?: This grade II-listed, Victorian building sits right at the start line of the Oxford versus Cambridge boat race, so is the perfect place to relax with drinks and dinner. The main menu feels a little over-priced, considering that it is, after all, a pub so stick to the brunch and sandwich options which are better priced options and perfect for a light lunch.
How much is it?: Brunch costs between £6.50 and £8. Sandwiches are priced at between £8.50 and £9.50.
Where is it?: 8 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 1JN.
When is it?: Sandwiches are served Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm; Brunch is served at the same time during the week but is also served Saturday-Sunday, 11am-1pm.
Try the: Sirloin roast beef, rocket, red onion and chilli jam (£9.50) for a posh, grown up sarnie.
Looking for more budget brunches around the city? Look no further!
#4 Brady’s | Battersea | £
What is it?: Celebrating it’s 24th year and over 100 years of family heritage within the restaurant industry, Brady’s is a champion of everything British and fishy. All of their seafood is locally sourced and is a great price, perfect for getting a great fish supper by the River Thames. The menu changes daily, depending on the catch and season, so ask your server for the freshest fish offerings that day.
How much is it?: The best deal, if you can make it there in time, is the lunchtime special: £5.95 for fish, chips and mushy peas. Otherwise, the food is still very reasonable, with starters between £4.50 and £5.95, and your choice of battered fish for £9.95 (small) or £11.95 (large).
Where is it?: 39 Jews Row, SW18 1TB.
When is it?: Tuesday-Thursday, 6pm-10pm; Friday, 12:30pm-2:30pm or 6pm-10pm; Saturdays, 12:30pm-10pm; Sunday, 12:30pm-3:45pm.
Try the: battered fish, of course (only go for haddock, plaice or saithe, as they are more sustainable than cod and taste just as good!
#5 Bravas Tapas | St Katherine’s Docks | ££
What is it?: Overlooking the pretty St Katherine’s Docks marina, Bravas Tapas has an authentic, traditional feel, with a cave-like dining area, transporting diners to ‘Old-town’ Spain. Visitors will need at least three or four dishes to make up a satisfying meal, so take some friends and choose strategically to try a bite of everything on the menu.
How much is it?: Dishes can cost anywhere between £3-£11, depending on the ingredients used: obviously vegetarian dishes are cheaper whilst seafood and foie gras make up the higher priced dishes.
Where is it?: Ivory House, Saint Katherine Docks, E1W 1AT.
When is it?: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-10:30pm; Sunday, 12pm-10pm.
Try the: Brava potatoes (£4) – Roasted potatoes served with a salsa and ‘whipped-to-order’ aioli.
#6 The Captain Kidd | Wapping | £
What is it?: Essentially, it’s a typical pub with the accompanying, traditional pub fare (think classic British favourites such as liver and onions, sausage and mash and a variety of pies). However the food is cheap and the view –the pub is sat right on the edge of the Thames – are what sets the pub apart from your local boozer, making it definitely worth a visit.
How much is it?: Starters are £2.95-£5.95, Main courses are priced at between £6.95 and £8.95. It may be a uninspired menu, but it’s guaranteed to fill you up.
Where is it?: 108 Wapping High Street, E1W 2NE.
When is it?: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-11pm; Sunday, 12pm-10.30pm.
Try the: Chicken and Wiltshire ham pie (£8.50) – served with chips or mashed potato, buttered carrots and cabbage.
#7 The Narrow | Limehouse | £££
What is it?: A gastro-pub set up by Gordon Ramsay, this British and European influenced menu definitely takes advantage of local producers, as well as the stunning views from its Grade II listed surroundings, set in the historic Docklands. With a celebrity chef at the helm however, expect a higher price bracket, perhaps reserving it for a special treat.
How much is it?: Go for the set menu, which gives three options for both starter, main and dessert and costs £19 for two course and £25 for three courses per person.
Where is it?: 44 Narrow Street, E14 8DP.
When is it?: Monday-Friday, 12pm-3.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm.
Try the: crayfish and avocado cocktail, which is a posh version of a prawn cocktail – and fitting, considering the watery surroundings – or the Dingley Dell pork belly, with roast Mediterranean vegetables and balsamic jus.
#8 The Towpath Café | Haggerston | £
What is it?: A chilled out café set on the banks of the Regent’s canal, the gaggle of brightly-coloured, patio furniture is the ideal spot for spying on the parents with prams and joggers that use the tow path every day. Made up from a stretch of units that line the canal, you can either sit right out on the path, or tuck yourself away into the privacy of one of the arches when the weather is cooler.
How much is it?: A simple, ever-changing menu is simple but well thought out, with a selection of breakfast and lunch items that generally range between £6 and £10.
Where is it?: 42 De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5SB
When is it?: Tuesday-Wednesday, 8am-8pm; Thursday-Friday, 8am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-11pm. However, the café is closed during the winter months, so check the Facebook page for details.
Try the: comforting yet filling grilled cheese sandwich (£6).
#9 Proud East | Haggerston | £££
What is it?: Part restaurant, part events space, this bright, modern venue looks out over the Regent’s canal and is always buzzing with various goings-on. Serving food all-day, the menu starts with breakfast and covers everything between there and dinner, including brunch and high-tea. Proud East is a great way of eating on the water without having to leave East London.
How much is it?: As always, a taste of East London doesn’t come cheap – especially considering it’s riverside setting. Brunch costs between £5 and £10, mains cost between £12 and £18 and sandwiches are between £8.50 and £11.50.
Where is it?: 2-10 Hertford Road, N1 5ET.
When is it?: Monday-Friday, 10am-10:30pm.
Try the: roasted Musakhan Poussin (£12) served with hummus and a Mediterranean salad.
#10 Number 90 | Hackney | £
What is it?: A funky, canal-side bar and restaurant in Hackney Wick, Number 90 has a large outside terrace overlooking the River Lee. As well as serving tasty, locally sourced food such as burgers and steak, they also host a full calendar of events such as cinema screenings, comedy, music and theatre.
How much is it?: A very reasonably priced flat iron steak is just £10, whilst most mains come in around the £9 mark. Starters cost between £4.50 and £6.
Where is it?: 90 Main Yard, Wallis Road, E9 5LN.
When is it?: Wednesday-Sunday, 12pm-11:30pm.
Try the: starter of crispy roasted cauliflower (£4.50) with pistachio pomegranate, basil pesto and goat’s cheese for a delicious snack.
Want to replace the sound of water with music? Check out these live music venues!
Or, grab one of these great pre or post- theatre deals!
The Best Budget, Riverside Restaurants in London Mapped
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