Despite its reputation for exclusivity, it’s possible to get a table at the River Café with just a couple of hours’ notice if you choose your moment. Best is high summer, when the blue garden tables are spread widely through the courtyard, and the potager is at its peak. The relaxed, cheerful disposition of staff and customers is so contagious, you almost don’t notice the retina-melting price of the food. With most secondi costing £34-£39, you can expect to pay around £75 per person for three courses with wine, even at lunch. On the plus side, the wide-ranging Italian wine list is fabulously democratic with a great by-the-glass selection and prosecco starting at just £6 a coupe. Starters showcase bought-in deli ingredients. but often have something home-made to make them pop – the sweetest, most velvety bresaola, say, with a warm sformata pudding of ricotta and peas, plus a confidently charred garlic bruschetta. Exquisitely intense apricots featured in a buttery almond tart, but didn’t quite stop us envying the many large bowls of own-made gelati that sailed past. Our only disappointment was a bitter-tasting plate of spaghetti bottarga – baby yellow tomatoes detracted from, rather than enhanced, the dish.
|Venue name:||River Café||Contact:|
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road
|Opening hours:||Lunch served 12.30-2.15pm Mon-Fri; 12.30-2.30pm Sat; noon-3pm Sun. Dinner served 7-9pm Mon-Thur; 7-9.15pm Fri, Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Hammersmith tube|
|Price:||Main courses £30-£40|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:1
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:3
One of my favourite restaurants in London. Good for a special occasion. Expensive, but delicious food.
Unless you’re loaded, a meal at the River Café is strictly for special occasions but the combination of delicious – and not overly elaborate or rich – food and genuinely friendly service make it a gorgeous place to celebrate.The setting doesn’t hurt, either; by the time you’ve strolled along the river from Hammersmith tube, you’re already in the zone. Lunch, in the courtyard is probably nicest. You can’t actually see the river but the restaurant’s herb garden creates an away-from-it-all feeling.Going for a starter plus pasta and drinking prosecco (six quid for a glass) is a way to keep the cost down a bit.
The River Cafe is expensive and the food at times quite simple. If someone asked you why the restaurant is nice and why the food so good you'd struggle to answer but it just is. The private room is a perfect space for a special occasion. Cocktails were keenly priced.
Our last visit to River Café was very disappointing...getting a table so easily 2 days before might have given us a hint! As always the room and staff looked lovely but when the bread (on the verge of being stale) arrived, the disappointement started. My antipasto of Zuchini Fiore was nothing more than 2 dull looking tempura Courgette flowers surrounded by about 40 pink deep fried shrimps...I didn't manage to finish my place (that never happens to me either)...my crab linguine was ok but it is really the bill that got me chocking - 540£ for 5 people having each an antipasto, a main course, 2 small glasses of wine (decent) and sharing 2 desserts and 3 coffees was quite hard to digest - I will not return and certainly won't recommed it, it is not worth what it costs.
Unfortunately our dinner at the river cafe was in the same week I found out that my favourite restaurant in London had closed down, a restaurant that did not have a Michelin star for which I could never figure out the reason. So tonight I spent all night figuring out the reason why the river cafe does have a star. The service was so-so. My wine was topped up once by the waiter. The ossobuco tasted like an old school dinner, the spinach was so salt I can't wait to get home to drink a gallon of water....and despite the fact that I didn't eat most of my food (something that NEVER happens), we were not once asked if we enjoyed our meal, our starter, our wine or our evening. I love food and I love eating out, I am not a snob, I respect the graft and hard work restauranteurs, chefs and waiters put in, but I it's been many many years since I left a restaurant feeling that it had been a complete waste of money. So, in summary, perfectly ok place, great history, ok-ish food, lovely wine, ok-ish waiting staff, but with a lasting sense of disappointment. I just don't remember the last time i left a restaurant feeling cross and cheated. Why have they got a Michelin star?
We splashed out and had a small family wedding lunch in the private room. Half of the family are mediterranean and we were relying on the River Cafe to come up with the goods to please. It was a fantastic success, with such an outstanding antipasti course that we would have gone home happy if it had ended there. The service was excellent and we will definitely now be thankful of the anniversary excuse to go back there to celebrate.
Had a tasty lunch here recently. Some of the best olive oil I have ever tried. However I thought it was on the expensive side for Michelin food. I was also very disappointed with my table and was right by the entrance. I recently came across this site www.tableguru.co.uk and recommend using it to find the best table! Next time I will try and get a window seat in the middle of the restaurant
Terrible. Worst value for Monel in London. I would not even give it one stare out of ten let alone a Michelin star!
Very dissapointing. Main course was served on a cold plate. No value for money and certainily not a Michelin star restaurant