The best restaurants in Richmond
Sibling of the ace Antipodea restaurant in Kew, this Richmond hangout promises breakfast, brunch and dinner with an Aussie twist. A roaring enclosed fire, potted plants and curios from down under tick all the brand trademarks, while the kitchen delivers some good stuff – don’t miss the steaks or the moist, chunky barramundi (Oz’s answer to sea bass). Tip: any leftover home-baked bread is given away gratis at the end of the evening.
A family favourite for hordes of Richmond locals, this neighbourhood Italian (family-run, of course) has been doing its thing on Kew Road for more than a decade. It may be dressed up in fashionable contemporary garb, but this is a diehard trattoria at heart and the food presses all those familiar comfort buttons – arancini balls, homemade pasta, saltimbocca, calf’s liver, tiramisu. The decked forecourt gets rammed in summer.
There’s a touch of ‘Downton Abbey’ about this stately country house-style hotel bordering the towpath. Its spacious, gold-accented restaurant is lit by impressive chandeliers, while a decked patio brings you closer to the water’s edge in fine weather. The modern European menu is as highbrow as the surroundings, and dishes such as turbot on the bone with purple broccoli, fondant potato and warm tartare sauce are priced accordingly.
In the centre of Richmond, just a stone’s throw from the river, this branch of the Côte brasserie chain has all the Francophile trappings you could wish for – from striped awnings, fold-back french doors and modish light fittings to ‘formule’ breakfasts, ‘plat rapides’ and a menu that revels in pissaladière, steak frites, moules marinière and chargrilled Breton chicken. The drinks list is also as Gallic as can be.
Wood-fired sourdough pizzas with serious artisan credentials guarantee queues at Franco Manca – no wonder this cult-status mini chain has spread across London like a drizzle of chilli oil on your plate. Prices are rock bottom, the pizzas are served up super-quickly, and the toppings include everything from gloucester old spot sausages to gragnano tomatoes. As you might expect, vegan and gluten-free options are always available.
If you fancy a well-hung Argentinian steak after a stroll along Richmond’s towpath, this branch of the swanky Gaucho chain has all bases covered. With its glass-panelled walls providing fabulous views of the river and beyond, the low-slung boathouse-style building is perfect at any time – although nothing beats sitting out on the terrace with one of their seafood/steak barbecues in summer.
Channelling some of the star-spangled Ivy’s extravagance, showmanship and see-and-be-seen thrills, this seductive neighbourhood spin-off is a go-to for lifestyle-conscious locals. Art deco mirrors, swanky orange banquettes, vintage trappings, prints and greenery set the scene, while the all-day menu offers up many of the Ivy’s legendary hits alongside breakfast, weekend brunch, afternoon tea and other sociable pleasures.
Richmond’s favourite bistro is heroically old school – right down to its chequered tablecloths, blackboard menus and all-French wine list. You can almost imagine Elizabeth David poking her head round the kitchen door as the chefs serve up provincial classics such as rustic fish soup, confit chicken terrine, chargrilled onglet with frites or grilled pollack with moules marinière. Buvette’s Sunday lunches also have a big reputation.
As pretty as a box of luxury chocolates, Matsuba is all dark wood and subtle light panels, with a discreet sushi bar, vintage Japanese parasols dotted around and quietly polite waiters. The menu trawls through the full Japanese repertoire from tempura to tonkatsu, but also expect a smattering of Korean dishes including bulgogi and bibimbap. Affluent Richmond locals appreciate Matsuba’s very decent wine list too.
The ultimate in rustic charm, complete with a real meadow on its doorstep, Petersham Nurseries and its magical hothouse café provide perfect balm for frazzled urbanites. Sit at one of the rickety tables and enjoy some seasonal Italian-inspired food against a backdrop of palm trees, scented jasmine, antique mirrors and Indian blinds. Richmond’s ‘ladies who lunch’ wisely book well ahead for the chance to eat here.
‘Food, passion, glamour’ is the mantra at this Richmond restaurant and cocktail bar, which comes flamboyantly kitted out with mirrors, candles, floral wallpaper and swanky furniture. On offer is a global mishmash taking in everything from ‘champagne & lobster treats’ to lavish dessert platters by way of pan-Asian nibbles (crispy pork belly with black vinegar etc.), monkfish curry, racks of ribs, miso-glazed cod and duck à l’orange.
If you’ve never been to a German beer garden – and don’t fancy a trip to Munich – you could do worse than Stein’s, a live-wire outdoor restaurant promising ‘the Bavarian experience’ beside a stretch of the Thames towpath. Its huge space can seat up to 300 alfresco diners, so don your lederhosen and get stuck into doughy pretzels, gigantic wurst and steins of continental beer.
On the Twickenham side of Richmond Bridge, this traditional Italian has been dispensing its version of Bella Italia for more than a decade – and the locals love it. The interior is stylishly suburban (note the smart monochrome decor), while the kitchen rustles up a perky assortment of capably crafted regional classics such as gorgonzola risotto or peposo (Tuscan braised beef in red wine).
Just another Richmond Italian? Wrong! Al Boccon di’Vino (literally ‘a divine mouthful’) is the kooky brainchild of chef/owner Riccardo Grigolo. He decides what you’ll be eating, chooses the wine (there’s no list) and serves each course to his guests at the same time – you can always chat to your neighbours if there’s an awkward gap in proceedings. Be warned: it’s not cheap (£50 or £60 pp depending on the day), and you may be there for some time (up to three hours!).
There’s precious little space inside this tiny, cramped deli-café, but peckish Richmondites are happy to pile in for its cooked-to-order manakish flatbreads and stone-baked Lebanese wraps stuffed with all manner of savoury (and sweet) goodies. Alternatively, you can drop by for coffee and baklava (there are usually four kinds on offer), sit outside and watch the world go by.
The name says it all: this branch of the London-based Argentinian steakhouse chain serves up pampas-reared beef in a moody setting with South American artwork on the walls, Latin music in the air and a wine list that doesn’t stint on the malbecs. Top picks from the grill include ribeye, churrasco and lomo (fillet), which you can bookend with some empanadas and a dulce de leche dessert.
It’s easy to understand why this outpost of Brittany has such enduring appeal: everyone loves Chez Lindsay’s chaotic informality, its homely but gregarious dining area, flexible menu and mugs of Breton cider. Regional specialities and bistro classics are given a better-than-competent workout, right down to the apple and caramel crêpes with calvados flambé. Oh, and there are terrific riverside views out back.
Established in 1996, this is one of few indie pizza joints in Richmond, serving rustic Italian fare in a dining room that feels as cosy and welcoming as nonna’s kitchen. Eight classics sit alongside house specials with a bit more pep – try the ‘white’ version with fiore di latte, Italian sausage, Italian broccoli and chilli. The usual antipasti, pastas and risottos fill in any gaps.
We’ve never been that impressed by Richmond’s curry houses, but if you’re hankering after a decent ruby in the borough, swish Swagat is the pick of the bunch. Co-run by the wonderfully named Sudden Alberts, it promises modish interiors (bare floors, flattering lighting, Indian artwork) plus a menu that runs all the way from samosas, kormas and rogan josh to grilled sea bass on a bed of cumin-spiced potato.
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