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River Café

  • Restaurants
  • Hammersmith
  • price 4 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A celebrated Italian restaurant set back from the Thames Path

The River Café is a sleb in its own right. Opened in 1987, it was famously intended as the canteen for Richard Rogers' architectural practice. But then his talented chef wife Ruth and her pal, the late Rose Gray, started shaking the pans and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the last thirty years, it has built its reputation by serving unfussy yet stunning Italian food. Oh, and training the likes of Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall along the way.

It's warm, buzzy and casually expensive: the kind of place where retired publishers take their godchildren to dinner. There are usually a fair few mwah mwah luvvies, too. (Gwynnie P. had her fortieth here.) The large dining room isn't particularly memorable, but the cooking remains faultless. Curls of bitter chicory came lifted by a gutsy anchovy dressing; folds of perfect pappardelle were served with a faintly gamey, chianti-spiked ragu of pheasant and rabbit. Even the polenta was knock-out. Seriously.

One final tip: prices are excruciating, but portions are generous. So go for a summer lunch, sit on the terrace, order a plate of pasta and live like the A-listers do.

Written by
Tania Ballantine


Thames Wharf, Rainville Road
W6 9HA
Tube: Hammersmith tube
Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £200.
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