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Photograph: Helen Cathcart

The best rooftop restaurants in London

Rooftop restaurants in London provide a dazzling setting for dinner in the clouds. Here’s a handful of the best up-high eateries

Written by
Time Out London editors
,
Angela Hui
&
Sarah Cohen
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Want views with your food? Eat at altitude. London’s best rooftop restaurants offer the elevation you need to gaze upon our beautiful city, and top grub to enjoy while you do. Our list includes swish spots, gastropubs and even a thriving herb garden. Although dining in the clouds is best in the summer, most of these places have terraces that are open year-round, so you can catch a sunset whenever you like.

Tables at rooftop restaurants were already in high demand during spells of good weather, but you can expect them to be more popular than ever now, with outdoor spaces offering more safety for diners. So book ahead before you head upstairs.

RECOMMENDED: London’s best rooftop bars.

Rooftop restaurants in London

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Stratford
  • price 4 of 4

On the seventh floor of the fancy Stratford Hotel, Allegra is almost comically swish, with gently dimmed lighting, stone surfaces, funky plants and smooth jazz music. The food is great, though, from savoury choux bun snacks to poached Cornish brill and wild venison loin. Staff add to the glitz and glamour with friendly service – even pouring all the posh sauces for you.

Open year-round.

Aviary
  • Restaurants
  • Moorgate
  • price 3 of 4

A smart bar-restaurant perched ten floors up at Finsbury Square’s Montcalm Hotel, Aviary’s got city views to die for. You can drink in the skyscraping panorama all year round – there are fire pits and heat lamps a-go-go to keep you warm in winter months (though you could just work through the cocktail list). The restaurant’s better set up for eating, but you can still snaffle the short bar menu alfresco if you prefer – think padrón peppers, Lindisfarne oysters, shorthorn cheeseburgers, duck-fat chips and so on.

Open year-round.

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The Castle
  • Restaurants
  • Pentonville Road
  • price 1 of 4

As a one-storey Islington gastropub, the Castle doesn’t boast the highest rooftop in London (views are limited to the other low-rise buildings flanking Pentonville Road), but that doesn’t stop locals competing for a place when the sun comes out. The partially covered terrace has everything that hardcore all-weather diners require: heaters and blankets for winter (place your order inside); a Burger Shack and table service when the warm days begin. You must book a table here – and that’s not as easy as you might think.

Open year-round (weather permitting).

Coq d'Argent
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Bank

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Coq d’Argent’s four view-tastic terraces – just like every other City slicker in town. Book lunch on the restaurant terrace for a side of sunshine with your dover sole or roast rack of lamb. Otherwise, keep the bills in check by snacking on a cheeky miniature croque monsieur or some garlicky escargots from the bar menu on the garden terraces. There’s also an alfresco lunchtime grill – all the better for emptying your wallet and filling up on steak in the open air.

Terrace open year-round.

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The Culpeper
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Spitalfields
  • price 2 of 4
The famous rooftop garden bar attached to this excellent City gastropub-with-rooms is reborn every summer with a different foodie theme. Meanwhile, Culpeper’s green-fingered team will be nurturing and harvesting from the garden throughout the year, providing vital ingredients for dishes such as ash-roasted potatoes with sour cream, tropea onion and smoked garlic aioli or herb-marinated Yorkshire pork neck steak. Look out for special events and workshops too.

Open in the spring and summer.
  • Bars and pubs
  • Wine bars
  • Peckham
  • price 2 of 4

The only way is up at the much-loved Italian restaurant Forza Win’s spin-off rooftop Peckham bar and restaurant. Soak up outragegous views, irresistible vibes and the crowd-pleasing aperitivo sharing food and Negronis. Soon, you’ll be right at home all autumn and winter at this sleek, high-perched oasis.

Open year-round.

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The Lighterman
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • King’s Cross
  • price 2 of 4

Sat on the corner of Granary Square (a foodie hotspot that’s also home to Caravan, Dishoom and so on), The Lighterman is an airy bar and gastropub with an even airier first-floor wraparound terrace overlooking the plaza and bordering the canal. It’s not technically on the roof, but it’s as good as – and an ideal place to hack through a lovely-sounding menu of modern British plates. Expect anything from pea-and-mint croquettes, flatbreads and salads to beer-battered fish and hunks of charred flesh sizzling from the wood-fired grill.

Open year-round.

Marksman
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Hackney Road

A spruced-up roof terrace on the first floor of this cherished Hackney gastropub entices drinkers from its cosy interior out into the sun. On bright days, there’s space for around 20 on a first come, first served basis. Those lucky enough to bag a spot can enjoy booze and bar snacks or a full Marksman meal – try one of the much-lauded savoury buns, mussels with kohlrabi and wild fennel or a chicken, leek and tarragon pie (to share). Then watch those envious eyes glaring from the top of the number 55 bus as it rolls past.

Open year-round (weather-dependent).

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Orrery
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Marylebone

Here’s some good news for anyone partial to a central London rooftop: Orrery’s chic, sleek terrace, hidden from Marylebone’s madding crowds, is an all-weather zone. The long, narrow alfresco space with its bright yellow awnings offers a lunchtime carte full of delicate Modern European dishes such as seafood ravioli or Jerusalem artichoke risotto. Not hungry? Just enjoy a cocktail or two as the sun goes down.

Open year-round.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Southwark
  • price 3 of 4

Southwark’s Hoxton Hotel is home to sea-to-table restaurant Seabird, which has a delightful terrace and indoor tables with a view – plus sunny California vibes aplenty. A Med-influenced all-day menu includes the likes of croquetas, peri-peri monkfish and leeks in romesco sauce. And it would be rude not to order from an oyster list claiming to be London’s longest.

Open year-round.

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