The River Café

Price guide: Expensive

Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London, W6 9HA

Price guide: Expensive

Famous wood-fired oven © Matteo Piazza

By Jenni Muir, your London expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, Time Out. Read more
#56 of 115
expert-rated restaurants in London
Expert overall rating:4.1 out of 5
Food and drink:
4.1
4.1
Ambience:
4.1
4.1
Service:
3.5
3.5
Location:
3.5
3.5
Value for money:
3
3.0
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Families with teenagers, Foodies, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, People watching, Relaxation, Special occasions, Trendiness

Expert review of The River Café

A table at this glamorous Italian restaurant holds tremendous cachet, even after 25 years.

You’ll need to book well in advance to secure a table at this perennially popular Italian where the young Jamie Oliver was first discovered. Its founders, Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray, have produced their own series of hit cookbooks, and are famed for simple, rustic dishes using the best ingredients money can buy.

Food and drink: 

The menu changes twice daily and with the seasons yet there are plenty of staple dishes that appear year after year – and in the cookbooks you can buy as souvenirs. My favourites tend to involve fish from the wood-fired oven, such as turbot flavoured with capers, anchovies and rosemary and served with roast tomatoes and fresh borlotti beans. The risottos and pasta are lovely too. If available, try their Italian twist on the classic English dessert summer pudding, made with berries cooked in valpolicella wine.

Ambience: 

Classy informality with plenty of people-watching. The light, bright dining room has a large open kitchen lining one wall. On summer evenings aim for a table amongst the herbs in the garden.

Service: 

Young, trendy but usually friendly.

Location: 

In an office development at the edge of a residential area. Note there are no river views from the restaurant, though you can walk by the Thames before the meal. Best go by car or taxi.

Price advice: 

Don’t be fooled by the word café, this is a pricey restaurant: starters are £14-£16, mains £30-£45, desserts £8-£8.50. Wines start at £17.50 a bottle.

More information on The River Café:

Price guide:
Expensive
Type:
Restaurant
Food:
Italian
Address:
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London, W6 9HA
Telephone:
020 7386 4200
Website:
http://www.rivercafe.co.uk
Serves:
Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Mon-Sat 12.30pm-5pm, 7-11pm; Sun 12.30pm-5pm.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Always essential
Free tags / Keywords:
Tuscan, Wood roast

Have you been to The River Café? Would you recommended it?