London’s Top 10 Highest-Up Restaurants

Sky High: Aqua in The Shard

Sky High: Aqua in The Shard

London’s dining scene is going sky high. In the week that The Shard’s highest restaurant yet opened, and just days after Jason Atherton made a mark on London’s skyline, we count down London’s top 10 highest-up decent restaurants (plus a bonus eleventh) by number of storeys, and see what’s cooking.

Min Jiang

=10th highest, 10th floor
At the top of the Royal Garden Hotel on Kensington High Street, Min Jiang Chinese restaurant is best known for its signature Beijing duck cooked in a wood-fired oven, but also specialises in all manner of dim sum and classic Chinese dishes pimped up with luxurious ingredients such as lobster and venison.
Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, W8 4PT

Frank’s

=10th highest, 10th floor
A very different style of eatery to most of the plush restaurants on this list, Frank’s café and Campari bar is on the roof of a Peckham multi-storey carpark. Simple grills, salads and spreads on toast are the mainstay of the food list, while negronis, americanos and spritz are what most of the hip crowd drink. It’s open summertime only and is due to launch in just over a month for the 2014 season.
95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST

City Social

9th highest, 24th floor
Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant follows in the footsteps of his West End modern classics Pollen Street Social, Little Social and Social Eating House. It resides in Tower 42, the former NatWest Tower and ranks among the highest in the Square Mile. The menu makes use of seasonal British ingredients in patriotic brasserie-style dishes but isn’t afraid to show off Mediterranean flare in creative rice and pasta options.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1 HQ

Galvin at Windows

8th highest, 28th floor
The oldest restaurant on this list, the Galvin Brothers (who also run Galvin Bistrot de Luxe and Galvin La Chapelle, among others) opened Windows in 2006. The prices are high but so is the quality at this little offshoot of Paris on Park Lane, which offers slick service and carefully-sourced and assembled bistro dishes along with stunning views of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and beyond.
London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE

Aqua

7th highest, 31st floor
The least lofty restaurant in The Shard, but impressive all the same, Aqua is the most patriotic of the lot. Modern tongue-in-cheek takes on British classics such as prawn cocktail, or sausages served with piccalilli are joined by roast meats and grilled fish dishes with clever touches. Produce is sourced locally where possible, including from Borough and Maltby Street markets.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU

Paramount

=5th highest, 32nd floor
Set atop Centre Point in a site currently scarred by Crossrail digs, Paramount isn’t the best or least-touristy restaurant on this list. Still, the 360° views are impressive and the menu boasts plenty of British gastropub-style dishes that pleasingly hit the spot even if they do cost a few quid more than they ought to. £28 afternoon teas are understandably popular.
Centre Point, 101-103 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DD

Oblix

=5th highest, 32nd floor
From tartare to smoked salmon via ceviche, steaks and Japanese black cod, Oblix pulls together international influences to create a cosmopolitan New York-inspired restaurant that majors on wow factor. At £58 (with a glass of Champagne) the vast brunch menu is lofty in itself, but a good way to experience what’s on offer without committing to a whole dinner.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU

Hutong

4th highest, 33rd floor
The second highest restaurant in The Shard, Hutong serves pricey but perfectly presented dim sum and other classic Chinese dishes. While the red lantern-lit interior is impressive (not to mention the views), it’s seen a fair bit of criticism for inauthentic and unexciting dishes. For fans of peking duck willing to splash out, the elaborate two-stage carved-at-the-table offering is worth a try, though.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU

Ting

3rd highest, 35th floor
The newest opening in The Shard, Ting is the main restaurant within the building’s plush Shangri-La Hotel, which is (controversially, perhaps) being labelled as the first luxury hotel south of the river. Ting comes from the Chinese word for ‘living room’ and this space serves a mix of Asian and European dishes along with its signature Asian afternoon tea. It comes with 360° views.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU

Sushisamba

2nd highest, 38th and 39th floors
Split across two floors in the Heron Tower near Liverpool Street, Sushisamba fuses Japanese and South American foods and flavours. Raw fish plays a big part and dishes often manage to be just vibrant enough to compete with the surrounds, though there’s no getting away from the fact that your money would go a whole lot further elsewhere. The Great Glass Elevator-style lift ride to the restaurant, along with a striking outdoor terrace on floor 38 are the high-up highlights.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY

Duck & Waffle

London’s highest restaurant, 40th floor
Currently London (and the UK’s) highest restaurant, Duck & Waffle is also one of a handful of 24-hour joints in the city (and we’ve seen it doing a brisk trade at 5am on a Sunday). Accessed by the same lift ride as Sushisamba, the menu is more eclectic and a tad more affordable. The restaurant’s namesake dish of crispy confit duck leg topped with a fried duck egg and served on a waffle is a highlight, along with spicy ox cheek doughnuts and a good line in grilled meat and fish to share at the table. Towering above the Gherkin as you eat is more than just a little bit cool, too.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY

Pedants’ note: we’re aware that floor heights vary between buildings, so these rankings might not represent absolute heights. But since most people talk in terms of how many floors up they are, rather than number of metres, we’re sticking by it.

This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital’s top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.

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  • Gregory Botelho

    The owner of Sushi Samba told me that it has Europe’s highest outside dining space.

  • Sanders2378

    What about the restaurant in Tower 42?

    • alexcoady

      That’s City Social

      • Sanders2378

        Thanks Alex. Shame it’s only on level 24. I used to work in the Tower (when it was NatWest’s) and the views from the 40th flr & above were amazing.

  • zuriga

    I often recommend Min Jiang to people. The view is spectacular, especially with the long, summer evenings. Plus, the food is good!

    • Andrea Liu

      The Peking duck is delicious!

  • Rachel

    How is city social the highest restaurant in the city of London when it’s about 200 metres from duck & waffle?

    • alexcoady

      Border of the City of London separates the two

      • HoosierSands

        Does it?

        • alexcoady

          No, actually. haha. I was thinking of the Shard.

          • MattFromLondonist

            Heron Tower is definitely in the City. I’ve reworded the City Social section. Think it was an editing error.

  • miko_gooner Gazeta.pl

    Ever thought about teaming up with Pindrop App, so that you could make Top10 lists into pins easy to import into a smartphone? I love your lists and it would be great to have them saved for later.

    • http://www.pindropapp.com Pin Drop

      Thanks!

  • David

    Sorry folks but not comparison with http://www.lebua.com/sirocco in bangkok

    • https://soundcloud.com/inhead-kay/ Kay

      this was featured in The Hangover 2 right?

  • https://soundcloud.com/inhead-kay/ Kay

    I’ve been to D&W several times, love their breakfasts. But honestly, I only go there as an excuse to enjoy the splendid views. When its nice & sunny you can see as far afield as Croydon and Essex. The urbanist in me goes crazy for this stuff and starts wandering around the restaurant like a kid attempting to sneak pics, much to annoyance of bankers and stock traders who are trying to have “serious” client meetings.

    Tip: try to see if you can sneak into the private room when its not in use, you can see all of west London.