London’s 14 Highest-Up Restaurants

London’s 14 Highest-Up Restaurants
Sky High: Aqua in The Shard

London’s dining scene has gone sky high, with restaurants atop towers opening at record speed. We take a look at London's plethora of eateries that are eight floors or more from the ground, and count down London’s highest-up restaurants.

Note: we haven't included bars, that's for another time.

OXO Tower Restaurant

14th highest, 8th floor
Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves recommends the rooftop OXO Tower Restaurant, open since 1996 and sitting pretty on the eighth floor of this riverside building. It may not be the tallest but it is one of the oldest on the list, plus it commands impressive views down the River Thames and across to the City of London.
Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH

OXO Tower Restaurant

Min Jiang

=12th 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

View from Min Jiang


=12th highest, 10th floor
A very different style of eatery to most of the plush restaurants on this list, Frank’s Café 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 reopen again in summer 2018.
95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST

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City Social

11th highest, 24th floor
One of Jason Atherton’s newer restaurants 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

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Galvin at Windows

10th 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

The impressive view from Galvin at Windows


9th 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

The Aqua Shard atrium bar


8th 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. The restaurant itself is split into an East and West side according to the view, with each one featuring a different menu: East is more relaxed, seasonal fare while West is all about the grill. At £55 (£65 with unlimited red or white wine) East's 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

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7th 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

Gazing out the window at Hutong


6th 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. Pop up to the 52nd floor for even higher-altitude views at Gong Bar (which, not being a restaurant, cannot rightly top this list).
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU

Inside Ting

Darwin Brasserie

5th highest, 36th floor
Darwin Brasserie is the main restaurant within the Walkie Talkie's Sky Garden. It serves up classic British dishes which are encouragingly reasonably priced, considering its location — in fact, it's quite possibly the best value option on this list. A modern take on a classic prawn cocktail with a Bloody Mary dressing, and a venison pie are among the highlights which we have sampled. With windows that overlook The Shard and the river, the views are pretty impressive too.
20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY

Darwin Brasserie at Sky Garden

Fenchurch Restaurant

4th highest, 37th floor
The highest eatery in the Walkie Talkie's Sky Garden, the focus at Fenchurch Restaurant is on oysters, seafood platters and caviar — meaning it isn't the most accessibly priced of restaurants. If you're not in the market for 50g of Iranian Royal Beluga caviar at £325, you can also tuck into some more local smoked salmon from east London-based Forman & Son for just under twenty quid.
20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY

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3rd 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

Views over the City from Sushisamba

Searcy's at The Gherkin

2nd highest, 39th floor
Yet another skyscraper entry, Searcy's at The Gherkin sneaks into second place just a single storey behind the top spot. The catch? It's members-only most of the year. However Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves still suggests it as 'open nights' do run frequently throughout the year, allowing paying members of the public the opportunity to dine beneath the dome of London's most famous pickle-shaped building. Keep your eyes peeled on the restaurant's What's On page for public booking nights.
30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP

Searcy's at The Gherkin

Duck & Waffle

London’s highest restaurant, 40th floor
Currently London'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

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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.

Last Updated 08 January 2018

Gregory Botelho

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


What about the restaurant in Tower 42?


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


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


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.


Sorry folks but not comparison with in bangkok


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.