Waterloo restaurants, breakfasts, lunches, pubs, bars, cafés and more.
Waterloo’s dining and drinking establishments are frequented by a pretty even mix of commuters, office workers, South Bank tourists and locals, encouraging a diverse range of places and styles. Steer clear of the tourist traps and make the most of vibrant street food, character-filled boozers, old caffs and trendy coffee shops.
NOTE: we're defining Waterloo as the area immediately around Waterloo station plus the South Bank and the areas stretching from the station towards Lambeth North and Southwark stations.
If you’re after a Full English, you’ll find an excellent — if pricey — version at independent deli Greensmiths on Lower Marsh, made with top quality ingredients including sausages and bacon from The Ginger Pig. Riverside 2 restaurant on Kennington Road also does a good version, allowing you to choose exactly the components you want. Greasy spoons The Chunnel Bar and Marie’s Café — both on Lower Marsh — are cheap, cheerful and serve all day.
Street food is your best bet for lunch in Waterloo, and there's one place to head to: Lower Marsh Market has a range of stalls selling international food-to-go around lunchtime every weekday (with the biggest range on Fridays).
If you're after something sweet, pay a visit to Konditor & Cook on Cornwall Road for indulgent cakes and brownies.
Waterloo’s food scene is an international one. Bright-flavoured Cuban dishes are enhanced by a party atmosphere and punchy mojitos at Cubana; live music sets the scene for traditional Spanish tapas at Meson Don Felipe; and sister restaurants Ev and Tas serve vibrant, healthy and veggie-friendly dishes influenced by the meze of Turkey and the Mediterranean. Thai curries are low in price but highly rated at Marie’s Café, an unremarkable-looking greasy spoon around the corner from the station that’s become a bit of a local institution. RSJ, tucked away on Coin Street, serves well-made French and European classics.
Worth a visit is Assado, set in a hotel on Waterloo Road. It’s another restaurant from Cyrus Todiwala — who also runs Café Spice Namasté near Tower Hill — and pulls together elements of Goan, Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine.
Something special — fine dining
Skylon, set in the Southbank Centre overlooking the Thames, is probably Waterloo’s most celebrated restaurant. It doesn’t come cheap and feels a little stuffy these days — it’s been around since 1951 — but still delivers the goods. Italian restaurant La Barca is similarly set in its ways and all the more charming for it — think photos of celebrities lining the walls and zabaglione cooked at the table. Not far from Southwark station, towards London Bridge, is Gordon Ramsay’s energetic Italian restaurant Union Street Café.
There are two gastropubs that really stand out from the crowd in Waterloo. Anchor & Hope on The Cut serves pared-back British dishes, often making use of unusual cuts of meat, while The Three Stags close to Lambeth North station on Kennington Road is one of the capital’s most sustainable pubs and the quality of ingredients really shows through. Both pubs feature in our selection of London’s Best Sunday Roasts.
There’s something of a coffee revolution going on in Waterloo — or more specifically on Lower Marsh. Scooter Caffé has been a go-to café and bar for years, thanks to its eccentric, scooter memorabilia-filled design, resident cats and decent brews. Four Corners and Love & Scandal — both with better coffee than the former — have opened up on the same street.
Waterloo is well equipped for sinking a few pints. The King’s Arms on Roupell Street serves real ales in traditional surrounds, The Understudy at the front of the National Theatre offers fancy beer and river views, and The Crown & Cushion near Lambeth North station could be among the capital’s finest and most atmospheric Irish pubs — so you can count on a perfect Guinness. Visit our pub database to see more recommendations in the area.
Cocktail bars aren’t one of Waterloo’s strong points, but you needn’t go without. Both The Pit Bar underneath The Old Vic theatre and The Cut Bar at The Young Vic serve the classics, while Cubana is a master of the mojito and Scooter Caffe does excellent negronis and spritz. The rather brilliantly named Café Del Marsh tends to be open late serving wines, beers and spirits and mixers.
The proximity to Waterloo station means there’s no shortage of fast food chains offering late night eats, but we’d pay a visit to Capital Kebab House on The Cut for a proper Turkish kebab with homemade hummus, either to eat in or take away. It’s open until 3am.