The gleaming glass and steel towers of Canary Wharf: it isn’t all power lunches and after-work booze-ups, you know. Inside and among glittering skyscrapers, an array of restaurants offer cuisines from around the world. Independents are few and far between, but eschewing the big chains, there's still plenty of scope for a satisfying meal.
Where to eat breakfast in Canary Wharf
Home to one of London’s most popular all-day breakfasts, The Breakfast Club, offers strong options like eggs done every possible way, bacon-topped pancakes and, later in the day, fried chicken. The Northern Soul-inspired venue also hosts a secret cocktail bar, Dr Kluger’s Olde Towne, and a variety of club nights, overseen by a dazzling disco ball.
Belgian chain, Le Pain de Quotidien is always reliable for freshly baked goods. The focus on organic ingredients and ancient grains make it a healthy choice for the first meal of the day. French-themed café, Paul, is another safe bet for breakfast. The continental pastry and cake selection is almost dizzying, with classics like pain au chocolat rubbing shoulders with more substantial options, such as ham and omelette-stuffed croissant.
Tom’s Kitchen has favourites like full English, shakshuka and avocado on toast covered, while highlights include truffled eggs benedict and seasonal specials. Brunch is a main event, particularly on the weekends, when families are encouraged to come enjoy the ‘kids eat for free’ offer, alongside a toy-filled playroom.
Coffee shops in Canary Wharf
There are branches of the usual coffee behemoths (Costa, Starbucks etc.) all over Canary Wharf. But for something a little different, the team at Notes Coffee Roasters & Wine Bar take your caffeine kick to another level. Baristas only use beans prepared at Notes’ own east London roastery to ensure that quality is consistent. The venue, which has locations in all major office districts, also offers all-day dining, craft beer and wine.
Another well-known London specialist, Taylor St Baristas offers weekly guest beans and selections from its Deptford roastery. Nearby, for a feel of Italy, Café Brera has been serving the Canary Wharf clientele since the area opened its first offices. Its riverside location makes a peaceful setting for meetings. A Milanese-inspired menu of snacks and pasta extend the venue’s offering to lunches and dinners.
Where to eat lunch in Canary Wharf
It goes without saying that the most of the major grab-and-go chains are well established in this area of London. With such high footfall, places offering quick bites thrive. One of these is the independent Garbanzo’s, which features Middle Eastern-inspired snacks and salads. Another popular lunch spot is Birleys salt beef bar.
With a range of fresh food to eat in or take away, the sandwiches in particular at Birley’s have gained a loyal following. Carved meats like salt beef, porchetta and pastrami come stuffed between hunks of fresh bread. For even more hearty nourishment, Ippudo ticks the box with its take on Hakata-style ramen. Like its Covent Garden flagship, the tonkotsu, chicken and vegetarian broths all come with house-made noodles and a variety of customisable options.
From solo noodles to sharing plates, Iberica’s tapas are consistently strong. The restaurant’s extensive menu of Spanish classics can be enjoyed al fresco in Cabot Square, in the summer, or in the relative warmth of Iberica’s cavernous interior in the colder months. A particular highlight is the white sangria.
A stone’s throw away, Silvio Ursini’s Obicà Mozzarella Bar has some of the tastiest snacks around. Of course, mozzarella is the star of the show, available in three different incarnations. But pizzas and other dishes are also worth trying.
Relative newcomer, The Ivy, transports the gentle elegance of the original branch to this East End location. The attractive space is bright and airy, with art-filled walls and an orangery. Similarly atmospheric, the Canary Wharf branch of Gaucho serves grilled meats for all occasions.
Where to eat dinner in Canary Wharf
Amerigo Vespucci is one of the oldest independently-run restaurants in Canary Wharf; it's been serving traditional Italian cuisine for more than two decades. The tagliatelle with seared scallops, crab and green peppercorns is a firm favourite, as is the pea and shallot ravioli in mint butter.
Slick Chinese restaurant, Royal China is famous for its lunchtime dim sum but the signature dishes — from each of the head chefs of the brand’s other locations — for dinner are just as good. Nearby, Sticks n Sushi is also perfect for banqueting. The combination of sushi and freshly grilled skewers make it a favourite for large groups.
Another Japanese-inspired option is Roka which also offers an evening menu designed around robotoyaki. The lamb cutlets and asparagus are worth a try. For a south Asian fix, Chai Ki offers seasonal dishes showcasing traditional Indian flavours, with a contemporary flourish. It also houses a toddy shop with a selection of the popular palm liquor.
Like its more central sister-sites, Boisdale is all old-world charm and luxury. The Scottish-themed fine dining venue has four private rooms, a live music area and an oyster bar and grill with a terrace. With Jools Holland as a patron, Boisdale is set apart as an eatery with a programme of jazz music at its core. It is also home to more than 1,000 bottles of whisky, and a cigar library that enthusiasts will love. More whisky and oysters can be enjoyed at the whopping 11,500 sq ft Big Easy, which also specialises in barbecue — this time to a blues soundtrack
Minutes away, D&D’s Plateau is also an atmospheric dinner destination for modern French classics. Another French institution, singular in its simplicity, is the no menu, no reservation Le Relais De Venise L’entrecôte, which only serves a green salad starter and a main of steak-frites, drizzled in a secret green sauce.
Pubs, bars and gastropubs in Canary Wharf
City staples, Slug and Lettuce, All Bar One and Corney & Barrow occupy some of the most central sites in Canary Wharf — and all heave with the after-work crowd almost seven days a week. Drake and Morgan’s popular bars are also represented twice with The Parlour and The Sipping Room.
Other venues nearby include the chic 1950s-themed The Pearson Room, with its seasonally inspired cocktails and the intimate Nicolas Wine Bar, which offers more than 300 wines to try by the bottle (and 20 by the glass). Specialist drinks can be found at G&Tea, at the Marriot Hotel, which serves tea-infused gin alongside a menu of grilled food. Also on West India Quay, is Rum & Sugar which offers a wide selection of rums, rum cocktails and Caribbean cuisine. For mezal, Wahaca’s Canada Square bar is the place to go.
To watch all the sports, there is one place that stands out from the rest. The mighty Sports Bar & Grill has its largest site at Crossrail Place, impressively decked out with screens to catch the best in British, European and American games. While, for a no-frills pub experience, Fuller’s pub, The Merchant, offers a riverside view with a wide selection of craft and gluten free beers.