London’s Docklands is not only now an integral part of London’s business community; it is also one of the capital’s top dining destinations, boasting a superb portfolio of great restaurants. SquareMeal’s guide to the best restaurants in Docklands features the very finest of Dockland’s dining rooms, ensuring a top meal out in this fast paced London area. With the soaring office blocks of Canary Wharf and Westferry, headquarters to large financial institutions and businesses, the need for a good choice of first class restaurants in ever prevalent. Add to this the fantastic riverside views offered by many of the area’s dining rooms and you’ve got all the right ingredients for a dining sensation.
Every one of the top restaurants in London’s Docklands featured in SquareMeal’s list of the best restaurants in Docklands have been tried and tested by critics and our own customers so check out the reviews with SquareMeal today. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from those who have visited, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.
£50 - £79
30 Westferry Circus, London, E14 8RR
"Perfect views of the Thames" are a given at this branch of the Royal China chain, which occupies a prime site facing a wide sweep of the river: with the Thames Ferry Pier next door, they've also put the terrace to good use. The group is famed for its tip-top, "extremely well-priced" dim sum, so be ready to work your way through exemplary steamed pork and radish dumplings, stuffed beancurd rolls, honey-roast pork puffs and a splendid rice pot of spicy chicken's feet and spare ribs. At teatime, the kitchen switches to a fancier menu of Hong Kong-style food, complete with helpful photographs. Cantonese classics such as crispy aromatic duck and lobster with ginger and spring onion line up alongside lemon chicken, stir-fried Dover sole with spicy salt or stewed pork belly with preserved cabbage. "Excellent service" makes the grade too.
More about Royal China - Westferry Circus
£30 - £49
50 Canada Square Park, London, E14 5FW
Business folk rejoice: Canary Wharf’s reputation as an eating-out desert has been partially improved by the sprouting of a new Ivy. It’s no surprise, then, that the place was packed to the rafters when we dropped by early on a Tuesday evening. But despite the full house, the famed Ivy efficiency was working at full speed among the army of waiting staff weaving their way around the hubbub.
As at other outposts of the fast-expanding chain, the interior still maintains the exclusive feel of the Covent Garden original, making any visit feel like a special occasion. The twist at this Ivy is the lush greenery placed around the inside, which makes up for the lacklustre park outside – though a retractable roof and terrace will add heaps of alfresco appeal when summer rolls around.
But while the ambience and surroundings have transplanted the Ivy magic intact to E14, the cooking has rather less sparkle. The white onion soup with a creamy truffle mascarpone was perfectly serviceable and the crispy courgette fries with a smooth chilli, lemon and mint yoghurt went down well. A tender lamb shoulder was enjoyable enough, but a side order of green beans was far too salty. The chicken Milanese with a truffle cream sauce was decent, but nothing special and the recommended truffle and parmesan chips left us wondering whether everything really needed to have truffle on it. Puddings were better: a tart passion fruit baked Alaska and Instagram-worthy chocolate bombe.
And while the offering couldn’t be accused of being short on choice – there are breakfast, weekend brunch and vegetarian and vegan menus – the regulars that this place is so clearly aimed at may wish that the familiar line-up of tempura prawns, crispy duck salad, chicken Milanese and shepherd’s pie was refreshed more often.
That said, competitive pricing extends to cocktails and the Euro-focused wine list, and with glamour and fun in short supply in Docklands, The Ivy in the Park should put down deep roots in Canary Wharf.
More about The Ivy in the Park
£30 - £49
44 Narrow Street, E14 8DP
At the last count, Gordon Ramsay had 14 restaurants in London and an even more fluid number overseas, so you're probably unlikely to meet him nursing a pint in this one-time watering hole by the Thames. In fact, you're unlikely to find anyone at the bar these days, which has dwindled while the dining side of things continues to expand. The menu here is hardly pushing any gastronomic boundaries, but so long as dishes such as scallops with rosemary mash and crisp pancetta are competently made, no-one's complaining. Vegetarians always have interesting options (perhaps orecchiette with roasted ceps, squash and pecorino), while the carefully considered wine list offers a wide range of styles, as you would expect from Ramsay. It's not going to win him any more Michelin stars, but if you're eating out in Limehouse, narrow your choice down to this one.
More about The Narrow
£50 - £79
Cabot Place West, London, E14 4QT
A reassuring alternative to the polished glass and hard edges of its Canary Wharf neighbours, Boisdale is positively tartan-tastic – there’s even a patterned rug for every knee out on the heated cigar terrace. It might sound doddery, but a businesslike crowd and live music (overseen by ‘sommelier of sound’ Jools Holland) add considerable verve – as does an enlivening selection of over 900 single malt whiskies. The Scottish skew continues on the menu, which opens with fine shellfish, pressed pheasant terrine and a mini roast haggis with neeps ‘n’ tatties – although mains widen the net to include, perhaps, chicken curry with winter squash dhal, poached Cornish sea bass or the house Aberdeenshire steak (served with Thai chilli mayo and the “obligatory” chips). Fittingly, a favourite wine order is “a bottle (or two) of the house claret”, polished off with something from the trolley of British farmhouse cheeses.
More about Boisdale of Canary Wharf
£50 - £79
4th Floor, Canada Place, London, E14 5ER
Excellent staff continue to make all the difference on the fourth floor of Canada Place, where D&D London’s Plateau hybrid could otherwise lack a little soul. On the more casual side, the close-packed Bar & Grill turns out a popular set menu of international plates, but there’s more to hold punters’ interest in the restaurant – a classy, spacious dining room furnished with 20th-century design classics. Food-wise, many dishes now have French roots – from grilled gurnard to pan-fried duckling breast aux épices. We suggest plumping for the six-course tasting menu if you want to settle in for evening and round off with the drama of crêpes Suzette. A solid wine list is bolstered by occasional events and guest tipples.
More about Plateau Restaurant
£30 - £49
£50 - £79
25 Cabot Square, London, E14 4QA
Owner Giovanni loved sailing on the good ship Amerigo Vespucci so much in 1966 that he named his restaurant in its honour. Now into its third decade, this Docklands Italian sees no need to update its menu, so expect a familiar mix of trattoria classics and international staples from days gone by – from calamari fritti, penne all'arrabbiata, saltimbocca alla Romana and calf's liver veneziana to avocado Monte Carlo, lobster thermidor and scampi provençale. Desserts also follow the theme, from strega-spiked pannacotta to crème brûlée. The good food and hospitable Italian service are part of the attraction, but so too is the waterside terrace lined with olive trees. Also, we think this may be the only restaurant in the Docklands where flambéing never went out of fashion – you can have your sea bass set alight like a pirate ship in the Caribbean.
More about Amerigo Vespucci
£50 - £79
3 South Quay, Discovery Dock East, London, E14 9RU
There are plenty of steakhouses in London, but some readers say that Russian mini-chain Goodman sets “the benchmark for quality meat and top-level service”. This branch is less cramped than its siblings, with leather-upholstered banquettes, low-slung lighting and big windows combining to produce an industrial twist on members’ club comfort. Customers who come for “the best steak money can buy” are certainly happy to pay the price for meat that is expertly dry-aged on site, then cooked on the Josper grill. Seek out the blackboard (aka ‘the cut’) to find out what’s best from the ageing room – perhaps Nebraskan USDA, Suffolk Wagyu, Australian Angus or Scottish Hereford. Building a meal around a vast steak takes restraint, but there’s always room for the tiger prawn tempura or lobster and corn chowder. California looms large on the “magnificent” wine list, which is also big on by-the-glass options and showboating larger formats.
More about Goodman Canary Wharf
27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS
“If the sun comes out on the terrace, there’s nowhere better”, declares a fan of The Gun and its striking riverside position. Pints have been poured at this Docklands site for 250 years (famous drinkers include both Lord Nelson and Tinie Tempah), but the boozer passed into London food history as one of Ed and Tom Martin’s first gastropubs. Now owned by Fuller’s brewery, it’s still an “amazing location” full of possibilities for lazy Sundays – try the whole roast Suffolk chicken for two. Otherwise, bangers and mash are a speciality in the bar, alongside beer-friendly snacks including devilled whitebait. The restaurant set-up is smarter, with posh dishes such as seared scallops with brown onion consommé, charred button onions, grilled leeks and white onion purée followed by roast Yorkshire pheasant with sour pear jus or cod fillet with braised fennel fondue. Beers reflect the pub’s ownership, and there’s a full roster of food-friendly wines.
More about The Gun
£50 - £79
12 Cabot Square, London, E14 5NY
Spanish powerhouse Ibérica has moved tapas on from a tick list of ordinary nibbles to specialities worth toasting with a glass of vintage cava. The group’s executive chef Nacho Manzano (winner of three Michelin stars) directs the kitchen, reprising his own signature dishes and putting them alongside some new-century tapas. Current Ibérica classics range from a gazpacho of red berries, beetroot and anchovy to spring onion tempura with lemon aïoli and soy, an oxtail ‘sandwich’ with potato cream, and near-legendary chorizo lollipops with pear aïoli, while the selection of cheeses, cured meats and preserved fish honours Spain’s centuries-old gastronomic traditions. Meanwhile, set menus and sharing dishes (including various paellas) provide another way in to the experience. Drinks cover the spectrum of Spanish booze from beer, cider and sangria to bespoke G&Ts, vermouths, countless sherries and sparklers by the glass.
More about Ibérica Canary Wharf
£30 - £49
16-19 Canada Square, London, E14 5ER
In the same building as Plateau, but two floors down, this spin-off from the Reebok Sports Club pitches its offer firmly in the mainstream, with most of the action taking place in the capacious lounge-like bar – although the dining area attracts a fair crowd with fashionable charcoal grills, sharing plates and the like. The full all-day menu covers a lot of ground, with exotic salads, deli-style sandwiches and pastas (pappardelle with confit rabbit and mushrooms, for example) giving way to classic international favourites along the lines of fish pie, lamb rogan josh, chicken schnitzel or beef bourguignon. To finish, desserts such as cheesecake, apple crumble or chocolate fondant with ice cream pile on the comfort and the calories. Cocktails are a popular call at the bar, while the wide-ranging wine list offers a keenly priced selection by the glass.
More about The Pearson Room
£50 - £79
Novotel Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall
, London, E14 9TP
This three-floor, sky-high restaurant and bar is far sexier than its Novotel wrapper suggests. In contrast to the cheery primary colours of the hotel’s foyer, Bo¯kan is an understated, dimly-lit evening destination which takes its design cues from the Dockland’s rusty, industrial past. Floor 39 is home to a large alfresco drinking terrace and whisky-focussed bar, while below is another bar where you’ll find a lengthy cocktail list. Cheaper than many of London’s other high-rise bars, we found the seaweed-garnished Wharfinger cocktail (cognac, mastic liqueur, bitters and vermouth) to be just as well-made as its Central London rivals. The kitchen is the domain of French chef Aurelie Altemaire, who spent a decade at Joël Robuchon working her way up to head chef. Touches of her home country can be detected across the international menu, from oysters with chanterelle mushrooms and a whole crispy squid stuffed with ratatouille, to its predilection for cheese and charcuterie. We particularly enjoyed the beef tartare, dotted with colourful and peppy sauces and imbued with welcome crispness via shards of sesame brittle. Prices are fair considering the restaurant’s altitude, although the super-polite service was occasionally slow on our visit. The wine list is overly fussy in its organisation, but an obvious effort has been made to provide interest and quality – something we would apply to Bo¯kan as a whole.
More about Bo¯kan at Novotel Canary Wharf
£50 - £79
4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, London, E14 5FW
Serving up high glamour among all that bamboo and polished wood, Roka is the antithesis of a modest Japanese restaurant – and that makes it a natural victor among Canary Wharf’s suited-and-booted client-friendly offerings. Readers love the ambience created by a boisterous, enthusiastic crowd, not to mention the “very attentive service” and consistently top-notch food. The bar specialises in shochu (you can even keep a personalised jar for repeat visits), and there’s a terrace too, but the restaurant would argue that the heart of the operation is the robata grill with its line-up of fire-licked specialities such as sweet potato baked in a bamboo husk or baby back ribs in a spiced ‘master stock’ glaze. Elsewhere, you’ll find well-made modern-day sushi and sashimi, “wonderfully delicious” snacks (black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings, say), and specialities such as cedar-roast baby chicken. If you’re here outside the working week, try the all-inclusive koten brunch.
More about Roka Canary Wharf
£30 - £49
1 Crossrail Place, London, E14 5AR
Along with the accompanying Toddy Shop bar, this offshoot of the Roti Chai mini-chain resides within the striking Crossrail Place. Offering traditional Indian soul food and subtle spicing, the all-day menu conjures up flavours from the subcontinent's coastal drinking dens – from sharing plates of Coorgi pulled pork or burnt chilli chicken with Indo-Chinese sauce to South Indian vegetable korma, baby back ribs with Himalayan chilli rub or Hyderabadi duck with cracked wheat, saffron and rock moss in a brioche bun. Breakfast brings funky snacks and the 'full nashta', while the evening brings more ambitious dishes in the adjoining dining room – think chicken tikka with pear, mint and mango thyme dressing. With saffron-coloured curtains, leather banquettes and a secluded waterside terrace out back, Chai Ki is a welcome escape from E14's commuter conveyor belt.
More about Chai Ki - Restaurant