Best restaurants in South Bank

Looking for a restaurant on the South Bank? We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, and compiled a handy list of the best eateries along the south side of the river Thames.

Updated on 27 October 2023

Looking for the best restaurants in South Bank London? You've come to the right place. There was once a time when the food landscape was a bit sparse in this part of town, but these days South Bank is packed with brilliant places to eat. Whether you're looking for the best restaurants in South Bank with a view, stunning South Bank rooftop restaurants, a cosy place to stop for lunch or a good restaurant near Waterloo Station for a quick bite, we've got everything you need right here.

Boasting some of London’s most iconic landmarks, South Bank is popular with tourists and Londoners alike. With the London Eye as its centrepiece and places such as the National Theatre, the London Aquarium and the Royal Festival Hall within its boundaries, South Bank really is one of London’s top destinations, teeming with culture.

The South Bank riverside offers a busy, cosmopolitan ambience with visitors from around the world flocking here to enjoy its attractions. These include the South Bank skate park, covered in graffiti and filled with keen, young skaters; vibrant street food vendors showcasing the cuisine of the world; vintage book markets; and street performers.

The never-ending battle of the riversides, with everyone living north of the river claiming it is the best, and everyone living south of the river arguing that, no, in fact, it is the south side that is the best, shows no signs of stopping. But perhaps these restaurants might add to the south’s ammo. The below list of best restaurants South Bank has to offer will, at least, ensure access to the very best eateries situated in this vibrant riverside area of London.

From Indian to European, there’s a riverside restaurant to suit everyone’s tastes. Surrounded by cultural hotspots, theatres, and art galleries, you’ll inevitably find yourself drawn to South Bank, and what better way to fuel up or round off the day with the splendid offering of restaurants in the area. Read on to explore our list of the best restaurants the beautiful riverside haven has to offer.

The Green Room at the National Theatre

The Green Room at the National Theatre

The National Theatre, 101 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PP

Come here for pre- and post-theatre dinners to get you in the mood, with fun prop-laden interiors and a modern brasserie menu of splendid continentally inspired eats, such as sumptuous pumpkin, leek, and chestnut pithivier.
£30 - £49
International
Auberge Sandell Street

Auberge Sandell Street

1 Sandell Street, London, SE1 8UH

Get your fix of French food at Auberge, where you can expect a refreshingly modern and casual approach to cuisine with crab tartare and cod frites. The restaurant also offers sharing cheese and charcuterie boards.
Gillray

Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar

London Marriott County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Southbank, Westminster, London, SE1 7PB

Gillray’s has an impressive menu of aged steaks– some weighing in at 1kg – and tapas-style dishes. Let the view take your breath away as you tuck into a tomahawk with a backdrop of the skyline.
£50 - £79
Steak
British
Afternoon tea
Art Yard Bar & Kitchen

Art Yard Bar & Kitchen

2 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 9JU

Chic and classy Art Yard is the all-day restaurant at The Bankside Hotel. The dining room is big and spacious, and littered with contemporary art from pillar to post, whilst an accessible menu includes everything from a full English to chargrilled cuttlefish with black rice and chorizo.

The Garden Café Lambeth

The Garden Café Lambeth

Lambeth Garden Museum, 5 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, London, SE1 7LB

A beautiful cafe and restaurant in the heart of the Garden Museum in Lambeth, The Garden Cafe is home to some quintessential European cooking of the highest order. Hyper-seasonal and without unnecessary flourish, this remains one of London’s most underrated restaurants.

£30 - £49
Modern European
British
Gourmet Pizza

Gourmet Pizza

Upper Ground Gabriels Wharf, Waterloo, London, SE1 9PP

Head to Gourmet Pizza for some smashing Thameside views to go with your pizza, the menu is replete with classic and creative options from delectable verdure to indulgent trifolata with black truffle oil and mushroom.
Under £30
Italian
Limin South Bank

Limin South Bank

56 Upper Ground, South Bank, London, SE1 9PP

From vibrant Trinidadian food to some seriously good cocktails, Limin is a true slice of Caribbean life on the South Bank. The jerk chicken is legendary in these parts but in truth, there’s loads of excellent stuff on the menu. Or, just drop by for a few of owner Sham Mahabir’s Limin Rum Punches or SHAMgrias.

£30 - £49
Vegetarian
Vegan
Caribbean
Bars
Okan South Bank

Okan South Bank

County Hall, South Bank, London, SE1 7GA

After making a name for itself in Brixton Village, Okan has spread its wings as far as South Bank County Hall. This is more of a canteen-style eatery but serves the same excellent, easy-going Japanese fare, including udon noodle soups, Japanese cocktails and okonomiyaki to die for.

Under £30
Japanese
Passyunk Avenue - Waterloo

Passyunk Avenue - Waterloo

Leake Street, Waterloo, London, SE1 7NN

Philadelphia-inspired Passyunk Avenue doles up cheesesteaks and big diner classics at a serious pace, all washed down with classic American beers. Settle in when there’s some big games in the US for the best atmosphere - Passyunk Avenue shows plenty of NBA, NFL and more whenever it’s on.

£30 - £49
North American
Bars
OXO Tower Brasserie

OXO Tower Brasserie

Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, Southwark, London, SE1 9PH

Catch some breath-taking skyline views from this South Bank perch while dining alfresco above the hubbub of the masses. This restaurant is an excellent choice for all-day dining, any season, where you can feast in style.

£30 - £49
British
Bars
Sea Containers

Sea Containers

20 Upper Ground, Southwark, London, SE1 9PD

Sea Containers promises a tantalising menu of contemporary dining on small and large plates to share, such as seabass ceviche tacos and belly of pork on a bed of black cabbage, drizzled with Armagnac jus.
£50 - £79
International
Lasdun

Lasdun

National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Lasdun sits inside the National Theatre, although it’s no mere stop-off for hungry theatre-goers. The team behind Hoxton’s fabulous Marksman pub have made Lasdun into a faithful tribute to British food, serving oysters by the dozen, outstanding pies, as well as the signature brown butter honey custard tart.

£50 - £79
British
SquareMeal London Top 100
Forza Wine National Theatre

Forza Wine National Theatre

National Theatre Upper Ground, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Forza Wine is one of Peckham’s most popular trendy hangouts, and the follow-up has firmly jumped into the mainstream stratosphere, taking up residence on the huge rooftop terrace at The National Theatre. Expect more of the same no-nonsense, seasonal Italian cooking, as well as easy-drinking mixes to enjoy as you gaze over the Thames.

£30 - £49
Mediterranean
La Gamba

La Gamba

La Gamba, Unit 3, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

As you stroll along the South Bank in the sunshine, a solid, ingredient-led tapas restaurant is just what you want and that’s exactly what you get with La Gamba. You can’t miss it right in front of Royal Festival Hall - and it’s the perfect spot for gorging on croquetas and platters of jamon.

£30 - £49
Tapas
Spanish
Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

21 New Globe Walk, Southwark, London, SE1 9DT

Dining amidst the South Bank’s most famous cultural theatre hotspots makes the Swan one of the coolest pre-theatre options with their classic menu of Britain’s finest dishes, such as braised beef short rib, bursting with flavour.

£30 - £49
British
Brasserie
Bars
Afternoon tea
OXO Tower Restaurant

OXO Tower Restaurant

Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, Southwark, London, SE1 9PH

Sit up high and pretty with an unbelievable view of St. Pauls while you indulge in a quintessentially British afternoon tea or a delectable tasting menu of contemporary continental delights. There’s also a live jazz band.
£50 - £79
British
Hannah Japanese Restaurant

Hannah Japanese Restaurant

Hannah Japanese Restaurant County Hall, Waterloo, London, SE1 7PB

You’ll be in safe hands at Hannah, owned by Daisuke Shimoyama who has trained in Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan and is a certified sake and wine sommelier. Book the omakase experience for a real treat.
Over £80
Japanese
Skylon

Skylon

Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, Waterloo, London, SE1 8XX

Worthy of its SquareMeal silver award rating, Skylon offers great panoramic views of the Thames and a beautifully plated line-up of brasserie classics - think comfort foods made with indulgent ingredients such as braised rabbit lasagna.
£50 - £79
British

Not fussed if it’s north or south? Our list of the best riverside restaurants in London should do you nicely then. Good views of the river are ensured, alongside wonderful, global-spanning food. Or if you're planning a visit to South Bank and you're looking for activities to fill out the day, check out our round-up of things to do in South Bank, including great restaurants, kids activities and hidden gems!

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