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The Definitive South Bank Restaurant Guide

March 2nd, 2022 | by Tom Harrow-Smith
Sea Containers

The Definitive South Bank Restaurant Guide

Looking for the best spots to eat in South Bank? Here's some of the top foodie destinations in the area covering classic modern British cuisine, a hidden authentic Japanese gem, the only Trinidadian restaurant in central London and much more.

  • Art Yard

    Art Yard is, as the name suggests, all about art. Set inside the design led Bankside Hotel, this informal all-day restaurant serves fresh seasonal food with a creative twist and beautifully presented dishes. Their a la carte menu features mouth-watering delights such as lamb belly with a winter bean cassoulet and miso glazed halibut. It’s a small, sophisticated menu that’s perfect for lunchtime dining in the heart of South Bank as well as brunches and breakfasts for indulgent weekend mornings.

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  • Skylon

    Taking its name from the original iconic structure that was built for the 1951 Festival of Britain, Skylon is South Bank through and through. Situated on the third floor of the Royal Festival Hall, the restaurant offers stunning views of the river through its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. Skylon is definitely somewhere to go if you want to push the boat out, with a menu that celebrates modern British cuisine and a stylish bar, that’s also perfect for pre or post-show cocktails. A regular favourite is their weekly Saxy Brunch every Saturday from 12.30–4.00pm, with free-flowing Prosecco and a live DJ and saxophonist playing whilst you wine and dine.

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  • OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie

    The award for the best views from a South Bank restaurant undoubtedly go to OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, which is found on a rooftop balcony of this iconic London building, and this is definitely a case of the food on offer living up to the scenery! Split into two different spaces, the restaurant and brasserie serve up different but equally delicious menus featuring fantastic modern British cuisine. In the Brasserie, Head Chef Keir Barry has crafted a modern menu that champions the best local and seasonal produce with a selection of dishes cooked over charcoal on the Josper grill. Whilst at the Restaurant, you’ll find stunning plates from some of the best seasonal British produce, with a menu created by Executive Head Chef Jeremy Bloor and an extensive wine list hand-picked by Head Sommelier Diego Muntoni. Also on offer are luxurious afternoon teas served on weekends.

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  • Sea Containers Restaurant

    A relaxed dining experience with stunning views across the river Thames, celebrating seasonality and ingredient-led cooking, making it suitable for any occasion. Designed by visionary Tom Dixon, Sea Containers Restaurant is an all-day dining experience along the River Thames. With a menu designed to be shared, the food offering celebrates seasonality and ingredient-led cooking, making it suitable for any occasion. Expect a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere and engaging staff, who create memorable experiences.

    Mid-weeks are a calm, relaxed, intimate affair. The weekend vibe is, well, what a weekend vibe should be – epitomised by their Grey Goose bottomless Bloody Mary or Prosecco brunch offering.

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  • Gillray's

    If steak is what your after, look no further than Gillray’s, situated in the atmospheric Marriott County Hall, the former home of the Greater London Council. The building itself is steeped in history, and it’s not hard to feel like you’re getting the full London experience with riverside views that look over to the House of Parliament and Big Ben. All of Gillray’s meat is 100% British sourced, primarily from Kent and Essex farms and they work with 8th generation Butchers Darragh and Michael O'Shea to select the very best cuts. Whilst steak is of course high up on the menu, make sure you also give their roasted bone marrow a try for a real unctuous treat – you won’t regret it. And afterwards, make sure you wash it down with a drink from their renowned gin bar, featuring over 100 types of Britain’s favourite tipple!

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  • Wahaca

    OK, I’m sure for many of you, Wahaca needs no introduction. Afterall, it’s probably everyone’s favourite Mexican chain, the brainchild of the brilliant former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers. Her passion for Mexican food goes a long way back, which is easy to tell from the wide ranging menu, full of tasty morsels, from tacos, quesadilla’s and more. Wahaca’s sharing menu’s are great if you’re dining as either a small or large group, with plates often coming out in a Tapas style where at times it seems like you’ve ordered a non-stop conveyor belt of food – certainly no complaints here! What sets this Wahaca out above the rest though is it’s location, perched atop Queen Elizabeth Hall and built out of shipping containers, it’s quickly become part of the iconic South Bank aesthetic people love!

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  • Okan South Bank

    When you step into Okan County Hall, you feel like you’re stepping into a traditional canteen in the back streets of downtown Osaka - and the food certainly matches the authentic decor. Owner and founder Moto Priestman aim was to recreate her own slice of down-town Osakan childhood, with good food, free flowing sake and good company in traditional canteen style eateries. The aim was to show to London that there was more to Japanese food to just sushi and you won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer here, featuring steaming bowls of ramen, noodle and rice dishes aplenty.

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  • Mamuska

    In the mood for some proper authentic Polish food? It’s not the easiest cuisine to find in London, especially at a restaurant as central as Mamuska, but if it’s Pierogi you’re after, look no further. You can find Mamuska just round the corner from Leake Street Arches and a stones throw away from Westminster Bridge and County Hall. Mamuśka serves up traditional, hearty and delicious food from its massive, industrial venue born of steel, brick and concrete. Offering great value for money, this is the place to get authentic Polish food in Central London. Keep an eye out for their famous vodka slushies too, perfect for cooling off in the summer months.

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  • The Green Room

    Set just behind the National Theatre, The Green Room is one of the most popular restaurants in South Bank thanks to its relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and simple yet stylish, delicious menu that’s guided by sustainability. The building itself is set within a single-storey, timber framed pavilion designed by Benjamin Barfield Marks and won the top award in the temporary category of the New London Architecture Awards in 2015. Surrounded by a beautiful covered garden, it’s a perfect summer hang out spot with a varied cocktail menu and their wood fired pizzas are arguably the best in South Bank.

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  • Limin' Beach Club

    At the other end of Gabriel’s Wharf, the vibe changes all together to the vibrant sounds and flavours of the Caribbean. Limin’ Beach Club is ran by Sham Mabhir, who started this as a pop-up in Central London before moving to a permanent spot in South Bank in 2020 where it’s fast become one of the most popular independent restaurants in the area, earning rave reviews, including from the renowned food critic Jimi Famuwera. Limin’ Beach Club is a personal mission for owner Sham, to recreate the food of his youth growing up on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The result is a menu that’s all about sharing with friends and family, with small bites and larger dishes that the whole table can get stuck into, and over half is naturally vegan too! Fun loving Sham regularly hosts parties, music nights, rum tastings (from their own distillery) and bottomless brunches, which are particularly great in the summer months when you can sit outside on their very own sandy beach!

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  • Banh Bao Brothers

    Just a minutes walk away from Mamuska is Banh Bao Brothers, located in the graffiti clad arches of Leake Street, which perfectly matches the trendy vibe of these tunnels, doused in neon lights and cherry blossom. A self-tyled ‘Pan-Asian Tapas’ restaurant, at Banh Bao, don’t expect your usual Asian dining experience, instead embrace the Filipino style of Salo-Salo, which is all about sharing and feasting together. The menu includes yummy treats such as popcorn chicken and wok fried chilli, garlic prawns, and of course, as the name suggests, a wide variety of bao buns from pork belly and braised lamb.

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  • The Garden Cafe

    Don’t be fooled by the name, Garden Café is an award-winning restaurant based at the historic Garden Museum on the far reaches of South Bank, opposite Lambeth Palace. With wonderful leafy surroundings set in an impressive bronze and beaten brass pavilion. The restaurant interiors are inspired by its leafy and calming surroundings, with a menu courtesy of resident head chef George Ryle (ex-Primeur, Padella), who serves up a weekly changing modern-British and European menu of light, fresh and seasonal dishes. The cafe is open seven days a week for lunch, with a dinner service on Tuesday and Friday, in line with the museum’s events schedule.

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  • Ping Pong

    If it’s unlimited dim sum you’re after, then you’re in the right place. Ping Pong’s happy hours are one of the worst kept secrets in South Bank, where every weekday between 3pm – 6pm, you can enjoy half-price drinks and dim sum on over thirty of their best menu items – including delicious dumplings, classic crispy menu, sweet bites, handcrafted cocktails, mocktails, wine bottles and beer. Located just off Festival Walk within the Southbank Centre, it’s conveniently located if you’re looking to fuel up before a show. Weekends are big here too, with bottomless brunches and Dim Sum Sunday’s!

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