The best London canal restaurants for al fresco dining
London truly comes alive when the sun shines. And while there are plenty of impressive restaurants dotted along the Thames for sunset drinks and dinner with remarkable city views, the Regent’s Canal also boasts some very tempting dining spots. Mostly frequented by locals in the know, these London canal restaurants and cafes offer delectable dishes with waterfront locations, but with more of a neighbourhood feel than the Thames-side options.
Every spring and summer, De Beauvoir’s stylish residents descend on this seasonal cafe tucked somewhat anonymously alongside Regent’s Canal. Particularly favoured for late weekend brunches, the menu is constantly rotating to reflect seasonal produce and is updated daily on the chalkboard. Expect playful, Mediterranean-influenced plates from chefs Laura Jackson and Lori De Mori, like smoked mackerel with pickled cherries, Turkish eggs with yogurt and brown butter, grilled cheese sourdough sandwiches with quince jam and almost always a serving of radishes with taramasalata. Initially opening for breakfast and lunch service this month, the restaurant will eventually stay open later for canal-side cocktails and dinner.
42 De Beauvoir Crescent, De Beauvoir, London, N1 5SB
Having worked in the kitchens of The River Cafe and St John Bread & Wine, chef Max Rocha — son of designer John Rocha, brother of Simone — has stepped out on his own with his brand new cafe in Hackney. Since opening last August, the intimate spot on the canal next to Broadway Market has already proved a great success amongst the stylish East London set. Named as a tribute to Max’s paternal grandmother, Cafe Cecilia’s menu centres on simple meat, fish and vegetable dishes, using seasonal ingredients. There is a nod to Rocha’s Irish heritage throughout, with Guinness bread, kippers with brown butter and toast, and lamb leg with anchovy sauce just a few of the dishes that frequently pop up on the constantly changing menus.
Canal Place, 32 Andrews Road, Hackney, London, E8 4FX
Part of the impressive Coal Drops Yard development, this Regents Canal facing restaurant is an experimental joint venture from chef Asaaf Granit and interior designer Tom Dixon. Dixon has transformed the Victorian building into a sumptuous dining spot with an industrial edge. Inside, diners can enjoy a carefully curated menu that pays homage to the traditional Mediterranean style of family dining. Small plates of aubergine with green tahini and pomegranate, hummus with okra and shawarma are served alongside big, shareable plates of octopus with truffle harissa sauce and sea bream with grilled leek spaghetti. There’s an impressive drinks menu, too, with signature cocktails that incorporate spices and fragrances of the Mediterranean.
2 Bagley Walk, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4PQ
This charming seafood spot is tucked on the waterfront in Little Venice, meaning you’ll enjoy your dinner with plenty of colourful barges floating by. Expect seafood dishes with a Mediterranean twist — swordfish carpaccio, calamari and pan fried sea trout are all on offer. There’s also a dedicated shellfish offering of oysters, lobster and fresh prawns, as well as a number of meat and vegetarian dishes, including a primavera risotto. For dessert, embrace English summer traditions and opt for the Eton Mess, piled high with fresh strawberries. The Summerhouse also offers a tempting brunch menu, so stop by for waterfront mimosas, french toast and classic egg dishes.
Opposite 60 Blomfield Road, Little Venice, London, W9 2PA
A go-to terrace spot amongst Maida Vale locals since it opened its doors in 2002, this waterside restaurant is known for offering reliably tasty French and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Opt for the fillet of sea bass with artichokes or rotisserie chicken and a glass of wine, or join the brunch crowd for poached eggs and spiced avocado toast. Cocktails are a big affair here, too, with an extensive menu of classic and signature drinks on offer — alternatively, embrace the Little Venice theme and transport yourself to Italy with a glass of prosecco as you watch the colourful canal boats puff by.
54 Formosa St, Little Venice, London, W9 2JU