RestaurantsLondonHammersmithW6

Breaking news

November 2020: news from Richard Vines of Bloomberg of a new restaurant featuring Ruth Rogers' favourite dishes. Sylvia's will be right next door, open evenings only, and will serve a "simple" three-course meal for £60, with plant-based mains.

survey result

Summary

£104
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Ruth Rogers’ “thrilling” canteen, in an “out-of-the-way” Hammersmith backstreet (originally founded to serve husband, Richard’s, architectural practice) has won global renown on the back of “perfectly seasoned” Italian dishes “of such bare simplicity the quality of the phenomenal ingredients truly sing”. “On a hot day, there’s no better spot in London” than its “delightful” outside terrace near the Thames; and in cooler weather, its “faithfully preserved 1990s-chic” interior, though “tightly packed”, mostly gets the thumbs-up too – “bathed in light at lunch, or with a certain buzzing energy in the evening”. It’s the “ferocious prices”, though, which bitterly divide reporters, and which yet again win it No. 1 billing in our list of Most Overpriced restaurants. To its more ardent fans, the situation is clearcut: “forget the haters”“if you think it’s overpriced, you simply don’t understand food!” Very many other diners, however, are badly torn: “I know, I know, I know: it’s an institution, a pioneer, an icon! And I value it hugely for its contribution to the London scene. The room is still one of my favourites. The food is delectable. But let’s be honest: we have many excellent Mediterranean restaurants all across town nowadays, and a grilled piece of fish, a slice of lemon tart, and a glass of Vermentino isn’t really worth half-a-week’s wages!!”

Summary

£104
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Ruth Rogers’ “thrilling” canteen, in an “out-of-the-way” Hammersmith backstreet (originally founded to serve husband, Richard’s, architectural practice) has won global renown on the back of “perfectly seasoned” Italian dishes “of such bare simplicity the quality of the phenomenal ingredients truly sing”. “On a hot day, there’s no better spot in London” than its “delightful” outside terrace near the Thames; and in cooler weather, its “faithfully preserved 1990s-chic” interior, though “tightly packed”, mostly gets the thumbs-up too – “bathed in light at lunch, or with a certain buzzing energy in the evening”. It’s the “ferocious prices”, though, which bitterly divide reporters, and which yet again win it No. 1 billing in our list of Most Overpriced restaurants. To its more ardent fans, the situation is clearcut: “forget the haters”“if you think it’s overpriced, you simply don’t understand food!” Very many other diners, however, are badly torn: “I know, I know, I know: it’s an institution, a pioneer, an icon! And I value it hugely for its contribution to the London scene. The room is still one of my favourites. The food is delectable. But let’s be honest: we have many excellent Mediterranean restaurants all across town nowadays, and a grilled piece of fish, a slice of lemon tart, and a glass of Vermentino isn’t really worth half-a-week’s wages!!”

Summary

£97
 ££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“An amazing place that’s still full on a midweek winter evening after 30 years” – Hammersmith’s world-famous, riverside Italian shows no sign of running out of steam: “it still feels fresh and contemporary”, “Ruthie Rogers herself is still there doing some of the cooking”, and it remains a standard-bearer for “the simplicity and clarity” of its Tuscan cuisine. The perennial elephant in the room here is “wallet-busting” prices, which regularly win this W6 legend the survey’s booby prize as London’s Most Overpriced Restaurant. Even so, most reporters are inclined to be forgiving: they “love the place despite the absurd cost”, particularly those who appreciate “the very best, carefully sourced ingredients”; who adore the “helpful staff”; or who acclaim “the glorious outside terrace in summer”, which “can’t be matched”. A sizeable minority, though, “know all the arguments as to why the place is worth it… but don’t agree”. A prime gripe for those who feel the most taken for a ride is the “crazy bills you get for sitting in what’s basically a big canteen”: while fans applaud this egalitarian set-up as “a perfect mix between formality and informality”, the less charitable find it “noisy” and “crammed in” (“my chair was frequently banged into by waiters squeezing past”).

Summary

£97
 ££££
3
Good
3
Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“The sheer genius and simplicity of always-exciting Tuscan food prepared from ingredients of unparalleled quality” have won global renown for this “unique”, “off-the-beaten-track Italian, in the obscure backstreets of Hammersmith. Its prices, however, are “daylight robbery” – and while its army of fans say that “if you believe it’s overpriced, you don’t get its concept of provenance, care and integrity”, an equally large band of sceptics “appreciate the top-quality sourcing, but still think charges are absurd for rustic dishes (it might be cheaper to fly to Italy for the day, dine and fly back...”). And the atmosphere? “On a summer evening you could not ask for a better location” than its Thames-side terrace, but when it comes to eating inside first-timers can be surprised at how “hectic and noisy” its canteen-like set-up can be; service meanwhile veers from “charming” to “indifferent”. Still, it’s always full, so you can’t blame them” and “if I was a billionaire I’d go every week!”

For 30 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The River Café?

Restaurant details

Highchair,Portions
Yes
18
No dress code
130
Yes

The River Café Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The River Café Restaurant in W6, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The River Café restaurant.
Andrew D
I was somewhat disappointed. It's very nice...
Reviewed 1 months, 8 days ago

"I was somewhat disappointed. It's very nice, but for the vast prices charged, I expect food of the highest standard. And it's not. My grilled squid was too chewy, and served with a vast helping of rocket, massively overdressed, and my steak, meant to be medium rare, was charred on the outside a raw in the middle. The wine list is far too expensive. It's living on its reputation - David Beckham was there! "

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Anis J
Very overpriced....
Reviewed 2 months, 17 days ago

"Very overpriced."

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Prices

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Pudding
£23.00 £39.00 £14.00
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £36.00
Filter Coffee £5.00
Extras  
Bread £0.00
Service 15.00%
Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London, W6 9HA
Opening hours
Monday12 pm‑11 pm
Tuesday12 pm‑11 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑11 pm
Thursday12 pm‑11 pm
Friday12 pm‑11 pm
Saturday12 pm‑11 pm
Sunday12 pm‑5:30 pm

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