RestaurantsLondonHammersmithW6

survey result

Summary

£114
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Yes, the food is simply presented, yes, there are paper tablecloths, yes, it’s expensive… but it’s worth every penny!!” That’s still the winning verdict on Ruth Rogers’ world-famous canteen, where it’s “so difficult to get a table”, despite a hard-to-find location in a Hammersmith backstreet, and relatively humble – albeit “slightly starry” – premises. (The site started life as the staff canteen for husband, Richard Rogers’ architectural practice). That “this is the restaurant that pioneered the idea of produce first”, further enthuses its devotees, many of whom are longtime regulars (“we’ve been coming for 25 years and have never been disappointed”). And yet, despite all the positives, many diners just can’t stomach a bill that can seem “terrifying”, or even plain “ludicrous”. Hence, for the umpteenth year, it’s voted London’s most overpriced restaurant by the sizeable minority who feel “it may be absolutely exceptional every time, but on occasion, you do think they’re just taking the piss”. Is there a way of reconciling these two competing camps? A fair middle view is as follows: “£540 for four people with one bottle of cheapish wine and a couple of gins. Can a basic Italian meal be worth that much? Well, on a beautiful summer evening on the terrace by the Thames, it feels like being on holiday: so overpriced it may be… but worth every penny!”

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”).

For 31 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.
Ashley d
We had lunch in the private room, The rest...
Reviewed 12 days ago

"We had lunch in the private room, The restaurant was absolutely full but the service was excellent. The only criticism is that the toilets are totally inadequate for the number of diners, resulting in queues to use them. The food is good without being outstanding but the location and buzz make up for any deficiencies."

Report this comment
Julia R
Ridiculously expensive for what it is...
Reviewed 3 months, 21 days ago

"Ridiculously expensive for what it is"

Report this comment
Andrew D
I was somewhat disappointed. It's very nice...
Reviewed 8 months, 18 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! "

Report this comment
A M
An enchanting lunch on a lawn beside the Th...
Reviewed 9 months, 3 days ago

"An enchanting lunch on a lawn beside the Thames on a sunny summer's day"

Report this comment
Hayley S
Institution of a restaurant, always wanted ...
Reviewed 9 months, 4 days ago

"Institution of a restaurant, always wanted to got and was a great visit for my birthday."

Report this comment
Anis J
Very overpriced....
Reviewed 9 months, 27 days ago

"Very overpriced."

Report this comment
Have you eaten at The River Café?
Post your own review of The River Café and contribute to our annual restaurant review guide.
Post your own review

Prices

Availability 2 courses 3 courses coffee included service included
Lunch   £42.00

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Veggies Pudding
£29.00 £42.00 £8.00 £14.00
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £36.00
Filter Coffee £6.00
Extras  
Service 12.50%
Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London, W6 9HA
Opening hours
Monday12 pm‑9:30 pm
Tuesday12 pm‑9:30 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑9:30 pm
Thursday12 pm‑9:30 pm
Friday12 pm‑9:30 pm
Saturday12 pm‑9:30 pm
Sunday12 pm‑3 pm

Best Italian restaurants nearby

The Dartmouth Castle
British, Modern restaurant in Hammersmith
£58
   ££
3
Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
Riva
Italian restaurant in Barnes
£65
  £££
3
Good
4
Very Good
2
Average
L’Amorosa
Italian restaurant in Ravenscourt Park
£58
   ££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
3
Good

Best similarly priced restaurants nearby

Pétrus
French restaurant in Knightsbridge
£115
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
Corrigan’s Mayfair
British, Modern restaurant in Mayfair
£117
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
3
Good
Kai Mayfair
Chinese restaurant in Mayfair
£114
£££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
3
Good