London’s 10 most overpriced restaurants (scroll through our gallery)

  • 1 The River Café W6
    “Eye-wateringly expensive, but brilliant”, say disciples of this worldfamous Italian café (part of a Thames-side wharf in a Hammersmith backwater), for whom the “sophistication” of the “freshest ingredients prepared for maximum flavour” have long put it “in a league of its own” (especially outside on a sunny day). “Cramped” conditions and “brusque” service can “leave a lot to be desired” however, and there are many, many sceptics who – though not disputing that the grub’s good – say prices are just “insane for a bit of al dente pasta”.
  • 2 Oxo Tower Restaurant SE1
    “Stunning view, shame about the food” – year-in-year-out it’s plus ça change at this famous South Bank fixture, whose “rubbish” cooking, “purposeless” service and hefty bills make it nigh on “the worst bang for your buck in town”.
  • 3 The Chiltern Firehouse W1
    “Full of Z-listers, models and wannabe movers-and-shakers”, this achingly hip Marylebone yearling is “so overhyped” it’s hilarious. It’s undoubtedly a “gorgeous-looking” place and “fun” too (especially if you like people-watching), but you pay “silly money” for service that’s “confused” (going on “obnoxious”), and food for which “mediocre would be a flattering description”.
  • 4 Dinner SW1
    “I love a bit of history with my meal!” – Heston’s “self-consciously creative” menu of rediscovered Olde Worlde English dishes is “pure foodie heaven” for fans of this park-side chamber (“lovely views if you get a window table”). Esteem for the place continues to wane year-on-year, however, and to a growing band of refuseniks “what first seemed novel and exciting now seems boring” and “oh-so overpriced”. Top Menu Tips for first-timers – the Meat Fruit (“to die for”) and Tipsy Cake (“divine”).
  • 5 Gordon Ramsay SW3
    Slowly but surely, GR’s Chelsea flagship is clawing its way back into London’s very top tier. As yet, it still inspires too many gripes about a “boring” experience at “stratospheric” prices, but year-on-year the ‘swingometer’ is steadily heading in the direction of its admirers who – lauding Clare Smyth’s “absolutely impeccable” cuisine – say “the bill is eye-watering, but after such a superb meal, you won’t care!” Stop Press – in early October 2015, Clare Smyth announced that she was stepping back, to open her own place in autumn 2016. Her No 2. Matt Abe will succeed her here.
  • 6 Marcus SW1
    Since its March 2014 refit, Marcus Wareing’s celebrated Knightsbridge chamber has lost its momentum. Fans do still extol a “completely fabulous” experience with “cracking” cuisine, but even they often note how “expensive” it is. And there are now far too many critics – citing a “pompous” approach and cooking “lacking wow factor” – who say its prices are plain “outrageous”.
  • 7 Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester W1
    “Never a three-star!” – the Gallic über-chef ’s foodie temple in Mayfair is just “not up to par”; OK, a minority of fans are duly wowed, but for a sizeable majority its “Michelin-by-numbers” cuisine, “characterless” style and ferocious prices create a “distinctly average” experience.
  • 8 Pollen Street Social W1
    Eeeessh! – turns out Jason Atherton isn’t superhuman after all, as falling ratings at his original solo venture give the first hints of growing pains amidst his burgeoning (but hitherto seemingly bulletproof) empire. This, the original Social, still has legions of fans who laud its “utterly inventive” cuisine and “buzzy” (if “downright noisy”) vibe, but its performance has seemed more “generic” and “passionless” of late, with gripes over “unmemorable” meals at high prices, and “conveyor-belt” service.
  • 9 Aqua Shard SE1
    “The views and the loos are amazing… the rest’s not worth it” – that’s the often-damning verdict on the “wondrously designed” but shamelessly “overpriced” vantage point on the Shard’s 31st-floor.
  • 10 (Savoy Grill) The Savoy Hotel WC2
    This “impressive” panelled chamber – once London’s pre-eminent power-dining scene – still looks the part, and can still deliver some “accomplished” traditional British cuisine; prices are “ridiculous” however, especially given the fairly “unimaginative” repertoire.

According to the Harden’s 2016 survey of over 6,750 restaurant-goers, these are London’s most overpriced restaurants where diners get the least bang-for-buck.

The River Café, has the dubious honour of taking up the mantle of London’s most overpriced restaurant for the second year in a row. For some survey reporters itʼs “eye-wateringly expensive, but brilliant”, to others the cost is “just insane for a bit of al dente pasta”.

A refit and relaunch for Marcus Wareingʼs Marcus at the Berkeley last year has done nothing to help its sliding survey ratings. It slipped out of the top 10 Gastronomic Experience list and graced the Most Overpriced top 10 (6) instead. Survey feedback cited far too many occasions of “pompous” cooking, “lacking wow-factor”. And the prices? Well, theyʼre just “outrageous”. Wareingʼs other ventures didn’t fare much better. His attempt to do casual dining at Covent Garden yearling Tredwellʼs was deemed “a let down after such high hopes”, the venue is “bizarre, not relaxing, not cool, not quirky”. And the MasterChef judgeʼs Gilbert Scott, while handy for St Pancras station, is “very average for its elevated price”.

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