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2
Tue, 9/28
20:00

Ratings and reviews

#445 of 2,066 Italian in London
#2,420 of 17,239 Restaurants in London
RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

Details

PRICE RANGE
US$27 - US$68
CUISINES
Italian, European
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
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meals, features

MICHELIN Guide's Point of View

Over thirty years since the River Café opened, the ethos here is still very much the same, with superlative ingredients at the centre of everything the...
Read more on MICHELIN Guide
One MICHELIN Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop!
Comfortable restaurant; one of our most delightful places.
Reviews (1,590)
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Traveller rating
681
341
281
133
76
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Reviewed yesterday

Very, very disappointing, I booked the terrace on a Sunday afternoon weeks in advance to celebrate our and my sister's ruby wedding anniversaries. We arrived on time to be told our table was not ready but invited to have drinks on the lawn while we...waited, no problem we thought, however there was no where to sit and nobody to take our drinks order. After waiting 15 minutes without seeing anyone my brother in-law went to find some staff, this set the tone for the whole afternoon. We were seated about 30 minutes later, service was hopeless and the food average considering the high prices. We have eaten so much better in many basic Italian restaurants. Supposedly 'the best Italian restaurant in London' , what a joke, I certainly do not think so. Before we left we asked to speak to the duty manager and were fobbed of with a bottle of olive oil and a cook book !! Don't waste your money !!More

Date of visit: September 2021
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Reviewed 5 days ago

Every aspect of this restaurant we were looking forward to. Brought friends (who are foodies and own a restaurant in the US) and everyone had high expectations. I had called ahead letting them know we were celebrating a 60th bday. From the beginning of the...evening it was a let down. They sat us at a table that would fit 4 people comfortably but squeezed 6 people in. Nobody came to take our drink order for 20 mins. When she finally came, the champagne bucket was put on the floor. and when we wanted refills we had to get up and lift it out of the bucket on the floor to refill. Then we started getting irritated by how infrequently they were coming to the table because we were hungry and felt it was unacceptable how long in-between the waitresses attention. Then the food wasn't special. When we dine at other fine dining experiences, the food presentation is as much the interest as the flavors. but neither was worth talking about. nobody even wanted to take a photo of the food ... again, there was no place to put plates that came so we started putting them on the ground, assuming staff would recognize that SOMEONE needed to come by to remove plates etc. then we'd need cutlery and our food would be cold by the time we received it. If I hadn't known how much hype this restaurant has gotten over the years, I wouldn't believe it. We we broken hearted for the birthday boy who wanted such an exquisite evening and instead got a fat bill with nothing to write about. There is no excuse for such poor service and average food. This isn't a diner, but it felt like one.More

Date of visit: September 2021
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This is a very expensive place. The food is fine but the service we had today was terrible. We had to ask for drinks 3 times before anyone bothered to attend. We had some nice fish and then had to ask for our plates to...be cleared over 30 minutes after we had finished. At these prices I’d expect much, much better service. The staff are pleasant but poorly trained.More

Date of visit: September 2021
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

For wanting to go to this restaurant for so long….it really was an anti climax. The service was average (being polite). And the food was uninspiring and really doesn’t live up to this restaurants name, is it a real shame. One of my least favourite...Italians in london and I’ve been to 100’s. The outside setting is lovelyMore

Date of visit: September 2021
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

But the food really is good too, with an appropriate choice of wines. It appears popular with the well of heel, with nice shoes and handbags in evidence. Service was ok for us, maybe on the slow side but not annoying. It was a bit...chilly - a breezy riverside setting with greenery around, and probably nicer outside than in, if you have the cashmere - which you would. Overpriced as some reviews suggest? Not sure: it's not cheap of course, but it's not in Old Trafford (recommended for other reasons). You ought to try this experience; what lets it down simply is the shore-side location, surrounded by rather dingy terraces, but you won't see those from the back seat, with your privacy glass. Would you pick us up at 10, Robin?More

Date of visit: August 2021
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We have been returning here for many years and it never disappoints.Delicious food,great decor and ambience as is the service.The calamari with chilli is to die for the best I’ve ever tasted.A menu one could never get bored of.Extensive wine list too.Highly recommend.

Date of visit: August 2021
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Reviewed 23 August 2021 via mobile

Not one member of staff asked how the food was. It was delicious and let down terribly by the staff. We were reached over to pour wine and clear plates. There was a lot of striding up and down by staff but no-one really checking...tables.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?1  
Reviewed 8 August 2021

I don't eat out much thanks to CV19 but since travelling is so off and on in the UK we decided we needed a treat and I have wanted to try River Cafe for a long time. Booked two days before for 14.00 on Friday...6 August. When we arrived we were given a friendly greeting and asked if we wanted an inside or outside table. We chose an outdoor table as it was sunny and breezy. I was sort of nervous as you know when you have high expectations and you feel let down - well I didn't want that to happen. Our waiter was a very busy young Italian man. He asked us how we are. I was delighted to be offered tap water. My OH had a glass of wine. I ordered calamari w chili which was delicious and for my main I had scallops which were out of this world. So filling. Some previous reviews complain about portions. These were generous. My husband had risotto (delicious) and the sea bass (which he thought was a bit overcooked). Then we splurged on caramel ice cream and I had afogato (fabulous as it always is). The food really was delicious but I would say the restaurant was so busy so the service was not attentive. I don't need mega service but a bit more of the 'how was everything' would be good. Definitely expensive, definitely the high point of my week.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?3  
Reviewed 7 August 2021 via mobile

We heard great things about the River Cafe and walking past it regularly we fancied trying it for a while. We knew it was a fine dining restaurant but didn’t know it had a Michelin star until after our visit and have to say we...are surprised it has it. On our visit we were welcomed just like in any average restaurant, nothing stood out. We waited at the bar for our table to be available and at the bar there was no staff, so couldn’t place an order for drinks. Anyway the wait was only short and we had a chance to look at the menu, so went to the table ready to order. We sat outdoors which was nice and comfortable despite the wet weather. We ordered drinks and the waiter didn’t know the wine we asked for was available by the glass. We were offered some focaccia with salt and pepper but no olive oil and we had to ask 3 times before we got some. Our starters came quickly and we were happy with the size of the lobster, seemed good value for money, tasty and well presented. The other starter was a pizzetta and SHOCKINGLY overpriced. Although it was good, there is no way we were expecting that for the price we paid. Our mains followed, the mushroom ravioli were very good (though again quite expensive for a small portion), the fish (turbot) came undercooked and when we pointed it out they offered to cook it some more. Not really what you would expect from a restaurant of this level and for a main that was nearly £50. Anyway due to time (it would have taken too long to cook it from scratch) we agreed to have it cooked more and when it came back a piece was missing!! It was tasteless and really not up to our expectations. So we had a chat with the manager and sent it back. He apologised and offered desserts on the house, a gesture we appreciated (hence the 4*). We have to say desserts were the BEST part of the meal (together with the lobster) - they are pricey but portions are very large and a couple could easily share one. They tasted amazing!! The highlight of our lunch. We went to celebrate our 10th anniversary and left a note when booked - there was no acknowledgement of it, which was a bit disappointing. Drinks seemed fairly priced - a side from the espresso which was £3.5! Service was very much hit and miss. While the manager was quick to make up for our bad experience with the fish, our waiter’s customer service skills did not meet the expectations of a restaurant of this level. We interacted with other two or three waiters and all seemed more up to their role. Overall it was a nice experience, but we doubt we will go back. Nothing from our experience made us think it was a michelin starred restaurant, we just found out here on TripAdvisor as we came to leave the review.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Helpful?1  
Reviewed 6 August 2021

As a family group of nine, we celebrated a special birthday in the River Cafe’s private dining room. We all can’t speak highly enough of our visit. There was nothing not to like. The food and wine were all outstanding from the simple antipasti dishes...(the roasted tomatoes were a favourite), to the more complex main courses. Everything was cooked to perfection, with very generous portions. The service at this place really deserves a special mention though as it was faultless, despite having a full house inside and out. Tom, who looked after our party from the initial booking to during the meal itself was brilliant, a credit to the River Cafe. Both Tom and the rest of the front of house team went out of their way to ensure our visit was extra special. You can see why this restaurant is very popular and still going strong over 30 years after it’s conception. Would highly recommend!More

Date of visit: August 2021
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Questions & Answers
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DavidGSW11
12 November 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from SearchForGoodFood | Reviewed this property |
No. Mostly controlled streets. We walked from underground - about 20 minutes. Taxi best bet, if rubbish weather!
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Anon179
1 July 2018|
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Response from 47suetravels | Reviewed this property |
Often the menu is devised around the freshest ingredients available, so my experience has been the menu isn’t fixed but changes when different vegetables, fruits , meats or fish are at their prime, you can always count on... More
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SusanT509
15 April 2017|
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Response from Sanquirico2014 | Reviewed this property |
Hello, it's not too far to be honest, if you are staying in the West End it will take you 15 minutes by taxi or Uber.
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Frequently Asked Questions about The River Cafe

The River Cafe is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 3
  • Atmosphere: 4