The Handbook
The Handbook

75th floor restaurants are pretty much two-a-penny in New York, a table with a view is a pre-requisite in, say, Hong Kong. But in a low-rise city like London, well, the options are a little more, um, thin on the ground. However, if you are keen to get up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear, etc. Ever wondered how many different ways there are to rave about basically the same view? Read on…

Min Jiang Restaurant

Not exactly soaring, but despite being an architectural dwarf at just 10 storeys up, Min Jiang nevertheless commands an impressive view thanks to being on the edge of Kensington Gardens. The view across Hyde Park beyond and much of London is impressive, as is the food. The Peking Duck is some of the best outside of China, and if you want to discover that Chinese wine is actually surprisingly drinkable, head to Min Jiang.

Where: Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, W8 4PT, United Kingdom
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.4 miles)
Website: www.minjiang.co.uk

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard brings all the magic powers of Aqua (see Aqua Nueva and Aqua Kyoto, over on Regent Street, some of our favourite low-level restos) and literally elevates them. 31 storeys, that is. The view is superb, as you’d expect from the unbeatable vantage point and one of London’s most iconic towers, while the modern British menu shines despite hubbub around the view and location.

Where: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Website: www.aquashard.co.uk

Hutong

A hutong is a narrow alley, generally found in northern China, particularly Beijing. Which isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you look at The Shard. But the culinary experience of Hutong, on level 33 of the tallest building in Europe, certainly is reminiscent of some of the most authentic Chinese cuisine around.

Where: Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Website: www.hutong.co.uk

Oblix West

We’re still up The Shard, this time on the 32nd floor and make no mistake, you’ll be enjoying steak. That and, obviously, the view, which is far reaching and, obviously, impressive. The urban rotisserie and grill restaurant is worth checking out for the meat alone, but they also serve a mean tea, and given the price of getting a tourist ticket to the top of the tower, top tip: it makes far more sense to book in for a spot of tea at Oblix instead!

Where: The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, Southwark, SE1 9RY
Website: www.oblixrestaurant.com

Duck & Waffle

It’s ironic that in an age when city towers vye for instant name recognition (The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie, The Shard) Heron Tower is out name-recognitioned by both its restaurants. SUSHISAMBA and Duck & Waffle can both claim to be some of the best known restaurants in the city, and at Duck & Waffle the cuisine is eponymous with the establishment’s quirky name. As well as their signature dish of duck and, you guessed it, waffle, the restaurant serves a varied menu (check out the pig’s ears) and far reaching views just a little farther reaching than those of neighbour SUSHISAMBA, which is a floor below.

Where: 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
Website: www.duckandwaffle.com

City Social

Tower 42 is the original city tower. Your parents probably call it the NatWest tower, and although the bank has long moved away from its former HQ, it left an indelible mark: the entire building is the shape of the logo; like a giant stick of NatWest rock. Jason Atherton has the keys to the restaurant atop the skyscraper (or near the top, at least) and has created an art deco restaurant on the 24th floor that’s a must for anyone looking for fine dining and fine views.

Where: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
Website: www.citysociallondon.com

Sky Garden

Sky Garden is a garden… in the sky. The actual sky. The vast, curved, Mercedes melting, canopy of The Walkie Talkie gives way to a dining and entertainment space that’s a genuine pleasure. And within that, Fenchurch Restaurant is the literal pinnacle, sitting above the action below and serving a refined menu of British contemporary food.

Where: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF, UK
Nearest station: Monument (0.2 miles)
Website: skygarden.london

Searcys at The Gherkin

The Gherkin is one of London’s most iconic buildings, the design of Sir Norman Foster and instantly recognisable for its phallic, gherkin-esque shape. Until recently the restaurant, at the pinnacle (where the stalk would go, were it an actual gherkin), was the preserve of the insurance brokers and suchlike that occupy the building, but Searcy’s have now opened it up to the public, but now the restaurant (Helix) and bar (Iris) are free-for-all. And the increasingly crowded skyline isn’t much of the problem as the tower still offers some of the best views in the city.

Where: 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), Saint Mary Axe, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0.2 miles)
Website: www.searcysatthegherkin.co.uk

SUSHISAMBA

SUSHISAMBA really is the Heron-ine of city dining, with it’s massive dining space being nearly as breathtaking as the outdoor terrace all up the Heron Tower. Arrive by glass elevator (hello Willy Wonka) and enjoy the vista while tucking into some nikkei bites that are among the best in town.

Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Website: www.sushisamba.com

Galvin at Windows

You’d better get a window seat at Galvin At Windows, partly because you’ll miss part of the point if you don’t, but also because the view is unsurprisingly rather stunning. As, of course, is the Michelin starred French-Korean menu, courtesy of Head Chef Joo Won. The fantastic fusion food can only be matched by the far-reaching views from the 28th floor of the Hilton Park Lane.

Where: 22 Park Ln, London W1K 1BE, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
Website: www.galvinatwindows.com

Bōkan

If it ain’t Bokan, fix it! Marketing team at Bokan, you can have that one for free. But there’s some truth in it, the Canary Wharf restaurant not only towers above the East End, but also sports a roof terrace and two AA Rosettes. Occupying floors 37 and 38 of 40 Marsh Wall, its the tallest public eatery in Canary Wharf.

Where: Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf, E14 9TP
Website: www.bokanlondon.co.uk