nce a business hub that became a ghost town at weekends, in recent years Canary Wharf has flourished into an entertainment destination in its own right. With world-class shopping, a strong programme of public art and a constantly changing roster of events, from big screens showing sport in the summer to the ever-popular winter ice rink, there’s no shortage of things to do for both after-work revellers and weekend visitors.
Canary Wharf is also home to some great restaurants. Whether you’re entertaining clients on a mid-week business lunch or looking for somewhere to catch up with friends, these are the best places to eat in the Docklands.
With locations in Mayfair, Aldwych and Fitzrovia, as well as Mallorca and Dubai, chances are you’re already familiar with the Roka chain of Japanese restaurants. Like the other outposts in the Roka group, the Canary Wharf branch, which overlooks Canada Square Park, specialises in robatayaki cuisine – a dramatic style of cooking in which food is prepared over hot coals in front of diners. A full range of plant-based, seafood and meat options are available, while the menu also includes an extensive list of sushi, sashimi and tempura. To get the full experience, opt for the weekend brunch (bellinis and wine included) or try the tasting menu, which features highlights such as tuna, sea bass and salmon sashimi, black tiger prawn tempura, cedar roast baby chicken, and asparagus with sweet soy and sesame.
Six by Nico
The first Six by Nico opened in Glasgow in 2017 and, such is the popularity of chef Nico Simeone’s regularly changing six-course tasting menu concept, the group has rapidly expanded to locations in Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool and Fitzrovia, with the recently-opened Canary Wharf restaurant representing the latest in the group’s bid for culinary dominance.
The big draw here is both the attractive pricing (£37 for a six-course tasting menu, plus an optional £33 for paired wines) and the fact that once each themed menu has finished its limited run, it will never be cooked again, meaning every visit is a completely new experience. Canary Wharf will be kicking things off with an ode to the Great British chippie, with dishes including Chips & Cheese (potato terrine with Parmesan espuma and curry oil), Steak Pie (Speyside beef shin, burnt onion ketchup and mushroom duxelle) and Deep Fried Mars Bar (chocolate opera with Irn Bru sorbet and chocolate soil). This is fine dining that, mercifully, doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Thanks to panoramic views over Canada Square Park, Plateau has long been a favourite for business dining and private events, but, with its cocktail bar, outdoor terrace and more informal grill, it’s also an excellent place to meet with family and friends. Food is of the classic French variety, with Dover sole meunière, grilled lobster in garlic butter, and creme brûlée all making an appearance on the a la carte menu. There’s also a brilliant value set menu starting at £27 for two courses and bottomless brunch at weekends featuring many of Plateau’s most popular dishes. Just popping in for a drink? Pull up a stool at the elegant bar and choose from an extensive list that includes classic cocktails and a great variety of wines and champagnes by the glass.
If wine is your thing there are few better places to find refreshment than Humble Grape. Occupying a plumb spot overlooking the water, there is no finer way to wile away a sunny afternoon in Canary Wharf than sampling its 400-strong artisan wine list from an al fresco terrace table. As you might expect from a venue that takes this much care over its wine list, provenance plays a big part in the food menu, too. Seasonal produce comes from Bermondsey-based sustainable grocer Natoora, while meat is by Aberdeenshire’s Royal Warrant holder, Donald Russell. Take your pick from the cheese and charcuterie list and pair with as many of the small plates as your appetite can handle. Our favourites are the rosemary and confit garlic baked camembert and marinated lamb chop.
The Ivy in the Park
Ever since uber-restauranteur Richard Caring bought Caprice Holdings in 2015, and with it the original Ivy in Covent Garden, he’s been on a mission to make it one of the most influential (and widespread) restaurant groups in the country. There are now four Ivy Cafes and 32 Ivy Grills & Brasseries spread across the UK, of which Canary Wharf’s The Ivy in the Park is one. Designed, one imagines, with Instagram in mind, this Canada Square spot is a riot of flora and fauna, with tropical plants, botanical prints and glasshouse-style walls punctuated by bright mandarin-hued banquettes. The menu is equally crowd-pleasing, with a huge brunch menu featuring an entire section dedicated to gin and tonics, as well as an all-day menu offering breakfast, afternoon tea and The Ivy classics, including chicken Milanese, steak tartare and, of course, that famed shepherd’s pie.
Manhattan Bar & Grill
Boasting branches of Goodman and Gaucho, Canary Wharf isn’t short of options when it comes to great steak but, in the name of supporting interesting independent restaurants, our pick will always be West India Quay’s Manhattan Bar & Grill. Helmed by executive chef Damian Trejo (whose CV includes cooking for Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama), the emphasis here is on delivering a fuss-free steakhouse experience using top quality ingredients. Beef is of the Aberdeen Angus variety, with fillet, ribeye and New York strip cuts available, while the menu also features a range of other steakhouse signatures and vegetarian options, including salt-baked beetroot, baby back ribs, and king prawns with chilli, tomato and garlic.