We like good food and we like good drink, which means we don't mind spending our money on going out and having a good time every so often. If it's worth the money, that is. What we're less keen about is spending our hard-earned pay cheques on nights out at restaurants and bars where we're forced to stare at nothing but faux brick cladding and our own disappointed reflections.
After all, eating and drinking gorgeous things is vastly improved when you've got something equally ravishing to look at. (Use that line on your next date night, we won't mind. It won't get you anywhere but, by all means, feel free to give it a whirl, Casanova.) Considering that London is blessed with one of the finest skylines in the UK, it seems a shame to spend it cooped up in locations where you're unable to get your eyes around the architectural innovation it's got to offer. Some of the views inside the buildings? They're equally aesthetic.
Whether you're nestled inside a lovely old museum or suspended 100ft over the O2 Arena, here are some places to eat and drink in London that offer you unrivalled views of the city in all its glory.
OXO Tower Restaurant
Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
The OXO tower is a London icon. It's one of those landmarks that's become so ingrained in our vision of the capital that it's easy to forget that you can totally go there and grab a bite to eat. More than just something to tick off the tourist to-do list, the OXO restaurant's food and drink is enjoyable whether you're in the mood for a simple snack or a six course feast. The rooftop restaurant, brasserie and bar are all guaranteed to take your breath away and have you needing a bit of air. Which is good news considering the restaurant's got one of the primest places to light up a Marlboro in London. The 250 foot terrace is excellent stomping ground for looking out over the city, taking stock of your surroundings and exclaiming with your hands on the back of your hips: "God, London's a bit of alright, isn't it?"
Galvin at Windows
22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE
Shakespeare once said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. If that is the case, then you should really get your eyes on Galvin at Windows for a soul-stirring view of London worthy of the bard himself. Windows is a Michelin-starred restaurant with a pretty close-to-the-actual-stars view thanks its perch on the 28th floor of Park Lane's Hilton hotel. It's also capable of delivering truly excellent plates of French haute cuisine. General manager Fred Sirieix (of First Dates fame) will make sure you're well catered for as you dine in style. Galvin at Windows is the perfect venue for a special occasion. Why not do Will proud and try the pre-theatre menu out for size?
7th-10th Floor Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
This rooftop restaurant/cafe/bar/overall great place to be is Peckham through and through. Opened in 2009 by bartender Frank Boxer and chef Michael Davies, Frank's Cafe very quickly found itself embraced by the local community. For good reason, too. Not only is the F&B on offer thoroughly enjoyable, but the venue offers a pretty hard-to-beat view of the city we call home. If you're going to be posting about your whereabouts on social media anywhere come summer, make sure it's Frank's. The bright pink stairwell is as trendy as they come and good vibes, good people, make for a ruddy good time.
London in the Sky
Peninsula Square, North Greenwich, SE10 0DX
Have you ever eaten a meal while suspended 100ft in the air? No, we didn't think so. As far as views of London go, the one that you'll get dining at London in the Sky is pretty unique. Running throughout the summer at the O2 arena with food supplied by The Social Pantry, this is the perfect place to take your breakfast, lunch or dinner whole surveying the entirety of the city. Strap yourself in. It's gonna be a luxury ride.
Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge, SW7 2RL
A good view doesn't always mean a panorama of sky scrapers, y'know. Thanks to its close proximity to some of the finest art and historical artefacts on the entire planet, the café at the Victoria and Albert Museum is a stunning place to nab a coffee or scone. Designed by James Gamble, William Morris and Edward Poynter, the rooms are about as lavish and Victorian as they come. Even if you're not up for being cooped up with history, the garden and courtyard café underline the sheer regalia of your surroundings.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD
12th Knot (formerly known as the Rumpus Room) is rooftop bar on top of Sea Containers London overlooking the River Thames. London's South Bank is a pleasant enough place in itself. So much so that it's actually quite hard to do it wrong. But viewing all that the area has to provide the eyes from the safety of the 12th Knot's swish bar with an old fashioned in your grasp? Well, that might just be our favourite way to South Bank it up.
The Blue Anchor
13 Lower Mall, W6 9DJ
Not far from Hammersmith Bridge, The Blue Anchor is a pleasant pub nestled on the pleasant banks of the sometimes not-so pleasant river Thames. When the tide is up and the sun is out, there's not many places you'll be able to find to have a more scenic pint. When the tide is down, you can just go inside and enjoy The Blue Anchor's relaxing interior. Expect classic (and generous) dishes of ale-battered fish and chips and chicken schnitzel fried to crisp perfection. This is the ideal place to sit back and watch the world go by with an old-school ale in your hand and not a single worry on your mind.
110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Sushi? Yeah, sushi is very good. London? Yeah, London is very good. A restaurant where you can eat top shelf sushi and get a jaw-dropping view of England's vaunted capital? Well, that's just doubly good, that. Occupying the 38th and 39th floors of 110 Bishopsgate, SUSHISAMBA is Instagram catnip in the best way possible. The upscale dining room offers a stunning view of London that will have you gulping at the sheer scale of the city as well as a host of the restaurant's cocktails. Eating at SUSHISAMBA is an experience you won't forget anytime soon. One word of warning however: this isn't suitable for anyone afraid of heights. Or raw fish.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
It's fairly safe to say that Jason Atherton knows what it takes to make a very good restaurant. Pollen Street Social is a very good restaurant. Berners Tavern is a very good restaurant. Hai Cenato is a very good restaurant. City Social is no different. However, what does separate this East London offering from the other jewels in Jason's fetching restaurant crown is the art deco ambience and its simply jaw-dropping views of the city. The food is Michelin starred, the service is immaculate, and – located on level 24 of Tower 42 – the vista of London is one that'll be ingrained on your mind forever.
2-24 Kensington High Street, W8 4PT
Kensington is an aesthetic old part of London. Think less skyscrapers and more blue skies; less glass and more cobbles. Less Londis and more Whole Foods, if you catch our drift. Nestled near the leafy green heart of Kensington Gardens is Min Jiang. The Chinese restaurant overlooks Hyde Park on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel. Those are just words though. To understand the kind of spectacle we're talking about, you absolutely need to go to Min Jiang for yourself. Pictures don't do the place justice. Disentangle a dangerously good Peking duck with a panorama of one of London's largest natural oxygen delivery services.
Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, EC4M 9AF
St Paul's Cathedral is a rather awe-inspiring building to look at, isn't it? Regardless of whether you're religious or not, just looking at its lovely dome for a few seconds can be enough to take your breath away. Either that, or we've just got asthma. To help take your hunger and thirst away while you gawp at that big and beautiful grey monolith of an Anglican place of worship, you should really make a pilgrimage Madison. The sixth-floor bar and tapas restaurant has an almost unrivalled view of the cathedral and will have you rifling through your Instagram filters before you can even work your way through the venue's Manhattan-style steaks.
Level 9 Restaurant
Level 9 Blavatnik Building, Bankside, SE1 9TG
Level 9 Restaurant is a restaurant that occupies a stunningly unique and contemporary architectural space. Considering that it's at the Tate Modern, did you really expect anything different? Not only does the vibe here reduce down cool to its purest essence, the food is excellent as well. Cooked by head chef Jon Atashroo, the dishes on offer modern European with a strong emphasis on British ingredients. Look at the plate and you'll be greeted by what could easily pass off as an installation in the gallery. Look around you and you'll find one of the sleekest dining rooms in the city. A real doozy of a view. If you're not in the mood for munching, simply have a cocktail at the bar to get a glimpse of The Shard and St Paul's. A visit here makes for an artsy culinary encounter you won't forget anytime soon.