Restaurant recommendations for near Canary Wharf or ExCel conference venue
I will be attending a conference at the ExCel congress venue and entertaining clients. We'll be staying at the Hilton at Canary Wharf. OK to travel some, but would prefer not to have to travel all the way to the west as some days we'll not be able to start a reservation before 9pm.
Will be a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Generally parties of 3-4 people. Mix of Americans (the foodies in the crowd) and Europeans (who are interested, but not quite as passionate).
Interested in anything "interesting" and different. All about good food, nice wine to pair, actual genre of food less crucial.
Thanks in advance for the advice.
At Canary Wharf there's a lot of choice now. Depending on budget, Roka (for very good sushi and poncy Japanese), Wahaca (for "updated" Mexican, though I'm not sure if Americans will want that), there's a Jamie's Italian for umm..Italian. There's a Conran restaurant (code for generic modernish French/Euro food with minimalist clean lined decor) called Plateau (great view from there, if I remember correctly). There used to be a nice Thai place quite close to the Excel Centre (edge of the water under an overpass, not a particularly great spot, but the food was quite good 4 years ago!!), I think it's called Nahm Thai.
You can take the DLR a very short distance from Custom House for Excel to Yi Ban. It's one of the best dim sum places in London and I would definitely go there if I had to go to anything at the Excel. Their dinner menu may also be very good as the quality of their dim sum is extremely high, but no one on here has really explored it yet.
Having lived in Custom House for a year, I would personally recommend that you don't even bother walking outside of the grounds of the Excel Center (a quick Youtube search for "Canning Town" or "Custom House Canning Town" will reveal why.)
I haven't been in a while, but lots of people recommend The Gun gastropub, which is about a 15 min walk from your hotel. As a plus it has great views of the O2.
Canary Wharf has become quite a foodie area on the quiet - there's loads of choice now. All the restaurants are pretty good. Personally, I go to Plateau a lot. They do a tasting menu in the main restaurant which your foodies will love and they've got a grill too which is a bit more laid back. The service is great and if you're bringing people over to the area for the first time I'd take them there to show them the views.
As well as seconding a recommendation for The Gun (not least because it's a bit more interesting for tourists, given its location and history), there are a couple of very good tapas restaurants in Canary Wharf. Iberica is in the more central part of the Wharf and is great, while Camino is on the river and as well as good food, is a lovely place to sit and watch the sun set on the river.
Obika which is in the glass atrium between the tube and Heron Quay is wonderful, they serve Italian small plates but is billed as a mozzarella bar. I hear there is excellent and there is a new tapas place, Iberica which is near the DLR Canary Wharf stop and is supposed to be good. Camino on the river is good too.
As someone who's worked in Canary Wharf for 10 years, I don't agree with most of the above - it remains largely a culinary desert. Way too many chains.
I agree Camino is good (but in the middle of nowhere). Roka is good (but pricey and noisy). The Gun was once the best in the area, but has a consistency problem; based on recent experience I would not recommend. Iberico is pretty good (Camino much better). The best lunch spot is the falafel stand by the North entrance to Canary Wharf tube. There's also quite a nice French bistro attached to the Nicholas wine bar in the shopping mall just underneath the DLR station - does a decent croque monsieur.
Plateau is an evil pit of culinary mediocrity - avoid, avoid, avoid. Wahaca is just blah.
A few thoughts:
i second Iberica - decent food, and you can have a good time there.
Have you thought about Goodmans (steak).
Personally I would avoid Roka - has never lived up to expectations.
I dont really think that there is much in terms of go to, and if you are keen to impress grab a quick train or DLR somewhere - though I agree that that can add some phaff factor. On the DLR you can get to Bank and go to Hawksmoor or Rhodes 24 very easily. Or get the Jubilee and go to London Bridge and try Roast. I think that these are much more likely to impress.
Roka is the best in Canary Wharf but not super unique - terrific Japanese.
For casual, the Turkish (Hazev) right by where you are staying is actually pretty good.
Relais de Venise just opened a branch in CW and I totally love it (all they have is steak though so not good for people that don't eat steak), casual place and yes, a chain but delicious
I would call Carrot Cars and get a GBP 10 cab ride to the corner room which I LOVE (its in Bethnal green), or if you are up for it, make a reservation at Viajante but its pretty full on - sister to corner room but much more expensive / fancy. Corner room is still really good though and worth a visit.
Obika is very casual and very tasty and incredibly close to where you will be - hardly a special night out but food is dependable
PS If you go to Hawksmore, you can take the jubilee to Canada Water and then the overground to shoreditch high street tube. Hawksmore is great.
i just wanted to pick up on the obika recommendation. i went last night on the strength of these and wouldn't return or recommend it.
we shared a smoked mozzarella and artichoke dish to strat which was overpriced and, imo, not a great example of smoked mozzarella (my local deli in lewisham does a much nicer smoked buffalo version) .
my main was a pizza - it arrived minutes after we'd ordered and was barely warm so had obviously been pre-cooked and only just reheated. flavour and texture weren't great as a result. two other mains were the lasagne and the baked riso - both were v small portions but apparently tasty enough. very odd bright yellow tiramisu.