Eating Near The O2: The Best Restaurants In Canary Wharf

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Should you be looking for somewhere to eat close to the O2 Arena but have disregarded restaurants in the venue and in surrounding Greenwich, then perhaps Canary Wharf might offer the answer?

Just a five minute ride on the Jubilee Line from Canary Wharf to North Greenwich and the O2, it should come as no surprise that the choices for dinner in London’s premier business district are quite corporate. There’s little in the way of creativity or excitement here, in a kind of ‘Mark Zuckerberg only wears grey T-shirts’ utilitarian rejection of mundane decision-making. 

No amount of glittering sky-scraper lights can sprinkle any stardust on this most soulless of areas, but nonetheless, Canary Wharf’s chains are some of London’s better ones. There are a couple of independent belters in here for good measure, to be fair. 

With that in mind, if you’re heading to the O2 Arena, then you might want to check this out; our guide on the best places to eat in Canary Wharf.

BOKAN 37, Canary Wharf

Perched high above the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf, BOKAN 37 is your best chance for genuinely intricate, precisely cooked fine dining in the area.

It is a pleasing room to settle into, that’s for sure, bathed in natural light that reflects off the walnut wood and burnt orange leather just right. 

Romanian chef Robert Manea, who has five years at Michelin-starred L’Atelier De Joel Robouchon under his belt, is on the stoves here, which sit on the Novotel’s 37th floor, hence the name. Prices are sky high to match, with the 7 course tasting menu clocking in at £99 (just call it a hundred lads; you’re fooling no one). To be fair, there are premium ingredients to be found within that degustation, the lobster linguine as well as the roast quail and foie gras notable highlights.

After dining, why not ascend to the rooftop bar for a cocktail? It’s the perfect way to cap off a meal of some indulgence, all within a stone’s throw of The O2 Arena. 

It should be noted that BOKAN 37 is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and only open from 6pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (dinner on Saturday and Sunday starts at the same time) meaning time is going to be pretty tight if you’re keen to dine here before heading to The O2 for an evening show.

Address40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP

Websitebokanlondon.co.uk


Gopal’s Corner at Market Halls, Canary Wharf

A third outpost for the fast proliferating Market Halls concept (with one in London Victoria and another on Oxford Street), you’ll find a few good feeds in the Canary Wharf branch.

Give the lamentably named Le Bab a swerve, potentially have a starter at Baozaiinn if you’re hungry, and make a play for Gopal’s Corner, by far and away the best ‘stall’ within the covered food hall.

The sibling to beloved London restaurant Roti King, here the proposition is similar; Malaysian Tamil street food featuring freshly slapped roti canai, served in bundles to accompany nourishing curries unafraid of a little oil and salt.

But equally as satisfying are simple but umami-heavy noodle stir-fries, and banana leaf platters laden with curries, crisp papadam, and chutneys positively undulating with the funk of shrimp paste and assertiveness of chilli. Just superb.

Address25 N Colonnade, London E14 5HD

Websitemarkethalls.co.uk


Hawksmoor Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf

Thick fillets, thicker wallets? Heavy Malbecs and heaving waistlines? Ruddy-faced investment bankers? It’s a match made in heaven (?) at Hawksmoor, which stands – or rather, floats – proud in the new but strangely barren Wood Wharf development.

This particular branch of the esteemed chain prides itself on its unique waterside setting, offering diners twinkling views of the surrounding docks. Unlike its siblings across the UK, there’s a more relaxed vibe here, with an expansive outdoor terrace that invites guests to enjoy their meals al fresco, weather permitting. 

Moving with the tides in a manner that might rock a baby to sleep but can cause a distinct seasickness in a drunk person, this iteration of Hawksmoor is housed in an eco-friendly floating pavilion. Next door, an 100-or-more capacity bar, The Lowback, toasts the deal.

Back in the dining room, the usual high-quality, properly rested steaks we’ve come to expect at Hawksmoor are here and as they should be, the restaurant’s exemplary bone marrow gravy and anchovy hollandaise both in attendance too, bestowing their umami-laden good will to anything on the plate that makes contact. Mix them together; you know you want to.

Service hours here are pre-gig friendly, too, with the restaurant open for dinner from 5pm daily (although it’s 5:30pm on Fridays, inexplicably). All gentle sarcasm aside, this is probably the best meal you’re going to get within such a short distance of The O2.

Address1 Water St, London E14 5GX

Websitethehawksmoor.com


Blacklock, Canary Wharf

Image Courtesy of Blacklock

Not to be outdone on the steak front (well, to be slightly outdone, we’d say), the Canary Wharf branch of Blacklock is a decent bet for dinner before heading to the venue, too. Doing all the good things well – as Jay Rayner would say in the vast majority of his positive critiques – the proposition at Blacklock is straightforward. Prosaic, even. And that is, ‘chop love’.

No, not the kind of chop love that the finance bros are enjoying in the cubicles of the restaurant, but rather, a refreshingly brusque selection of steaks (just four) and a couple of bigger ‘door stop thick’ chops, of beef, lamb and pork.

Prices are reasonable, too, with similar cuts of beef clocking in a couple of quid cheaper than Hawksmooor per 100g across the board. As with Hawksmoor, opening hours are agreeable for pre-show dining.

Address5 Frobisher Psge, London E14 4EE

Websitetheblacklock.com


Dishoom, Canary Wharf

Image via of Dishoom

Wherever you find a Dishoom in the UK, it’s safe to say that the all-conquering Bombay-inspired chain still delivers if you’re looking for a decent meal that will be consistent, reliable and predictable, which, let’s face it, you are looking for with a concert to get to.

The bacon naan roll (though only on for breakfast, until midday), chicken ruby, okra fries and house black daal are all present and correct here, and done to the same standard as every other Dishoom branch and dark kitchen.

The Canary Wharf iteration of Dishoom is also one of the only places on our list where you could plausibly eat after a concert at The O2, with the restaurant closing at 11pm school nights, and midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Address13 Water St, London E14 5GX

Websitedishoom.co.uk


Zia Lucia, Canary Wharf

Though this London pizza chain (listen to the wind bloowwwww) has only been tossing dough for 8 years, and perhaps owing to the tangible decline in quality of Franco Manca during that time, Zia Lucia has become many Londoners go-to high street Neapolitan pizza joint.

Founded by friends Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca D’Angelo in Islington, 2016, and now with 9 outposts across the city, Zia Lucia distinguishes itself from the rest through its inclusivity. Pizza should, after all, be a democratic, diplomatic affair. Here, there are four different types of dough to choose from: traditional white flour, wholemeal, gluten-free, and a vegetable charcoal black base. 

Address75, South Quay Plaza, Unit 3 Marsh Wall, London E14 9WS

Websitezialucia.co.uk


Pizza Pilgrims, West India Quay

Perhaps we don’t need another pizza recommendation within reach of The O2 Arena, but hey, ho, double zero; Pizza Pilgrims still does a job.  

Address12 Hertsmere Rd, London E14 4AE

Websitepizzapilgrims.co.uk

Read: 12 of the best London pizza restaurants for 2023


Nakhon Thai, Royal Docks

Fire emojis at the ready, Nakhon Thai is the best place to eat in the Royal Docks section of London’s Docklands, its old-school royal Thai sensibility a charming change from the proliferation of ‘nu’ Thai restaurants a few miles east. 

The menu is intimidating in its expansiveness, but the Nakhon Thai Platter is a good place to start. A collection of small bites and dips, the chicken satay is the star here, arriving pleasingly blistered and burnished rather than a uniform glowing curcuma. The fish cakes are great too, boasting plenty of that much sought after ‘factory bounce’. 

Follow with a glowing, generously portioned green curry of chicken, the bitter crunch of its pea aubergines bringing some respite from the throbbing sweetness. Balance it out with a regionally-ambiguous som tam and some steamed jasmine rice for a meal that feels complete.

A couple of ice-cold 630ml Singhas is all you need to see you on your way.

Speaking of being on your way, the journey to The O2 Arena from Nakhon Thai is a real treat – the quickest route is over the Thames by IFS Cloud Cable Car. What fun!

Address1 Dock Rd, London E16 1AH

Websitenakhonthai.co.uk


Iberica, Canary Wharf

A decade ago restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin said of the Farringdon branch of Iberica; ‘’If there was a branch on every high street, we’d be better off. God help me, it turns out I like a chain.’’

Only on every corner in the sense that there are four Ibericas in the capital, the Canary Wharf outpost regardless delivers on the promise of a consistent, reliably good tapas experience, with plenty to like about the Jamón Ibérico selection especially. If you’re in the mood for a few cold cuts and a sherry before hopping on the Jubilee Line over to The O2, then this is the place to head.

Tuesday through Saturday, Iberica is open midday to midnight, making it a convenient place to dine in a leisurely fashion pre-show, or even for a quick bite once the final chords of the encore have rung out.

Address12 Cabot Square, London E14 4QQ

Websiteibericarestaurants.co.uk


Uoichi, Isle Of Dogs

This. This is the place. A compact, independent Japanese izakaya with a concise, almost clinical menu that chimes perfectly with the utilitarian decor of the place, Uoichi is an awesome spot for a quick lunch or dinner before heading over to Greenwich.

Compile your order from the ‘snack’ and ‘grill’ sections of the menu for best results; the monkfish liver, served in generous pucks, simply steamed, is superb. When they are on the menu, a must order is the kaki fry which sees oysters panko-coated, deep-fried until golden brown and served with tonkatsu sauce. Pair that with a plate of pickles, perhaps some sesame seed-sprinkled chicken wings, and a glass or two of ice-cold sake, and you’ve got yourself a meal that feels both wholesome and a little indulgent.

The tunes are great, too, the Meiko Nakahara deep cuts feeling synergistic with Uoichi’s wider surroundings. Fuck The O2; we might just stay here a while…

Address122 Meridian Pl, London E14 9FF

Websiteuoichi.co.uk

On the other side of the Thames, there are some great places to eat in Greenwich, too. Enjoy the show!

Joseph Gann
Joseph Gann
Chef and food writer, with an interest in mental health and mindfulness

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