Oxo Tower Brasserie
Owned by chic department store Harvey Nichols, this complex sports an unrivaled riverfront location eight stories up. Its south-facing cocktail bar and glass-walled, non-French brasserie on one side (plus an expensive restaurant on the other) offer striking vistas of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and Westminster. Thanks to nightly piano music and the popular bar, the brasserie has the monopoly on atmosphere. Dare to drink a seasonal cocktail like the Grand Tour (Cariel vanilla vodka, Campari, and fresh passion fruit doused with Sicilian lemonade) or a bottle of wine from the 800-plus list. Dishes range from twice-cooked octopus with feta cheese, roasted tomatoes, and black olives to chermoula-spiced lamb rump with a chorizo and chickpea tagine. Desserts are equally seductive; try the Portuguese custard tart served with cinnamon ice cream and guava. Fridays are especially busy.
Insider Tip: From May through September, dine alfresco on the small outdoor terrace and soak up daytime sun or moonlit views of the Thames.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.