There are plenty of restaurants to be found lining the South Bank, but most of them—Giraffe, Strada, Wagamama—belong to a chain of similar outlets. If you want to make your meal a special one, then the Royal Festival Hall’s fabulous Skylon restaurant is the only to place to go. Taking its name from the famous tower created for the 1950s Festival of Britain exhibition at the same location, this eatery manages to be both retro and contemporary at the same time, and although it’s not cheap you’re unlikely to be let down by the food.
Rolling in at 23:00 after a classic movie at the BFI or a concert in the Hall itself, you can still sit down to a full three-course spectacular in either the restaurant or grill. The latter is more informal, but no less impressive, especially if the waiter guides you to a table overlooking the twinkling Thames. The signature “eggs Skylon”—made with white crab—illustrate the unusual ingredients, while braised endive is a curiously delicious side.