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Just twenty minutes from the famed Waterloo station, Putney has been described as “an enclave of calm”. Far enough away from the hustle and bustle of London, Putney is sandwiched between the River Thames and some of the greenest land in the country. It comes as no surprise that this haven was once the primary vacation spot for wealthy Londoners looking to escape the city for the large gardens and fresh air that met them there. In fact, Putney is still a great place to slow down and smell the roses. It offers a great mix of peace and quiet blended with the same amenities enjoyed in the big city lifestyle. Though it is not a 24 hour flurry of excitement, Putney still has plenty of great dining choices and can offer a different vibe than the central city chaos. Here are the top choices for this friendly and inviting area.
For a unique and funky atmosphere, with local art on the walls and where coffee is the core value, consider a stop at Artisan Coffee Shop. The service is spectacular here, and you can truly feel the barista’s passion in every brew. It’s certainly a local favorite, and can become quite busy at times, but the lines move quickly, and if you are lucky enough to snag a seat, linger a bit enjoy your muffin, and observe the crowd.
If brunch is more your style, Grind Café is a great choice. This gem is not only known for its phenomenal coffee and teas, but for handcrafted specialties such as the free range egg sandwich on sourdough. Top this with their yummy avocado salsa and you have the makings of a healthy and filling way to start your day. There is an informal vibe here, but the staff is friendly and welcoming, which is why the locals consider it a neighborhood favorite.
Shifting views to a different kind of brews, a pint or two at the Duke’s Head is a fantastic way to spend your afternoon. Housed in a 150 year old Victorian building, this location oozes charm, and boasts perfect river views. The outdoor terrace is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail, but the bigger highlight comes from the authentically British seasonal menu. Fresh produce and sustainable ingredients infuse together to create some of the best flavors in town.
For a great craft beer, fine ale, or glass of wine, head to the Boathouse. This lively pub sits right on the riverfront and offers a spectacular view of the Putney Bridge. This is one of the best locations in town for outdoor dining, as both their patio and their balcony are outfitted perfectly to enjoy a happy hour cocktail or two. Its location, vibrant energy, and affordable ‘pub grub’ contribute to its popularity.
Want something more formal and refined? Try the Riverview Restaurant. Located just above the Boathouse, dining here comes with the same fantastic vantage point as the pub below, with a bit more sophistication. Riverview offers an extensive wine list and freshly prepared specialties will surely satisfy your taste buds. Be sure to try the Sunday menu, which is loaded with delicious and savory favorites.
For an exclusive infusion of flavors, you can’t go wrong with the classic French cuisine of Bistro Vadouvan. With hints of Middle Eastern and Asian influence, dishes here are handcrafted carefully and create a delicious balance of fresh, seasonal ingredients and high quality spices. This intimate bistro still manages to produce a relaxed vibe, though their menu is packed full of luxurious, unique offerings. Located on the Putney Wharf, this is the perfect place to enjoy the river views and a bottle of wine under the light of the stars.
Tucked away from the main streets, Emiles is truly a gem. The staff here is focused on providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and the food is plated beautifully, with the taste being even better. Emiles has a special cozy ambiance that you won’t find in other Putney establishment, and it is what has kept it as a favorite with the locals for the last 30 years. French
influences and seasonal ingredients shine in every dish. Try the three course fixed menu, and you will not be disappointed.
Putney is a rare find in the London suburbs. Far enough away from the big city blur, yet close enough to feel its influences; this extraordinary neighborhood is a great place to spend some time. From quirky coffee shops to fine dining on the river front, there is something for everyone, and something for every budget. Escape the city air of London and breathe in some green in the suburbs, and no doubt you will leave feeling happier, and more full than when you arrived.
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