Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 020 7386 4200 www.rivercafe.co.uk Open lunch & dinner Mon-Sat, lunch only Sun No London restaurant has had more influence on both restaurant food and with the spawning of five books home cooking than the River Cafe. When Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers opened up in i987, most Italian eateries were stuck in a i970s candle-in-a-chianti-bottle time warp. Their versions of simple Italian regional dishes, carefully sourced and immaculately prepared, were revelatory, and inspired a string of talented chefs who worked in their kitchen – Jamie Oliver among them see Fifteen on p34. The restaurant’s appeal remains undimmed today. You do, though, pay heavily for the privilege, with few main courses under £25.The prices and ambience are not cafe-style. A typical spring menu might include char-grilled marinated leg of lamb with fresh borlotti beans, Swiss and rainbow chard, and anchovy and rosemary sauce. The relatively stark, utilitarian dining space was designed by architect Richard Rogers Ruth’s husband within converted i9th-century warehouses. Its floor-to-ceiling windows give access to a garden and the river beyond. To enjoy the restaurant to the full, try to book a table here in fine weather.