Hattie Lloyd 16/01/24

The Most Romantic Restaurants In London

The most romantic restaurants in London aren’t really restaurants that try to be romantic.

That’d be boring.

They’re the dimly-lit, intimate places that successfully combine great lighting, good music and a buzzy ambience: the sorts of places that get you excited as soon as you walk through the door.

Whether your date’s there or not.

So by “most romantic restaurants in London” we really mean “restaurants in London most likely to subconsciously encourage your guest to find you even more attractive than they already do”.

Impossible, we know.


Andrew Edmunds | Soho

andrew edmunds

Andrew Edmunds will make you want to cut off your power supply and live forever by candlelight. You look good. No, you look great, and the fact that you found a restaurant serving wine barely marked up from cost price is making you look even better. The food here is saucy, both literally and metaphorically: share your best anecdotes over baked dover sole with brown butter and braised lamb with indecent mashed potato, and finish up with the rum baba with whipped cream and booze-soaked prunes.

Drinks after: Bar Lina, hidden below an Italian deli (and Nudge Members can get 50% off)…
46 Lexington Street, W1F 0LP Book here

Angelina | Dalston

Angelina Dalston

Italian food: romantic. Japanese food: romantic. Italian and Japanese fusion tasting menus in a lantern-lit restaurant by Dalston Curve Gardentotally irresistible. Sure, it’s not the most intuitive combination, but just like every odd couple it somehow works. Rosemary-infused milk bread, sea bream with smoked soy butter, venison with blackberry and karashi (mustard)… every course is a delight, and going omakase means you have less time to look over the menu, and more time to look into each other’s eyes.

Drinks after: Austrian vino at Newcomer Wines
56 Dalston Lane, London E8 3AH | Book here

Legare | London Bridge


After a romantic stroll along the river you can slip down a cobbled side street on to Shad Thames, where you’ll find Legare: an unassuming Italian, handsome in its simplicity, serving up a menu of perfectly balanced, seasonally changing dishes. The burnt orange Negronis are ice cold; the pasta’s made fresh on site daily, and the cannoli is as rich and as sweet as the love your date will no doubt be feeling for you post this expertly chosen visit. Viva l’Italia.

Drinks after: Share a bottle at 40 Maltby Street
 Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, London Bridge, SE1 2YB | Book here

Bob Bob Ricard | Soho

Romantic restaurants: Bob Bob Ricard

If the Great Jay Gatsby owned a restaurant and thrust into it all his elegance, panache and charm, it would pale in comparison to Bob Bob Ricard. Then go out of business. And be scorned for even trying to compare. There’s also a ‘press for champagne button’ in every booth, which, some would call a gimmick. We’d call it a press for champagne button.

Drinks after: Cocktails and jazz at Nightjar Carnaby
Upper James Street, W1F 9DF Book here

Café Boheme | Soho

Justin De Souza

The trouble: you would like to go to an intimate, quiveringly romantic date spot, but don’t want to be surrounded by, ugh, other couples. La solution: a late night date at Café Boheme. It’s a dark, rowdy den with a sheen of sophistication; a perfectly dressed cast (waiters in neat waistcoats; the live band in berets; folkloric Characters of Soho emerging from the woodwork in all their finery) bustling around you. It’s loud, with Parisian hot club jazz thrumming in the background, and the perfect place to take a date with a penchant for late nights and Champagne cocktails.

Drinks after: Subterranean cocktails at Swift
13 Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1D 5JQ | Book here

Kitty Fisher’s | Mayfair

kitty fishers romantic restaurants london

Kitty Fisher’s 18th century courtesan namesake ate thousand-guinea notes for breakfast. Clearly, she had expensive taste. Now her passion for decadence and debauchery has been distilled into this eponymous, exceptionally romantic restaurant in Mayfair, where you can dine on sumptuous European dishes in a candlelit, velvet-boothed dining room.

Drinks after: Grab a stool at the bar here, or slip down to HIDE Below
10 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QF Book here

Tranga | Stoke Newington


Short of booking time off work, giving your credit card a healthy beating and pilfering your date’s passport, Tranga is the best way to whisk your beloved off to Northern Spain for the evening. This bohemian den of Galician tapas and natural wines is crammed with vintage bric a brac, candlelight and rickety wooden tables for two – if you don’t go for a table on the street outside, that is. Plus, the menu changes daily, so you can return and never get bored.

Drinks after: Fancy wines at Hector’s
61 Newington Green, N16 9PX Book here

40 Maltby Street | Bermondsey

Awkward gaps in conversation. Overbearing waiters. Excessive eye contact. First dates are riddled with potential pitfalls, and the best way to avoid them is to head to 40 Maltby Street, which is a wine warehouse-slash-restaurant under a railway arch in London Bridge. Here, diners crowd round high tables and the dining counter circling the open kitchen. Seasonally-driven small plates are chalked up on a menu by the stoves, and (as you’d expect) there’s a killer wine list to go with it. Watching the chefs, you’ll have plenty to talk about, and the stool seating is both relaxed and a little bit thrilling when your knees knock.

Drinks after: Head to London’s only sake brewery, Kanpai
40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA | No reservations – find out more here

Mare Street Market – Dining Room | Hackney

Mare Street Dining Room

Image credit: Rafal Stebnicki

A dining room crammed with glittering chandeliers, mirrors, and the occasional giraffe neck, with food from The Shed‘s Dominik Moldenhauer. Aaand 10,000sq foot of bars, pop ups, florists, record stores and podcast studios surrounding it.

Drinks after: Vino and vinyl at Bambi
 89-115 Mare Street, E8 4RT | Book here

Café Deco | Bloomsbury

Studious assessment of your date’s profile has led you to conclude that they are definitely cooler than you. You need somewhere in your arsenal that will effortlessly win them over; somewhere that’s romantic without being all crisp tablecloths and tinkly piano music. Café Deco, Anna Tobias’ pastel eatery housed in an old greasy spoon, is that place: natural wines, trendy small plates, and chocolate pudding pie to finish.

Drinks after: Cocktails & twinkling lights at The Bloomsbury Club Bar
43 Store Street, London, WC1E 7DB | Book here

Dalla | Hackney

dalla hackney

Romance comes in many forms, and the form it takes at Dalla is shaped by insouciantly stylish furnishings, great Italian food, and a wine list so short it’s clearly been put together by someone who knows what they’re doing, and isn’t messing around. That Italian food comes from one Mitchell Damota, who cooked up quite a following during his residency at 107 Wine, and has joined forces with a pair of Italian designers to run the show here. The result: a perfect, slightly offbeat choice for date night… if you can manage to get a table.

Drinks after: Where else but 107 Wine Shop?
120-122 Morning Ln, London E9 6LH Book here or chance a walk-in spot

Maison Francois | St. James’s

Maison Francois romantic restaurant

Maison Francois opened during the era of social distancing, so the tables are all set out in quite fortuitously romantic little booths, despite the overall sense of being in one of the grand European cafés of old. The menu’s all written in French, giving you the opportunity to unleash your devilishly attractive accent, and the dessert trolley that freewheels round the restaurant laden with macarons, éclairs and tarte tatin seems designed for dates.

Drinks after: Well, there’s a wine bar directly underneath called Frank’s, so that’s convenient.
Details: 34 Duke Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6DF | Book here

Noble Rot | Soho, Mayfair & Bloomsbury

noble rot soho romantic restaurant

Just as the noble rot fungus is actually beneficial to the grapes it grows on (producing more flavourful wine), this Noble Rot is highly beneficial to you. Because behind this unusual name is a trio of candlelit restaurants with daily changing dishes scrawled up on a blackboard; a roaring fireplace (in Bloomsbury); and barrels of charm. And wine.

Drinks after: Negronis poured to the brim at Bar Termini
2 Greek Street, London W1D 4NB Book here

Brasserie Zédel | Piccadilly Circus

Brasserie zedel romantic restaurant

Brasserie Zédel is the restaurant other restaurants want to be when they grow up. It’s an institution: from the original 1930s interiors of the cavernous subterranean dining room (which looks like something ripped straight out of a Wes Anderson movie); to the wood-panelled cocktail bar, Bar Américain; to the late-night shows in the art deco cabaret lounge, it’s a whole date night in one venue. And you can still enjoy a two-course prix fixe for under £17.

Drinks after: If not Bar Américain, switch it up with Indian-inspired cocktails at SOMA, or head up to the Winter Martini Garden
20 Sherwood Street, Soho, Central London, W1F 7ED Book here

Bouchon Racine | Farringdon

Bouchon Racine romantic restaurant

Bouchon Racine has an intimate dining area upstairs with a glass-roofed balcony that peeks out onto the street below, with candle-lit tables; a menu of warm, comforting French food that gets scribbled up onto a chalkboard each day (so rustic…); and French wine – lots of sexy, ruby red French wine. You could tell terrible jokes here all night, and still get a second date.

Drinks after: Cocktails, live music and a roaring fire at Scarfes Bar
66 Cowcross St, EC1M 6BP | Book here

The NoMad Restaurant | Covent Garden

nomad london romantic

Simon Upton

Finally living up to its name, the ridiculously plush NYC hotel has opened its first international outpost. The cocktail bar here, Side Hustle, has already made it on to The World’s 100 Best Bars list, and the restaurant is set in an unspeakably beautiful central courtyard, surrounded by glass lanterns, greenery, and galleries that make you feel like you’re in a Roman villa. One that serves oysters on the half shell, truffle-stuffed roast chicken (to share) and chocolate mousse with cinnamon crème brûlée (to keep all to yourself).

Drinks after: Side Hustle, of course, or The 10 Cases for wine
Details: 28 Bow Street, WC2E 7AW | Book here

Sessions Arts Club | Clerkenwell

sessions arts club

After two and a half years running one of London’s hottest restaurants, head chef Florence Knight will be moving on from Sessions Arts Club at the end of January – so it’s anyone’s guess what the new chef will be rustling up on Valentine’s Day. However some things won’t change – like those beautifully mottled plastered walls, the lofty ceilings and the buttery soft leather booths on the mezzanine. Honestly, they could serve a Cup-a-Soup here and it would still be one of London’s most romantic restaurants.

Drinks after: Cocktails in a maximalist setting at The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell
The Old Sessions House, 22 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0NA | Book here

Brunswick House | Vauxhall

brunswick house romantic restaurant

Ancient house; modern cooking. Jackson Boxer’s lauded restaurant looks as good as the food on the plates: reclaimed antique chandeliers dangle from every square inch of ceiling space, while enormous, gilt-framed mirrors give you ample opportunity to subtly check for lettuce stuck between your teeth.

Drinks after: Slip downstairs to the cellar bar
30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG Book here

Primeur | Newington Green


Primeur is a stupidly good-looking eatery from the good people behind Jolene and Westerns Laundry (two equally romantic spots). Wilfully ignore everyone else on the long, communal table as you dine on seasonal small plates and conduct a thorough investigation of the wine list.

Drinks after: Enjoy a little live music at the Lady Mildmay
Barnes Motors, 116 Petherton Rd, London N5 2RT | Book here

La Poule au Pot | Belgravia

poule au pot romantic restaurant

This place is a picture of date-worthy French charm, with baskets of herbs suspended from the ceiling; cosy, intimate booths hugging the walls and candles (lit at all hours of the day) wedged into old Champagne bottles. There’s a very reasonable set menu of sumptuous rustic fare on offer, and this is a place where it’s totally legitimate to order the house wine on a date – they’ll plonk a magnum of the stuff on the table.

Drinks after: Carry on the grape party at Amie Wine Studio
231 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UT | Book here

Fischer’s | Marylebone

Romantic restaurants: Fischers

Just when you thought sauerkraut couldn’t be romantic, Fischer’s pulls it off in that old-school, Viennese grand café way; with intimate banquettes, wood-panelled walls, and a big clock. Share apricot dumplings and ice cream for pudding under the warm glow of the lighting (which is doing great things for your skin, by the way).

Drinks after: Sip wines by the fireside at Clarette
50 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5HN | Book here

J. Sheekey | Leicester Square

Romantic restaurants: J Sheekey

Oysters: A natural aphrodisiac. J. Sheekey: A Theatreland restaurant with a centrepiece horse shoe bar, banquette seating and an open kitchen – from which they serve London’s best natural aphrodisiac.

Drinks after: La Goccia’s botanical cocktails at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden
St. Martin’s Court, WC2N 4AL | Book here

Quality Wines | Farringdon

Quality Wines

Since Quality Chop House decided to open Quality Wines next door, Farringdon Road is fast becoming a Quality street. Bring your lover here for modern European small plates served alongside exceptional, hand-picked wines. Choose a bottle directly off the shelves for £15 corkage, or sample one of the by-the-glass options on offer. They change every week… but somehow skin-contact’s always on the menu.

Drinks after: You’re already at the bar… but you could give Ken’s a shot too.
88 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3EA Book here

Campania | Bethnal Green

campania romantic restaurant

Campania is set in a former dairy down an old cobbled street – and they’re milking it for all it’s worth. Left practically unchanged, it’s a romantically dilapidated little eatery with bare brick walls and a tiny courtyard boxed in by a forest green stable gate and rusty shop windows, with a smattering of little marble tables. And the food? You’re looking at fresh pasta, whole pan-fried fish, and slabs of herb-rubbed meat. Italian soul food, basically.

Drinks after: Stellar cocktails at Equal Parts
: 23 Ezra Street, E2 7RH | Book here

Bistro Freddie | Shoreditch

bistro freddie

This Crispin offshoot does romance in a new, old-school way. There are white tablecloths, candlesticks and modernist paintings on the wall that give the feel of a bistro in 1940s Paris – but the natural wine list is a little tap on the shoulder from 2024. The dishes, meanwhile, lean towards the indulgent, from the snail flatbread starter to the restaurant’s signature chicken & tarragon pie for two. Finish with a boulevardier, and start planning your new lives as bohemian poets.

Drinks after: Candlelit wines at Passione Vino
74 Luke St, EC2A 4PY Book here

Levan | Peckham


What could excite your date more than taking them somewhere full of vinyl? Granted, at Levan it’s of the record-shaped kind, rather than anything too risqué  – but this Peckham spot ticks all the boxes when it comes to romance. The atmospherically crackling soundtrack and deep teal walls provide a backdrop of relaxed comfort which allows the Modern European dishes to shine. If anyone can make rice pudding an aphrodisiac, it’s this place.

Drinks after: Slip next door to Bar Levan
12-16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL Book here

Kudu Grill | Peckham

kudu grill

The flames of passion are put to work at this braai-toting spin-off from the Bib Gourmand-winning Kudu. Here, South African dishes are seared over an open flame, yielding dishes like dry-aged T-bone with treacle bordelaise; monkfish with chilli and capers; and beef dripping crispy potatoes. And if that sounds a little heavy for date night, the burnt cream ganache affogato should give you the lift you need.

Drinks after: Cocktails and vinyl at the blissfully retro Funkidory
57 Nunhead Lane, SE15 3TRBook here

The Pelican | Notting Hill

the pelican romantic restaurant

There are pubs, and then there are pubs. This is the italics kind. Set on a corner just off Portobello Road, The Pelican is jaw-droppingly beautiful: all limewashed walls, burnt umber banquettes and – that instant signifier of any restaurant du jour – a wee willy winkie candle holder at every table (how did this happen? Nobody knows). You can come here for a platter of oysters and martinis by the fireside, but if you’re after a sit-down meal, head into the dining room at the back. Here, ex-Brawn chef Owen Kenworthy is doing wonderful things with top quality ingredients, like lobster & monkfish pie to share…

Drinks after: Scoot on round to the front, or head to Ria’s for natural wines
45 All Saints Road, W11 1HE Book here

Petersham Nurseries | Richmond

Petersham Nurseries interior

We know what you’re thinking… it might feel a little bold to bring up nurseries on a first date. But Petersham Nurseries – a bohemian plant nursery in Richmond – is unexpectedly home to one of the most romantic restaurants in London. And with freshly plucked ingredients from the on-site gardens and the founders’ own farm in Devon, it might just be one of the most delicious, too.

Drinks after: Glitzy cocktails at Scott’s Richmond
Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 7AB | Book here

London Shell Co | Paddington

Romantic restaurants: London Shell Co.

The fact that you’re dining on oysters should be aphrodisiac enough… but London Shell Co adds understated flower arrangements, candlelight, cocktails, and a gentle cruise along London’s canal network just for good measure.

Drinks after: Hop a cab to The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone
The Prince Regent Boat, Moored by Sheldon Square, W2 6EP | Book here

104 Restaurant | Notting Hill

104 restaurant date spot

104 Restaurant is pretty much the perfect date spot. Not just because the food is a) delicious and b) cooked up by a Michelin star-winning chef, but because there’s room for just six tables (joined here but usually separate), making you look both impressively well-organised and in-the-know.

Drinks after: Cocktails from a three Michelin star restaurant at Whiskey & Seaweed
104a Chepstow Road, W2 5QS | Book here

Aqua Shard | London Bridge

aqua shard romantic restaurant

Ok, Aqua Shard isn’t exactly subtle. But it’s very impressive, particularly once night has fallen over London and the place is lit up by candles…

Drinks after: Go from on top of the world to below it, with subterranean cocktails at Swift Borough
Level 31, The Shard, SE1 9RY | Book here


Now that you’re familiar with the most romantic restaurants in London… you’ll be needing our list of 101 London Date Ideas