The best 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 “best 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.
Xu | Soho
Modern Taiwanese food and seasonal cocktails served in a chic, dark wood and marble dining room, peppered with pastel-coloured leather booths for two. They’re sure to leave into Xu. READ MORE
Details: 30 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DL | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
The Palomar | Soho
It’s a front-row seat to see some of London’s most talented chefs at work. Bookings are frustratingly hard to get, and yet the total lack of pretentiousness; the quality of the service; and the sheer deliciousness of the modern, Jerusalem-inspired food keeps you determinedly coming back. And any and every date is likely to want to come back with you. READ MORE
Details: 34 Rupert Street, W1D 6DN | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Bob Bob Ricard | Soho
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 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. READ MORE
Details: Upper James Street, W1F 9DF | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Kitty Fisher’s | Mayfair
Kitty Fisher was an 18th century courtesan who ate thousand-guinea notes for breakfast. And we’re not figuratively speaking. Now her taste for decadence and debauchery has been distilled into this eponymous restaurant, where you can dine on sumptuous European dishes in a candlelit, velvet-boothed dining room. READ MORE
Details: 10 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QF | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Andrew Edmunds | Soho
Andrew Edmunds is like Cupid’s gift to London – all brooding, Dickensian-looking frontage and candlelit, close-set interiors, it’s pretty much impossible to leave here without another date in the bag. Especially if you ask to take a bit of your date and toffee pudding home. READ MORE
Details: 46 Lexington Street, W1F 0LP | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Aqua Shard | London Bridge
Ok, this isn’t exactly subtle. But it’s very impressive, particularly once night has fallen over London and the place is lit up by candles… READ MORE
Details: Level 31, The Shard, SE1 9RY | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Trangallán | Stoke Newington
Don’t be fooled by the bare plaster walls, mismatched furnishings and occasional ladders leant against the wall – this place is open and ready for business. Settle in to a candlelit corner or a table outside, order as much tapas as you can, and crack open a bottle of natural wine to get the conversation flowing. READ MORE
Details: 61 Newington Green, N16 9PX | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Campania & Jones | Bethnal Green
Hidden down a little cobbled street, you’ll see a sign for a dairy named ‘S.Jones’. Head towards it, and you’ll bump into a romantically dilapidated little eatery – bare brick walls & 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? It’s got fresh pasta, whole pan-fried fish, and slabs of herb-rubbed meat. Italian soul food, basically. READ MORE.
Details: 23 Ezra Street, E2 7RH | ££ | Want to book? Email them at their website here
Petersham Nurseries | Richmond
Sure, it might feel a little bold to bring up nurseries on a first date. But this place – 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. READ MORE
Details: Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 7AB | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here
London Shell Co | Paddington
The fact that you’re dining on oysters should be aphrodisiac enough… but London Shell Co add understated flower arrangements, candlelight, cocktails, and a gentle cruise along London’s canal system just for good measure. READ MORE
Details: The Prince Regent Boat, Moored by Sheldon Square, W2 6EP | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Clos Maggiore | Covent Garden
The only restaurant in London where you can dine under a blossom-decorated glass roof in a wood-panelled room drawing inspiration from country inns in Provence and Tuscany, despite a complete lack of identical competition. READ MORE
Details: 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Sager + Wilde | Bethnal Green
A festoon-lit dining terrace with bistro tables and bentwood chairs, a killer wine list and cocktails from a former Dandelyan mixologist, and melt-in-the-mouth pasta. You could tell terrible jokes all night here and still get a second date. READ MORE
Details: 250 Paradise Row, E2 9LE | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Spring | Temple
Another place that – ahem – springs to mind is Skye Gyngell’s Spring. For starters it’s set in the newest wing of Somerset House, which is pretty wow-ing in itself, not to mention makes for a perfect pre-dinner culture hit. The restaurant too is a pretty dreamy mix of powder pinks, marbles, and gold; and serves a daily-changing menu of seasonal dishes, alongside a small menu of signature cocktails, house-made liquors, and plenty of wine. READ MORE
Details: Somerset House, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
104 Restaurant | Notting Hill
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, making you look both impressively well-organised and in-the-know. READ MORE
Details: 104a Chepstow Road, W2 5QS | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Jolene | Stoke Newington
A stupidly good-looking eatery from the good people behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry. Perfect for breakfast dates (with freshly baked breads & pastries); lunch dates (home-made pappardelle up at the bar); and dinner dates (chocolate cake to share by candlelight on their terrace out front). READ MORE
Details: 22 Newington Green, N16 9PU | ££ | Want to book? Visit their website here
Maggie Jones | Kensington
Candles in bottles of Moet; baskets full of Provençal herbs hanging from the ceilings; intimate wooden booths – this place has the works. And a menu of deeply finessed comfort foods and house wines charged by however much you drink go to show that it’s not just a pretty face, either. Just like you. READ MORE
Details: 6 Old Court Place, Kensington Church Street, W8 4PL | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here
Fischer’s | Marylebone
Fischer’s is romantic 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). READ MORE
Details: 50 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5HN | £££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
J. Sheekey | Leicester Square
Oysters: A natural aphrodisiac. J. Sheekey Atlantic Bar: A Theatreland restaurant with a centrepiece horse shoe bar, banquet seating and an open kitchen – from which they serve London’s best natural aphrodisiac. READ MORE
Details: St. Martin’s Court, WC2N 4AL | ££££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
My Neighbours The Dumplings | Clapton
Whether you’re eating in their candlelit dining room, knocking back sake in their subterranean, artfully neon-lit bar or listening to live jazz in their lantern-strewn back garden, My Neighbours are going all out to make you become more than good friends. READ MORE
Details: 165 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ | ££ | Want to book? Visit their website here.
Last Updated: 3rd August 2020 | Main image: Helix & Iris at The Gherkin
Now that you’re familiar with the most romantic restaurants in London… you’ll need our list of 100 London Date Ideas