The Best Romantic Restaurants in London
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.
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.
Details: Upper James Street, W1F 9DF | ££££
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…
Details: Level 31, The Shard, SE1 9RY | ££££
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.
Details: Royal Opera House, 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD | ££££
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.
Details: The Prince Regent Boat, Moored by Sheldon Square, W2 6EP | £££
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.
Details: 165 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ | ££
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.
Details: 10 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QF | ££££
Little Quiet | Barbican
A tiny, candlelit sleeve of a space down a side street by the Barbican, Little Quiet is the first bricks-and-mortar establishment from the Disappearing Dining Club. Head chef Fred Bolin serves Franco-Scandinavian dishes to accompany some superlative cocktails – and with only 14 other seats in the place, the chances of someone else catching your date’s eye are pleasingly slim.
Details: 24-26 Newbury Street, EC1A 7HU | £££
Sapling | Dalston
Wine-driven cars are practically useless. Wine-driven restaurants, on the other hand, are actually very useful, especially when you’re looking for a stylish, candlelit venue for your next date. The dishes here are all designed for sharing too, which, depending on your date, is either a very good or very bad thing.
Details: 378 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA | £££
The Palomar | Piccadilly Circus
It’s a front-row seat to 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.
Details: 34 Rupert Street, W1D 6DN | £££
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.
Details: 46 Lexington Street, W1F 0LP | £££
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.
Details: 61 Newington Green, N16 9PX | £££
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).
Details: 50 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5HN | £££
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 sharing plates from wünderchef Chris Leach. You could tell terrible jokes all night here and still get a second date.
Details: 250 Paradise Row, London E2 9LE | £££
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.
Details: St. Martin’s Court, WC2N 4AL | ££££
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, housemade liquors, and plenty of wine.
Details: Somerset House, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA | ££££
Main image: My Neighbours The Dumplings
Now that you’re familiar with the most romantic restaurants in London… you’ll need our list of 100 London Date Ideas