The 12 Most Romantic London Restaurants

The 12 Most Romantic London Restaurants

If you think this post is well-timed ahead of Valentine’s Day, think again. The odds are that at least 90% of the romantic London restaurants mentioned here are already fully booked! However, the good news is that dinner dates don’t only happen once a year. Here are my top picks for taking someone special out in London. 

Best Romantic Restaurants in London
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

What makes a restaurant… romantic?

It’s a subjective question, and likely depends as much on your date as the venue! However, in a busy cosmopolitan city like London, we can probably all at least agree on a couple of things. 

Number one, the place should be special, and not somewhere you’d go every day or casually on a whim. So we can exclude all cheap chain restaurants like Wagamamas, Vapiano, and Nandos. Those are student-level date night places and as I write for millennials, I’m going to assume we’re past that now.

Number two, it should have an ambiance. Whether that’s an intimate cosy space or a big up-scale venue costing millions in interior design, the venue itself is the first impression and may set the mood or tone of the date. Restaurants with ambiance also tend to be popular, which is important, as there’s nothing more awkward than a ‘romantic’ dinner date in an empty restaurant.

Number three, the food should be excellent. This one is pretty straight-forward because, quite simply, bad food makes for a bad date. They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his belly. But equally for women, if you can get her mouth to orgasm, you may stand a chance elsewhere.

So where in the big beautiful city of London can you find somewhere special with an ambiance and excellent food? As it turns out, a lot of places! To help whittle it down, I’ve picked three of the most romantic London restaurants for each of four categories: Fine Dining, Views, Cosy and New.

Fine Dining 

Romantic Fine Dining London
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

Clos Maggiore, French, Covent Garden

Clos Maggiore officially wears the crown of THE most romantic London restaurant. In fact, it caters almost exclusively to the most important of dinner dates, proposals and anniversaries. For a prime weekend slot, expect to book more or less a year in advance. Seriously. Although this Valentine’s will have sold out months ago, now would be the perfect time to book for next year!

Clos Maggiore Most Romantic Restaurant in London
Clos Maggiore

The Five Fields, British, Chelsea

If you’re looking for a sophisticated high-class restaurant, this is it. London’s own Taylor Bonnyman used to work at New Yorks’ 2 Michelin star Corton before returning home to open the Five Fields in 2013. It’s his first restaurant as head chef, which deservedly won its first Michelin star in 2017 and is one of my absolute favourites for romantic fine-dining in London. Tucked away on a quiet street in Chelsea, dinner here is nothing short of exceptional.

Dinner by Heston, British, Knightsbridge

Dinner, as it’s colloquially known, is just one of 10 restaurants in London with two Michelin stars and was voted number 5 in the Worlds’ 50 Best Restaurants. A date here is guaranteed to take you on a unique gastronomical journey. The concept is historic British cooking by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, master of molecular gastronomy, although don’t expect to see him there. Fear not though, running the show is executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, formerly head chef at the highly acclaimed Fat Duck.

Views

Romantic London Dinner with a view
Photo by Matthieu Huang on Unsplash

The Shard, London Bridge

Inside London’s tallest building there are four different, yet equally romantic restaurants to choose from. Although you should know, they’re also bloody expensive! But can you really put a price on love? Perhaps the most classic and lively choice is Aqua (31st floor), serving modern British food in exquisite lofty surroundings. At the more intimate, New York-inspired Oblix (32nd floor, by the same folks behind Zuma), the restaurant is split into East and West, where you’ll have to pick one of the two. Hutong (33rd floor) is Chinese fine dining at Hong Kong prices, while the Shangri-La’s Ting (35th floor), serves up a British menu with Asian influences.

Aqua Shard London
Aqua Shard

110 Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street

After you’re catapulted up to the top inside Roald Dahl’s Great Glass Elevator, there are two fantastic restaurants to choose from. Sushisamba (38 and 39th floor) is a fusion between Brazilian, Peruvian and Japanese in a breathtaking setting. One floor up, Duck & Waffle is London’s highest restaurant and open 24/7, where the specialty is, obviously, duck and waffle, and it’s incredible!

Helix at The Gherkin, Aldgate

Nothing says romance like dinner inside the famously phallic-shaped Gherkin, am I right? For years the restaurant, known then as Searcys, was for private members only. However, since the summer of last year, it rebranded as Helix (39th floor restaurant) & Iris (40th floor cocktail bar) and is now open to the public. It’s still a strictly reservations-only place, but of course you booked ahead for your big date. The menu is modern British again, apparently the cuisine of choice for the local money-makers.

Cosy

Cosy London Date restaurant Romantic
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

Andrew Edmunds, Modern European, Soho

If you’re looking for an intimate and unpretentious restaurant with candle-lit dining, this should be your first choice. Inside this 18th century townhouse, Andrew Edmunds is one of the last bastions of ‘old Soho’ (says their website so eloquently). It could easily be mistaken for a speak-easy, with a washed out sign you’re almost sure to miss. Look-out for a dark vintage shopfront with a small framed hand-written menu outside. The food is seasonal modern European cuisine with an emphasis on superb wines.

Andrew Edmunds Soho Restaurant London
Andrew Edmunds

Casa Malevo, Argentine, Marble Arch

An alternative to the more glitzy Gaucho is Casa Malevo. While I’m also a fan of their sister restaurant Zoilo, this Argentine on Connaught Street promises a more casual, rustic, yet intimate dinner date experience. Their empanadas, provolone cheese, grilled sausages and meats are all top-notch, like their Malbec wine collection. For a more relaxed atmosphere without compromising on the food, this is definitely a solid non-vegetarian contender.

Barrafina, Spanish, Soho / Covent Garden

In response to popular demand, there are now several Barrafina’s in London to choose from. However, of all the Spanish tapas restaurants in London, few have a Michelin star. According to the Michelin folks, it’s the best in town. It’s owned by two sibling restauranteurs Sam and Eddie Hart and inspired by the cuisine of Barcelona and Madrid. Ibérico ham, croquetas, crimson-red carabinero prawns and bocadillos de calamares are not to be missed. Fortunately or unfortunately, they don’t take reservations or groups over four, which means that if you didn’t yet make a reservation for this Valentine’s Day, you may try your luck here!

New

Romantic restaurants London
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Hide, Modern British, Mayfair

Ollie Dabous’ Mayfair restaurant was the biggest (ahem, £20 million big) new opening of 2018 that has already earned itself one Michelin star. The interiors are as sleek as it gets for fans of the neutral colour palate. The venue is split into Above, the restaurant, Below, the bar, and Ground, a more casual (and by casual, I mean affordable) all-day dining room. You’ll need deep, millionaire-type pockets if you plan on footing the bill for yourself and your partner at Above. There is an eight to ten-course tasting menu starting from £95 with three wine pairing options: Classic £70, Discovery £115 and Hedonistic £295, named after the partnership with Russian-exile-billionaire-owned Hedonism Wines.

Hide New Restaurant in London
Hide

Sabor, Spanish, Mayfair

Since Sabor opened up last year and won its first Michelin star, it is frequently compared to and measured against Barrafina. That is likely because its founders, (executive chef) Nieves Barragan and (front of house) José Etura, both come from Barrafina, although which is best, I’ll leave to you. Sabor (meaning flavour in Spanish) takes its inspiration from the tapas bars of Andalucía, the asadors of Castile and the seafood restaurants of Galicia. Like Hide, there are three different areas split over 2 floors representing the various flavours of Spain.

Evelyn’s Table, Modern European, Chinatown

Last year saw another new addition to the thriving restaurant scene on Rupert Street between Soho and Chinatown, joining the likes of Palomar, Hovarda and XU. In fact, Evelyn’s Table inside the Blue Posts townhouse is owned by the same people as Palomar and Time Out’s Number One Restaurant The Barbary. It’s a basement speakeasy, accessed through a secret door marked ‘private,’ serving modern European food in general and fish from Cornwall in particular. The layout is couples-friendly counter seating with just 11 seats (an extra seat for a third wheel, perhaps?) around an open kitchen.

For more London Restaurant Recommendations…

MOST UNIQUE LONDON RESTAURANTS YOU MUST TRY

TOP 10 LONDON RESTAURANTS FOR FOODIES

HOW TO GET A TABLE AT SUSHI TETSU, LONDON

YASHIN OCEAN HOUSE: SUSHI WITHOUT SOY?

KIKU: THE BEST TRADITIONAL JAPANESE SUSHI IN LONDON?

Featured Image Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Lara Olivia
Lara Olivia

Freelance writer and blogger obsessed with food, travel and good stories.

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2 Comments

  1. 3 February 2019 / 6:37 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve still never been to Clos Maggorie!

  2. 30 January 2019 / 4:36 pm

    Oh so many fabulous restaurants!

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