Best-of Guides London

London Restaurants for a Romantic Date

7 Restaurants
If you're in trouble for forgetting to book your Valentine's Day dinner, why not make up for it with a belated – but brilliant – visit to one of our selection of date-night restaurants? Whether it's somewhere big and glamorous, intimate and unassuming, or a little bit outside the box – we've got the restaurant for you. Take a look at our choices below, and hopefully you'll soon be forgiven.
Updated on 29 February 2024
Clos Maggiore
33 King Street, Strand and Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD London
££ · French

There are few more stereotypically romantic restaurants in London than Clos Maggiore. It features soft fairy lights, an intimate atmosphere and a whole load of flowers. It is also profoundly French, which for many diners is still synonymous with a traditionally romantic restaurant. The classic dishes are smoothly executed and the formal service is a perfect fit for an operation that has that unmistakeable feeling of a special night out.

Garrison
99-101 Bermondsey Street, Southwark, SE1 3XB London
££ · Modern British

It’s a pub, not a restaurant, so no one is going to feel overwhelmed, intimidated or uncomfortable in these surroundings. At dinner the candlelight and general murmur of contentment create a warm and inclusive atmosphere, while the food is familiar, comforting and heartwarming. Just be sure to arrive by cab because nothing will spoil the mood quite like walking through the tunnel on Bermondsey Street.

Park Chinois
17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, W1J 8EA London
££££ · Chinese

“Money cannot buy the fuel of love but is excellent kindling,” said W.H. Auden. Substitute ‘money’ for ‘glamour’ and you can’t go wrong with Park Chinois. 1930s Shanghai was the inspiration behind this beautiful restaurant, where thought and care clearly went into every detail of its stunning design. Live music and a mischievous downstairs club add to the electricity – and the ‘duck de Chine’ will get anyone in the mood for love. Just try not to think of your bank balance over dinner.

St. JOHN
26 St. John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1M 4AY London
£££ · Traditional British

Bear with us on this one. A first date is not just about discovering whether there is chemistry – it’s also about finding out if you’re compatible. So, if you’re reading this article, one can justifiably assume you have more than a passing interest in food. Therefore, if your date takes one look at the menu here at St. JOHN and isn’t drooling at the prospect of ordering pig’s cheek, ox heart or rabbit, then you know this’ll end up as two dates in one: your first and your last.

Tendril
5 Princes Street, Mayfair, W1B 2LQ London
££ · Vegetarian

When going on a date in 2024, there’s a decent chance that one or both participants are trying to cut down on their meat; so it always helps to have a vegetarian restaurant in your dating arsenal. Tendril is in fact a ‘mostly vegan kitchen’, serving technically adept, globally influenced dishes with vegetables at their forefront. The small plates format is also a winner – nothing reveals character quite like a person’s willingness or reluctance to share their dinner.

The Barbary
16 Neal’s Yard, Bloomsbury, WC2H 9DP London
££ · North African

A counter restaurant can be a great option for the more diffident amongst us. If the prospect of trying to maintain eye contact for a couple of hours is anathema, then sitting side-by-side may be just the ticket. The Barbary is a cute little place, so you’ll still get that sense of intimacy, plus the food is sure to satisfy. If it’s going well, you can pop into Neal’s Yard Dairy afterwards and buy cheese together.

Trishna
15-17 Blandford Street, Regent’s Park and Marylebone, W1U 3DG London
££ · Indian

Great food is sometimes about diving in and glorying in its gorgeousness, not keeping it at arm’s length. Order the utterly delicious Dorset Brown Crab here at Trishna and if you’re both happy to be furiously licking your lips and having shiny chins then perhaps you have found your soul mate. Nip round the corner afterwards to Daunt Books and start planning your holiday in the travel section.