You don't have to wait until February 14th appears on the calendar to plan a special date night, especially when you're in London. The UK capital has some of the most romantic restaurants in the country, and they're ones that will make any date night a truly memorable affair. Romantic dates and baggage don’t go hand in hand, so if you’re carrying luggage or shopping, make sure to drop it off at one of the Bounce luggage storage facilities in London before you go to the restaurant.
You can start your date with drinks in a cocktail bar to help make the occasion more relaxed. That's a good idea if it's a first date, or go straight to the restaurant and choose something from the wine list. The servers at most of the romantic restaurants in London are well-versed in wine knowledge, so don't hesitate to ask for advice if you're not sure what you're ordering. If you're not a wine lover, ask for a cocktail menu. Most restaurants have them even if they don't present them to you when you first arrive.
If it is a first date, you might not be in the know about any food allergies or diet restrictions your date has, which can be awkward. Most places mentioned here, as well as serving undeniably delicious food, also offer vegetarian options, which should help prevent embarrassing moments that could spoil your romantic meal. There's a romantic restaurant to suit every budget, too, so you won't need to take out a payday loan just to impress your guest or have a panic attack when you’re presented with the check.
The Garden Rooftop
The Garden Rooftop is one of the most romantic restaurants in London. Not only will you feel as if you've somehow sauntered into the Garden of Eden because of the abundant plant life in the dining room, but you'll also thrill your date with spectacular views of the city.
The views of London from the Garden Rooftop's dining room, think the Shard and the London Eye, may well distract you from the menu, but don't let them steal the attention away from your date. Do that, and the night will be over before it's even started.
The food at the Garden Rooftop is based on Italian cuisine, but Italian cuisine that has been elevated to a whole new level. If you and your date are both meat-eaters, you might want to go for the meat grill selection. There's enough meat on it to feed four, let alone two, and it works out an absolute bargain. Let's face it, there's nothing more romantic than sharing.
If you're not both meat lovers, you'll find there's plenty of mains on the menu to choose from and a luxurious mushroom and black truffle ravioli for vegetarians that is bound to impress. They have a superb selection of liquors that are just the ticket to finishing your meal and lots of scrumptious desserts.
The meat grill selection and the mushroom and black truffle ravioli
10th Floor, Assembly Hotel, 31 Charing Cross Road
Sessions Arts Club
Have your date night at the Sessions Arts Club, and you'll feel as if you're somewhere in the Mediterranean. The stunning artwork, fronded palms, and distressed paintwork will transport you and your guest to foreign lands, but the menu won't.
The Sessions Arts Club serves modern British food consisting of dishes like beef wellington with seasonal vegetables tweaked to perfection and for a very reasonable cost too. Is it one of the most romantic restaurants in London? The answer to that is definitely yes, so you're guaranteed to have a romantic evening with no interruptions either, as phones are not allowed in the dining room.
The menu at the Sessions Arts Club isn't extensive, but you can expect dishes prepared from top-quality ingredients and to an exceptionally high standard. There are, as with all excellent restaurants, seasonal variations to the menu as well as weekly changes, so unless you check their website for an insight into the menu, you could be in for a date night surprise.
The lamb with champagne, celeriac, and lovage, or the red mullet with violino and crab.
Old Sessions House, 24 Clerkenwell Green
Seabird is a city eatery that definitely deserves its place on the list of the most romantic restaurants in London. This rooftop restaurant occupies the 14th floor, so not only is the food amazing, the views are too.
Oysters are a renowned aphrodisiac, and Seabird has the longest oyster and seafood menu in the city. Go on a date night here, and your date will know you mean serious business. The oysters are taken to the restaurant fresh every day and originate from England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. If you're having a lunch date rather than a dinner date, you can make the most of the oyster happy hour they serve afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Half a dozen oysters each washed down with a bottle of bubbly because the wine list is non-existent.
14th Floor, South Bank, 40 Blackfriars Road
Amazonico is quite possibly the most romantic restaurant in London. If you're someone who suffers from date nerves and you want an intimate dining room that's dimly lit to hide your blushes, this is the place to go.
Dining at Amazonico is akin to dining in the deepest darkest South American jungle (as the name suggests), and most of the dense foliage is hanging from the ceiling. The furnishings are plush velvet banquettes, so make sure you don't get too comfortable and fall asleep during your date, or it might be the last one you have - with that particular person anyway.
Surprisingly at Amazonico, the menu focuses on more than spicy Latin food and consists of a fusion of Japanese, Peruvian, Brazilian, and Argentinian cuisines. Here they serve everything from sushi to guacamole with sea urchin to wagyu beef, the price of which may bring tears to your eyes, as will the cost of the caviar.
Unless you or your date have a nut allergy, the picante de camaron, which is prawns with Peruvian chilli and peanuts, is a tasty treat.
10 Berkeley Square
Le Petit Beefbar
If you're under the impression the most romantic restaurants in London are ones with candles on the tables, then this date night restaurant will take you by surprise and hopefully delight you and your guest.
Le Petit Beefbar doesn't have candles on the tables, nor is it dimly lit, nor does it have a constantly evolving tasting menu. It does have a stylish, albeit a little old-fashioned, décor consisting of dark wood paneling, chandeliers, mirrored walls, and marble tables. The mood lighting helps make it more romantic and creates that special intimate setting that is perfect for a date.
Le Petit Beefbar is, in a way, a nod to the steak restaurants of Paris and is as elegant as any you'd find in the French capital. Their exquisite food though goes several steps further than your regular steak and chips, but without skyrocketing the prices to match - so long as you don't go for a 900-day grain-fed tenderloin of Japanese Kobe.
At Le Petit Beefbar, you can have an intimate dinner, in the main dining room, over some of the best Wagyu and Kobe beef on the market in a variety of presentations that also includes burgers and bolognese. They also offer a selection of upgraded street food dishes like short rib stuffed bao buns or quesadillas that, while they're more economical options, still go great with a bottle of the good stuff off their wine list.
Don't worry if your date is vegetarian. Despite the meat-oriented name, Le Petit Beefbar has an exciting selection of vegetarian dishes on its menu, which includes a cauliflower steak doused with a green tahini sauce and pomegranate that’s tongue-tingling good.
If you don't want to break your budget, try the miso black beef with mash or a grilled filet mignon with Le Petit Beefbar's signature sauce. It's out of this world.
27 Cale Street, Chelsea
$$ to $$$$ depending on what you choose to eat
Berners Tavern has a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in London and deservedly so too. But whether it's one of the best romantic restaurants in the city totally depends on how you want to define having a romantic dinner.
Berners Tavern is where you should go when you want to really impress your date. The restaurant's classy décor is what can only be called posh in an over-the-top way, and while the dining room is everything but intimate, reserve a corner table in advance, and you'll still be able to have a romantic evening.
While at Berners Tavern they do put candles on the tables, they don't in any way outshine the artwork on the walls or the food on the menu. Forget going to a cocktail bar before you dine here, as they have a fantastic cocktail menu of their own, so you can sip on an Absolem or Clandestine while deciding what to eat.
At Berners Tavern, they serve modern British food pimped up to the nines. You can even get the latest reinvented versions of staid old favorites like prawn cocktail or mac'n'cheese here. They're not likely choices that will impress your date much, so try to go for something just a little more sophisticated.
The delightful Dingley Dell pork chop, roasted lemon sole with royal blue prawns, tender stem broccoli, and, if you must, a mac'n'cheese. Will you get a sticky toffee pudding for dessert here? Sadly the answer is no, but they do offer a flaming baked Alaska dessert for sharing between two, which is probably the most romantic dessert you can get.
10 Berners Street
$$ to $$$
Ping Pong Covent Garden
Not all date nights in London need to cost you an absolute fortune. You can still impress if you're on a budget, especially if you plan on eating Chinese food. Ping Pong is a hidden gem of a restaurant in Covent Garden that really delivers on the dim sum, and there's nothing better for impressing a date than eating dumplings with chopsticks.
Ping Pong's premises are smart and up-to-date without being over the top, so perfect for a first date encounter. Is it one of the most romantic restaurants in London? Probably not, but it does have its good points.
Plan to meet your date early in the evening, and you won't need to go to a wine bar to break the ice, as Ping Pong has some great happy hours that will do it for you. If the date goes better than expected, then they also have some fantastic weekend bottomless brunch options you should note.
At Ping Pong, you can relax over dumplings, bao, or gyoza that are freshly prepared every day. Here vegan and gluten-free is not a problem either as they have plenty of dishes on the menu to suit multiple dietary restrictions and much much more. And best of all, you won't start crying when you wake up the next day and see the charges on your credit card.
Everything on the menu. You really can't go wrong at this place. That said, though, check out the dishes they prepare fresh every year to coincide with the Chinese horoscope. 2023 is the year of the rabbit, and rabbit-stuffed dumplings are something else. That's a fact you can even use to impress your date with. Happy dining.
23 – 24 Maiden Lane
If all of the aforementioned romantic restaurants are financially out of reach, it’s really not the end of the world. You can have just as much fun eating street food in London. No matter where you finally take your date, finish with drinks in one of London’s rooftop bars, and your date night will be a big success.