Looking for a romantic evening? Whether you want to impress someone special on a first date or if you managed to arrange a babysitter for Valentine’s night and want to enjoy your precious ‘freedom’, these are the last-minute bookings to make. These London restaurants serve memorable dishes with sustainable credentials that will spark a conversation, scoring you major brownie points with your date.
Impress your date with a multisensory dining experience at this stylish pan-Pacific hotspot. Combining the flavours of Mexico with Japanese techniques, the menu features fresh sashimi, maki rolls, ceviche, tiraditos, and some 20 distinctive tacos. If the evening goes well, move to the neighbouring sister bar Viajante87 – the seductive late-night destination creates cutting-edge agave-based cocktails in an intimate subterranean setting.
2-4 Farmer Street, Notting Hill
Named after a famous 18th-century courtesan, this seductive Mayfair restaurant features a suitably plush, dimly lit setting within a pretty Georgian townhouse. Take a seat on one of the rose velvet banquettes and order from the upmarket – yet unfussy – British-Spanish menu. Combined with an excellent wine list, it’s the perfect place to woo your date.
10 Shepherd Market, Mayfair
The Twenty Two
This Edwardian manor house on Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square, now a boutique hotel and members’ club, is ‘dedicated to the art of lingering’. In the chic restaurant, this involves savouring every dish, glance, and moment of a romantic meal chosen from former Arbutus chef Alan Christie’s minimal-intervention menu, which gives a Mediterranean flourish to modern British cuisine.
22 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair
Bob Bob Ricard
Make an uproarious evening of date night by booking a booth at Bob Bob Ricard’s glamorous Soho or City dining rooms, which are inspired by the Orient Express and Royal Yacht Britannia, respectively. Tables infamously feature a ‘Press for Champagne’ button, while the menu offers British and French classics, plus palate-cleansing -18C vodka shots between courses.
1 Upper James Street, Soho
Level 3, 122 Leadenhall Street, City of London
Hutong at The Shard
Whisk your date to level 33 of The Shard for dinner with a view. Hutong’s fiery Northern Chinese cooking offers gastronomic talking points, such as Peking duck with king oyster mushrooms and flying fish roe on the Valentine’s Day dinner menu, or bamboo dumplings on the vegan menu. Choose between a bird’s-eye view of the city at sunset or the glittering lights that reward later bookings.
33 St Thomas Street, Borough
It’s cliched to say the French know how to up the romance factor, but it’s certainly true at this modest corner bistro, complete with leather banquettes and chequered tablecloths. The menu du jour chalked on the board sticks to the classics (think steak tartare, escargots, and tarte tatin) and the wine list pinpoints some real gems – all available by the glass, carafe, or bottle. Ideal for Valentine’s.
109 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey
Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’s buzzing rooftop spot at The Standard has style in spades. An exterior ‘red-pill’ lift transports you to the 10th floor and, seemingly, a perfectly executed episode of Mad Men – the setting for Spanish-Mexican dishes, mezcal cocktails, and live music. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer gorgeous views of King’s Cross and St Pancras from the ‘60s-style dining room, and the service is slick enough for Don Draper himself.
10th floor, 10 Argyle Street, King’s Cross
Padella co-founder Tim Siadatan’s Highbury ristorante evokes the lavender fields of Tuscany with its daily menu of Italian cuisine driven by British produce – from Dorset lamb rump to Norfolk quail. The pasta is freshly kneaded and rolled a few minutes before service, the fish and meat are grilled above burning coals, and the wine list tours Italian vineyards from Sicily to Lombardy.
300-302 St Paul’s Road, Islington
The iconic hotel has opened a new chapter for its flagship restaurant, reverting to its eponymous title and paying homage to this Mayfair institution’s famed art deco design legacy. Calacatta Viola marble, antique brass, mosaic flooring, central leather banquettes and dramatic pendant lamps add glamor, while the menu showcases classic, seasonal dishes, elevated with a signature Claridge’s twist. A Valentine’s treat.
Brook Street, Mayfair
Kenyan-born Indian-British chef Ravinder Bhogal’s casually chic debut restaurant blends Asian, East African, and Middle Eastern flavours in a concept she calls ‘cooking across borders’. Shaped by Bhogal’s fascination with the cuisine of the UK’s diverse migrant communities, the Comfort & Joy vegetarian cookbook author’s exploratory philosophy fills the à la carte dinner and two- or three-course lunch menus with deliciously singular dishes.
19-21 Blandford Street, Marylebone
Skye Gyngell’s light and airy dining room at Somerset House makes for the perfect Valentine’s dinner (or set lunch) following a scenic riverside walk. If your date loves the distinctively seasonal, produce-led, and elegant cooking, then surprise them with a signed Spring: The Cookbook – available to buy at the restaurant. Gyngell, a pioneer for environmental issues, turned Spring into London’s first single-use plastic-free restaurant in 2019.
Somerset House, Lancaster Place, Covent Garden
Alex Dalzell has written extensively about dining and interviewed some of the world’s top chefs in his role as Head of Content for Europe at Ten Lifestyle Group. Ten is the world-leading travel and lifestyle concierge service which helps 100,000s of members across the globe live life to the fullest. Ten also provide services to valuable customers of some of the world’s leading private banks and premium financial services.
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