This neighbourhood bistro has an understated feel. Cool yet relaxed, its wine list showcases some fine terroirs, while its menu focuses on seasonal French tapas – think seabass carpaccio and burnt avocado. In a quiet corner of Notting Hill, the tonal aesthetic of Cépages is perfect for a chilled mid-week rendezvous.
69 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, W2 5QH
Tom Sellers, who previously worked at world-famous Danish eatery Noma, opened Story in 2013. If you’re ready to take your date to a gastronomic adventure, look no further. The candle on your table not only helps to set the scene; it doubles up as a dip into which you can dive with a crispy dark sourdough. Even for all its Heston-esque elements, Story is not break-the-bank expensive, offering some of the best and most inventive cuisine in London.
199 Tooley Street, London Bridge, SE1 2JX
Bob Bob Ricard
A bit of a flash choice, but one that will likely impress your date: who wouldn’t love a ‘press for Champagne’ button? Bob Bob Ricard is a high end Russian-English hybrid, with a diverse menu of culinary classics which have been zhoozhed up with a modern twist. Oysters, perfect for sharing feature on the menu, as well as Russian staple Chicken Kiev and Lobster mac and cheese. Definitely a racier choice ideal for a Friday night date and maybe even some dancing...
1 Upper James Street, Soho, W1F 9DF
Want somewhere casual for a lunch date? The Dairy has a great selection of dishes, from surf to turf. It even offers a tasting menu for £48pp, featuring bone-marrow agnolotti and Cornish mussels. Vegetarian dishes are mouth-watering too – the tagliatelle with chestnut mushrooms is a must-try. With paired-down aesthetic and low-level lighting, this little alcove of Clapham Old Town is a good all-rounder.
15 The Pavement, Clapham, SW4 0HY
28 Church Row
The warm and inviting interior of this charming restaurant are set up for a cosy winter date with a good bottle of red and some tasty tapas. In a wood-panelled basement in Hampstead, the vibe is relaxed and there’s an ever-changing menu of dishes such as grilled baby octopus and serrano ham croquetas. The poached pear and vanilla ice cream is an enticing dessert option, only improved by an accompanying Moscato. You can’t book here, so make sure you have a place nearby on hand for a swift pre-dinner drink.
28 Church Row, Hampstead, NW3 6UP
Hidden away under cover of Southwark Cathedral, you might not notice this quirky venue from street level. As you enter its illuminated façade, decorative vintage beds and sofas greet you, with a host of people cushioned under blankets, sipping on craft beers. Boro Bistro is the perfect place to warm yourself in winter next to an umbrella heater for an intimate date. As well as sharing platters and small plates, it offers an array of larger plates from a lamb chop served with a chimichurri sauce to pan-fried hake.
6-10 Borough High Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QQ
E&O Notting Hill
A dark, sexy restaurant serving top notch pan-Asian cuisine is always a good way to woo your date. E&O in Notting Hill obviously has a certain ‘cool’ factor, with its black slatted walls and. Perfect for chit chatting over Japanese Tuna Tartar, this chic yet restrained eatery offers a seductive space to its diners and is an ideal date venue.
14 Blenheim Cres, Notting Hill W11 1NN
This rustic family run Chelsea institution has been going for over 40 years. Specialising in home cooked Italian food, the atmosphere here is casual but buzzy. A restaurant with its roots firmly grounded in the sun drenched Tuscan hills, La Famiglia has a relaxed feel that welcomes you in — a great spot if you’re looking for somewhere with no nonsense, well cooked food.
7 Langton St, Chelsea SW10 0JL
Hard to miss from the outside with its etched facade and windows exposing a moody dimly lit bar, Gold is located right in the middle of Notting Hill’s modish Portobello Road. A popular local hotspot, this restaurant offers decadent seasonal food cooked in wood ovens inside the stylish and serene plant filled garden room. Perfect for a double date, it’s roomy enough for a small group and not offputtingly intimate.
95-97 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill W11 2QB
A top celeb spotting location; the open kitchen and vast expanse with which to people watch are bound to make good talking points should your date go sour. The menu is full of inventive dishes curated by chef Nuno Mendes, who previously served the now infamous ‘crab donuts’. If all goes well, head down to the Ladder Shed Bar for an after dinner drink.
1 Chiltern St, Marylebone W1U 7PA
Stationed on Lamb’s Conduit Street, Noble Rot is a London go-to perfect for a casual after work drink, or a drawn-out date should the wine keep flowing. Freshly baked bread and butter goes brilliantly with a large glass of burgundy and there are lots of tasty bites perfect for sharing, like the Venison Carpaccio or the Burratina with hazelnut and sage.
51 Lamb's Conduit St, Holborn WC1N 3NB
You’ll want a blazer if you’re planning on a date here. Margot exudes class and elegance, from the waiters kitted out in tuxedos to the candescent backlit bar. All the finesse of a fancy Italian restaurant with a menu full of delights like Baked Cod on a bed of squid ink risotto. It could best be described as pricey, stylish and old-school.
45 Great Queen St, Covent Garden WC2B 5AA
With all the charm of the marble columns and brass rails that adorn the walls, you could be sitting in a Parisian restaurant somewhere on the Seine. Only you’re not, you’re sitting just off Piccadilly Circus in the luxurious underground expanse of Brasserie Zedel. Grand and impressive, with an inexpensive set menu (for you miserly gents), Brasserie Zedel makes an opulent setting for a lunch date with a hint of nostalgia.
20 Sherwood St, Soho W1F 7ED
Incredible panoramic views from the 33rd floor of The Shard and zesty Hong Kong style Chinese food is on offer at Hutong. If you’re not scared off by the prices, book a table for a romantic date where you can see the sunset over London whilst enjoying an Old Fashioned.
33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London Bridge SE1 9RY
Another popular London eatery serving up their very own version of modern Chinese cuisine is Mayfair based Hakkasan. Its über stylish decor and Michelin star are all bolstered by its suave atmosphere and inventive dim sum dishes. Ambient lighting and strong cocktails make it a provocative venue for a dinner for two and one that will always impress.
Elegant and quaint, The Petersham in Covent Garden is always a lady’s choice. An oasis of calm, it’s sort of a mix between an English Garden with Italian flair. With classic Italian food on offer cooked from seasonal British produce and an extensive wine list to match, The Petersham is as good substitute for a romantic garden hidden away on the Amalfi coast.
2 Floral St, Covent Garden WC2E 9FB
If you’re out to impress, this is where to take your date. Isabel is a good representation of Mayfair –sophisticated and expensive. The South American twist on both the interior and cuisine gives Isabel a vibrant feel. An epicurean feast, Isabel will set the bar high for future dates if you plan on taking your new flame here.
26 Albemarle St, Mayfair W1S 4HY
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