There are thousands of restaurants in London, but which of them make good date spots? What should you look for in a restaurant if you’ve never been there before?
Here are three things to look for before you book that table:
- It’s quiet enough to hear each other talk, but busy enough for a comfortable ‘buzz’.
A quiet environment is more intimate, but being the only couple in a silent, almost-deserted restaurant can feel a bit like being in a fishbowl. Try to go for the in-between.
- Separate tables or booths.
Bench seating and long tables are great for groups, not so good for romance!
This means plenty of natural light during the daytime, and soft, ambient light during the evening. Plus points if there’s an incredible view of the city!
Find Your Perfect Table
These London restaurants provide plenty of variety, but tick all the boxes above.
Mews Brasserie is part of the beautiful Mews Courtyard in Mayfair and is a great place to stop off for a casual lunch whilst you explore the area.
10-11 Lancashire Ct, Mayfair, London W1S 1EY
Get classics like fish and chips or a selection of grilled meat and fish options. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free also available.
Classic European brasserie open 140 years and counting.
Find them at 39-45 Shaftesbury Ave, Soho, London W1D 6LA – a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
Downstairs, they have comfortable benches with individual tables, but if you want a ‘fully detached’ spot for just you and your date, try to get a table upstairs in the gallery where you can enjoy great views of the lively central bar.
A selection of shellfish, pastas, grilled meats and fish, and vegetarian options.
Mains – £13-£24 (set menu 3 courses for £21 or 2 courses for £17)
Glass of wine – from £6
Cocktails – £9.50
Affordable laid back luxury in a 1930s showbiz venue with a vibrant history and live piano music as you eat. Tons is on offer in this huge Art Deco building, including £10 cabaret shows at Crazy Coqs and the lively Bar Américain where you can grab a cocktail afterwards.
Find them at 20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED, slap bang in the middle of the West End.
Their set menu may just be the best bargain in town, consisting of carottes rapées, steak haché and chocolate gâteau.
It’s French food, so the portions won’t be huge, but for a light lunch or dinner somewhere a little bit classy, you won’t find a better price (and with the money you save, you can always order a couple of sides).
Separate vegetarian menu available.
Mains – from £8.75, three course set menu £13.75
Glass of wine – from £4.40
Cocktails – £9.50 – £13.50 at Bar Américain
Darwin Brasserie at Sky Garden
Laid-back and spot where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy an amazing view of London without breaking the bank.
You’ll have a hard time missing the Walkie Talkie, but if you can’t find it it’s at 20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF.
Darwin’s menu is straightforward with ‘garden’, ‘sea’ and ‘land’ plates – i.e. plant-based, pescetarian or omnivorous. Choices include roasted and honey-glazed trout, the Darwin beef burger and vegan delica pumpkin with oyster mushrooms.
Mains – from £12.50
Glass of wine – starts at £9
Cocktails – from £12.50
Internationally inspired plant-based food in light, airy locations that feel just the right amount of special without being strictly ‘fine dining’.
Soho 45 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 9AN
King’s Cross 200 Pentonville Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9JP
Camden 9 Jamestown Rd, Camden Town, London NW1 7BW
Choices are seasonal and imaginative, including fancy side plates and vegan twists on good old comfort foods (the beetroot chocolate cake and mushroom and ale pie are surprisingly amazing), but the vegan burgers are fortunately a staple, with a delicious, deep smoky flavour and generously sized portions.
Mains: from £12
Glass of wine: from £5.50
Cocktails: from £7.50
Slick Japanese and South American fusion restaurant with an impressive range of dishes that look as good as they taste.
15 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London, W1J 8DY
Mains include Chilean sea bass, a selection of salads and seafood dishes. Also on the menu is a range of artisan sushi, nigiri and sashimi sold in individual pieces, including melt-in-the-mouth smoked salmon, freshwater eel, yellowtail and moriawase.
Leave room for dessert as well: you’ll have a hard time choosing between them.
Small plates from £11.50 and sushi pieces from £4 each – a full meal should set you back around £80 each, depending on your appetite.
Glass of wine from £10
Cocktails from £15
Sake from £10
Snug basement restaurant in a former 18th century stone bakery with wall-mounted lamps and bare brick walls. Feels like eating in a secret cave.
71, Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 6RB
The a’la carte menu has a selection of tried-and-true pasta dishes (tagliatele, lasagne, spaghetti) as well as risottos, sea bass and rib eye steak.
Vegetarian and vegan options available.
Mains from £14. Set menu is £20 for two courses, £25 for three courses.
A glass of wine can be had for £6
Upmarket Art Deco restaurant with a beautiful open-floor dining area, great ambiance, an affordable set menu and attentive service.
16 Bury St, St. James’s, SW1Y 6AJ
A selection of grills, seafood (including caviar and oysters) and sharing plates.
The service is excellent, though quite elaborate. This gives everything a great sense of occasion, but if you’d rather be left alone to pour your own wine or unfold your own napkin, you might need to politely let them know.
Mains from £21, but their set menu is only £23 for two courses with a glass of wine, or £33 for three courses with a glass of bubbly.
Individually, a glass of wine costs upwards of £8.
Bright and casual tapas restaurant with flavourful dishes and plenty of Spanish favourites.
Soho: 3 Caxton Walk, Soho, WC2H 8PW
Camden: 38 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7AH
Belsize Park: 177 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4QS
Wide selection of tapas, with vegetarian, meat and seafood varieties. Try the fresh anchovies (very different than anything you’ll have had from a tin), fried goat’s cheese with orange honey, or the paella with black squid ink.
Mains: paellas for 2 people from £19, tapas from £4.50 (vegetarian) or £5.50 (meat-based). 4 or 5 tapas should do you both.
Glass of wine: from a very affordable £4