Most Romantic Restaurants in London

Want to know where you should book a table for Valentine’s Day? From Sessions Arts Club to Quality Wines, these are London’s most romantic restaurants.
SAC2
A date at Sessions Arts Club will make for a date to remember.

The most romantic scene in any movie ever is the bit in Lady and The Tramp where Tramp rolls the last meatball on the plate to Lady with his nose. That’s a stone-cold fact. Don’t let the fact that I had “looking for someone to roll the last meatball to” as a prompt on my Hinge profile and only got a baker’s dozen of matches in 7 to 8 months of heavy (and I mean heavy) Hinge use detract from that.

If you’re reading this article on the most romantic restaurants in London I can only assume that you have a Tramp or Lady in your life that you want to exchange meatballs with and do that thing with the spaghetti where they end up kissing. Well, good news! Because I’ve done all the hard work for you and compiled this list of the sexiest, loveliest, and downright most charming restaurants in the whole of London for your Valentine’s date night. Why? Because I love love. And I love good food. Being able to combine those two things is one of the greatest joys in the world.

Don’t go thinking that you have to take your significant other out for a fancy meal though. I’m sure they’d be just as smitten if you decided to cook them a delicious meal at home as well. We’ve got plenty of sexy recipes that are perfect for doing just that. They’d probably be up for a takeaway on the sofa, too. There’s more to a relationship than fancy food with wine lists that don’t offer a single bottle under the £30 mark.

However, if you do fancy going out for a meal and making goo-goo eyes at someone you’re comfortable farting in front of, then I’ve got a bunch of restaurants you should try booking this Valentine’s Day. They’re not necessarily the flashiest or most expensive (because overpaying for bland cooking doesn’t get anyone in the mood for love) but they all deliver that certain je ne sais quoi. My rubric for making this list was the question “would I be embarrassed proposing to someone at this restaurant?” and the answer for all of the entries in this list is, “not at all”.

These are the most romantic restaurants in London, Mob. I’ll blame you if I can’t get a reservation.

Sessions Arts Club

SAC

Having a meal here is like descending into a bath that’s somehow – as if by sheer utter magic – at exactly the perfect temperature. It’s the sort of place where I can’t remember exactly what each mouthful of food I ate tasted like but I can remember the way that my heart raced and my pupils dilated when I stared into my partner’s eyes in between courses. Eating out is about the theatre as much as anything else and Sessions Arts Club is a restaurant that perfectly balances that ephemeral dining “experience” with excellent cooking. You won’t forget your first time here. And I can guarantee it won’t be your last.

Old Sessions House, 24 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0NA

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street is a special restaurant, so don’t go taking someone that you’re not that into here. This isn’t an “I need somewhere to take that hottie from Hinge” sort of date night spot. Oh, no. This is a restaurant where you take the person that you think you want to be with for the rest of your life. Why? Because it’s wonderful; the interior is all dimly lit and just shabby enough to charm without appearing as if it’s trying too hard. The sublime cooking from chef Steve Williams is equally wonderful. The food takes its cues from the seasons and the constantly shifting blackboard menu is always congested with quality. Finding something that you don’t want to order here can be supremely difficult. Come hungry.

40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA

BiBi

Bi Bi

Chet Sharma is one of the most talented and cerebral chefs working in London right now. His restaurant, BiBi, is a suave and sophisticated joint where you can find some of the most exciting contemporary Indian cooking in the capital. Provenance is a big thing here – even the ghee comes from cows who graze on wild herbs and grasses – but it’s what the team on the hobs do with that produce which’ll really blow your mind. The Nashpati bhel is perhaps the best case in point: a super-powered chaat that’s composed of puffed heritage grains and a generous scoop of pear granita. Trust me when I tell you that it’s like no bhel puri you’ve ever had before, and that BiBi is a restaurant that’s like no other. The banquette booths are also perfect for sidling up next to a loved one.

42 North Audley Street, W1K 6ZP

Campania

Being comfortable with someone you love is the most romantic thing of all. Feeling safe in the arms of a person that you adore, and feeling at ease being yourself around them, is sexier than any strip tease or grand gesture. Campania is a homely southern Italian restaurant in east London that understands how to make you feel comfortable. Pappardelle with lamb ragù is a rich, sexy brute of a dish that’s perfectly designed to coat your mouth in flavour. The gnudi with sage butter, on the other hand, is a light and delicate rendition of a Tuscan classic that’s ideal for getting you in the mood for being in the nude.

23 Ezra Street, E2 7RH

Quality Wines

Nestled next to Quality Chop House, Quality Wines is an outstanding restaurant that it’s hard not to fall head over heels with as soon you walk through the door. Expect candlelight, natural wine, and plenty of expertly-cooked Mediterranean-inspired locavore dishes from chef, Nick Bramham. The blackboard changes (as it is wont to do) but rarely is anything on the menu less than sublime. Plus, there’s no sexier dessert in the city than QW’s homemade pig fat cannolis. Your date will be mightily impressed with a meal here.

​​88 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3EA

Rochelle Canteen

A humble restaurant where the food is always the star of the show but the ambience puts in a performance worthy of a supporting actor nom, at the very least. It’s impossible not to have a good meal at Rochelle Canteen. I’m pretty sure the last time I went I stayed for about 4 hours. It’s that sort of place. Think chalkboard menus and seasonal produce with a bent towards seafood. All of that done, like, perfectly. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of “dreamy”, this.

16 Playground Gardens, E2 7FA

Frank’s

Franks

You know what’s sexy? Brains. I don’t mean that in a pretentious “I’m attracted to intelligence” kind of way but in a much more literal sense. Frank’s is an underground bar beneath Maison Francois that’s got all sorts of tasty, offal-y bits on the menu like calve’s brain buns, pâté en croûte, and saucisson sec. If eating the unloved bits of a pig isn’t your idea of a hot date then you might want to give this one a skip. If it is though: then Frank’s the perfect late-night venue for some martini-fuelled debauchery and all-around debonair behaviour. They even do an oyster happy hour where you can get those aphrodisiac bivalves on your hand for just £1 each. That’s hot.

34 Duke Street St James's, St. James's, SW1Y 6DF

Trullo

Restaurants like Trullo don’t come around often. From the very first day it opened in June 2010, Tim Siadatan’s Italian has always felt lived in and comfortably worn like your favourite pair of jeans – a place where you can eat a great meal, experience excellent hospitality, and not leave feeling like you’ve had your wallet gouged. The freshly made pasta is some of the best in the city but it’s the lingering feeling of contentment that a meal at Trullo leaves you with afterwards that makes it one of the most romantic restaurants in London.

300-302, St Paul's Road, N1 2LH

Brat x Climpson's Arch

What you consider to be “romantic” might not necessarily be the same thing that I define as romantic. Love is, like most great things in life, subjective. It’s constantly changing, open for interpretation, and you’re free to feel it in whatever way you see fit. So when I say that Brat x Climpson’s Arch is the most romantic restaurant in London to me, personally, I totally won’t be offended if you disagree. You might not get butterflies thinking of anchovy flatbreads but that’s a you, not a me, problem. The truth is that I think of this London Fields restaurant so fondly because it’s where my partner and I went on our first official post-lockdown date. Does that make me biased? Absolutely. Do I care? Not a jot. It’s lovely.

374 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB

Llewellyn's

Herne Hill is a suitable area to have a Valentine’s stroll and Llewellyn’s is a suitable place to have a meal after you’ve worked up an appetite after said stroll. The cooking is of the seasonal modern British school (think John Dory with Brussels sprouts, brown shrimp, capers and lemon) while the interior is wonderfully intimate and refreshingly elaborated. No frills or fancy stuff here, Mob. Just good food served by good people.

293–295 Railton Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0JP

Gymkhana

They say that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And Gymkhana has been thoroughly “ain’t broke” for a number of years now. This Michelin-starred Indian restaurant is always awash with celebrities and people of note and it’s not hard to see why even society’s elite choose it as a place for celebration. The muntjac biryani is a hefty, eye-catching order; the poppadoms are more memorable than they have any right to be; even the butter chicken is immaculate – the urtext of the genre. It’s swish, swoon-worthy, and will sweep you and your date off your feet.

42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH

Ducksoup

If you’re after a romantic restaurant where physical intimacy is pretty much guaranteed, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Ducksoup. This narrow restaurant in Soho specialises in natural wine and simple small plates that never fail to hit the mark. If you’re in the market for a glass of something biodynamic with some bread and butter, Ducksoup is where you should be hitting up.

41 Dean Street, W1D 4PY

Westerns Laundry

In case you hadn’t got the memo by now, low-intervention wine is very in vogue. Featuring a strong list of organic and biodynamic bottles, Westerns Laundry is a real haven of hospitality up near Drayton Park. The menu leans towards the seafood side of things (all of it netted sustainably, natch) while the candlelit dining room remains one of the loveliest in London. Westerns Laundry will woo you.

34 Drayton Park, N5 1PB

Perilla

19 11 27 Perilla 052

Having a barney over what you should order is never a great way to start a meal. That’s why opting for the tasting menu at Perilla is a great way to forget about stressing about who ordered the disappointing celeriac dish that neither of you actually wanted and put yourself in the hands of some very capable chefs. Not only is the food here casually brilliant, but the vibe is friendly and far more relaxed than you’d expect from the kind of restaurant that serves a tasting menu. You’ll eat well here, my friend.

1-3 Green Lanes, Newington Green, N16 9BS

Brunswick House

Located in a grade II listed Georgian mansion in Vauxhall, Brunswick House is a seriously impressive restaurant that has kept London’s chandelier market afloat for almost a decade now. Jackson Boxer is the head chef and it’s his tightly focussed vision that’s brought to life with every service. The food is seasonal and deliciously flexible; one week you’ll be greeted by a grilled hispi cabbage and the next you’ll find yourself in a tryst with some perfectly timed dayboat cod. It’s hard not to say “wow” when you walk into the dining room at Brunswick House. And it’s even harder to leave.

30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG

Jolene

A croquette, a confit potato and lamb cake, a portion of al dente paccheri. That’s just a brief sample of some of the eats you can get from Jolene in Stoke Newington – a restaurant that’s firing on all cylinders right now and serving up well-executed plates of seasonal cooking in one of the most tranquil dining rooms around. Half of the romance of eating at Jolene comes from the fact that you’ll be doing so surrounded by beautiful, trendy people. The other half comes from the opportunity it provides for you to whip out your best Dolly Parton impression.

21 Newington Green, Mayville Estate, N16 9PU

Primeur

Are you really all that surprised that the sister of Westerns Laundry and Jolene is just as charming as its younger siblings? No, you aren’t. Just like the Brontës were a family fat with talent, the group behind these restaurants simply understand restaurants. They know how a room should feel, how food should taste, and how you should serve it. Simply put: they get it. Primeur also holds the distinction of being the only restaurant housed in a former garage to make it on this list of the most romantic restaurants in London.

Barnes Motors, 116 Petherton Road, N5 2RT

Fallow

Fallow Food Selection Credit Steven Joyce
Fallow is a restaurant you'll fall madly in love with. Photograph: Steven Joyce.

Anyone who says chivalry is dead has never watched a man lovingly feed a cod’s eyeball to another man. Fallow is a restaurant in central London that’s big on sustainability (ergo dishes of cod’s head) but don’t let that fool you into thinking that dinner there is going to be a quinoa and lentils affair served by longhaired hippies. It’s quite the opposite. Fallow, as a space, is sharp, angular, and effortlessly cool while the earnest plates of food that come out the pass are all expertly cooked and underline a tight and unified vision from chefs Will Murray and Jack Croft. The open kitchen will definitely get you in the mood for love.

2 St James's Market, St. James's, SW1Y 4RP

Levan

Levan Interior 41

No one likes eating in a restaurant when you can hear a pin drop. There’s no surer way than silence to kill an appetite – except perhaps the soundtrack of the couple next to you macerating their dinner like wild hogs? – which is why I’m always on the lookout for restaurants that have a perfect level of ambient buzz. Not restaurants that blare out The Stooges on full blast but joints where you can still hear your partner clearly over a soundtrack of soothing background noise and a hum of conversation. Levan is one of those restaurants; a place where you can hear needle drop disco classics back to back with '60s soul. Blessed with an exhaustive wine list and a comparatively short and concise menu, Levan is somewhere you’ll want to start affectionately referring to as “our place” after just a single date there.

12-16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL

Bocca Di Lupo

BDL

Al dente pasta (the kind that has just the right amount of resistance and bite) is one of the most sensual foods I can think of. Bocca Di Lupo is an Italian restaurant where not only is the pasta al dente but where everything else is cooked with the same sense of scrutiny. The dishes are fine-tuned to perfection with plates of cream of langoustine and red prawn risotto showing off what Bocca Di Lupo does best: regional Italian cooking made with high-quality ingredients. It’s a romantic Soho restaurant that you’d definitely want to leave your Thursdays free for. Just make sure to finish with a scoop of the espresso gelato for a suitably seductive end to the meal.

12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB

Andrew Edmunds

I wasn't fortunate enough to live in London when "old Soho" was a thing but I've been told by a number of reputable sources (Google) that Andrew Edmunds is a restaurant that illustrates what that era of the area was all about. While I won't be able to confirm that for myself without the aid of a time machine, I can confirm that the white table cloths, considerate service, and tempered menu of seasonal dishes make this one of the finest eateries for lovers in the city. No time machine is necessary for a memorable meal here.

46 Lexington Street, W1F 0LP

The Barbary Next Door

One of the most important factors of a date is whether or not you can feel comfortable being yourself with the person you're seeing. That obviously relies on a number of different things going right but making sure you're eating at a restaurant that makes you feel comfortable is a good first step to ensuring it all goes well. The Barbary Next Door is a stylishly poky place in Neal's Yard where you'll feel immediately at home. Sitting at the bar in front of the kitchen means you'll never find yourself bored either, even if your date has got absolutely dross chat. A perfect, romantic little restaurant for when you're after some excellent wine and dim lighting to set the mood.

16A Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP

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