Romantic restaurants in London for Valentine’s Day and beyond

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‘Making someone think of love; suitable for romance’: the definition of romantic itself is vague, making a definitive list of what constitutes a romantic restaurant rather tricky. However, we think there are a few essential boxes that should always be ticked.

Great food – the most obvious, and important. Great lighting that flatters both the décor of the restaurant and the diners themselves. Great music that you notice for being well-chosen. Staff who are just the right mix of friendly, efficient and invisible. Décor that makes you feel at home, in the comfort sense, but very far away from the home in which you prepare (and wash up) all meals. Read on for dinner inspiration for every type of romantic meal out in London, whether for Valentine’s Day, a big anniversary, a special occasion or just because.

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Mayfair

alain ducasse at the dorchester

With three Michelin stars to its name, it’s unsurprising that Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is one of our top picks for a romantic occasion. Expect impeccable service, modern but not outlandish decor and exquisite food. The à la carte menu has a degree of French flair and takes full advantage of the delicious produce from both French and British suppliers. Curated by executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet, who has reimagined Ducasse’s cooking, stand-out dishes include saddle of Denbighshire venison with butternut squash and kombu, and Cornish turbot, Kalibos cabbage, chestnut and clementine.

For Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is offering couples a delectable five-course menu including dishes using the best seasonal produce from seared langoustine through to beef tenderloin with Jerusalem artichoke and black truffle. For an even more enchanting evening, guests can book the Table Lumière Experience and dine surrounded by 4,500 shimmering optics in a semi-private space. It’s made all the better with a glass of 2006 Dom Pérignon in hand.

53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA,

Above at Hide, Mayfair


Offering sweeping views across Green Park, the Hide dining room is a peaceful haven set away from the hustle and bustle of city life below — the perfect culinary escape for date night. You won’t be let down in the gastronomic department: the restaurant has a Michelin star to its name and serves delicious light plates with experimental flavours. The culinary offering here abides by the seasons and changes on a regular basis, with the current à la carte five-course menu including roasted Orkney scallop and rhubarb and custard tartlet.

This Valentine’s Day, head chef Ollie Dabbous has curated a special seven-course menu starting with black truffle and ending with a dessert named The Naked Lady. Highlights also include fresh linguine with Exmoor caviar and champagne, as well as A5 Wagyu beef striploin cooked over charcoal with fresh wasabi and miso jus.

85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB,

Benares, Mayfair

If Indian cuisine is the way to your heart, look no further than Michelin-starred Benares in Mayfair. Led by executive chef Sameer Taneja, the menus combine fine British ingredients with unique and innovative modern Indian cooking techniques to create a selection of unforgettable dishes, including baked Malabar scallop in coconut curry and Batak Curry with pan-roasted Gressingham duck fillet and puy lentils and leg masala.

Benares’ Valentine’s Day offering includes an eight-course tasting menu that has been expertly curated by Taneja and his team to make the romantic evening one to remember. Tuck into hearty dishes inspired by the Indian subcontinent from a scrumptious hot smoked Hake Bhaji Pao to a warming Jumbo Quali Yakhani Pulao. Elevate your evening with the restaurant’s expert wine pairings, before ending the evening with a nightcap by the Lounge Bar’s beautiful lily pond.

12a Berkeley Square, W1J 6BS,

Bacchanalia, Mayfair

Thanks to its opulent interiors inspired by Greek and Roman extravagance, Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Bacchanalia offers the perfect backdrop for any intimate date night. Nothing says romance quite like sampling an array of cocktails and authentic dishes — from keftedes to tempura courgette flower — in this breathtaking, golden-hued dining room.

Alongside the à la carte offering, 14 February will see internationally-renowned chef Athinagoras Kostakos bring a premium Venus tasting menu to Bacchanalia. The beautifully-curated sharing menu is made up of five sharing plates with highlights including Fine de Claire oysters, red shrimp carpaccio, lobster paccheri pasta and braised veal. The meal will be followed by Aphrodite’s Touch, a unique white chocolate, lychee and rose Valentine’s dessert paired with a bespoke orange and cherry Eros cocktail. Guests can also splash out on the exquisite wine list with over 650 references from Greece, Italy, France and beyond.

1 Mount Street, W1K 3NA,

14 Hills, The City

14 hills london

Aptly nicknamed ‘the forest in the sky’, 14 Hills sits high above Fenchurch Street, overlooking the city skyline and stuffed to the hilt with luscious greenery. Showcasing the best of British, head chef Emrah George has created an inspired range of menus for the restaurant, offering up seasonal produce with a touch of French flair.

The à la carte menu boasts an impressive choice of dishes, with everything from pork chop with a bacon crust and apple cider sauce, and burrata with pear, hazelnut and rocket to beef tartare with wild mushroom and black truffle dressing, and côte de boeuf for two. A plethora of innovative cocktails by head mixologist Spyros Apostolopoulos are not to be missed and be sure to save room for the treacle tart and clotted cream to finish.

120 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 5BA,

The Northall at the Corinthia, Whitehall

northtall corinthia london

One of three gorgeous restaurants at Westminster’s Corinthia hotel (including the beautiful Garden eatery), the Northall boasts soaring ceilings, elegant views over Embankment and a menu of fine dining modern European cuisine spearheaded by executive chef André Garrett. With classic white-tablecloth service and an extensive wine menu, the Northall excels in making every meal feel like a special occasion, so if you’re looking to impress there are few better options.

The seasonal menu is filled with decadent dishes, such as poached Isle of Gigha halibut and Chateaubriand of Lake District farm beef, while the Northall will also be serving up a special tasting menu for Valentine’s Day 2023. Highlights from the seven-course menu include buttermilk fried Norfolk quail, pot-roasted Herbed Norfolk black leg chicken breast with carrot and fondant potato and pecan, salted caramel and milk chocolate entremet for dessert.

Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD,

Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

clos maggiore

Inspired by the romance of Tuscan and Provençal inns, Clos Maggiore is an intimate oasis of calm in the heart of Covent Garden. Offering up a contemporary take on classic European fare, locally sourced, well-balanced menus change regularly to reflect the seasons. The restaurant’s current selection includes Brixham hand-picked crab, Rhug Estate fallow deer with blackberries and beetroot, and Atlantic John Dory with baby fennel and orange.

Elsewhere, a world-renowned wine cellar boasts an impressive selection of over 2,500 bottles that have been carefully curated by the restaurant’s sommeliers. But it’s the restaurant’s airy conservatory, trimmed with flourishing cherry blossom, that truly steals the show: opened up to the elements throughout the warmer months, in winter the space becomes a cosy retreat illuminated by candles, starlight, and a crackling wood fire.

33 King Street, WC2E 8JD,

The Barbary Next Door, Covent Garden

barbary next door

Set in Covent Garden’s colourful Neal’s Yard, the Barbary made its name serving up traditional North African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and now, the restaurant’s cooler little sister is here to steal the show. Fittingly situated just next door, the Barbary Next Door is a relaxed, intimate neighbourhood wine bar, with enough room for just ten guests, inspired by backstreet Andalucian bars and airy Moroccan courtyards. Dishes are inspired by the fragrant spices and smoky flavours of Moorish Spain and North Africa, with highlights including chicken and apricot tagine, Essaourian tomato salad and beef tartare. We suggest starting things off with an order of Moroccan olives washed down with a white port martini or cocchi sbagliato.

16a Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP,

Barrafina, across London

barrafina london

Specialising in small plates and big flavours, Barrafina has been serving up modern Spanish tapas across London for 15 years. Daily specials, unique to each of the five locations throughout the capital, join a flavourful selection of authentic regional dishes from around Spain. Guests are offered a vast selection of plates designed for sharing, from ham croquetas, padron peppers and grilled squid with chickpeas and pancetta, to fennel and ajo blanco, chicken thigh with romesco and cured monkfish. Perfect for both intimate date nights and larger celebrations.

Across London,

Daphne’s, South Kensington

daphnes london

Another crowd-pleaser from Richard Caring, this Martin Brudnizki-designed restaurant in South Kensington draws on the elegance of Italy, with a gleaming marble-topped bar, lemon trees and Murano glass chandeliers. Lovebirds can enjoy upmarket Italian classics, including a wild mushroom risotto to share, tiger prawns with garlic, chilli and parsley, and Bannockburn ribeye steak. Lock eyes over a Daphne’s Martini on the newly unveiled heated terrace.

112 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE,

Core by Clare Smyth, Kensington

core by clare smyth

Boasting no less than three Michelin stars, Core by Clare Smyth specialises in seasonal, sustainable food sourced directly from the UK’s most devoted farmers and producers. Two elegant set menus offer guests a taste of Smyth’s culinary genius, expertly paired with an eclectic range of wines. Dishes are as delicious as they are delightful, think Isle of Harris scallop tartare, roasted cod with Morecambe Bay shrimps and braised lamb with sheep’s milk yogurt.

92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN,

La Goccia, Covent Garden

la goccia

Built on the slow living values of good, clean and fair, as well as an unwavering respect for the planet, La Goccia offers up seasonal, nose-to-tail Italian aperitivo and small plates — or ciccheti – with minimal waste and maximum flavour. Run by the family behind Petersham Nurseries, top quality, fresh ingredients are sourced from small, independent producers and the family farm in Devon, then prepared in the restaurant’s theatrical open kitchen before an audience of hungry guests.

Highlights include La Goccia’s signature chicken, fresh spaghetti with wild mushrooms, and wood roasted St Mary’s scallops in butter and lemon. Seasonality is key to the restaurant’s ever-changing menu, which is best enjoyed al fresco in the sunny courtyard — when the weather allows.

1 Floral Court, WC2E 9FB,

Spring, The Strand


Housed in the New Wing of Somerset House, Spring serves up fresh Italian-inspired fare in an elegant venue that feels warm despite its near all-white interior. Dishes are simple ingredient-led, and full of rich flavours. Drop by in the early evening for chef Skye Gyngell’s ‘Scratch’ menu – a three-course offering utilising the previous day’s leftovers – or opt for the seasonal à la carte menu which might include winter tomatoes with anchovy cream, Chalk Stream trout with preserved lemon, herbs, rocket and yoghurt tartare and slow-cooked pork belly with celeriac, quince and winter greens.

Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA,

The Petersham, Richmond

the petersham

Overflowing with fragrant jasmine and bougainvillea, the glasshouse restaurant at Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries is sure to inspire romance and impress your date. Dishes are contemporary, clean, and seasonal with a touch of European influence. Current offerings include venison croquettes with porcini sauce, roasted Jerusalem artichoke with wild mushroom, pine nuts and tarragon dressing and herb-crusted lamb rack with leeks and rainbow carrots. Sustainability is a key focus at the family-run restaurant (ingredients are sourced from Haye farm in Devon) and the venue holds a covetable Michelin green star to prove it.

Church Lane, London, TW10 7AG,

Brasserie Zédel, Soho

brasserie zedel

Finding classic French fare in the heart of London at an affordable price may seem an impossible task, but that’s exactly what the team at Zédel does so well. Paying homage to the bohemian beauty of Paris, the grand subterranean Art Deco dining room makes an impressive setting for any date and the menu follows suit. The restaurant’s renowned prix fixe menu will give you three courses – including a chopped steak with peppercorn sauce and french fries, and a chocolate and caramel tart – for just £16, while the rotating plâts du jour feature a selection of French favourites including lamb tagine, oxtail meatballs and tarragon roasted chicken. Delicieux.

20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED,

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