25 Most Romantic Restaurants in London Now Taking Bookings (2024)

25 Most Romantic Restaurants in London Now Taking Bookings (1)

Want to impress someone special? Discover the best romantic restaurants in London, lovers

Edited by

Leonie Cooper

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There's nothing quite as romantic as a dinner date. London is full of romantic things to do, and flowers, gifts and grand gestures are all very well and good, but we reckon sharing a meal is the best way to conjure up some love – and don't worry if a little sauce dribbles down your chin. 'Eating with abandon couldn't be more of a turn-on: it shows that you're comfortable with yourself,' said the late chef Anthony Bourdain, and we're inclined to agree.The places in our list of London’s most romantic restaurants all provide excellent opportunity to shove food in your face while calling it flirting.

From chic French spots to amazingJapanese joints, we’ve got somewhere for every amorous encounter, whether a big date, anniversary dinner or a ‘We finally got a babysitter’ celebration. Really want to push the (love) boat out? Then visit one of London's Michelin-starred restaurants with your beau. To paraphrase Shakespeare: if food be the food of love, munch on.

RECOMMENDED: The most romantic hotels in London.

Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

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Romantic restaurants in London

Photograph: Juan Trujillo Andrades
1.Noble Rot
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Bloomsbury

Romance is draped elegantly all over this Bloomsbury restaurant and wine bar, which you'll find on the equally dreamy Lamb's Conduit Street. The back room is all oak-y and mysterious, perfect for whispering naughty things to your lover, while the food is unerringly spectacular. A great place to pop the question – especially if the question is 'shall we share a pudding, darling?'

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Simon Brown Photography
2.Bouchon Racine
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Farringdon

Find this heavenly hideaway on the top floor of a 300-year-old pub in the heart of Farringdon. Ask for a seat on the semi-private indoor balcony area strewn with fairy lights which overlooks the busy Turnmill Street below. Tables are candlelit, the dreamy vibe is '1930s nanna's house' and Henry Harris’s hearty French food is made for seduction;with lashings of cheese,steak and red wine. Gorgeous.

Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London

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Lao Dao
3.Lao Dao
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Walworth
  • price 2 of 4

Aformer sausage shop on the Walworth Road might not be what first comes to mind when you're thinking of romance, but Lao Dao – a Xinjiang-inspired restaurant by thepeople behind theiconicSilk Road restaurant in Camberwell – is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. With stunning, and sensitively restored 1930s interiors and flashes of warm, neon light, it's a vertiableWong Kar-wai movie when you step inside. In the mood for love? You will be.

Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London

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Greg Funnell
4.Quo Vadis
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

Old Soho looms large at Quo Vadis, and what's more romantic than a slap-up meal in a neighbourhood known for it's properlybohemian credentials? Following a recent revamp,new red leather banquettes and crisp lighting make this London classic even more appealing. Share an smoked eel sandwich, and one of chef Jeremy Lee's stunning pies and lots and lots of wine.

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Photograph: Big Night
5.Black Axe Mangal
  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Highbury

Depending on who you're trying to woo, a heavy metal themed Highbury hideout complete with a framed section of the penis graffitithat used to cover the floor might just be a winner. Head chef Lee Tiernanis a St John Bread & Wine-trained marvel, and a rock-themed, uber-kebab concept is a great place to make eyes at someone over lamb offal flatbread while Judas Priest pump out of the soundsystem.

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Photograph: Beth Evans
6.Sessions Arts Club

A grand distressed pastel-hued dining room in a Grade II-listed former courthouse? Check. Dimly lit with candles everywhere? Check. SexyEuropean food to get you in the mood? Check, check, check. Score big brownie points with your significant other at one of London’s fittest restaurants.

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Ming Tang-Evans
7.Trullo
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Highbury
  • price 2 of 4

Trattorias don't get more intimate and loved-up than Highbury corner's tried and tested sauce factory, Trullo.Make eyes over their legendary pappardelle with beef shin ragu orpici cacio e pepe while simultaneously dipping into their enormousItalian wine list. Then? The limitless delights of a shared tiramisu, of course.

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Photograph: The Ritz Restaurant
8.The Ritz Restaurant
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Piccadilly
  • price 4 of 4

Forever the flashiest gal in town, this Michelin-starred dining room contains stiletto-swallowing carpets adorned with giant roses, floral swags and crystal chandeliers draped from the ceiling, massive pink marble columns and a shimmering sculpture of Neptune and Aphrodite wearing not much apart from gold leaf. If that doesn't scream 'romance', we've no idea what does. Remember, it's one of the last places in London to retain a dress code – so grab your jacket and tie and prepare for a loved-upevening to remember.

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Mount St
9.Mount St Restaurant
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

Nothing says 'I love you' like a pie with a lobster's head poking out of it. That's the signature dish on the menu at Mount St, where you can also swoon at each other while surrounded by some extremely high endart from the likes ofWarhol, Freud, Picasso, and Matisse. Sexiest of all through, is painter Suzanne Valadon's reclining nude from 1916. Visit the Games Room, asecret private dining room covered with risque art and tentacle erotica, if you want to ramp things up a notch.

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Alexander Baxter
10.Brunswick House
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Vauxhall
  • price 3 of 4

This listed Georgian mansion was built in 1758 and is now a tucked-away haven of history in among the skyscrapers of Vauxhall. The main dining room is an utter delight, filled with stunning vintage light fittings from thearchitectural salvage yard next door. Chef Jackson Boxer knows romantic food – think raw Dexter beef and aged Gruyere served with honey and cornichons – but it's the setting which will really have you swooning.

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Marcus Brown
11.Bistro Freddie
  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Shoreditch
  • price 3 of 4

An intimate and classy Shoreditch spot that also serves up extremely tasty bistro food. Head chef and flavour magus Anna Søgaard's spare, paired-back menu leaves time and space for you to make eyes at your date while coyly munching on what they call‘house sausage’. The all-French wine list isa lovely touch, too.

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Paul Winch-Furness
12.Bebe Bob
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Soho

Golden Square's Bebe Bob is the seductive offspring of the nearby Bob Bob Ricard, and is just as glam. Loungeupon dangerously low-slung velvet seating at the back of the restaurant in what feels like a 1970s conversation pit; all brown curved leather and boasting a camp-y Playboy mansion energy. Split a rotisserie chicken – the menu is based entirely aroundthem– and sip Champagne in Bebe Bob’s distinctive crystalware.

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Photograph: Steven Joyce
13.The Aubrey
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Knightsbridge

Named after thedarkly decadent Victorian-era illustrator Aubrey Beardsley – whose erotic art is still racy enough to raise eyebrows – The Aubrey is a very seductive space. The food is just as tempting – earthenware sharing plates of deep-fried karaage chicken with zingy yuzu mayo, soy-licked edomae nigiri sprinkled with edible ants and charcoal-charred meats, pulled straight off the robata. It's supposed to be inspired by an ‘eccentric Japanese izakaya’ and it's definitely one for woo-ing.

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© Jessica Long
14.Casse-Croûte
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Bermondsey

A teasing spoonful of provincial France in all its rustic warmth, this infectiously cosy eatery is a delightful squeeze. Chatty personal service sets the tone, while the brief blackboard menu (scribbled in French) promises big-hearted, boldly chosen and smartly executed takes on the bourgeois classics. Nibbles of cheese and charcuterie make the whole thing even more intimate.

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Pidgin
15.Pidgin
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Hackney
  • price 3 of 4

Wish you had a delightful Hackney crashpad, but your parents didn't buy you a houseon Wilton Way when you finished uni? Us neither, but a visit to Pidgin will make you feel like they did. The cosy space is just like someone's front room, and the food is always incredible, with aweekly tasting menu that's changed every week since they opened in 2015. A charming, homely space with massive cute date energy.

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Photograph: Andrew Edmunds
16.Andrew Edmunds
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

A bastion of old Soho since 1986, Andrew Edmunds wine bar/bistro was doing shabby chic long before the term became common currency, and regulars are still hooked on its charms. As a diamond in the rough, it has nurtured countless love affairs with its cosy nooks, candlelit tables, big-hearted food and a gloriously oddball wine list stuffed with bargains.

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Petersham Nurseries
17.Petersham Nurseries Café
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Richmond

A stately greenhouse complete with a meadow on its doorstep, plants all around and horticultural paraphernalia in abundance, the daytime Café at Petersham Nurseries is the ultimate in muddy-booted, green-fingered rustic charm. Channel all your romance into a sprightly seasonal lunch replete with sunny Mediterranean overtones and ingredients picked fresh from the gardens.

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Rusne Draz
18.Balthazar
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Covent Garden

Brassy, energetic and classily cosmopolitan, this NYC import mixes Gallic joie de vivre with snappy US-style customer service in a glammed-up setting of red leather banquettes, mirrored walls and mosaic floors. Manhattan meets Montmartre on an all-day menu that’s just the ticket for that special date – Balthazar’s must-try breads and pastries are guaranteed to melt the hardest of hearts.

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Photograph: J Sheekey
19.J Sheekey
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Covent Garden
  • price 3 of 4

J Sheekey lures lovers in with its red canopies on St Martin’s Court. What could appeal more than the chance to knock back a plate of native oysters overlooked by photos of the finest stars of stage and screen? Not into aphrodisiac bivalves? There are plenty of hot plates for sharing too – including the legendary fish pie.

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Patricia Niven
20.Jolene
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Newington Green
  • price 2 of 4

From the folks behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry, Jolene is a supremely beautiful restaurant opposite Newington Green. Everything about it evokes romance: the candle-lit tables, the warehouse-style space with its long, classy bar, the dimly lit loos that smell of cinnamon. It's a great low-key options for almost every occasion; a brunch spot and bakery during the day, but at night a small-plates menu featuring fresh pasta and rustic hunks of meat comes out to play.

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Andy Parsons
21.Parsons
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Covent Garden
  • price 2 of 4

Every inch of this bijou Covent Garden fish restaurant has been put to good use – just look above the door to see the carousel of customers’ coats (well, that’s one way of making sure nobody does a runner). Fish arrives fresh off day boats, with specials – grilled sardines, say, or dover sole – scrawled on the tiled walls or mirrors. For something more memorable, do have a rummage through the snacks, like the smoked cod’s roe.

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22.Fischer’s
  • Restaurants
  • Austrian
  • Marylebone

If your idea of romance is waltzing round old Vienna to the sound of Strauss, you can capture some of that old ‘Blue Danube’ magic with a trip to this instantly comforting Mittel-European number. Schnitzels, sausages, ice-cream coupes and – of course – incomparable viennoiserie provide welcome sustenance, with excellent hot chocolate and coffee adding that vital X factor.

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© Paul Winch-Furness
23.Hutong
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • London Bridge
  • price 4 of 4

Like the original Hutong in Hong Kong, this offshoot halfway up the Shard is a glitzy rendezvous with amazing views, ersatz Old Beijing decor and a Sichuan-Northern Chinese menu. Tuned-in service and high prices come with the territory, but Hutong is a City date restaurant par excellence serving carefully rendered, offbeat food that’s guaranteed to jangle and soothe curious palates.

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Kudu
24.Kudu
  • Restaurants
  • South African
  • Peckham
  • price 2 of 4

If you’re searching for the vibe of a vintage lounge bar to woo your date, try Kudu – a friendly neighbourhood restaurant in Peckham. The look is retro with dusky pink plaster walls and marble tables. The small plates menu is inspired by South Africa (a kudu is an antelope), including several dishes served in traditional cast-iron skillets, having been cooked in or over open flames.

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Andy Parsons
25.Llewelyn’s
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Herne Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Lucky Herne Hill to have Llewelyn’s on its doorstep. Set up by a team with hot credentials, this place deals in super-seasonal British cooking – although that’s only half the story. Also check out the serene interior and the super-chic terrazzo bar, as well as the tables out front for alfresco carousing. A perfect local date spot with some low-key romance thrown in.

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