It may not be Paris, but London is a great city for romance. Have you tried walking across Charing Cross Bridge, hand-in-hand, gazing over the beautiful cityscape and stopping for a cheeky kiss worthy of a rom-com moment? Or have you tried looking into your other half’s eyes in the candle-lit Gordon’s Wine Bar while sharing a bottle of wine? Well you must have enjoyed a casual picnic in one of London’s many parks, sipping on Prosecco and giggling from the bubbles and butterflies in your stomach, surely? Yeah, London is doing alright on the love-scale, we think.
However, nothing quite beats a romantic dinner for two in a lovely restaurant, does it? There's just something particularly special about taking the time to sit down and enjoy some quality food with someone, whether that be a long-term partner or someone who you've only recently met, without having to worry about the cooking. With that in mind, we have gone on a quest to not only find the most romantic restaurants in London, but to determine what actually makes a restaurant romantic. Is it low lights and candles? Is it intimacy and a soundtrack of gentle piano music tinkling away in the background? Or is it extravagance, luxury and high-end elements from beginning to end?
We’ve gathered restaurants with views, eateries with romantic lighting, dining rooms with show-off interiors and quirky little spots for you to get lovey-dovey in. From the classic romantic cuisines of Italy and France, to aphrodisiac-spurring oysters and fine-dining British food, there is something to spruce up any date here. So whether you’re looking for a restaurant to propose in, to go for your first date in, to celebrate an anniversary in or simply use to bring some god ole’ lovin’ into your relationship, the below restaurants should do the trick.
SKIP TO THE BEST SECTION FOR YOU
Best romantic restaurants in London
Whether it's gorgeous interiors, free-flowing foliage or magnificent fine dining and generous service, these romantic restaurants are sure to create a spark.
YOPO at The Mandrake, Fitrovia
What: YOPO’s immersive rainforest theme has been popular among Instagrammers for a while now - this is easily one of London’s most unique and impressive dining rooms, with foliage canopy surroundings, and candlelight illuminating a hand-painted mural that sprawls above. The food is great for more adventurous diners, with small plates that are perfect for sharing with your other half taking inspiration from native South American ingredients.
Where: 20-21 Newman Street, W1T 1PG
Book now: YOPO at The Mandrake
Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden
What: Clos Maggiore's failsafe’s pièce de résistance features a beautiful conservatory decked with fake blossoms, twinkly fairy lights and an open fire (dubbed ‘The Pretty Room’), meaning it ticks all the romantic boxes there is. It’s pot luck as to who gets to dine in this intimate grotto, but if you’re planning to pop the question, do your best to coerce staff to save you a space there. Food-wise, it’s French and it’s fantastic.
Where: 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Book now: Clos Maggiore
What: BiBi entered onto Mayfair’s dining scene in 2021 with a bang, serving contemporary Indian food in a fine dining environment. But rather than being posh and uptight, the atmosphere at BiBi feels warm and secretive, with guests entering through blue velvet curtains on arrival. This is one for impressing someone special with your intricate knowledge of London's food scene. Sit at the bar for a more informal affair, or take a seat in one of its opulent yet cosy corners before tucking into Orkney scallops with Indian lemonade, Sharmaji’s Lahori chicken with cashew and yoghurt whey and buffalo milk paneer with fenugreek kebab masala.
Where: 42 North Audley Street, W1K 6ZP
Book now: BiBi
Park Chinois, Mayfair
What: If you’re after a real show-off spot, there is no better place than this big-money and opulently OTT art-deco haven. Inspired by 1930s Shanghai, Park Chinois's interiors are accented by gold, deep maroon and luxurious fabrics. Chinese cooking is presented in western-styled plates of stir-fried XO mooli cake with snow crab; sea bass and lardo rolls; and Chinese chive or Wagyu beef and bamboo charcoal baos. There's usually live music or caberet on the go to ensure there are no awkward silences, and if things are going really well, there's always the club downstairs where you can stay until the wee hours.
Where: 17 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EA
Book now: Park Chinois
Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal, Piccadilly
What: Elegant French fine dining, slick service and smart interiors in the heart of Piccadilly - what’s not to love about this luxe newcomer to London’s restaurant scene? If you’re looking for somewhere genteel, graceful and romantic for an anniversary, Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal is the one.
Where: 68 Regent Street, W1B 4DY
Book now: Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal
Spring, The Strand
What: One of London’s most aesthetically pleasing, beautiful dining rooms, Skye Gyngell’s Spring restaurant is understandably popular in the run up to Valentine’s Day, but it makes a great date spot whatever the month. Somerset House makes a lovely setting for a meal, and Gyngell’s pared-back dishes let outstanding ingredients tell the story.
Where: Somerset House, WC2R 1LA
Book now: Spring
What: A beloved foodie hotspot on Columbia Road (which itself is a lovely street to explore on a date), Brawn serves up some quality modern British cooking in a beautiful rustic, candle-lit dining room. If you love great food, lovely wines with nice labels and natural wooden furniture, Brawn is the place for you.
Where: 49 Columbia Road, E2 7RG
Book now: Brawn
The Water House Project, Bethnal Green
What: Gabriel Waterhouse's hugely popular supper club finally found a permanent spot in Bethnal Green, but it still feels homely. That's partly thanks to the beautiful space where kitchen and dining room meet as one, but also the warm friendly service of Gabriel and his team. Meanwhile, the food is a talking point - effortless, Nordic-inspired plates that are just as good on the eye as the palate. The price includes drinks, which makes this pretty great value if you're someone who likes a wine flight.
Where: 1 Corbridge Crescent, E2 9DS
Book now: The Water House Project
What: What could be better than a seafood platter with your better half at Scott’s? Well, how about a seafood platter at Scott’s Richmond, where you can gulp down oysters and Champagne next to the river, amidst a glamorous, gold-accented dining room? We thought we might just be able to persuade you.
Where: 4 Whittaker Avenue, TW9 1EH
Book now: Scott’s Richmond
What: From the open fire and candles of the Mediterranean terrace to the worn red leather banquettes and huge windows of the main dining room, Luca is a stunner from front to back. The food matches up too - expect delicious, luxurious Italian cooking and a fantastic wine list to boot.
Where: 88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH
Book now: Luca
Native at Browns, Mayfair
What: Native is easy to miss if you don’t know where to find it - tucked away inside fashion boutique Browns on Brook Street. It is beautiful and unique, both on the menu and in the dining room. You’ll also find it has a stunner of a terrace at the back (which remains one of Mayfair’s great hidden gems) - the perfect place to impress a date with a cocktail and a few Native small plates.
Where: 39 Brook Street, W1K 4JE
Book now: Native at Browns
Booking Office 1869, King’s Cross
What: The tone is most definitely set for a like-no-other evening at Booking Office 1869, a Victorian-inspired restaurant and bar designed to replicate the original 19th-century ticket hall at St Pancras. Start your evening with a drink at the 22-metre-long bar – and you could always nibble on a few plates from the raw fish bar to add an extra lick of luxury.
Where: Euston Road, NW1 2AR
Book now: Booking Office 1869
Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia
What: If you're looking for an intimate spot for a romantic dinner, Circolo Popolare probably isn't right for you. However, if you like the sound of indoor trees adorned with fairy lights, walls lined with empty spirit bottles, and a dining room that's probably not far off the size of a football pitch, this extravagent Italian is bang on the money. Serving huge pizzas designed to be shared, as well as carbonara served from a cheese wheel and an Insta-famous lemon meringue pie, the food is just as impressive and only makes the place an even better date spot.
Where: 40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX
Book now: Circolo Popolare
Le Gavroche, Mayfair
What: The holy grail for devotees of classical French cuisine, Le Gavroche is the standard-bearer for French restaurants in London. The proudly old-fashioned food goes heavy on the butter and cream (a good thing), the front-of-house service is impeccable, and the romance factor is sky-high. What's more, the prices will make your contrition all the more apparent. Founded in 1967 by brothers Albert and Michel Roux, and now owned by Albert’s son Michel Jnr, the restaurant comes with real poise and panache.
Where: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR
Book now: Le Gavroche
What: This little Bermondsey gem is a true slice of Paris with its authentic French bistro vibes – think a French-language blackboard menu, bentwood chairs, chequer-tiled flooring and, most importantly, amazing French food. Mackerel in white wine is light and fresh, whereas pork shoulder with lentils gives you the big, bold flavours. Wash it all down with the all-French wine list. Thankfully, the service at Casse-Croûte is more British than Parisian, so you can be sure that you and your date will have a fab time.
Where: 109 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB
Book now: Casse-Croûte
Affordable romantic restaurants in London
Not every romantic meal is a blow-the-budget Valentine's Day job is it? Sometimes you just want something candlelit, low-key and friendly on the wallet - well, we've got you covered.
London Shell Co., Paddington
What: Dining on a canal-moored boat (or even better – out on the actual canal) is undeniably romantic, we think, and that’s exactly what you get at London Shell Co, aboard The Prince Regent. Eating here is also dining with a difference, which will impress your date or make the whole experience just a little bit more special. Seafood is at the forefront and it’s done to perfection – Carlingford oysters are a smash-hit and the summery salad of mussel, cockle and cuttlefish is delicious.
Where: Sheldon Square, W2 6PY
Book now: London Shell Co.
What: Brothers Fin and Lorcan Spiteri are onto a winner with this quaint little Regent's Canal-side barge. Lorcan oversees the kitchen at Caravel and turns out menus of rustic, classic British cooking, whilst Fin - once manager of the member's bar at Quo Vadis - looks after front of house and drinks with a compact list of organic wines and cocktails. When the evening sun starts to set and the fairy lights come on outside, the romance really comes alive.
Where: 172 Shepherdess Walk, N1 7JL
Book now: Caravel
Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly Circus
What: Could there be a more romantic location than a Parisian-style brasserie housed inside a former ballroom? We think not. Vast marble columns and gold ceilings set the tone for what is guaranteed to be a meal to remember at Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly Circus. The menu features indulgent and luxurious French classics, including a daily-changing ‘plat du jour’ as well as an excellent value prixe-fixe offering. Head over to Bar Americain for a post-dinner cocktail, where the vibes are undoubtedly moody and seductive.
Where: 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Book now: Brasserie Zedel
The Pelican, Notting Hill
What: This renovated All Saints boozer doesn’t look romantic from the outside, but nab a table for two in the dining room, order a steak or a whole fish to share and dine in the flickering candlelight as the sun sets outside and you'll be convinced. Rustic, yet charming, this is one of our absolutely favourite West London spots.
Where: 45 All Saints Road, W11 1HE
Book now: The Pelican
What: On the surface, Brutto is pretty rustic, but there are mountains of charm and romance under the exterior. Russell Norman knows a thing or two about good restaurants and Brutto is a real love letter to Florence from someone who clearly has a thing for the city. A great date spot for a partner who loves bold, no-frills Italian food and cheap negronis.
Where: 35-37 Greenhill Rents, EC1M 6BN
Book now: Brutto
Passione Vino, Shoreditch
What: You can’t miss Passione Vino’s two-tone blue frontage on Shoreditch’s Leonard Street. Drop in and enjoy a glass of wine with wine maestro Luca Dusi - a true romanticist when it comes to Italian wine. The food is incredibly underrated too - Dusi leverages his impressive network to source really amazing Italian ingredients and serves simple, delicious food to go with the outstanding wine selection.
Where: 85 Leonard Street, EC2A 4QS
Book now: Passione Vino
Garden Museum Cafe, Lambeth
What: Perennially underrated (but one of our low-key London favourites), the beautiful Garden Museum Cafe is a spot that just doesn’t miss when it comes to date night. The glass walls of the dining room make you feel as though you’re eating amid the foliage of the beautiful gardens outside, and in the summer you can feast on simple, delicious Mediterranean-style food in the late evening sun.
Where: Lambeth Garden Museum, SE1 7LB
Book now: Garden Museum Cafe
Cora Pearl, Covent Garden
What: This high-ceilinged restaurant is illuminated by two gigantic windows at either ends, with interiors that are suitably raffish to make an atmospheric setting. Cora Pearl's French cooking, which is always romantic and indulgent, materialises itself in brilliant dishes such as the cow’s curd agnolotti with Jerusalem artichokes. Whizz off to the bar hidden away in the basement for a night cap to end the night with a romantic touch.
Where: 30 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8NA
Book now: Cora Pearl
La Poule au Pot, Belgravia
What: Another French favourite of ours that we think ranks high on the romance scale, this endearingly rustic and outrageously atmospheric restaurant serves hearty plates of big-flavoured food. La Poule au Pot combines peasant wholesomeness with bourgeois detailing, meaning anyone will feel at home here. What make it so romantic, though, is its low, candle-lit lighting, distinct interiors and charming service. With a quiet terrace for balmy evenings, this is also a great summer destination to sip on some Champagne or a rich French red.
Where: 231 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UT
Book now: La Poule au Pot
Maggie Jones's, Kensington
What: With its quirky ensemble of wicker baskets, dried flowers, trinkets and antiques hanging from the ceiling, this distinctly rustic restaurant is reminiscent of a breezy French countryside cottage. Wine bottles as candle-holders, covered in dripping wax add to the feel, but the cooking at Maggie Jones's is very much a British affair. The steak and kidney pie delivers on all accounts and the stuffed roast chicken with bread sauce is delicious. The place is cute and romantic and the ideal place to gaze into each other’s eyes.
Where: 6 Old Court Place, W8 4PL
Book now: Maggie Jones's
Romantic restaurants with a view in London
It's a stone cold fact that nice vistas make for romance - grab a table at one of these restaurants with a view and who knows what might happen?
14 Hills, The City
What: 14 Hills is one of D&D London’s sprawling restaurant collection, the likes of which never ever skimp on wow-factor. Take the lift to the 14th floor where you’ll be greeted by a lush central canopy of evergreen plants and seasonal climbers, plus mature trees, shrubs and several large pergolas. It’s something of a sky-high garden – romantic, eh? The menu is modern European and decidedly decadent: think seabass with truffle mash potato, creamed leeks and chervil sauce, and duck liver pate with spiced plums, fernet puree and toasted brioche.
Where: 120 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 5BA
Book now: 14 Hills
Aqua Shard, London Bridge
What: The USP of this British-leaning restaurant is perhaps somewhat obvious – the London views from the 31st floor of the iconic Shard through floor-to-ceiling windows. The brightness this provides in the daytime and the pretty lit-up skyline it offers in the night time makes Aqua Shard instantly atmospheric, especially after dark when low-hanging lanterns provide ambient lighting. What could be more romantic than dining in London's tallest building, after all?
Where: St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
Book now: Aqua Shard
Galvin at Windows, Mayfair
What: Perched on the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane, Galvin at Windows combines absolutely jawdropping views over London with peerless French fine dining, albeit with a few Asian accents. Combine this with immaculate service, and it's no wonder that Galvin at Windows is incredibly popular throughout the year.
Where: London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE
Book now: Galvin at Windows
City Social, The City
What: Another restaurant that is part of Jason Atherton's empire, this City high-rise restaurant (located on the 24th floor of Tower 42) has both views and top-class food in spades. Luxe interiors, modern European dishes delivered with real precision and finesse, and a to-die-for cheeseboard all contribute to making City Social a romantic gem for your next love-needed special occasion. Don’t worry about nabbing a window seat either – tables located on different levels of the dining room ensure every table has a good view.
Where: 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
Book now: City Social
Hutong at The Shard, London Bridge
What: The incredible views of London town seen through the wrap-around windows of this Shard-located restaurant are a draw in themselves, but ultra-romantic vibes at Hutong provided by the dimly-lit and mystique dining room do their part, too. Red table lanterns reference the Hong Kong origin of the Aqua Group (which operates the restaurant) – try exquisite items such as the XO scallop and ‘crystal’ prawn dumplings, or the authentic Peking duck. Prices are as sky-high as the restaurant’s location, mind you.
Where: St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
Book now: Hutong
Thinking of popping the big question to your other half? We've selected a special list of the best restaurants in London for marriage proposals - guaranteed to make your big night go smoothly.