London's most romantic restaurants

On the hunt for a romantic restaurant? Are you planning on popping the big question maybe? Or are you just trying to figure out where to go for your first date? Aaah, you’ve got an anniversary coming up? Perhaps you just need to pump some amore back into your relationship? Whatever the occasion, below we have gathered the most romantic restaurants in London, from casual to high-end, so take your pick and get in the mood for love.

Updated on 29 July 2019

It may not be Paris, but London is a great city for romance. We mean, 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.

But nothing beats a romantic dinner for two in a lovely restaurant, does it? 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 chilled vibes? Or is it extravagance, luxury and high-end from beginning to end? Scroll down and find out.

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, to fine-dining British food, there is something to spruce up any date.   

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.

Barrafina Dean Street

Barrafina Dean Street

26-29 Dean Street, London, London, W1D 3LL

There is something unquestionably romantic about tapas, don’t you think? Well, not many places do it better than the original Barrafina in Soho, which churns out chorizo and chipirones, gambas al ajillo and grilled sardines en masse. Wash it all down with a wide selection of Cava while watching the chefs work their magic in the open kitchen. Keep to the classic tapas dishes and we promise you, you won’t be disappointed.   

£30 - £49
Tapas
Spanish
One michelin star
Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard

Level 31 The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, , Southwark, London, SE1 9RY

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 the venue instantly atmospheric, especially after dark when low-hanging lanterns provide ambient lighting. Fillet of John Dory with Scottish girolles, sea beet, pickled samphire and lentils is among the dishes you can expect here.      

£50 - £79
British
Afternoon tea
Park Chinois

Park Chinois

17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 8EA

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, the 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. Desserts are more European, such as the glitzy lemon meringue pie finished with a golf leaf.

Over £80
Chinese
Cora Pearl

Cora Pearl

30 Henrietta Street, London, WC2F 8NA

This high-ceilinged restaurant is illuminated by two gigantic windows at either ends, with interiors that are suitably raffish to make an atmospheric setting. The 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.

£50 - £79
British
French
The Petersham Covent Garden

The Petersham Covent Garden

27-31 King Street, London, WC2E 8JB

We don’t know what is more romantic about this Richmond off-shoot. Is it the gorgeous dining room, scattered with ginormous flower vases, crystal chandeliers, Murano glass and impressive artwork? Is it the fact it’s tucked away in a courtyard off King Street, creating a sense of escape from the city? Or is it rather the way the menu transports you to Italy by way of an English country garden? Perhaps it’s a combination of the three. Whatever it is, it works a treat and makes for a really special place for a romantic evening.

£50 - £79
Afternoon tea
Italian
Hakkasan Mayfair

Hakkasan Mayfair

17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 6QB

Whether you’re flashing it in the pulsating night club-styled bar or playing it cool in the sleek ground-floor dining room, your date will be impressed if you take them here. The moody interiors and low lighting also does its part, and the food is a holy matrimony of east meets west. Divine dim sum is a must, with versions such as steamed har gau crowned with a gold leaf blowing your mind, alongside other dishes such as spicy lamb salad with peanut dressing.

£50 - £79
Chinese
One michelin star
Maggie Jones

Maggie Jones's

6 Old Court Place, London, W8 4PL

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 is all British, though. The steak and kidney pie delivers on all accounts and the stuffed roast chicken with bread sauce is unctuous. The place is cute and romantic and the ideal place to gaze into each other’s eyes.  

£30 - £49
British
£50 - £79
Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche

43 Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 7QR

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.

Over £80
French
Two michelin stars
£50 - £79
J Sheekey

J Sheekey

28-32 St Martin's Court, London, London, WC2N 4AL

The warm, flattering lighting and buzzy ambience of this bijou Covent Garden bolt-hole are perfect for a romantic tryst – sit up at the bar and bond over oysters and Champagne, or take one of the tables and share a crustacean-laden plateau de fruits de mer. This is the place for some old-school charm, particularly apparent in the egalitarian service and the interiors of antique mirrors, surrealist paintings and photos of legendary actors on the wood-panelled walls.

£50 - £79
Fish
Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle

110 Bishopsgate, London, London, EC2N 4AY

If you want to start the night as you mean to go on, make your destination Duck & Waffle. From the moment the lift whisks you to the head-spinning heights of the 40th floor of Heron Tower, your loved one will be captivated – and that's before they see the gorgeous view. The restaurant backs up all this eye candy with well-executed, interesting international dishes served by attentive staff. Go for the signature duck and waffle – a stack of waffles topped with confit duck leg and a fried egg.

£50 - £79
International
Clos Maggiore

Clos Maggiore

33 King Street, London, London, WC2E 8JD

‘Nothing short of magical’, this French 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.

£50 - £79
French
London Shell Co

London Shell Co

The Prince Regent, Sheldon Square, London, W2 6EP

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.

£30 - £49
Fish
Galvin at Windows

Galvin at Windows

London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, St. James's, London, W1K 1BE

Chris Galvin’s lofty dining destination has stunning wrap-around views of the metropolis from the 28th floor – enough to dazzle your date from the get-go. Impeccable service and Champagne-bearing trolleys add to the sense of occasion, paving the way for romantic cliches and promises of everlasting love. The slick operation gives you plates of excellent Michelin-starred food in the form of well-balanced classics and innovative newbies. Beef fillet with foie gras, say, or a passionfruit and white chocolate soufflé perhaps? 

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star
Oldroyd

Oldroyd

344 Upper Street, London, N1 0PD

The cosy and tiny dining room of this Angel restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic meal. The handful of tables are ideal for two people and the seasonal, modern European sharing plates are fantastic for interacting and engaging with each other. The crunchy croquetas of smoked pork belly and peas with truffle mayonnaise are a must, and dishes such as crab tagliarini dotted with succulent white flesh and sitting atop a brown crab rouille are plate-lickingly good.

£30 - £49
Modern European
City Social

City Social

24th Floor, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ

Part of the Michelin-starred Jason Atherton 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 this restaurant 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.

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star
La Poule au Pot

La Poule au Pot

231 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 8UT

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. It 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 and rich French reds.

£50 - £79
French
Neptune

Neptune

Kimpton Fitzroy London, Corner of Guilford Street and Russell Square, London, London, WC1B 5BE

The luxurious Tiki look works a treat in terms of romance – it’s like being whisked back to your honeymoon with rattan chairs, dusty pink walls, warm shell-shaped lighting and tropical plants. Seafood keeps things on theme, such as the seafood platter, trout tartare and mackerel escabeche. Get lost in the list of natural and low-intervention wines on offer for a real holiday sensation in Bloomsbury – the restaurant is located within the Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel.

£30 - £49
British
Bleeding Heart Restaurant

Bleeding Heart Restaurant

Bleeding Heart Yard, Farringdon, London, EC1N 8SJ

Despite its name referencing a gruesome murder nearby from the 16th century, there is nothing gruesome about Bleeding Heart Restaurant. In fact, this is one of London’s most romantic restaurants, it composes of a series of subterranean rooms that flicker with candles and real fires. French and other European dishes form the classic-leaning cuisine as well as the long wine list. Expect plates such as steak tartare, wild mushroom risotto and smoked salmon dressed with Dorset crab.

£50 - £79
French
Under £30
Bob Bob Ricard

Bob Bob Ricard

1 Upper James Street, London, W1F 9DF

The original ‘push for Champagne’ restaurant is so much more than just a gimmick. It’s got bags of romantic touches, from its glitzy Gatsby-inspired interior design and royal blue booths, ideal for some flirtatious one-on-one time, to its aphrodisiac-laden menu of seafood (order the lemon sole stuffed with scallop mousse or lobster that comes in a sparky Champagne sauce) and delicious comfort food (the beef Wellington is a must-try). Expect to pay the price for such a blingy affair, but for a romantic date, that’s expected, wouldn’t you agree?   

£50 - £79
International
The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR

If you’re going to pop the question, do it at one of London’s most evocative addresses. The ornate dining room and assured service at The Ritz raise expectations for a glamorous, unforgettable experience, and executive chef John Williams’ refined, elegant dishes do not disappoint. Fish out the very best back-of-the-wardrobe frocks and suits for this, as dining at the Ritz is a proper special occasion kind of affair. Is it romantic? Ah, it’s as over-the-top romantic as it gets.

Over £80
French
One michelin star
Hutong at The Shard

Hutong at The Shard

Level 33,The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, Southwark, London, SE1 9RY

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 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.

£50 - £79
Chinese
Claude

Claude's Kitchen

51 Parsons Green, London, London, SW6 4JA

This stripped-back restaurant is quietly brilliant – low-lit and low-key, it’s the ideal spot for a romantic one-to-one. The little bistro’s menu will no doubt excite you as much as the person sitting opposite you will, featuring dishes the likes of squid and seared tuna with confit lemon, hemp seeds and herbaceous lovage foam. With head-turning desserts, a fantastic tasting menu and a rich wine list, you can end up having a very special experience here.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Sushisamba City

Sushisamba City

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate (38-39th floor), London, London, EC2N 4AY

With so many good places to go for beautiful city views in London, it’s obvious that Sushisamba’s Heron Tower-provided vistas aren't the only reason why we’ve included the restaurant on this list. Wow-factors are delivered in the form of show-stopping cocktails, a thrilling fusion of Japanese and Latin American food, and impressive interiors. The sky-high price tag does make this a real special occasion place, but we think the quest for a romantic date is special enough.  

£50 - £79
South American
Japanese
The Ledbury

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, London, London, W11 2AQ

Brett Graham’s discreet Notting Hill restaurant is laden with accolades, with diners and critics alike praising its unstarched approach, sparklingly inventive dishes and spot-on service. It’s hard work getting a table here, so your date is sure to appreciate your efforts. Take along their favourite bottle of wine (corkage is charged at £35) or let them loose on the in-house list. Chow down on quality food from Europe in the style of monkfish paired cleverly with orange and a pumpkin and shellfish puree.

Over £80
Modern European
Two michelin stars
Casse-Croûte

Casse-Croûte

109 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XB

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, service is more British than Parisian, so all around, you and your date will have a fab time.   

Under £30
French

Are you looking for a restaurant or bar to go specifically for a date? We’ve got you covered. As we’re feeling particularly romantic after reading that (and we’re sure you are too), we’ve done a round-up of the best restaurants and bars in London that are perfect for dates