There are few experiences more romantic than enjoying a meal with the person you love. Luckily, London isn’t short of enchanting dining spots, whether it’s candlelit intimacy at Andrew Edmunds, Hakkasan’s sultry glamour or the glorious new Mount St Restaurant in Mayfair, a table at any one of these spots is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet. Here, we’ve rounded up the most romantic London restaurants for Valentine’s Day and beyond.
The Most Romantic London Restaurants
For Oscar Wilde-worthy levels of opulence make a beeline for The Aubrey in Knightsbridge, a seductively candlelit Omakase cocktail bar – the first outside of Asia – that takes its name from the darkly decadent illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (who just so happened to be one of Wilde’s contemporaries). The subterranean spot, housed within the Mandarin Oriental hotel, features suitably maximalist interiors, filled with fringed lamps, velvet banquettes and vintage Japanese art – if you’re after somewhere particularly private, ask for one of the curtained booths in the library room. There you and your paramour can work your way through the izakaya-inspired sharing plates, which include Japanese oysters, charcoal chicken Karaage from the robata grill and lobster and crab croquettes with soy béchamel. Pair them with some of the inventive cocktails created by master mixologist Pietro Rizzo – our top pick is the Black Cat, a Japanese twist on an old fashioned made with Teeda rum, Umeshu, Laphroaig and Okinawa sugar.
66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
Scott’s in Mayfair has been a byword for serving the finest seafood in a glamorous setting ever since it first opened in 1968 – now it’s brought its tried and tested recipe to Zone 4, with a glittering new venue in Richmond. Situated on the banks of the Thames, few could fail to be charmed by its location, with floor-to-ceiling windows making the most of the waterside views and a charming al-fresco terrace made for hot summer days. Inside, there’s an impressive dining hall set across two floors, as well as an opulent Champagne and crustacean bar. Smartly waistcoated staff set the scene, weaving in between tables to deliver silver platters of oysters, baked spiced crab and caviar, but there’s a party vibe here come the weekend, with a live DJ and music every Thursday to Saturday.
4 Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, London, TW9 1EH
Mount St Restaurant
There are few new openings that have caused quite as much of a stir as Mount St Restaurant at The Audley. First there’s its pedigree, having been opened by Artfarm, the hospitality group helmed by the supremely stylish gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth. Then, there’s the art, with the walls lined with works by Lucian Freud and Andy Warhol – the downstairs pub, meanwhile, features a collaged mosaic by Phyllida Barlow on its ceiling. Lastly, there’s the royal seal of approval, with King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla spotted dining there just days after it opened. Billed by our Restaurant Editor as “the most beautiful restaurant [she’s] ever seen”, scoring a table here is bound to bag major brownie points with any date, who will be swept off their feet by the chic surrounds, British-luxe menu and excellent people watching.
41-43 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2RX
Dean Street is always a good idea for date night – there’s something about Soho that never fails to conjure up the sort of fizzing thrill that London’s dining scene is famous for. And the undisputed jewel in Soho’s culinary crown is Quo Vadis. Helmed by chef Jeremy Lee, the thoroughly British (and beautifully illustrated) menu features indulgent dishes like braised ox cheek, oysters and pheasant pie, while their signature smoked eel sandwich is not to be missed. Settle yourself into a cosy corner (there are plenty to choose from) and work your way through the extensive wine list.
26-29 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 3LL
The Gallery at Sketch
Walking into Sketch is like entering a delightfully quirky art gallery, with hopscotch tiles painted on the floor in the foyer and curious sculptures dotted around the hallways. It’s just as wonderfully weird in the main restaurant, which underwent a redesign last year that saw its iconic candy-floss pink colour scheme replaced with a symphony of yellows and golds. Designed by British artist British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare and architect India Mahdavi, the walls are lined with Shonibare’s artworks, all of which have been designed as a powerful celebration of African culture. Mahdavi, meanwhile, has turned the space into a sunshine-yellow haven, infused with golden light. Come to sample the afternoon tea, which remains the most popular occasion here.
9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
Muse by Tom Aikens
With just 25 covers, restaurants don’t come more intimate than Tom Aikens’ Belgravia spot. Tucked away in a converted Georgian townhouse in a charming mews, this 2020 opening saw the celebrated British chef return to the London dining scene – and the city is all the better for it. The dishes here are all inspired by Aitkens’ Norfolk roots, with tasting menus drawing on key memories from his past, whether that’s the Ray That Doesn’t Sting (skate, carrot and coriander) or Conquering the Beech Tree (langoustine, pork fat and burnt apple). For a truly theatrical experience book at the counter overlooking the open kitchen, where you can watch Aitkens and his team perform their magic.
38 Groom Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7BA
Michelin-starred Hakkasan is hands-down one of the most romantic London restaurants, thanks to its sultry subterranean flair, atmospheric lighting and sophisticated modern Cantonese menu. The dishes here are made for sharing: order their signature Peking duck and a selection of side dishes, from steamed dim sum and slow roasted Iberico pork char siu to flavour-filled salads and golden fried soft-shell crab. The cocktails here are just as impressive and are split into four distinct sections: Passion, Captivation, Romance and Trust. Try the potent Mistress of Deception, made with Belvedere vodka, Aperol and passionfruit reduction, Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2012 and pomegranate. Alongside their original outpost in Hanway Place they also have a Mayfair restaurant on Bruton Place, which is no less seductive.
8 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1HD
Galvin La Chapelle
Housed in a former chapel, complete with a vast gabled roof and marble arches, this just might be the most spectacular dining room in London. Don’t expect a church-like atmosphere, though: the Grade II-listed building has been fully modernised, with metal chandeliers and lush foliage lining the walls. The Michelin-starred menu has its roots embedded firmly in polished French cuisine – start with slow cooked duck egg with Périgord black Winter truffle before moving on to barbecued Bresse pigeon, celeriac and dark chocolate. Finish off with apple tarte Tatin & Normandy crème fraiche – the very best of French romance summed up on a plate.
35 Spital Square, Spitalfields, London E1 6DY
Bob Bob Ricard
It’s all in the details at this Soho institution, where designer David Collins is at his flamboyant best. There are retro leather booths, sleek marbled table-tops, eye-catching mirrored ceilings and exquisite hand-printed Japanese wallpaper. Then, of course, there’s the infamous ‘Press for Champagne’ button, the ultimate first date ice breaker. But this is a place for eating, too, with a menu of English and Russian classics given a delightful twist. If the lobster mac and cheese or the beef wellington for two doesn’t sweep you off your feet, the crème brûlée, flambéed at the table, certainly will.
1 Upper James Street, Soho, London W1F 9DF
Housed in an elegantly restored 19th-century drawing room, Skye Gyngell’s restaurant at Somerset House is one of the most enchanting in London. The light-filled dining room is both impressively grand and warmly inviting, with stone columns and enormous arched windows offset by soft pastel hues (think mint green walls and pale pink banquettes), though evenings are best for a more seductive vibe. The menu is designed around wholesome, seasonal ingredients, with dishes like scallops with celeriac and sea beets, and guinea fowl with grilled fennel. Sustainability is a key focus – if your date night plans include a show, their pre-theatre “Scratch” menu features dishes made solely from “waste” produce, like leftover potato skins or trimmings from their house made pasta.
Somerset House, Lancaster Place, London WC2R 1LA
For head-in-the-clouds romance, whizz 32 floors up the Shard to Hutong, the London flagship of revered Hong Kong-based restaurant group Aqua. Climb the sweeping staircase to the 33rd level and you’ll be met with glorious 360 degree views over the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. Decor is traditional oriental, a combination of dark wood, intricately carved furniture and glowing red lanterns. The northern Chinese menu takes inspiration from the dishes once served in the imperial palaces, with everything from dim sum to dumplings, seafood to tofu-based delights. Feast on crispy soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried peppers while the lights of London twinkle beneath you.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, Southwark, London SE1 9RY
Dining at Park Chinois is like eating inside an intricate jewellery box, with its gold pillars, ruby red velvet banquettes and sultry lighting. The Mayfair restaurant draws its opulent interiors from Thirties Shanghai and was inspired by the golden era of French chinoiserie, so you can expect full-on glamour with more than a touch of hedonism. The food is as delightful as the surroundings, with dishes like tea smoked wagyu beef ribs, grilled black cod and potted rice with winter black truffle encapsulating their elevated take on Chinese cuisine. For an even livelier experience, book a table at their underground hideaway, Club Chinois, where you can enjoy live jazz and cabaret performers with your supper.
17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA
If you’re after bright, buzzing and good old-fashioned fun, this 70s Capri-style trattoria from restaurant group Big Mamma is a blast of sunshine in Shoreditch. Set over two floors, interiors are a kitsch mash-up and the service is joyful, while the food is as theatrical as the surroundings. Enjoy Italian classics made with love by chef Filippo – next-level fresh pasta with black truffle, creamy burrata filled with pesto, pizza Napoletana served bubbling from the Marana oven, creamy gelato… With a cocktail list that’s packed full of crowd-pleasers, this larger-than-life restaurant is the very definition of la dolce vita.
54 – 56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3QR
Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden has long been hailed as the most romantic restaurant in London, and with good reason. The main dining room features a ceiling covered in branches laden down with blossom and twinkling fairy lights, above a crackling fire. There are also smaller, more intimate rooms featuring walls covered in foliage. The Provençal and Tuscan-inspired menu features dishes like roasted Black Iberian pork loin and shoulder of Loire Valley rabbit, while their wine list is one of the finest in the city – their impressive cellar includes over 2,500 selections from 18 different countries and vintages spanning four centuries.
33 King Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JD
Tucked away in the backstreets of Richmond sits one of London’s most magical spots. The beautiful café (which is a lot more impressive than it sounds) is draped with Indian blinds and filled with bougainvillaea and jasmine climbing across the ceiling. Antique furniture and mirrors sit alongside the fragrant foliage, while the tables are laden down with vases of flowers and pots of herbs. It’s as much of a feast for the taste buds as it is for the eyes. Sip on a spiced pear Bellini and peruse the menu, which focuses on seasonal, Italian-inspired food (Petersham is owned by the Boglione family, whose patriarch, Francesco, hails from Turin) – highlights include pork chop with black Muscat grapes and crispy sage, and Amalfi lemon mousse with Lingua di Gatto.
Church Lane, Richmond, London TW10 7AB
If you’re trying to impress a wine aficionado, make sure to nab a table at Noble Rot, the stylish but cosy wine bar and restaurant in Bloomsbury (there’s also another site on Soho’s Greek Street). It’s the perfect spot for a romantic rendezvous, with its moody lighting, sheltered nooks and intimate tables. Naturally, the wine is the main draw here, and their extensive wine list is suitably impressive, running to over 30 pages – all the more incentive to come back and try a new bottle on future dates. Pair whatever you’re drinking with one or two of the simple seasonal dishes on offer, like baked Cornish John Dory with grilled calcots and romesco or roast lamb rump with white beans and green sauce, and expect to walk out a bona fide oenophile.
51 Lambs Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3NB
Considered one of the last bastions of ‘old Soho’, Andrew Edmunds has been the site of many of a London love affair since it first opened its doors in 1985. Enter the black painted 18th-century townhouse and you’ll be greeted by an atmospheric narrow dining room, complete with dark wood cladding, white linen tablecloths and wine bottles filled with candles. Its excellent seasonal menu is always changing, but highlights might include whipped cod’s roe with pickled cabbage or pork chop with Jerusalem artichoke and mustard, while the delightful desserts veer into comfort food territory, such as rice pudding with berry compote or stout cake with toffee sauce. This romantic London restaurant is almost as famed for its wine offering as it is for its food, with a list that boasts fine vintages dating back almost 30 years.
46 Lexington Street, Soho, London W1F 0LP
Hidden away in Mayfair, this ever-popular romantic London restaurant may be small (it seats just over 40 in two rooms) but it’s perfectly formed. Cosy, low-ceilinged and intimately lit, the dark green walls, velvet banquettes and flickering candles lend it a Dickensian charm. The kitchen is tiny too, sending out a concise, unpretentious menu that changes with the seasons and might include monkfish, pink fir potatoes, parsley and pickled duce, followed by panna cotta, mulled pear and almond crumb (definitely a two-spoon number). The wine list is from Les Caves de Pyrene, Berry Bros and O.W. Loeb, while the famous Bad Kitty cocktail (gin, sloe gin, elderflower, lemon and Cava) is obligatory on a date. If you’re Covent Garden way, sister restaurant Cora Pearl is equally as warm and welcoming.
10 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London W1J 7QF
La Poule au Pot
Hidden away in the heart of Belgravia, locals have been frequenting this charming French establishment since the 1960s, and it’s long been a go-to spot for a romantic meal à deux. With its rustic stone walls, dozens of flickering candles, roaring fireplaces and pleasingly traditional menu – coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, escargots and steak frites are perennial favourites – an evening here will instantly transport you to Provence, right down to the baskets laden with dried lavender that hang from the ceiling. Settle in for the night and work your way through the all-French wine list – and whatever you do, don’t leave without ordering the truly indulgent tarte tatin.
231 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8UT
Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton’s restaurant in the chic Edition hotel is home to one of the most impressive dining rooms in London. Every inch of wall space here features a different gilt-framed artwork, from enormous portraits to elegant still lifes and miniature studies, while the ceiling is covered in the finest original cornicing. Tuck yourselves away into one of the cosy leather booths and order the Buccleuch Estate Côte de Boeuf to share with Koffman’s fries, house salad and garlic and herb butter, washed down with one of their excellent cocktails – our top picks are the Venetian Merchant, made with Select, peach, sparkling wine and bitters, or Jamestown, a heady mix of Woodford Reserve, sloe gin, Arrack chamomile, pineapple and lemon.
10 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NP