ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS

London is quite good at hiding its romantic side, especially when you’re sitting on a crammed tube first thing in the morning, headbutting someone’s unnecessarily large backpack, or catching a whiff of bin smell or tar fumes on the street. But it’s still there, you just need to know where to look. And London’s restaurants are a great way to start.

A great deal of London’s charm comes from its history, and that’s no different when it comes to places to eat. Spots like Andrew Edmunds and Kitty Fisher’s, set in the historic neighbourhoods of Soho and Mayfair respectively, can make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Low ceilings, candlelit tables, red velvet banquettes and handwritten menus make for a great way to escape the slog of modern-day London and the ideal vibe for a cosy dinner for two.

And there’s no shortage of newer sites that set the perfect tone. Caravel takes you onto Regent’s Canal on a flatteringly-lit renovated barge, while Campania & Jones transports you to Southern Italy with its rustic interiors, convivial vibe and food you’ll fall in love with. We’ve got your next date night covered.

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CARAVEL

172 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JL, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Saturday: 5:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

London is no stranger to the ‘restaurants on converted barge boats’ sub-genre but of all the city’s boat restaurants Caravel is definitely the best looking inside – a smart, dimly lit space with white tablecloths and wooden floors that just happens to be on a boat. The duo behind Caravel are brothers Finn and Lorcan Spiteri, whose dad John Spiteri most recently opened Sessions Arts Club, and there’s almost a similar atmosphere here at Caravel despite the very different settings. It’s an absolute ideal date night spot. The food is simple but well executed with a hearty dollop of fun too – think duck croquettes shaped like ducks, prawn toast spiked with chilli and lime, chicken liver pate served with slices of brioche toast and pickles, pressed lamb with sprouting broccoli and anchovy, and a delightfully retro wobbly rhubarb jelly with Chantilly cream and honeycomb.

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CAMPANIA & JONES

££
23 Ezra St, London E2 7RH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 5:00 PM, 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00 PM

Just off the end of Columbia Road is where you’ll find some of the best southern Italian food in one of the most romantic restaurants in town. Campania & Jones wins you over immediately with its beautifully rustic decor and convivial atmosphere, and then it makes you fall in love with it as the food comes out – plump gnudi with sage butter, bowls of homemade pappardelle and tortelli, rich fish stew, and the best tiramisu in London. Simple, flavourful cooking, generous portions just like nonna would dish up, and a gorge setting, you really can’t ask for much more.

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NOBLE ROT

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, WC1N 3NB

Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling are the boys behind Noble Rot magazine (think Lucky Peach but all about the wonderful world of wine) and a wine bar and restaurant of the same name, with Stephen Harris of Michelin-starred The Sportsman in Kent in charge of the food. The site on Lamb’s Conduit Street was actually already a wine bar and the building itself dates back to 1700, so there is plenty of cosy charm to the place and it feels as if they’ve been doing their thing here for years already. In the front are tables for drinking and snacks and at the back there is a slightly more formal sit down restaurant. Wine is of course as big a focus as the food and these guys know their stuff so you’re in safe hands. The food menu is the perfect match; big flavoursome dishes but nothing overly complicated or fussy, like pork & walnut terrine, smoked eel with rhubarb & soda bread, braised monkfish with crab bisque, and chocolate mousse cake.

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THE WATER HOUSE PROJECT

1 Corbridge Cres, Cambridge Heath, London E2 9DT, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 7:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 7:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 7:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

From supper clubs in his kitchen to pop-ups across East London to a restaurant on Mare Street and now to a permanent spot just off the canal in Hackney, Gabriel Waterhouse’s The Water House Project has been on quite a journey. It’s latest iteration is less a restaurant and more a dining experience – there’s one sitting every Wednesday – Saturday night with one nine-course tasting menu and low-intervention wine pairing on offer, meaning the whole room is served at the same time. The menus change seasonally but always showcase the refined modern British style that Gabriel and his team have developed over time, so you can expect dishes like chicken liver & blackcurrant jammie dodger; St Austell mussels with preserved lemon & fermented artichoke; hen’s egg with smoked haddock, ratte potato & mustarf; Sutton Hoo chicken with morels & wild garlic; and apple, celeriac & calvados.

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KITTY FISHER'S

£££
10 Shepherd Market, London W1J 7QF, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Named after a famous 18th-century courtesan, Kitty Fisher’s is a Mayfair bistro with an intimate and cosy atmosphere. The menu, overseen by current head chef Alice Massalongo, features simple but elevated classics and modern British cuisine, with some dishes being cooked over the kitchen’s wood-fired grill. Set in Mayfair’s historic Shepard Market, the 40 cover space looks the part, decked out with dusty pink buttoned banquettes, gilt-framed art, sconces and candelabras on each table. For the interior alone, we can see why it’s rated as one of London’s most romantic restaurants.

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CLOS MAGGIORE

£££
33 King St, London WC2E 8JD, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:15 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:15 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:15 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:15 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:15 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:15 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 5:00 – 9:30 PM

If you need solid proof of a restaurant’s romantic status, Clos Maggiore has it. In fact, it has won multiple awards ranging from most romantic in London to most romantic in the world. And while you’ll enjoy the food and the excellent wine list, it’s the restaurant’s conservatory that really gets diners’ hearts racing. Known as the ‘fairy room’, the indoor space is surrounded by (artificial) cherry blossom trees, which run up the walls to create a ceiling of white flowers. During the day, the sun shines through the skylight and the blossoms, and when night falls the fairy lights are turned on.

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THE NINTH

£££
22 Charlotte St., London W1T 2NB, UK

The Ninth labels itself a ‘relaxed neighbourhood restaurant’, which it is (granted, your neighbourhood would have to be Fitzrovia). But it’s also a Michelin-starred spot run by Jun Tanaka with a much-raved-about menu of expertly crafted dishes and French, Mediterranean and Spanish influences. Our top tip, don’t miss the pain perdu for dessert. Located on Charlotte Street (so perfect for a pre- or post-dinner wander), The Ninth is flatteringly lit and offers fine dining and fine wine without the overbearing atmosphere or severe price tag – sounds like the ideal date night spot.

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ANDREW EDMUNDS

£££
46 Lexington St, London W1F 0LP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM

Andrew Edmunds, set in an 18th century Soho town house, has been labelled the ultimate date night spot. The old London gem is adored for its authenticity and atmosphere – candlelit tables and handwritten menus guide the way – as well as its reasonable price tag. Expect close quarters, modern European dishes and a fantastic selection of wines at prices you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the city.

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SESSIONS ARTS CLUB

Old Sessions House, 24 Clerkenwell Grn, London EC1R 0NA, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Set inside an 18th-century, Grade II-listed former courthouse in Clerkenwell, Sessions Arts Club quickly became one of the city’s most sought-after restaurants after opening in 2021. Sessions came together as a collaboration between artists, architects, chefs and restaurateurs with an allure that comes from its incredible design and exclusive vibe – you’ll want to feel like you’re part of the ‘club’. Go for a candlelit dinner in the beautiful dining room, tuck into Florence Knight’s simple but superb Italian-French menu (the desserts are particularly good) and you’ll see why it has earned its rep as an ideal spot for romance – or even an illicit affair.

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