LDNGuide

The 20 Most Romantic Restaurants In London

The best London restaurants when love is in the air.
A corner of Bouchon Racine with three two-person tables, a chalkboard menu on the walk, and gold-framed pictures hanging on the wall.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Romantic restaurants can take many forms, whether you’re looking for candlelight to flicker off your wine glass, or hidden nooks where you can brush fingers after agreeing to split the last spring roll. And London is full of them: moody, wine-filled, bustling, and otherwise. No matter what kind of spot you’re looking for, this guide has some of the best dinner options across the city.

If you're looking for a more casual date night spot, we've got a guide for that too.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

French

Fulham

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightImpressing Out of TownersDinner with the ParentsSpecial OccasionsDrinking Good Wine
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There’s nothing subtle about the wooing process at Josephine Bouchon, a French spot in Fulham. It's all heavy, red velvet curtains, dangling, low-level lanterns, and breathy candle flames. It’s the little touches that make all the difference here—scarlet Js imprinted on each plate like a lipstick stain and curtains hand-embroidered with ‘Josephine’. Champagne arrives with a bowl of moreish pork and duck scratchings, garlic splatters from excellent buttery frog legs to create a Jackson Pollock number on white tablecloths, and all around well-dressed diners seem on the edge of proposing or being proposed to.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The French just know how to do this romantic stuff right, don’t they? And sure, Bouchon Racine sits on top of a decidedly British pub in Farringdon, but nowhere else recreates that twinkling style of bistro romance quite like here. Pictures hang on the wall, careless whispers fill the glowing room, and lipstick stains join mustard sauce on the pristine white napkins. A lunch here easily turns into evening, and a dinner that ends in a boozy crème caramel may well turn to marriage.  

Primeur is the gold standard of flickering candlelight restaurants in London. This plush living room of a Canonbury restaurant is all shared tables and knees touching. It’s always humming with lovers new and old picking on European-style small plates, lazily knifing terrine with one hand while swilling riesling with another. Hunker down among the dancing flames with a plate of jamon and some gnudi.

A dry cleaners and an off licence don’t scream romance, but between the two is a Queen’s Park restaurant with moody lighting and fiery Malaysian flavours. Sudu’s wooden benches and hanging foliage invite intimate catch-ups and across-the-table hand holding. The rendang is a must-order if you’re after something even more tender than the sonnet your partner is currently reciting. Just don’t spoil the mood by asking to split the last roti. 

This old-school French classic in Balham is the type of place you might go to for a fidgety third date before finding yourself back there on your 50th anniversary. Chez Bruce is a certified mainstay, all white tablecloths and servers you want to adopt, plus the bread on arrival is some of the best you’ll find in London. If you’re able to keep your eyes off each other, the food—comforting and rich hare cavatelli, or a breathalyser-adverse rum baba—is reliably delicious too.

In our opinion, London-wide views and frozen melon daiquiris make a date night that much more romantic. Forza Wine’s location on a Peckham rooftop is a guaranteed winner if you’re looking to impress and say something that would have significantly less meaning if you were just standing on the pavement. The wine bar does a selection of snacky European small plates which only add to the grazing, loving, and lustful potential of the entire scene.

The lighting is low, the nooks are plentiful, and the aubergine fatteh will steal your date’s attention. This Marylebone spot is a great little place to know about when you want warm charm and to scoop superior, nutty hummus into your face—or theirs—with warm pitta. The menu has a mix of classics that you’ll find at most Lebanese restaurants, but at Fairuz they’re a cut above. 

photo credit: Amy Heycock

The wine list at Joyau changes daily, and the always-lovely staff won’t embarrass you in front of your date if you ask them what a ‘zippy pét-nat' is. This low-key spot is tucked into a Forest Gate railway arch and has the kind of low lighting and flickering candles that encourages maximum flirting. You could happily stick to the interesting chalkboard wine list but the modern European small plates are worth getting involved in. Especially the potato pie with a pleasing dollop of crème fraîche.

Sinuhe is a charming little Notting Hill spot that puts equal thought into making itself a place that people can fall in love, as it does its creamy refreshing mast o khair. There’s a flickering candle on each table, rustic wooden interiors, and a playlist that’s low enough that it blends into the quiet hum of conversation. During an intimate third date, you’ll start making a mental note of how many people it seats, so you can book it out for your engagement party. All of the Persian dishes are great, but the mirza qasemi—thick, smoky, with strings of tender aubergine—will steal your heart.

If 90% of your romantic fantasies are set in the French countryside, and involve a charming farmhouse with wooden beams and private nooks, you’re probably going to find La Poule Au Pot an overwhelming experience. The French home-style dishes at this Belgravia spot are real aphrodisiacs. The rich beef bourguignon, mopped up with a soft piece of baguette? It’s enough to forgive the fact they forgot your anniversary two years ago. Maybe.

OTT foliage and dramatic chandeliers in a rustic Georgian mansion are scientifically proven to induce feelings of love. Or at least strong ‘like’. And conveniently, this British restaurant in Vauxhall has both of those things. Despite having more light bulbs than a lighting showroom, the mood at Brunswick House is always set to romance. The menu, filled with delicious things like wood-fired monkfish, grilled cauliflower, and whipped burrata with chilli crisp, makes this a memorable meal in a romance novel-worthy setting.

Maramia Cafe in Notting Hill knows a thing or two about romance. The melted wax candles, single roses hanging from the ceiling, and menu of traditional Palestinian dishes will significantly improve your chances of charming literally anyone. Our must-order is the chicken mousakhan—za'atar-dusted taboon bread filled with pulled chicken breast, caramelised onions, and sumac. Finish with syrupy, cheesy knefeh Naboulsia. It’s the perfect segue into the 'I want to stop dating other people' chat. Just make sure you’re out by 9pm if it’s the weekend, unless you count dancing on tables a third-date must.

If you’ve got a single romantic bone in your body, Andrew Edmunds will locate it. Open since 1985, this old-school Soho restaurant with a European menu has been making people fall in love for almost four decades. But not just in love with whoever’s on the other end of the table—in love with this moody, candlelit restaurant where you'll order from a menu scrawled on a chalkboard. Dishes like cauliflower soup are excellent and rigatoni with borlotti beans is so wholesome it’ll remind you to give your grandma a call.

Jin Kichi’s intimate two-person booth is a date night table of dreams. The neighbourhood izakaya-style Japanese spot in Hampstead is a popular restaurant for romances young and old in NW3 and, with fish being expertly cut at the sushi counter and sizzling skewers being rotated around the robata grill, there is plenty to fall in love with here. Even if you’re not in that booth there’s an irresistible excitement around the room that, judging by the regulars, has been around for a few anniversaries.

Casse-Croûte is so charming it hurts. On a corner of Bermondsey Street, this little French spot has red and white checked tablecloths, a blackboard menu with Garamond calligraphy, and a ceiling covered in flirty lipstick kiss-stamped business cards. In case the decor doesn’t give it away, this is somewhere for regaling and romancing. Tender moments shared over a towering mille-feuille and red wine anniversary kisses over a plate of saucisson and beaufort d’Alpage. You bring the person, Casse-Croûte will do the rest.

Llewelyn’s is one of the most effortlessly romantic restaurants in London. A wildly charming neighbourhood spot in Herne Hill, it’s like a Richard Curtis film come to life, in glorious, grilled fish and île flottante-packing form. Seriously, we once saw an actual bird’s nest in their fairy light-wrapped tree outside. The best part? The modern European food is both sophisticated but still downright comforting. Pop to their equally quaint, next-door wine bar, Lulu’s, after dinner for a nightcap.

Who knew that a combination of London’s best wine list and a dining room that is as much made for romance as it is for illicit, intense affairs would be so popular among people who love to stare into each other’s eyes? Noble Rot’s original Bloomsbury location has got that mischievous glint alongside a spoon of chartreuse ice cream, that makes it a breeding ground for burgeoning or established romance. Whether you’re lazily picking at a bread plate or digging into modern European dishes like comté tart, there’s much to love in this restaurant.

Quality Wines manages to make a corner of the Farringdon Road feel quite transportive. To the extent that at some point after your mart-ilda (it’s a martini and a gilda) and oily focaccia—likely when you’re eyeing up the next table’s scallop with ‘nduja butter—you’ll forget that you’re in EC1 and five minutes from a Leyland. Instead, you’ll come to the conclusion that you may be in the most perfect place in the world. Quality Wines’ European charm and lean-over-the-table, candlelit appeal is truly second to none.

Campania & Jones is a restaurant where romances are formed or rekindled, whether that be across the candlelit table, or with a plate of ravioli you’re thinking about eloping with. In fact, pretty much everything about this dreamy Italian spot in Hackney shows off heart and tastefulness. From the back room where pasta is made all day, to the antique and candle-filled space that makes the villa from Call Me By Your Name look like Trainspotting, to the shared table of families tucking into tiramisu. It’s a restaurant filled with love.

Caravel is a candlelit barge that’s permanently moored between Old Street and Angel. Its intimate cabin dining room is matched by excellently cooked bistro-ish food that dots around from thickly stuffed prawn toast to chicken liver pâté so smooth that an influencer would be forgiven for trying to contour with it. The flickering mood lighting, good-value wine list, and the extremely cannily placed cocktail barge, Bruno’s, next door makes for a memorable restaurant that’s as romantic as it is reasonable.

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