The Best Spots For A Date In Soho
Need a cool coffee spot or bar for date #1? Or a big-deal restaurant for date #100? This guide has got all of your Soho date needs covered.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, says romance quite like the whiff of traffic fumes and the bright lights of an old sex shop. Throw in 10 tourists with selfie sticks and you’ve got yourself a love story. But all joking aside, due to its central location and selection of great bars and restaurants, Soho is one of the best places for a date in London. From a cool basement bar hidden in a whisky shop, to a casual coffee spot, to a counter restaurant perfect for trialling your best Lady and the Tramp impression, these are our favourite places for a date in Soho.
This old-school Soho bolthole is not only one of the most romantic restaurants in Soho, it’s one of the most romantic spots in the whole city. You’ll eat by candlelight and order from a menu scrawled on a chalkboard. The cosy, candlelit interior alone makes it more than ideal for a date, but the food here is really good too. The braised squid and dressed crab are excellent, the goats’ curd with courgettes is a good vegetarian option, and if they’ve got a soup on—any soup—get it.
Picture this: you, the person you fancy enough to sit on a bar stool for, and a vadai doughnut that’s so good it could very well steal the limelight away from your 10/10 chat. On Paradise’s excellent Sri Lankan-inspired changing menu you’ll find anything from a comforting kale-topped dahl, to a grilled whole Cornish lemon sole that’ll fall apart at a light nudge from a fork. Everything is exciting and a great conversation starter if the chat does run dry. Ask for the bar stools facing the window so you can enjoy some flaky roti with a side of people watching.
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Noble Rot Soho
Despite having no official bar area, Noble Rot's sibling spot retains the pleasing sounds of chatter and clinking glasses, alongside the reassuring glug of glasses being refilled. The superlative wine bar and restaurant’s second location is right in—or rather on the edge of—the thick of it on Greek Street. Add in a Hungarian-leaning menu, featuring duck liver-stuffed choux buns and a sharing plate of roast chicken, morels, and vin jaune you’ll have lurid dreams about, and you have the perfect early evening to before-bedtime venue—depending on how well the date goes of course.
Your date asks you where you want to meet for a drink and you text saying, ‘I know this great little bar hidden behind the bookcase at Milroy’s whisky shop on Greek Street’. Wow, a maverick, they’ll think, how intriguing. Anyway, this proper little basement bar has an intimate feel, big comfy sofas, and lots of exposed brick. Unlike a lot of London’s other ‘secret bars’ The Vault actually is relatively unknown, doesn’t require a lame password like PISS-ME-UP-SCOTTY, and more importantly, it isn’t shit. In fact, it’s one of the best spots to go for a drink while you’re still in that lovely like-me-please stage.
££££41 Dean St, Soho
Ducksoup is where you go when you’re trying to decide whether the person you’re dating thinks you’re the love of their life or the love of right now. A tiny little restaurant that is all about natural wines, seasonal small plates, and a relaxed candlelit atmosphere, Ducksoup is basically perfect for taking things to the next level. Most of the seating here is around their big family-style counter table, but don’t worry. Despite the sharing situation it always feels intimate. In case you’re after a knockout one-two punch date night, the Soho Theatre is just a few doors down.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
The Palomar is a big, glossy smile of a restaurant. You’re pretty much guaranteed a good time at this Israeli small plates spot in Chinatown, where the counter is a proper laugh and the octo-hummus is the kind of dish you’ll think of often and smile. You know, kind of like what you’re meant to do when you think of your partner. Book ahead to avoid having to put your name down for a seat at the counter, though any wait endured at one of the many local boozers will be totally worth it.
Missing: your date’s heart. Last seen in beautiful 1930s Parisian wonderland, Brasserie Zédel. Feel free to use that line and remain single forever. But anyway, Brasserie Zédel is one of London’s most fail-safe date nights for a reason. Apart from looking like somewhere that inspired an Edith Piaf album, Zédel is also surprisingly affordable, especially if you get involved in the three-course prix fixe menu for £17.25. Although this huge, sprawling subterranean restaurant can fit a couple hundred people, it’s still a good idea to book ahead—especially on nights with live music.
Bar Américain is one of our all-time favourite bars in London and helpfully, it’s inside the same building as Brasserie Zédel. Despite what our exes might have told you, we don’t purely like this old-fashioned cocktail bar because it’s just a few metres from one of our favourite restaurants and we’re exceptionally lazy people. No, we like it for its moody, sleek, basement feel. We like it for its pretty much flawless cocktails. And we like it for having enough mahogany and dark leather to make us feel like grown-ups. Do we also like it because we’re lazy and requires minimal walking from Zédel? Of course.
The lovely, warm counter at Bancone is about as romantic and euphoric as date night can get in London without attempting to go all “I’m flying Jack!” on a TFL river boat. Plus, this option involves great, affordable handmade pasta, burrata, and classic cocktails. Just be aware that this place is seriously popular, so although they encourage walk-ins, you should book ahead if you want to make sure your date night involves spicy pork mafalde rather than an apology.
We’ve all been there. You have one too many glasses of red with the person you’ve been on a couple dates with and wake up the next day to what you believe is either a bad hangover or paralysing regret. Take your sorry, awkward selves for a late breakfast at Soderberg, a chill Scandi cafe with achingly cool furniture and excellent cinnamon buns. Heads up, this place is also a top last-minute evening drinks option, with most of their cocktails around the £8 mark and plenty of seating hidden downstairs.
Bob Bob Ricard
If you’re looking for a date spot that is basically the restaurant equivalent of a cheeky wink, Bob Bob Ricard is not for you. Move along. This Soho spot is exclusively reserved for date nights that say I love you, I am impressing you, and maybe even, I’m sorry for that incident with the rug, please let me sleep in our bed again. It's a big, richer-than-rich French-meets-Russian brasserie and everything from the tartare to the beef wellington for two is excellent. Plus, there are ‘press for champagne’ buttons at every table and that’s classy.
Bar Italia is a classic Soho institution beloved for its cannoli and 3am closing hours. Basically, this is a cheap and cheerful date spot, perfect for when you’re looking for an old-school Italian cafe where you can have a laugh with the person you love. Or better yet, that Tinder date you know you’ll have absolutely nothing in common with so you’ll replace chemistry with getting absolutely smashed until the early hours. Anything to fill the void, right?