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London’s Most Romantic Restaurants

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30th January 2018

Stuck on what to do for Valentines? Never fear. We pick out the top five most romantic restaurants for Sybarites. Choose from a dinner with a view, pre-theater dining or a post-romantic stroll on Primrose hill option, our guide caters to every taste.

Virginia Woolf once said that one cannot think well, love well, and sleep well if one has not dined well, and we could not agree more. There’s a reason some of the greatest romances have been set in restaurants — from Casablanca to Chocolat. There’s just something about delicious food, good wine, and a great ambience that gets the dopamine and the serotonin flowing in overdrive.  This is why we decided to make a list of the  most romantic restaurants in London for Sybarites. Whether your idea of a romantic  dinner involves a great view of the city, a place that makes for intellectually stimulating conversation, or dinner aboard a cruise boat under a starry night sky, our guide caters to every taste to make sure you’ll know the best valentine’s day restaurants in London to take your special someone to come Feb the fourteenth.

We’ve curated this list of the 13 most romantic restaurants based on several factors including the food, the ambience, the restaurant’s history, and above all, what makes the restaurant stand out from the crowd. Without further ado then, here’s our list of the most romantic restaurants in London for Valentine’s Day.

1. Duck and Waffle

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The first restaurant on our list is the one with the best views of London. Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower on Bishopsgate, Duck and Waffle offers breathtaking views of the city that few other places can match. Duck and Waffle, after all, is a restaurant that is one-of-a-kind in several ways. At 40 floors high, it is London’s highest restaurant. And since it remains open all night long, it is also London’s highest 24 by 7 restaurant. 

But that’s not what makes this place special. 

What makes Duck and Waffle truly stand out is the food, the character, and the ambience. It’s a restaurant that is based around its signature dish, which, no prizes for guessing, is the duck and waffle. 

Counted among the best new London restaurants, Duck and Waffle is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Shimon Bokovza who loves bringing unconventional things together. He opened the first ski resort in Israel in the 1970s, and in 1999, started the SushiSamba chain of restaurants which blends Japanese and Brazilian cuisines. 

It should come as no surprise then that Bokovza should think up of bringing together on the same plate two foods as dissimilar as a duck egg and a waffle to create a signature dish Londoners have loved so much that over 2 million of them have been served up since the restaurant opened in 2012. 

Needless to say, the menu at the Duck and Waffle has a lot of duck and a lot of waffle, with a lot of other things you’d never have thought belonged together. Except they do. 

For instance, one of our favourite drinks on the menu is called Waffle on the Rocks. It is made from — hold your breath — waffle flavoured vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, drambuie scotch, lime cordial, and maple syrup. We’d never have thought vodka and waffles go together, but after having one, we’re convinced that they’re as great a combination as oreo and milk. Or strawberries and cream. Or duck and waffle.

Which is why this restaurant is at the top of our list for couples that look great together.

Address:110, Bishopsgate, London

Website:https://duckandwaffle.com/ 

2. Clos Maggiore

Picture this. An Italian-style stone courtyard with the ceiling covered in white cherry blossoms, a warm, welcoming fireplace crackling contentedly at one end, French cutlery, a mauve and white decor that feels as comforting as the soft glow of the fireplace, and a selection of the finest wines in the world.  

That’s the Clos Maggione for you, voted the most romantic restaurant in London several times. But don’t take our word for it. This is a place one has to experience first-hand to believe.

Clos in French is enclosed, while Maggiore in Italian means more or greater — roughly the equivalent of the English “major”. It is this juxtaposition of two seeming opposites that Clos Maggiore makes possible, which makes it such a special place. It’s enclosed from the outside, like a little Parisian cafe on King’s street that you can almost walk past without noticing. But once you step in, it opens up suddenly into a vast, or should we say maggiore, cherry blossom-covered expanse, like an Italian Viscount’s grandiose  palazzo. 

The cuisine is a fine blend of French and Italian, that includes some delicacies you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in London such as the Rhug Estate fallow deer paired with red wine braised salsify, and the Scottish Isle of Gigha halibut with cauliflower 3 ways.

However, what makes the Clos Maggiore a truly special place for celebrating Valentine’s Day is that they have a special Valentine’s Day tasting menu which features a full six-course meal starting at  £160 per person. There’s fried oysters and seaweed aioli for starters, venison tartare, beetroot & blackberry to follow it up. The next course is a serving of champagne & Jerusalem artichoke risotto, paired with native lobster, siberian caviar, and fennel. The main course is lobster broth, Hereford fillet beef, wild mushrooms, and English black truffles. Dessert is the aptly titled Melting Heart, 

Each course comes with a classic wine pairing for that perfect romantic dinner. The Clos Maggiore is truly one of the most immersive dining experiences in London.

Address: 33, King Street, Covent Garden, London

Website: https://www.closmaggiore.com/

3. J Sheekey

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St. Martin’s Court is famous for three things — theatres, bookshops, and J. Sheekey’s. 

What makes J.Sheekey such a romantic place is the fact that it has been around since 1896, when the then Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, gave a local fish seller by the name of Josef Sheekey permission to sell the best fish and oysters in London to the city’s literati returning from an engrossing evening at the theatres. 

J. Sheekey’s, as Josef Sheekey’s humble stall soon came to be known, has kept the promise made to Lord Salisbury ever since. What has changed, is the character of the place, as the humble fish-and-oysters stall has now grown into a beautiful, full-fledged restaurant rivalling the best London has to offer.

But there’s more to J.Sheekey than just history, and the best fish and oysters in London. For one, there’s the decor. If red is the colour of romance, J.Sheekey is cupid heaven. Painted a brilliant ruby-red, and adorned with fresh flowers, J. Sheekey is a place that looks like it was custom-made for a Valentine’s Day date. 

And then there’s the food. Of course, the oysters and fish are to die for, but J.Sheekey’s has  come a long way since Lord Salisbury used to visit it after a night at the plays. The menu has evolved with the times, while staying true to the essence that makes the place legendary. We suggest trying the monkfish & tiger prawn tikka masala if you’re looking for something adventurous to tickle the taste buds. Or you could stick to staples such as miso black cod and whole sea bream. And if you’re not in the mood for fish dishes, give the chargrilled bannockburn rib steak a shot. For the perfect date night dessert, it’s hard to go wrong with the passionfruit pavlova with ice cream.

Address: 28-32, St. Martin’s Court, London

Website: https://j-sheekey.co.uk/

4. Blanchette Soho

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Blanchette Soho is a French restaurant in Soho, which makes it pretty romantic ipso facto, for no one does romance better than the French, and there’s probably no quarter of London more fashionable than Soho. But that’s not why Blanchette Soho is on this list.

Started by three brothers from Normandy — Maxime, Yannis, and Malik Alary — this fashionable bistro blends classic French food from rural France with some great music. Of the three brothers, Maxime and Yannis have over 30 years of experience in working in some of the finest kitchens in New York, Paris, and London. The third, Malik, owns the sound design company, La Musique du Faubourg, setting the perfect mood for the great food that the restaurant serves up. 

What sets the restaurant apart from the scores of other French bistros in London is that it is unafraid to experiment and reinvent classic French cuisine. For instance, pairing beef ragu croquettes with harissa mayo. Or pairing beaufort cheese with rhododendron honey. 

Unlike some of the other places on the list, the Blanchette Soho has a quiet, homely ambience, which is perfect for a quiet date night spent holding hands. 

Oh, and by the way, the bistro is named after the Alary brothers’ mother. Isn’t that sweet?

Website: https://www.blanchettesoho.co.uk/

Address: 9, D’Arblay Street, London

5. Odette's

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Is there a more romantic neighbourhood of London than Primrose Hill? With its open green spaces, its great views of the city, and its vividly colourful Victorian townhouses, Primrose Hill feels like a wonderland far from the maddening crowd of London. Little wonder that W.B. Yeats chose it to make his home in, as did Sylvia Plath.

Even in such an iconic neighbourhood filled with famous names, one place stands out as a long-standing landmark. And that is Odette’s.

Odette’s is no ordinary restaurant. It is run by the celebrity chef Bryn Williams, who is known, among other things, for being the winner of the inaugural season of BBC’s cooking show, Great British Menu. As his reward, Williams was one of the chefs chosen to cook for the Queen’s 80th birthday. Which means that when you visit Odette’s, you can be sure that you’ll be served food which is, quite literally, fit for a queen.

Despite this impressive pedigree, the menu at Odette’s does not try to overwhelm you with exotic dishes. It's a simple British menu with a Welsh flavour that is owed to Bryn Williams own Welsh heritage. 

Odette’s in fact, has its own Welsh take on a Valentine’s Day menu — the Santes Dwynwen menu. Santes Dwynwen is the Welsh saint of Valentine’s. This three-course menu features brecon cured trout, horseradish yoghurt, laverbread cracker, and cucumber sauce for starters, followed by treacle glazed Welsh beef cheek, stuffed cabbage, creamed parsnip, and smoked onion crumb for main course. Dessert is bara brith parfait, oat sable, orange marmalade, earl grey, while tea and coffee are served with Penderyn chocolate truffles.  

Also, if it matters, Odette’s is a Michelin-star restaurant. 

Address:130 Regents Park Road,Primrose Hill, London

Website: http://odettesprimrosehill.com/

6. The LaLee, Belmond Cadogan

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The LaLee at the Belmond Cadogan has a long association with love.

The restaurant takes its name from Lillie Langtry, legendary actress and famed beauty of the gilded age, who was a long time patron of the establishment. Langtry was known as much for her acting prowess as she was known for her love affairs with some of the most powerful men of the time. These included King Edward VII, Prince Louis Battenberg (father of Lord Mountbatten of Burma) and the Earl of Shrewsbury. Her other rumoured lovers included William Gladstone and Oscar Wilde. Wilde himself was a resident of the Cadogan, and it was from his pied a terre at the Cadogan that he was arrested for trial in 1895, for his own love affairs.

With such a history of romantic love, no doubt some of it tragic, the LaLee is a place that exudes charm, warmth, and a disarming openness that invites you to fall in love. This is a quality that is reflected in their open kitchen, which allows patrons to sit and watch their meal being prepared from start to finish. 

Overseen by executive chef Chris Hill, the menu features some of Europe’s finest culinary delights such as steak frites, agnolotti, and twice-baked Montgomery cheese souffle. And for the perfect Valentine’ Day dessert, the LaLee can whip up a heart-warming cafe gourmand or an apple tart tatin to get your dopamine flowing in overdrive.

Besides the great food and the history, what also makes the LaLee stand out is the decor and the architecture. The dining room features a stunning glass dome, marble floors and elegant chandeliers. Perhaps the most romantic touch of all is its gorgeous fireplace. Is there something more romantic than a delicious meal by the fireplace in plush seating? 

The LaLee is located at the tri-junction of three of London’s most fashionable streets — Knightsbridge, Belgravia, and Chelsea. The area is home to some beautiful historic and modern architecture. A part of the Cadogan Estate that includes Chelsea and the fashionable Sloane Street, the LaLee is still owned by the Cadogan Family, who have held it since the time of the Second Baron of Cadogan in 1717. 

Address: 75, Sloane Street, London

Website: https://www.thelalee.co.uk/ 

7. Peyton and Byrne at the Wallace Collection

If your idea of a romantic date is a place surrounded with renaissance paintings, sculptures from pre-revolutionary France, and antiques from Tsarist Russia dating back to the sixteenth century, then the Peyton and Byrne is the place for you. Located within the historic Wallace Collection in Manchester Square, Peyton and Byrne is a restaurant as moody and enchanting as the building it is located in.

In case you didn’t already know, the Wallace Collection is a museum whose collection of fine and decorative arts is rivalled only by the likes of Louvre. It was established by Sir Richard Wallace, the Marquess of Hertford, in the early eighteenth century. His family had begun collecting art from the ancien regime in the decades following the French Revolution, and Sir Wallace soon established a reputation as one of the greatest art collectors of the nineteenth century. Nestled within this ocean of art and history is the eclectic and charming Peyton and Byrne restaurant.

Located within the wide courtyard of the museum, the restaurant is surrounded by trees and impressive sculptures, all bathed in brilliant natural light that bestows upon the entire place a warm and welcoming aura. The menu is as exotic as the setting — pea and mint gazpacho with crème fraîche and crumbled olives, or chalk stream trout with fennel, and mangetout salad with orange vinaigrette are just some of the lip smacking delicacies you can savour here. For dessert, we suggest trying the pistachio tiramisu with strawberries and coffee reduction.

The only drawback to eating at the Peyton and Bryne is that it closes at 5 PM, and takes its last order at 4:30. Which means it’s not the place for a romantic dinner. For a great Valentine's Day lunch with comfort food, a romantic meal, and intellectually stimulating conversations though, we can think of few other places in London that can beat it.

Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, London 

Website: https://www.wallacecollection.org/visit/food-and-drink/ 

8. Sticky Mango

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Mango is not just the king of fruits; in several Asian cultures, mangoes are also considered a symbol of love. Which is just one of the reasons why the Sticky Mango is a great romantic restaurant. All the other reasons have to do with the amazing food and the ambience at the Sticky Mango.

A brain child of celebrated chef Peter Lloyd, who in previous lives served up delicacies at the House of Commons, the world famous Dorchester Hotel, and worked under Gordon Ramsay, Sticky Mango is the place to go if you want the best Southeast Asian cuisine in London.

The ambience and the decor exude a tropical richness, with leafy roofs and lamps in basket-shaped lamp shades throwing a soft, mellow glow over its bamboo-themed interiors.

The menu has a choice of selections from Thai, Indonesia, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese cuisines. We were pleasantly surprised to find the odd Korean dish too. 

And of course, the piece de resistance is the eponymous sticky mango itself. For those new to Thai cuisine, the sticky mango is a delectable dessert that has delicious mango sorbet sitting on a bed of black sticky rice, with coconut milk poured over it. Simple, but sumptuous. 

Address: 33. Coin Street, London 

Website: https://www.stickymango.co.uk/ 

9. Spring at Somerset House

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Somerset House needs no introduction. First built in the 16th century by the Duke of Somerset as a palace on the Thames for himself, the Somerset House is an architectural marvel that has housed kings, queens, and regents throughout its 500-year old history. From Queen Elizabeth I to Anne of Denmark to Henrietta Maria of France to Catherine of Braganza, at least four Queens of England have called this palace their home. Each, in turn, added to its architecture and its decor their own touch of style and aesthetics, 

Today, Somerset House is known as a haven for art and artists that hosts exhibitions and performances by painters, photographers, actors, musicians, and writers from across the world. And within this haven lies the breathtakingly beautiful Spring.

Housed in a restored drawing of Somerset House that had been closed to the public for over 150 years, Spring feels like the perfect setting for a royal romance. As perhaps, it must once have been, a place where princes and princesses consorted and wooed each other. Its decor feels quiet, understated and luxuriously elegant. White, gold, and soft pastels colour a space with plenty of natural light and great views.

Spring is headed by chef Skye Gyngell, who, like Somerset House, needs little introduction. Former head chef at the Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Gyngell has also been the food editor at Vogue. At Spring, she makes sure that the English menu lives up to the expectations of the legacy of Somerset House. For a great romantic dinner, we recommend trying the wild sea bass with red wine lentils, tardivo and balsamic mayonnaise. For dessert, the chocolate custard pot with Muscat de Beaumes de Venise cream and pistachio biscuit is a fine choice to round off the perfect romantic dinner.

Address: Somerset House, New Wing,Lancaster Place, London

Website: https://springrestaurant.co.uk/ 

10. Berners Tavern

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Berners Tavern at the London Edition hotel is a restaurant that celebrates the coming together of two groundbreaking pioneers. While Ian Schrager is a hotelier renowned for popularising the concept of boutique hotels, James Atherton, the owner of Berners Tavern is a chef known to be an early adopter of the dessert bar among London restaurants. The result is a space that feels young, jovial, and brimming with energy. 

Atherton is a former protege of Gordon Ramsay and the founder-owner of yet another fashionable restaurant called Pollen Street Social which has the enviable reputation of having earned a Michelin Star within a year of its opening. However, it is Berners Tavern which we recommend for a romantic dinner that is also fun. 

The menu is solidly British without being boring. All ingredients are fresh and sourced seasonally from British estates such as the Estate Buccleuch in Scotland. For instance, the starters include such eclectic delights as the Estate Buccleuch beef tartare, Marmite butter sourdough bread, jalapeño mayonnaise, pickled baby onions, and watercress. The grass fed cows at the Buccleuch Estate are once again to the thank for main course delicacies such as the Buccleuch Estate Côte de Boeuf garlic and herbs butter, béarnaise peppercorn sauce, and house salad Koffman’s fries

For those who prefer seafood there are English delicacies with a fun twist such as the prawn cocktail, lobster jelly, avocado wasabi purée, crispy shallots.

And if you like your main course a little more elaborate, you could try the 8-hour slow cooked Cumbrian Herdwick lamb shoulder for two served with puy style lentils, courgette, lamb fat and pomme purée mint sauce.

And if you still have any space left for dessert, we recommend trying the coffee and gianduja Alaska, chocolate and coffee liquor sauce, flamed with vodka, garnished with almond, chocolate and orange. Simply irresistible.

Address:10 Berners Street, London

Website: http://www.bernerstavern.com/ 

11. Andrew Edmunds

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Andrew Edmunds is an accidental restaurant. Or perhaps, we should say serendipitous. It grew as a side thought to its eponymous founder’s art print business. The late Andrew Edmunds was a well known collector of European art, and he started this restaurant when he stumbled upon a cheap, derelict 18th century townhouse in Soho in the 1980s, which he thought would be a good headquarters for his art print business. Nearly four decades later, the restaurant is a London legend where numerous first dates have blossomed into glorious love affairs. 
Why, you may ask?

For one, it’s the ambience. The restaurant’s charcoal grey facade frames an interior that seems to be perennially aglow with a soft, yellow candlelight glow. 

And then there’s the seating. Andrew Edmunds is known — some might say even notorious — for having small, two-seater tables that pretty much force people sitting on either side to make eye contact. There’s no looking into the distance, and no room for reaching into your pocket and pulling out your phone. Just good food and good conversation, like in the old days. 

And then there’s the price. This is one of the few places in London where looking at the prices on the wine list doesn’t make you regret your career choices. They even have handwritten menus that are written from scratch every morning. 

And finally, there’s the food of course, which is simple, seasonal, and yet seemingly sumptuous. It has modern British classics such as steak tartare, beef wellington, and sticky toffee pudding. There’s also a special Valentine’s Day menu, like all great romantic restaurants, which features more lavish spreads such as Cornish rack of lamb, cavolo nero, Swiss chard, caramelised baby onions & mint sauce, or Yorkshire aged beef wing rib, confit potatoes, and gorgonzola sauce.

While it may not have any Michelin Stars, Andrew Edmunds is a hidden gem that has earned its reputation as a romantic restaurant by its sheer simplicity. All it offers is excellent food, cosy corners, impeccable service, and strong, all-pervading ambience of romance that its patrons find hard to miss, whether they’re on a first date or celebrating their 50th marriage anniversary.

Address:46, Lexington Street, London

Website: https://www.andrewedmunds.com/ 

12. Kitty Fisher’s

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Kitty Fisher was an eighteenth century English courtesan who was famous, among other things, for being the lover of the Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova. It is this love affair of England with continental Europe that Kitty Fisher’s celebrates. 

Named after the eponymous Ms. Fisher, who lived not far from where the modern Kitty Fisher’s stands in Mayfair, the restaurant offers modern British food with a Spanish and Italian twist.

Helmed by head Alice Massolongo, Kitty Fisher’s features in the Michelin Food Guide 2022. And while the food is no doubt excellent, it’s the wine list that sets this restaurant apart. From a 1996 Rioja Gran Reserva from Bodega to a 2017 Ciu Ciu Falerio from Marche, the Kitty Fisher’s wine list features Europe’s finest, spanning across Portugal to Austria and everything in between.

The cocktail menu is as adventurous as the life and times of the restaurant’s namesake. With names such as Bad Kitty, Kitty’s Summer Cup, Hanky Panky, and Dalliance, you know the drinks at the cosy cocktail bar were conceived with romance in mind.

To say Kitty Fisher’s is one of the most romantic restaurants in London is like stating the obvious. Step into its dining room to experience the romance. Low lighting in colours varying from ruby red to amber yellow, dimly lit interiors, elegant setting, velvet furnishings, and five star service, this is a place for eating well and falling in love.

Address: 10, Shepherd Market, London

Website: https://www.kittyfishers.com/ 

13. London Shell Co.

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If your idea of a great date night is a lavish meal aboard a barge floating down Regent’s Canal under a starry night sky, then the London Shell Co, is the place for you. The London Shell Co. is perhaps the most unique entry on our list of the most romantic restaurants because it is situated upon a barge that takes guests on a cruise, starting from Canary Wharf in East London to Wembley in the west, all the while treating them to the finest British sea food in London.

Dinner cruises have set menus that change with time, but guests can expect to be treated to such British classics as Cornish cod & mussel zarzuela with crispy pig cheek and spider crab, and leeks vinaigrette with pangrattato. 

The wine list is equally impressive, with new world wines from places such as South Africa, Chile, and the USA sharing space with Europe’s finest vintages. 

And if, by any chance, you feel that long boat cruises aren't your thing, the restaurant also has a sister static restaurant called the Grand Duchess that serves the same great a la carte menu aboard a restored barge that stays anchored to the wharf.

Address: Paddington, London

Website: https://londonshellco.com/the-prince-regent/ 

Final Thoughts 

So that’s our definitive guide to the most romantic restaurants in London for Valentine’s Day. From having cocktails 40 forty floors above the ground, to lunch in the courtyard of a 500 year old palace, to dining under a starry night sky while floating down the Regent’s Canal, each of these places is sure to make your Valentine’s Day an experience to remember. If, on the other hand, all you’re looking for a light new year’s day brunch London has several equally good options that you find on our website. And once you’re fed and dined, and feel like treating yourself to a hot bath, make sure to check out Aire ancient baths London review for a truly luxurious experience.

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