The lights are low and candlelight is flickering, wine has been poured and the stage is set for an unforgettable evening.
Come February 14, it will be a full house in restaurants across London, meaning that organising your booking ahead of time is paramount. No matter the cuisine or location, there is no shortage of esteemed establishments ready to host you and your loved one.
Prepare to sip and savour a delicious meal while soaking in one another’s company. Below, The Sybarite’s curation of London’s most romantic restaurants to celebrate this Valentine’s Day.
Parisian charm overflows at Louie, an elegant and ambient three-storey venue offering the best of French gastronomy with a New Orleans twist. Having cemented itself as a must-dine destination in London’s West End, a seafood-heavy menu boasts the very best of the freshly-caught world, including unbelievably fresh king scallops and succulent lobster rolls. With live jazz music and lush foliage, the aesthetics make for a memorable setting to bask in the glory of a truly unique dining experience.
Landing itself on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2023, it’s safe to say BRAT has made a big splash in the London food scene. Taking its name from the old English word for turbot, this dish is an absolute must-try, offering flaky, buttery fish you’ll be thinking about long afterward. The Michelin-starred restaurant is the perfect addition to edgy Shoreditch with a sultry ambience which is designed for a date night.
When The Beckhams, Kate Moss, Kirsten Dunst and Dua Lipa can call themselves happy guests, you know you're in good company. each dined at Chiltern Firehouse, speaking to the league of clientele the outpost attracts. The institution, which opened in 2014, has since become synonymous with the rich, famous and beautiful. The menu is a mixed bag, offering everything from grilled meats and oven fired pizzas to seared halibut and lobster linguine — in short, you won’t be left wanting.
Located in the heart of prestigious Mayfair, The Colony Grill can be found within the iconic Beaumont Hotel. Calling on produce from small-scale farmers who have been personally sourced by chef Ben Boeynaems, the restaurant has become well-known for its old-world American fare. Putting a unique spin on cult classics, notable dishes include the mouthwatering, matured tomahawk steak for two and an elevated ice cream sundae.
This rustic, neighbourhood-style eatery is tucked away in a cosy corner of East London, charming diners with its homely cooking and down-to-earth approach to Italian fare. Seasonal, local produce is truly championed here, resulting in humble, warming dishes that are made for winter months.
Riviera is the newest addition to the Zandi brothers’ Emerald Hospitality Group collection and has quickly become one of the capital’s most sought after spots thanks to its dedication to excellent food. Reminiscent of Saint Tropez’s charming restaurant scene with raffia panelling, warm lighting and an inviting cocktail menu before you, Riviera makes it hard to believe you’re not dining in the Med. This refinement continues through to the menu with dishes drawing upon traditional French ingredients and modernising them to produce fresh and flavourful dishes. Riviera will take you on a romantic Mediterranean escape, without even leaving London!
There is a reason Perilla is widely lauded among Londoners, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience in a charming setting. Nestled in Newington Green, the restaurant is leading the locavore dining resurgence, championing seasonal, local produce displayed in a thoughtful menu. The atmosphere is elegant, the service memorable and the dishes full of technique, making it a must-visit.
A pink-hued paradise with sweeping views of Battersea’s iconic power station, JOIA is a masterful blend of aesthetics and culinary delights. Lisbon-born chef Henrique Sá Pessoa is at the helm of a diverse ship, curating a menu of flavours which celebrate both Portugal and Spain. The view alone makes it worthy of a mention, but what keeps people coming back are the humble yet expertly crafted dishes with an impeccable tapas selection.
Having been awarded three Michelin stars, there isn’t much convincing required when it comes to booking a table here. As one of London’s most prestigious restaurants, menu heavy hitters include caviar, lobster and wagyu, each crafted to perfection. Dining experiences at Hélène Darroze are designed to be long, leisurely and above all else, savoured.
Cellar at Kindred is a true hidden gem and the perfect date night for those who want to avoid the bustle of central London. Perfectly self-described as a neighbourhood hang out, it’s the perfect place to set up camp at the window counter and watch the world go by as you make your way through their delicious small plates and curated cocktail list. The dim lighting, gold accents and deep green walls create an intimate setting to enjoy their broad menu of locally sourced, ingredient-led dishes. Whether you’re fancying some light bites to accompany your tipple, or a sharing dish of Jacob’s Ladder ribs to have with your bottle of red, Cellar is dedicated to offering a shared dining experience from morning ‘till after hours.
As the name implies, this venue is situated 37 floors above London, making it the ideal vantage point for dramatic views of the city. Head Chef, Kerth Gumbs has dabbled with an abundance of flavour profiles, with a distinct nod to his Anguillan roots, resulting in a Caribbean-led menu brought to life with British ingredients. Each dish can be matched to an award-winning wine list, allowing you to elevate your dining experience even further.
Towering ceilings, large arch windows and white tablecloths are just a few key design features present in Galvin La Chapelle. Serving French cuisine with a distinct European influence, this Michelin star venue has garnered a reputation for beautifully presented dishes, warm hospitality and an upmarket, old-world aesthetic.
Contemporary Sicilian fare is served across three floors in this Fitzrovia-based venue. Overhanging lights cast an intimate glow while booths offer the opportunity to sit side-by-side with your sweetheart. From a stuffed beetroot gnocchi and roasted stone bass with saffron pangrattato, the menu is distinctively Italian, with the welcoming hospitality you’d expect from an old-school trattoria.
Looking to venture a little further afield? May we suggest The Langley, a Luxury Collection, in leafy Buckinghamshire. The Cedar restaurant is known for its European fare — with French, Italian and Spanish-inspired dishes — expertly executed using local produce. For Valentine's Day the restaurant is serving a decadent 5-course menu with standout dishes including delicate scallop ceviche, rich crab and mascarpone ravioli, and hearty roasted duck breast on pumpkin puree. The dessert offering is particularly decadent: think raspberry and white chocolate mousse with a fragrant lychee ice cream and an indulgent macadamia and dark chocolate cake served with Guinness ice cream.
£180 per person for the Valentine's Day five-course menu including a glass of champagne on arrival. Book here
Tucked away in Mayfair, this Art Deco-inspired eatery is known as something of a hidden gem in the capital. Now it's redefining the day date thanks to its new ‘All-Day Set Menu’, from Monday-Friday. Stretching from 12pm to 6.30pm it celebrates the return of the long and languid lunch. Guests can dine on classic dishes such as roast cauliflower soup with a creamy walnut pesto or a zingy salmon tartare, followed by rigatoni pomodoro with mascarpone and vodka or a hearty steak haché. Be sure to save room for dessert: nostalgic dishes like sticky toffee pudding and a rhubarb and custard coupe will sate any sweet tooth.
Accompany your meal with a carafe of the red or white wine, on rotation daily.
If you are looking for a distinguished French restaurant in London, it has to be Balthazar. The iconic Covent Garden brasserie has partnered with Picturehouse Entertainment throughout February on a dining experience, celebrating the February 14 release of ‘The Taste of Things’. This picturesque romantic film was the winner of Best Director at Cannes Film Festival 2023. The menu distills pivotal moments from the film into memorable dishes such as a light Lyonnaise Salad, Le Pot Au Feu (a medley of slow cooked meats with sauce verte) and Pears & Cream (a delicately poached pear accompanied by lashings of Chantilly cream and decadent chocolate sauce.) Each dish comes with a harmonious wine pairing, to amplify the culinary journey.
Bath might be known for its Roman baths, picturesque Georgian buildings and association with Jane Austen but its culinary scene is increasingly attracting visitors from all over the United Kingdom and further afield.
January is by and far the most popular month to go teetotal, and for good reason. The start of a new year signals time for change, with many choosing to abstain from alcohol as a means of starting off on the right foot (read: with zero hangover regrets).
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