From comfort food and canal cruises to farmers’ market strolls, here are ten foodie date ideas to try this autumn.
Combine park and pub – Get your best leaf-crunching boots on, go for a stroll in the park and then take your date for a bite to eat at a nearby pub. If you can find one with a roaring fire, even better. Need some ideas? What about an early supper at The Grazing Goat after a walk in Hyde Park? Or Sunday lunch at The Rookery overlooking Clapham Common? The Bull & Last is an obvious choice if you’re near Hampstead Heath, while The Britannia is a lovely place to refuel after a bit of deer-spotting in Richmond Park.
Embrace comfort food – Goodbye bikini body, hello carbs! Use the drop in temperature as an excuse to seek out your favourite comfort food, whether that’s ramen, fried chicken, or just a really good mac ‘n’ cheese. Why not introduce your date to one of your all-time favourite dishes? For inspiration, check out our round-up of some of London’s most indulgent dishes.
Get cosy on a heated terrace – If you’re not ready to say goodbye to alfresco dining completely, then seek out one of London’s ‘almost alfresco’ heated terraces. Hot Dinners have rounded up some of the best options, including the garden-inspired conservatory at Blixen and Bourne and Hollingsworth’s quirky greenhouse.
Sample street food under cover – Don’t let the chilly weather get in the way of your street food feasting. You can try some of London’s finest street eats at indoor or partially covered markets like Dinerama, Giant Robot, and Brick Lane’s Sunday Upmarket. Don’t forget that much of Borough Market is under cover, as is Mercato Metropolitano – a huge Italian food market in an old factory building near Elephant & Castle. It’s a top spot for a first date because you can grab a glass of wine and graze your way around stalls selling fresh pasta, charcuterie, pizza, and gelato.
Cook the books – Stuck inside on a rainy day? Why not pick a recipe (or two) from one of those cookbooks you’ve been hoarding? Get your date involved with chopping, making dessert, or shaking up a cocktail. Much more fun than a takeaway!
Upgrade your cinema trip – For your next movie night, skip the local multiplex and seek out one of London’s smaller, sexier cinemas and pair it with dinner at a nearby restaurant. (Bonus points if you can match the food to the movie!) Who needs popcorn when you could have a pan-Asian feast at E&O near the Electric Cinema? Or an early supper at Oldroyd before a movie at Screen on the Green? We also big fans of Picturehouse Central at Piccadilly Circus, which is a stone’s throw from foodie faves like Bocca di Lupo and Brasserie Zedel.
Cruise the canals – Before it gets too cold, hire a GoBoat from their Paddington pontoon and take a self-driven cruise along the Regent’s Canal. On a leisurely two-hour trip you can enjoy a (BYO) boat picnic and take in the scenic sights of Little Venice, Regent’s Park, and Camden Lock. If you’d rather leave the driving to someone else, the London Waterbus will take you from Camden to Little Venice, where you can try Persian food at Kateh, seafood at The Summerhouse, or pints and pub grub at The Warwick Castle.
Explore a farmers’ market – Grab your canvas bags and visit your local farmers’ market to stock up on seasonal produce and gourmet goodies that can be transformed into a feast for two. Better yet, visit a market in another part of town, like Marylebone, Brockley or Alexandra Palace. What better way to spend a few hours than strolling hand in hand and filling a bag with delicious things to nibble on?
Learn something new – Why stick to the same old date night formula when you could take a gin tour or master the art of dim sum making? You can learn how to prepare a Chinese banquet at School of Wok or cook (and eat) a delicious meal in under an hour at L’Atelier de Chefs. Plus don’t forget the Jamie Oliver Cookery School at Westfield, where classes range from pasta making and sushi skills to Mexican street food and South Indian curries.
Enjoy aperitivo hour – Get out of the office on time and embrace la bella vita with an early evening aperitivo session at one of London’s top Italian restaurants. In Soho, you could even do a crawl – start with a spritz and some ciccheti at Polpo, swing by Bar Termini for a Negroni, and then settle in for wine and Italian small plates at RustiKo. Mele e Pere on Brewer Street even has its own dedicated Aperitivo Bar – a must visit for fans of vermouth. We’re also big fans of Ritorno, an elegant Italian restaurant in Chelsea that serves excellent cocktails and classic dishes like vitello tonnato and tagliatelle with beef ragu.
Have you got any top tips for food-themed autumn dates? Let us know in the comments!