London’s best restaurants for first dates

First dates can be nerve-wracking enough, even without the pressure of finding the perfect restaurant. If you’re looking for somewhere to wine and dine someone special, here are some of London’s best restaurant for first dates.

Clarette – This Marylebone wine bar has a quirky Art Deco style, a superb wine list, and a menu of French dishes designed for grazing and sharing. Forget your local pub – this is the ideal spot for getting-to-know-you drinks.

J Sheekey – Tucked away from the bustle of Leicester Square, this elegant seafood restaurant is perfect for date night. Splash out on Champagne and oysters, share a shellfish platter, or cosy up with their famous fish pie.

Paternoster Chop House – Better known as the First Dates restaurant from Channel 4’s hit series, this buzzy chop house serves rare breed beef cooked over charcoal, alongside fresh fish and proper British puds.

The 40 Elephants – If you’re looking for a bar where you can actually sit down and hear your date, this luxurious drinking den near Trafalgar Square is the place to go. Grab a cocktail and see where the evening takes you.

Maya at The Hoxton – Break the ice with tacos, tostadas, and tequila at this buzzy Mexican restaurant on the roof of The Hoxton Hotel. The views over London are stunning, especially at sunset.

BaoziInn – This Soho spot is famous for its colourful dumplings, spicy dan dan noodles, and skewers of pork belly, prawn, and cumin lamb. Be sure to book ahead – it gets busy!

The Game Bird – Promising modern British cooking and a ‘seductive ambience’, The Game Bird is the perfect place to wine and dine your date in Mayfair. The show-stopping venison Wellington is a must-order.

Hutong – Explore the flavours of Northern China and enjoy panoramic views of the London skyline from level 33 of The Shard. Order some dim sum and their signature Peking duck and that second date is in the bag.

Sette – Whisk your date to Knightsbridge for dinner at this upscale Italian from the team behind NYC’s Scarpetta. Their signature spaghetti with tomato and basil is all over Instagram, but don’t overlook the short rib agnolotti.

Dalloway Terrace – Snap the ultimate first date selfie under a canopy of flowers and foliage at this heated terrace restaurant in Bloomsbury. Be sure to save room for desserts like apple tarte tatin – two spoons, of course.

Coal Office – Tuck into inventive Middle Eastern dishes at chef Assaf Granit’s restaurant overlooking Coal Drops Yard. It’s a great option for brunch and the roof terrace is worth keeping in mind for summer dinner dates.

28-50 – With its laid-back buzz, interesting wine list, and modern European menu, 28-50 ticks all the boxes for a first date. We guarantee you’ll be back more than once.

Blanchette – Restaurants come and go in Soho but this bijou spot has remained a local favourite since it opened in 2013. Expect bistro classics like moules marinière, pork belly, and steak tartare.

Margot – Taking inspiration from Italy’s diverse regions, Margot serves dishes like lobster tagliolini and veal ossobuco with risotto Milanese. With over 350 wines to choose from and a refined but unpretentious atmosphere, you’ll never want to leave.

Llerena – This Upper Street gem serves hand-carved jamon, Spanish cheeses, and a handful of classic tapas dishes. Perch at the bar for wine and snacks or grab a table and graze your way through the menu.

Nothing setting your heart aflutter? Visit OpenTable to discover more London restaurants that are perfect for your next date night.

Updated February 2022.