Date restaurants in London

Impress your date and discover restaurants in the capital where the romance is unavoidable…

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Looking to impress on a first date? Want to celebrate an anniversary in style? Or do you simply want to dine in stunning surroundings? Look no further as we round up some of the capital's most striking and exciting restaurants. Plus, check out our romantic restaurants in London for more restaurant ideas. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Balthazar

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Rarely has a new London restaurant been so anticipated – or so hyped. Stories about Keith McNally’s London branch of his New York restaurant have been trumpeted by glossy magazines and newspaper supplements since the rumour began, more than three years ago. Breathless speculation anticipated this Manhattan interpretation of a French brasserie becoming the hottest destination for London dining of 2011... then 2012... and now, in 2013, it’s actually opened. Balthazar

Private dining room now open!
  1. 4-6 Russell Street, WC2E 7BN
Book online

Berners Tavern

  • Rated as: 5/5

Restaurateur Jason Atherton has had a great year. Berners Tavern is the third restaurant he’s opened in the West End this year; the other two, Little Social and Social Eating House, were very well received for their playful and appealing dishes. This new venture is more of the same, but in a much grander setting. It’s housed in the new Edition hotel in Fitzrovia, which looks like the older, more sophisticated sister of the Sanderson hotel just down the road. Both places were

  1. 10 Berners Street , W1T 3NP
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China Tang

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Sir David Tang’s slinky dining room in the Dorchester’s basement successfully manages to banish all thoughts of hotel restaurants from diners’ minds. The separate Park Lane entrance helps, as do art deco furnishings evoking 1930s Shanghai. Only the moneyed, multinational clientele remind you of the locality. China Tang has formidable kitchen resources, so it would be a shame to stick to the western-oriented set meals (where cheung fun is renamed cannelloni) – though à la

  1. The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA
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Dinings

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Once one of Marylebone’s best-kept secrets, Dinings now has a reputation larger than its compact, converted-townhouse setting. Getting a table in the basement is unlikely without a booking, but if you’re lucky there may be a spare stool at the street-level sushi counter. If you’re not keen on small spaces, then you may just like the ground floor better – it’s brighter with more windows. Whatever your thoughts on the venue itself, the food is indisputably excellent (make

  1. 22 Harcourt Street, W1H 4HH
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Exhibition Rooms

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4

The Exhibition Rooms continues to offer a winning combination bang in the heart of the Crystal Palace triangle. It’s a venue that can satisfy a number of criteria depending on when you go. For lunch, this leafy brasserie with lime green walls and light streaming in through sash windows is a relaxed choice for a smart yet unpretentious meal. In the evening, with large glittering chandeliers and soft lighting, it takes on a cosy, intimate feel. The downstairs bar, all leather and

  1. 69-71 Westow Hill, SE19 1TX
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Le Gavroche

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

This restaurant colossus offers unapologetically old-school fine dining. First opened in Chelsea in 1967 by the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, it’s now run by Michel Roux Jr who took the reins in 1991. Le Gavroche continues to be the go-to haute cuisine establishment for a dignified, extremely wealthy crowd (our reservation took three months to secure). While it may bear the name of the street urchin from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, there’s nothing scruffy about the

  1. 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR
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Lobby Lounge at the Corinthia

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Corinthia Hotel is the best new five-star hotel you’ve probably never heard of. Between Trafalgar Square and Embankment, the building looks Orwellian from the outside, but inside is all sweetness and light. In the Lobby Lounge, smiling waitresses glide around like air hostesses from 1960s adverts. Under glass cloches, killer Battenbergs await your bite. Consultant Claire Clark is the Corinthia’s cake guru. She has quite a following among the cognoscenti: for a time she

  1. Corinthia Hotel, (Whitehall Place), SW1A 2BD
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Royal China Club

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The ‘club’ in the name makes RCC sound like a members-only section of the Royal China Group, which isn’t far from the truth. This, the premier link in the chain, has an air of quiet elegance found in five-star hotels, right down to the faint tinkling of a piano. The kitchen turns out consummate Cantonese cooking, using prized ingredients (abalone, lobster, veal) at every opportunity. At lunchtime, dim sum includes the signature cheung fun, which here comes filled with

  1. 40-42 Baker Street, W1U 7AJ
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Sketch: Lecture Room & Library

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4

The arresting entrance hall, with its high-impact artworks and greeters who are part-cast and part-personal assistant, are cues that you are entering not just a building of dizzying grandeur, but a designed world with a playful, theatrical bent. Sketch’s Lecture Room & Library is up a very fine staircase. Flooded with light from a glass ceiling dome, and governed by immaculately tailored staff, it’s the most classical space in the complex, with the food providing the

  1. 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XJ
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Yauatcha

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Such acutely stylish venues rarely last, but after a decade Yauatcha can add longevity to its enviable list of attributes. So why do people still glide down the stairs of this self-styled Taipai tea house into its sensual basement? The design helps: the long bar, spot-lit black tables and illuminated fish tank still have allure, and the nightclub vibe is boosted by beautiful staff and bass-heavy beats. Even being shunted away to seats behind the staircase has benefits (privacy).

  1. 15 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL
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