Discover the best restaurants and cafés for a romantic meal in the capital
Whether you're looking for that first date venue, a chilled bar perfect for couples or somewhere to celebrate an anniversary, we've got it covered. Unfortunately, a cheap date is seldom a romantic date so do be prepared to splash some cash. Check out our guide to the best romantic restaurants in London.
Much though we've enjoyed midweek dinners at Corrigan's, there's no denying the lure of the Sunday lunch deal. If you can resist the extras, such as canapés at £4 a pop (and we couldn't – but the spicy cheese sables were worth it) or the glorious-looking aged rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding (£10 supplement), then £27 buys three immaculate courses. Even the £2 a head cover charge is hard to begrudge when bread and petits fours (madeleines warm from the oven) are this good.
'It's supposed to be fun.' The words came from a senior waiter when we praised the service that makes eating here such a profound pleasure. The staff treated us royally, even though we were clearly the lowest-spending customers in the place.
Paying homage to the art deco heritage of Claridge's, GR balances glamour and vintage sparkle with a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Sweeping drapes, an abundance of fresh flowers, and plenty of space add to the special-occasion feel. Top marks to the accomplished service team, who lend warmth, wit and bonhomie to the theatrical setting. The weighty wine list can be overwhelming – best ask for guidance from the sommelier, who will also match wines by the glass.
There's a certain defiance evident in Hélène Darroze's evolving menu. Asian flavours are overt, from tandoori spices, via sarawak and lampong pepper, to gomasio and miso; Scottish salmon is presented as homage to the Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Le Gavroche's set lunch is famously good value - the £51 charge includes a half bottle of wine, coffee and petits fours - and you'll need to book well ahead to snag a table. Come for dinner, however, and you can expect to pay around £230 for two, much more if you don't keep an eye on the drinks and opt for dishes of luxury ingredients (the fillet of beef is £42.40, and a strawberry tasting dessert is more expensive than some mains).
Situated within the high class Halkin hotel in upmarket Belgravia, Nahm is unlike any other Thai restaurant in London and quite possibly beyond. Chic settings are reminiscent perhaps of a modern Thai palace; antiqued gold pillars surround the dining room where richly-toned wood is lifted with touches of regal deep red, just a suggestion of Nahm’s cuisine. An original and creative Thai experience, the menu is the work of Australian chef David Thompson who has put together dishes delicately spiced with his own artful hand to bring a flavour of Thailand to the world of gourmet cuisine.
Orrery is a safe haven of excellent taste. It offers the top-end tropes, such as appetisers, pre-desserts and petits fours, even to those on promotional set menus and, while there's not much flexibility in the price of dinner, lunch is a good deal.
Chancery Court Hotel, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN
Exec chef Jun Tanaka worked with a roll-call of stellar names, from the Roux family to Marco Pierre White, before alighting at what has become his signature restaurant, in the luxury Chancery Court hotel. After seven years, his Asian-accented modern French dishes remain as fresh and artful as ever, pleasing both the eye and the palate with a balance of delicacy and intensity, and a broad spectrum of flavour.