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100 best restaurants in London - The Ivy
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The best bars and restaurants in London to propose in

Got a question to pop? Up your chances of a positive response by bending a knee in one of these romantic restaurants and bars fit for a proposal

By Nicola Arencibia
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If your beloved loves restaurants, you can of course pull out all the stops by getting a gold-dust reservation at one of the capital’s swankiest spots, then popping the question in a carefully orchestrated fashion. But proposing marriage doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune – we’ve come up with a whole range of ideas for how and where to propose, from intimate, romantic spaces to dazzling destinations and slick bars. We’ve even thought of some suitable places to propose when you’re not so sure the answer will be ‘yes’… You know, just in case. Good luck!

Romantic restaurants to propose in

AndrewEdwards_CREDITDanny Elwes.jpg
© Danny Elwes

Andrew Edmunds

Restaurants Contemporary European Soho

This creaky cutie has been dishing up its modern European menu to a full house since Cupid was in nappies (he still is? Oh. Okay). It balances friendliness and intimacy, with candlelight and wildflowers upping the romance. Prices (even wines) won’t have you on your knees before you get down on one. Make sure you book.

Make it memorable: Propose at lunch, then choose a print from the neighbouring shop as a souvenir.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £75.
Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer
Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer

Bob Bob Ricard

Restaurants British Soho

It’s a Russian-British fantasy mash-up that’s extravagant and fun in equal measure. Throw caution to the wind and order caviar and oysters, plus a glass of competitively priced fine wine. If your loved one says ‘yes’, press the champagne button located in each booth – the next thing to propose is a toast.

Make it memorable: One true romantic had not one, not a dozen, but 100 red roses delivered to his girlfriend’s table just before proposing.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £140.

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Champor-Champor

Restaurants Thai Borough and London Bridge

Champor Champor’s bijou mezzanine with just one table for two offers privacy at no extra expense. Booking it means you must order three courses – so it could be a long meal if the answer is ‘no’. But you won’t have far to stagger if your heart gets broken – Guy’s Hospital is round the corner.

Make it memorable: Use your elevated position to announce your engagement to the whole room. Or, you know, don’t.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £85.

Claude's Kitchen

Restaurants Contemporary European Parsons Green

Head to Claude’s for gorgeous decor and ambience that oozes French allure (but doesn’t overdo it), superb food from a chef who trained at Club Gascon and Petersham Nurseries Café, and fabulous service that won’t intrude on you popping that question. If your partner accepts, celebrate with brilliant-value bubbly at Amuse Bouche, downstairs.

Make it memorable: If you’ve got a spare £240, celebrate with a bottle of 2006 Louis Roederer Cristal.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £90.

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Clos Maggiore

Restaurants French Covent Garden

This Gallic charmer unfailingly tops lists of London’s most romantic restaurants, and with good reason. The place to be is the fairy-lit, blossom-decked conservatory, with its roaring fire and glimpses of the stars. Staff here witness proposals every week, so they’re practised at reading the table and won’t interrupt you at the crucial moment.

Make it memorable: The restaurant regularly conspires with spouses-to-be to deliver bespoke menus and surprise rings.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £130.

Kitty Fisher's

Restaurants Contemporary European Mayfair

Okay, so it’s named after a Georgian-era prostitute, but don’t let that kill the romance of this hugely atmospheric wood grill serving food so saucily decadent it will make you feel like you’ve cheated. Request a table overlooking twinkly, absurdly pretty Shepherd Market, and get ready to make an honest woman (or man) of your date.

Make it memorable: Browse the galleries, boutiques – and, yes, jewellers – of historic Shepherd Market.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £110.

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La Poule au Pot

Restaurants French Chelsea

Quintessentially French, despite its Belgravia postcode, La Poule is charmingly romantic, with herbs and flickering candles decorating the tables, and oil paintings, heavy beams and quirky objets evoking rustic France. The menu, meanwhile, is so Gallic it might as well wear a string of onions around its neck.

Make it memorable: Spend the day strolling around the area, taking in the Serpentine, the museums, and the Saatchi Gallery, before winding up here.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £120.

Marianne

Restaurants Contemporary European Notting Hill

There are only 14 covers at this teeny-tiny restaurant in Richard Curtis-land, which makes for an intimate dining experience free from the forced chitchat of a supperclub. It’s a cheaper version of having a private chef cook for you and your beloved – and the food is very good.

Make it memorable: Chef Marianne Lumb and her team add the personal touch whenever they can – call ahead to mastermind a surprise proposal.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £200 for six courses.

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Odette's

Restaurants Contemporary European Primrose Hill

So many couples who walk up Primrose Hill come down the other side as fiancés that this smart but cosy fixture on the edge of the park should offer discounts for newly engaged couples. It’s far too classy for that, of course – which is why you should make Bryn Williams’ indulgent, refined dishes part of your proposal plan.

Make it memorable: On a balmy evening, repair to the fairy-lit courtyard for after-dinner cocktails.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £110.

Swanky restaurants to propose in

Aqua Shard

Restaurants British Borough and London Bridge

Aqua Shard is swanky enough for a proposal without being painfully expensive, and the views of the cityscape are stunning, especially at night. You’ll get nil points for originality, however: couples practically form a queue on the building’s viewing platform to say ‘I will’.

Make it memorable: One romantic proposer organised to serve his partner the drinks she had ordered – he got down on one knee when he reached their table. Aaah.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £140.

Venue says £10 off food extended throughout September. Enjoy £10 off food per guest when dining in Aqua Shard, Monday – Wednesday. T&C Apply

City Social

Restaurants Contemporary European City of London

This skyscraper restaurant is the City outpost of Jason Atherton’s Social empire, serving talking-point dishes in a smart but laid-back setting, with slick service and London-wide views. Bag one of the private curved booths that directly face the floor-to-ceiling windows – you’ll feel on top of the world even before the proposal.

Make it memorable: Diners can arrange to have the ring hidden inside a box of petits fours. Surprise!

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £160.

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The Connaught Bar

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Mayfair

A good option if you want to splash the cash, but within reason – think quality, not quantity as you sink a couple of its exquisite cocktails and one or two bar snacks amid art-deco splendour. No post-proposal PDAs though, thanks – the fabulous factor would be tarnished by a couple pashing with abandon.

Make it memorable: Organise for staff to present your fiancé(e) with a bouquet of flowers from Connaught Village.

What’s the damage? Cocktails for two with bar snacks and service: around £120.

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Michael Franke

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Restaurants Haute cuisine Knightsbridge

The perfect end point to a romantic walk in Hyde Park – it’s civilised without being snoozeworthy and comes with plentiful Instagram bragging rights (if that’s how you roll). Just don’t ask them to hide the ring in the signature meat-fruit – nobody wants to scrape chicken-liver pâté from their sparkler.

Make it memorable: Ask staff to reserve you a secluded table and let them know in advance at what point you’re planning to propose.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £200.

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Galvin at Windows

Restaurants Haute cuisine Mayfair

The Galvin brothers’ swish restaurant on the twenty-eighth floor of the Hilton Park Lane has fancy food and breathtaking views – perfect for popping the question in style. Plus, Fred from 'First Dates' is the restaurant's general manager. Oh la la, indeed. Try springing the meal on your partner as a surprise during a West End shopping spree – afterwards, you can window shop at Tiffany and De Beers for ‘ringspiration’.

Make it memorable: Arrange for staff to take you to the balcony for a romantic, private proposal.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £190.

Le Gavroche

Restaurants French Mayfair

The fact that Le Gavroche has been going since the ’60s and still has a three-month waiting list speaks for itself. Staff make you feel like the most special person in the room, the food has flair without trying to steal the show, and the set lunch menu is a fine-dining bargain.

Make it memorable: Arrange for the ring to be brought to the table as a course, hidden under a cloche – then enjoy champagne on the house.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £250.

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The Ledbury

Restaurants French Notting Hill

Despite being ranked among the world’s best, Brett Graham’s chic Notting Hill restaurant and its high-quality yet gutsy modern British dishes are surprisingly down-to-earth. Unless you’re a Notting Hill resident, this is likely to be a once in a lifetime experience – so it would be foolish not to propose.

Make it memorable: Go for an innocent Saturday stroll around Portobello Road Market and wend your way to this surprise destination.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £240.

Pétrus

Restaurants Haute cuisine Belgravia

This is fine-dining with all the trimmings from the Ramsay stable: smooth, confident service; amazing wines; and tables spaced so far apart that no one will eavesdrop. Special mention goes to the exquisite desserts and petits fours. A three-course set lunch menu caters to leaner wallets.

Make it memorable: Book the Kitchen Table Experience (from £145 per person), which features a build-your-own ice cream.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £200.

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The Ritz

Restaurants Haute cuisine Piccadilly

The Ritz – everyone from your nan to the grandchildren you haven’t had yet will have heard of it, and it’s outlived many a marriage. The experience doesn’t come cheap, but you’re paying for the inimitable service and the old-school sophistication of the surroundings. Afternoon tea is a more wallet-friendly option.

Make it memorable: Past hopefuls have booked the hotel’s Rolls Royce to arrive at the hotel in style.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £300.

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

Restaurants Haute cuisine Park Lane

Dining atThe Dorchester’s flagship restaurant is a memorable experience in itself (especially for the poor person footing the bill). Book the Table Lumière, however, and you’ll really make that proposal unforgettable. Despite being in the centre of the dining room, the table is completely surrounded by a shimmering fibre optic curtain. You’re almost guaranteed a ‘yes’ – even if only out of mercy – due to the sheer extravagance.

Make it memorable: Impeccable staff bend over backwards for diners – especially when it comes to proposals. The world is your oyster.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £300. Table Lumière ‘room hire’ fee: £200.

Showy restaurants to propose in

Chiltern Firehouse

Restaurants Contemporary European Marylebone

André Balazs’ Marylebone hotspot is home to some of the capital’s most desired tables, thanks to a combination of sizzling ambience, ample celebrity spots and Nuno Mendes’ envelope-pushing cuisine. Basically, anyone would agree to marry you in exchange for a night here. Now all you have to do is blag a table...

Make it memorable: Make like Lindsay Lohan and book a room in the hotel.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £175.

Hakkasan

Restaurants Chinese Fitzrovia

Hakkasan’s ultra-low lighting, pulsing music and ‘it’ vibe – plus cult dishes such as black cod or Chinese-style wagyu beef – make it a seriously sexy destination. It’s actually so dark in here that your pre-proposal fumbling will likely go unnoticed – but if you drop the ring, you’re in trouble.

Make it memorable: Book for a weekend, when all-business loudmouths are replaced by a more laid-back, fun-seeking crowd.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £220.

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The Ivy

Restaurants Contemporary European Covent Garden

Everyone who comes to this reinvigorated celeb-magnet brings the most fabulous version of themselves – that’s because they know that they, rather than the food, will be the focus of other diners’ attention. With that in mind, only propose here if you’re certain you’ll get a yes. You don’t want to be responsible for bringing everyone down.

Make it memorable: It’s the rest of the diners who’ll make it memorable – keep your fingers crossed for some A-listers.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £150.

Sky Garden
Katy Dillon

Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill

Restaurants Seafood City of London

The sky’s the limit when it comes to proposing at the Sky Garden’s (the bit on top of the Walkie Talkie) slickest restaurant. Even if you just have drinks at Sky Pod, the views in this sky-scraping destination will provide the perfect backdrop for that all-important smug-ecstatic post-engagement selfie.

Make it memorable: Given enough warning and a large enough budget, staff can organise anything from helicopter tours of the capital to private proposals over a bespoke candlelit meal.

What’s the damage? Anything from £25 for a couple of cocktails to £8,000 for a Valentine’s package.

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Zuma

Restaurants Japanese Knightsbridge

Some people propose via flashmob, others just flash the cash. If you subscribe to the latter school of thought, head to Zuma, which is in the business of making rich people and expense-account diners feel like A-listers via sensationally good Japanese fusion dishes and an inimitably cool vibe.

Make it memorable: Given the company, you’ll want to make sure the rock you pull out isn’t too dwarfed by the locals’ bling.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £180.

Wildcard restaurants to propose in

Dean Street Townhouse.jpg
© Rob Greig

Dean Street Townhouse

Restaurants British Soho

Buzzy Dean Street Townhouse is a great place to see and be seen. The unchallenging menu means you can just gaze into your beloved’s eyes as you mindlessly hoover up plates of comfort food. DST is busy, bustling and noisy rather than intimate – so just claim your partner misheard you if they look horrified at your proposal.

Make it memorable: The hotel in which the restaurant lives sometimes sells off its empty rooms on the cheap to lingering diners.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £115.

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Rob Greig

Fox & Grapes

Bars and pubs Gastropubs Wimbledon Common

Not everyone wants to propose in front of a roomful of strangers – but wallflowers still need to eat. Take your beloved on a romantic walk on Wimbledon Common and ask for their hand, then surprise them with the meal you’ve organised at Claude Bosi’s fancy gastropub – a country pub without the hassle of actually travelling to the country.

Make it memorable: Pre-book one of the upstairs rooms and make it an overnighter.

What’s the damage? Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100.

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Purl

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Marylebone

The speakeasy that everyone talks about, Purl has a cosy vibe, swift table service and theatrical drinks. Ask for a secluded table under the arches for a bit of privacy as you get down on one knee.If they say ‘no’, at least it’s been discreet and there’s no awkward meal to get through.

Make it memorable: Staff can take the ‘engagement ring in the glass’ trick up a notch or two.

What’s the damage? Around £60 for a couple of cocktails each and snacks.

Not quite 'there' yet?

The best bars for a date in London

Bars and pubs

For those of you planning a first date (or any date, for that matter) we've plucked out some London bars so romantic you're sure to impress. And even if that spark just sadly isn't there, we can guarantee you the drinks will make a great match.

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