Cool Foodies Share Their Favourite Date Night Spots

Whether you’re planning a first date or want to go out for anniversary meal, there are plenty of date night spots in the capital that could suit – from candlelit restaurant to lowkey bars. To point you in the right direction, we asked cool women in food to share their favourites…
The Wolseley

Lily Jones

Lily Vanilli

“Just around the corner from my bakery is this little southern Italian restaurant called Campania & Jones – a perfect dinner date spot. It feels really intimate with a wood-burning stove and candles on the table. I love the fresh pasta, but I can’t resist the aged ribeye either. It’s a great one to share with a mountain of rosemary potatoes, a zesty salad and whatever sides they have that evening. The wine list is also great because it’s not pages and pages long. It’s been carefully put together and has a brilliant selection of Italian reds. For a blow-the-budget meal, The Wolseley is fun. Go all out with platters of fruits de mer, towers of oysters, lobster and tonnes of champagne. For a first date, I’d book Rita’s in Soho. It’s fun and casual, but you can find a cosy corner for cocktails and snacks.”


Kathy Sidell

Saltie Girl

“I am obsessed with Cèdric Grolet’s bakery at The Berkeley. I would start the date there. Get the pistachio cookie, it will blow your mind. Then, I’d move to Indian restaurant Gymkhana – the quality of the food, the unique flavour combinations and the complexity of the spices are next-level. I like to go for something exotic and adventurous, and a selection of the sharing dishes so you can share that intimate experience together. I’d start with Patiala fried chicken, one of my all-time favourites, then move onto chicken butter masala and khatta meetha baingan, a delicious eggplant dish with sweet and tangy notes. This would be accompanied by charred naan and dal lasooni, all served on fluffy basmati rice. The restaurant has a huge gin selection – go for the ‘Taj Smash’ cocktail which is made with Stranger & Sons Gin, tulsi, holy basil, Chartreuse Jaune and lemon. For something more casual, book a table at one of the St. John restaurants. I recently had a beetroot and cabbage salad that was supreme. As was the bone marrow and parsley salad, and the deep-fried cod cheeks. The desserts are unparalleled, too. Ginger loaf or date loaf with butterscotch sauce. And of course, the hot madeleines.”


Campania & Jones

Alex Head

Social Pantry

“There are so many romantic spots in London, from Rochelle Canteen to Duck Soup in Soho. I recently went to Carousel, a new wine bar which I’m excited to go back to. The venue has great music, brilliant wines from clever winemakers and delicious small plates – think fried chicken with habanero honey or scallop ceviche. Small plates and sharing dishes are the best way to bond over a meal and enjoy as many flavours as possible. Given the choice, I’d take a starter over pudding and can be tempted by cheese if I’m feeling fancy. If I’m drinking, I order plenty of wine or a negroni, but I’ve recently discovered Pentire Drinks, and had a Pentire Seward & Tonic which was a great non-alcoholic option. For a special date, I love Dinings SW3 which is a real treat. It’s headed up by Masaki Sugisaki, a fantastic chef who puts sustainability at the forefront of his cooking.”


Dee Omole

Dee’s Basement

“My favourite date night spot is Cocotte. They have a few locations across London, but my favourite is in Shoreditch. The food is fresh, delicious and served quickly. It’s small and intimate but not too small that it feels claustrophobic. They also have the option of outdoor seating which is perfect on a summer’s night. Plus, there’s an open kitchen which adds to the ambience of the restaurant. I like to order truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken with jus, and tenderstem broccoli. Drinks-wise, I like anything sweet and fruity like a peach bellini. If you’re having a really casual date, go to a café – there are so many cool ones like Saint Espresso (which has a few outposts across the city), or Sunday in Brooklyn on Westbourne Grove for coffee and a bite to eat.”



Maria Viviani


“It’s so hard to choose but one of my favourites is Noble Rot. The restaurant is beautifully candlelit, and you can hunker down for the evening, enjoy the food and drink some special wines. My husband Alex and I like to kick things off with bread followed by a plate of coppa or another charcuterie. For mains, we normally choose some kind of buttery roasted fish, before rounding things off with a cheese plate. Date night also means bubbles to start. We like to go with the flow of whatever is recommended as it’s always nice to hand yourself over to the restaurant for the evening. With the fish, we’d choose a bottle of white, maybe something from Jura or Bourgogne. Last time, I chose the Phenomaynal from Allante & Boulanger and we were blown away. For the cheese plate, it’s got to be a dessert or fortified wine, maybe a Tokaji from Hungary or a Macvin Du Jura from Domaine Labet.”


Capri Cafaro

Food Writer

“My partner and I have been together for a while, and we love Gordon's Wine Bar, the oldest in London. We usually reserve it for special occasions – we went for Valentine's Day a few years ago. It has this unparalleled historic vibe, paired with an intimate cosiness as it’s basically in a cave lit with candles. Here, it’s all about the grazing board. I love cheese, so I always order a cheese board, but the European Board is also delicious; it has a selection of cheeses, feta-stuffed peppers and sausages. Plus, it's a sharer for two which works brilliantly on a date. Its menu also outlines suggested wine and cheese pairings which I always appreciate. Drinks-wise, I like to order a glass of bubbly or sauvignon blanc. If we’re after a casual date, we book The Phoenix in Chelsea which has great food and an elevated atmosphere for a local pub.”

Follow @CaprisCafaro

Noble Rot

Bre Graham

Food Writer

“There's nothing better than a martini (my favourite has gin with a twist and an olive) or negroni at the bar at St. John Smithfield. There's always such a buzz at the bar and I love that in 11 years of living in London, it has never changed. It really is a failsafe spot and no matter what changes in my life, St. John doesn't. It's a sentimental spot for me but a cocktail and a Welsh rarebit to share is hard to beat. On a date, I’ll also order bone marrow on toast and a salad, plus two desserts of the day, ideally madeleines and ice-cream. For a really special date, it has to be The Beaumont for fancy ice-cream sundaes from its spectacular menu (where you can build your own).”

Follow @BreAudreyGraham

Claire Fyfe

Chef & Food Writer

“I absolutely love Dorian. It's fairly new to the London scene and has everything you’d want from a date night – a small and intimate space with amazing food and cocktails. It’s cool without being pretentious, with stylish interiors and a buzzy open kitchen which brings it to life. Come night-time, the place sparkles with candlelight which makes it super sweet. The little rostis are delicious to nibble with drinks (my favourite is the crab), the monkfish and mussel broth is amazing, and you can’t go wrong with the ribeye steak – all cooked in front of you on the open flames. There’s also a beautiful, simple wine list, but if you want something stronger, go for the delicious fig leaf negroni. For a really special meal, one of my favourite restaurants is Luca in Farringdon. It's my fiancée’s favourite restaurant and has quickly become one of mine too. It is some of the best pasta I have ever had and the outdoor terrace, full of candles, is so romantic. They also had me with the parmesan fries!”

Follow @ClaireFyfeCooks


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