From Valentine’s Day to a special date night or even a proposal, dial up the romance at these beautiful restaurants that not only look good, but serve up some of the best food in London, too
Lead image: The Ivy
1 The Ritz, Piccadilly
One of the capital’s most beautiful restaurants, with John William’s beautiful, old-school haute cuisine to match. If the combination of gilded, rococo ceilings, serious service and truffle stuffed everything doesn’t seal the deal, then nothing will.
150 Piccadilly W1J 9BR; theritzlondon.com
2 Le Caprice, St James’s
Located behind The Ritz hotel, Le Caprice has a brilliant menu, some of the best service in London and, at night, a great piano player too. It first opened in 1947 under Mario Gallati, former Maître d’ of The Ivy, but it was its relaunch in 1981 that put it on the map as the very model of urban elegance.
20 Arlington Street SW1A 1RJ; le-caprice.co.uk
The Ivy is probably the most famous restaurant in London and remains a celebrity favourite. If one expects the very finest of modern British brasserie cooking, served with the odd adventurous twist, one would visit an institution that has as much to offer 100 years down the line. And The Ivy does. The food remains as comforting as ever.
5 West Street WC2H 9NQ; the-ivy.co.uk
4 Colony Grill, Mayfair
Colony Grill was created by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the pair who made Le Caprice great once more, before moving on to open The Wolseley, Colbert, Fisher’s and Delauney. Inspired by the clubby, sophisticated London and New York grill restaurants from the 20s and early 30s, the lighting is suitably soft and low, the setting dripping with glamour and the menu is pretty much perfect.
The Beaumont Hotel, Brown Hart Gardens, 8 Balderton Street W1K 6TF; colonygrillroom.com
5 Berners Tavern, Fitzrovia
Jason Atherton’s Berners Tavern, located within The London Edition hotel in Fitzrovia, mixes sexy and glamour in perfect proportions. Michelin-starred Atherton has built himself quite the empire over the last few years, and if you can’t get in here, try his Social Eating House, a brooding, low-lit spot with top notch food.
10 Berners Street, Fitzrovia W1T 3NP; bernerstavern.com
Dining at this Soho classic is like sitting inside a bejeweled Faberge egg. Excellent food too, combining the best of British and Russian with a contemporary twist and more jeroboams than the Wolf of Wall Street could quaff. And don’t forget its sister restaurant, Bob Bob Cité, over in the Leadenhall Building, where every inch of the 12.5km of mirror-polish steel is buffed to within an inch of its life. It’s flashy, fun and the food is fab.
1 Upper James Street, Soho W1F 9DF; bobbobricard.com
7 Wilton’s, St James’s
Looking to be discreet? Wilton’s provides that all important privacy, along with wonderful (if expensive) seafood and English classics. It dates back to 1742, and there’s oysters and champagne galore.
55 Jermyn Street St James’s SW1Y 6LX; wiltons.co.uk
Back and celebrating its 50th birthday after a refurb, Julie’s was once the quite the celeb hotspot. And it’s easy to see why. Great food, fine wines and little nooks and crannies to keep prying eyes at bay. Heading up the kitchen now is Shay Cooper, previously awarded a Michelin star at his last two establishments, one of which was The Goring. The sea bream ceviche is to die for.
9 Wun’s Tea Room, Soho
Nothing says romance like a dimly-lit restaurant in Soho, especially one that channels the spirit of late-night Hong Kong in the 60s with velvet seating and a neon-lit bar. The menu sports some absolutely smashing dishes full of love (including many nostalgic Cantonese dishes from the owner’s childhood), and the bar team creates beautiful, innovative cocktails championing unusual Chinese spirits and ingredients.
24 Greek Street, Soho W1D 4DZ; tearoom.bar
10 Petersham Nurseries, Richmond
Petersham Nurseries Cafe in Richmond is often described as one of the most romantic restaurants in London (and its urban offshoot in Covent Garden is equally magical). The private garden greenhouse, brimming with bougainvillea and fragrant jasmine, has been charming nature lovers long before pretty pink cafes full of blooms started romancing the Insta crowds in central London.
Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond TW10 7AB; petershamnurseries.com
Regarded as one of London’s most romantic restaurants, Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle serves up lobster, caviar to start and champagne galore. Large arched windows, high stone ceilings and elegant interiors set the scene for the indulgent modern French menu.
35 Spital Square, the City E1 6DY; galvinrestaurants.com