In a world of Tinder, speed dating and disastrous drunken snogging, don't be afraid to be an all-out, old-fashioned romantic. And nothing says romance like an utterly delicious dinner à deux. So, you got that all-important swipe right; you've spent a few days churning out hilarious witty banter; and you’ve even managed to secure that first date. But where should you woo your boo? You're in luck, because we’ve done the hard work for you.
We’ve tracked down London’s best flower-filled dining rooms; epic sunset views over the city skyline; cute, cosy and candlelit tables; and simply excellent meals that knock your – and your date's – socks off. Whatever you're after, you'll find something for every kind of date below.
Of course, they're not just for Valentine's Day; these restaurants are just as, if not more, romantic at any other time of year, from special-occasion dinners to date night treats. We're pretty confident we've done a good job, so sit back, relax, and let those second dates roll in. Just be sure to give us a front row seat at the wedding.
And if your date still doesn't like you? Sorry mate, you’re on your own with that one…
15 The Pavement, SW4 0HY
Clapham's Old Town joined the culinary big leagues with the arrival of The Dairy almost five years ago. Owned by Robin and Sarah Gill, who also own Sorella nearby, this dinky neighbour joint can seemingly do no wrong – food is adventurous, strictly seasonal and, above all, exceedingly good value for money. Throw a splendid view over Clapham Common into the mix and you'll hardly believe you're in London.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St, EC2N 1HQ
There's something about a panoramic view of London's skyline at night that never fails to impress, particularly when drinking it in at Jason Atherton's spot on the 24th floor of Tower 42, which sits cheek-by-jowl with both the Gherkin and the Heron Tower. If you can, book one of the deep, curving booths by the floor-to-ceiling windows, and make sure you test out the toilets if you feel like a thrill – although we'd recommend avoiding this if you suffer from vertigo.
Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Relentlessly creative cooking, a funky and beautiful room, and those views: if a date at the Duck & Waffle doesn't go swimmingly, you've got no one to blame but yourself. As well as the eponymous brunch dish, you'll find loads of seasonal, modern British small plates, which are best washed down with the bar's boundary-pushing cocktails. Oh, and it's open 24 hours, so it's a favourite of the culinary-inclined post-night-out crowd...Or for when a date is so good it lasts to the the early hours of morning.
10 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QF
Kitty Fisher's, located in a 17th-century former basement bakery, is probably one of the most romantic London restaurants going. It's a low-key but elegant, candle-lit venue, and chef George Barson's cooking over a wood fire guarantees you'll impress your date. Heck, even we'd be impressed. This, of course, has its drawbacks: you'll have to book way in advance. Worth it, though.
33 King St, WC2E 8JD
For what it's worth, we reckon it would take someone with a heart of stone to resist Clos Maggiore's gorgeous, flower-filled grotto-come-dining-room in Covent Garden. Head chef Marcellin Marc uses locally sourced ingredients to create a menu inspired by Provence and Tuscany, and executes it to perfection. Tip: make sure you book a room in the courtyard for maximum romantic effect.
Somerset House, WC2R 1LA
Skye Gyngell's debut London restaurant needs little introduction, but with its high ceilings and stunning decor – not to mention excellent food – it's undeniably one of the most elegant restaurants the city has to offer. Veg and greens come directly from Herefordshire farm Fern Verrow, so you can be sure that the focus is on seriously fresh ingredients, which, as we all know, makes for the best-tasting food. If you're looking for something a little less formal, book yourself into the Salon, which occupies an airy courtyard festooned in fairy lights.