Those once-vibrant rooms, now packed with despondent tables for two. And all those flaccid, overpriced roses. But worry not. The following restaurants are chosen not for their short-term charms, rather their eternal allure, that enigmatic, mysterious spirit that is made, not bought. Clos Maggiore. With its log fire, twinkling fairy lights, flickering candles and flower-filled conservatory, this may seem like an Instagram-fixated confection.
You also need to factor in what your date would enjoy — are they into flashy Mayfair haunts or would they prefer a low-key Soho bar?
Our selection of the best first date restaurants and the bars in the capital is quite the extensive affair, so there are options for every kind of taste and budget. So, why not have a browse of our list and give one of these sparkling date spots a try? Just remember to thank us in your wedding speeches.
Parquet flooring, plush upholstery and drinks served in antique glasses all add to the romantic atmosphere at Cora Pearl. Dating suitability aside, the ham and cheese toastie and thick-cut pressed chips are both must orders. Kricket does small plates extremely well — think okra fries, Keralan fried chicken and plenty of veggie options.
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Effortlessly pretty with its pastel colour palette, Lorne is a welcome addition to restaurant starved Pimlico. The ricotta hotcakes are a must-order, while the pastel colour scheme and convivial atmosphere will help to ease any first date nerves. Minnow is a relaxed all-day t. Whiskey and rotisserie chicken? Sounds like a pretty good date to us.
Bull specialises in both, with over Japanese and Scottish whiskies to sample, alongside hour marinated chicken slicked with a Nikka whisky glaze. This tiny Hoxton basement bar has gained fame around the world and all without gimmicks or fuss. The ever-changing list of top-quality cocktails and superb service here will show your date that you have great taste.
This cutesy restaurant serves a menu of Burmese cuisine, which is largely underrepresented in London.
With Londoners' increasingly busy schedules, sometimes lunch dates are easier to pull off. Small but mighty Titu is great for these, serving a list of specialist gyozas at bargain prices, at least by Mayfair standards.
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Although other locations have opened, the original Bao still draws the crowds. Sexy, low-lit La Bodega Negra sits behind a faux sex shop frontage. If all-out glamour is your way of impressing on a date, Park Chinois is a must visit. Unashamedly opulent interiors are matched with a menu of luxe riffs on Chinese classics, including delicious dim sum.
The original Ivy still boasts an ineffable charm that perhaps its now-many spin-offs lack.
Impossibly glamorous and with oodles of charm, the menu of upscale comfort food is beaten only by the five-star hospitality. Looking to impress?
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Order the fail-safe likes of the tomato bread, sizzling garlic prawns and made-to-order tortilla. Activity dates can feel a lot less pressurised than sit-down dinners, and Flight Club is a great alternative to traditional first dates. The fun here involves throwing darts while munching on pizza and sinking beers. Low lighting, a stellar wine list, and simple food are all part of the allure, while fair prices add to its attractiveness. False teeth served in cocktail glasses will guarantee some laughs, while staff are always up for a chat should the company fall flat.
Worried about awkward silences on your first date? Tech-heavy Inamo, with its interactive tables and cameras that let you peep into the kitchen, should provide plenty of conversation topics. The well-executed Pan-Asian menu impresses too. Themed around a London house share, quirky Little Blue Door is tonnes of fun. Feast on an international menu while sipping on the likes of sharing cocktails which arrive disguised as a vase of flowers.
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This two-floor Soho bar makes for a great first date venue. The seductive basement boasts the best seats in the house, where you can sip on inventive cocktails that favour intriguing flavours over throwaway gimmicks.
Probably one of the most Instagrammed date spots in the capital, high-flying Hakkasan has gained legendary status thanks to divine dim sum and other Chinese classics. Affordable Nanban serves up Japanese comfort food — think chicken karaage and warm ramen.
Bag a spot on the first floor to frame your face in the glorious natural light which pours through the large window. Hearty, good-quality steaks impress, while the heated terrace is great for a cheeky kiss. Dating a reality TV super fan?
Made in Chelsea favourite Bluebird is sure to impress with its colourful accents and please-all international menu. Bag a spot on the popular outdoor terrace for maximum cool points. Toggle. In SquareMeal. All wedding venues City of London wedding venues Berkshire wedding venues Essex wedding venues Hampshire wedding venues Kent wedding venues Surrey wedding venues Other locations. All food recipes Jamie Oliver recipes.
33 of london's best first date restaurants and bars
Home Restaurants Best 33 of London's best first date restaurants and bars. Think again. Now you have to find a date spot which will impress them. Updated on 14 January Book now.
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