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A while ago, I was sitting down (on a quiet day in my old job) thinking, “Where can we go on a date that we haven’t been to before?” followed closely by, “What can we do for a date near us (London)?”, and that led to me creating this bucket list of places I want to go for date nights – I’m going to be honest and say my idea of a date night is all about good food so that’s the majority of what is on this list BUT some are experiences as well! I add to the list all the time and I’m hoping that we slowly begin to make our way through this list because we are long overdue some “Us” time!
As a side note, if any of these places want to offer me a meal for 2 in return for a review – I am happy to oblige. #JustSaying
Gordon’s Wine Bar – Central London
What is it? Some of the best wines with great snacks and a romantic ambience – think 19th century wine cellar turned bar
Why should you go there? Ratings are between 4 and 5 stars, the reviews are great and the pictures look enticing. If you like wine and you’re looking for somewhere more intimate to go with your date it’s definitely worth a try. Maybe on the 3rd date or so.
The Electric Cinema – Portobello or Shoreditch
What is it? A restored cinema with added luxury
Why should you go there? A lot of 5 star ratings – this is a great place to go for romantic luxury. Where else are you going to watch classics and new films on sofa’s with cashmere blankets and waiter service for cocktails? They even have a bed in Portobello!
Swingers Golf – The City or West End
What is it? Massive indoor crazy golf with great food and even better cocktails.
Why should you go there? For those who want a bit more fun and more than just food, this is a great place to let your hair down and have a good time. The City branch has 3 restaurants on site including one from this list. The West-End branch has 5 food vendors and I’d be happy to try any! NOTE: Swingers London has walk-in slots between midday and 6pm, but booking is highly advisable for the evening.
Galvin at Windows – Mayfair
What is it? A Michelin Star restaurant with views from the 28th floor of Park Lane Hilton.
Why should you go there? Known as one of the best places to go for a Champagne cocktail with a beautiful view in Central London. Also, the Queen refuses to step foot into the building which is reason enough for me to go! The only downside is that there aren’t many options for vegetarians.
The Boundary Project Rooftop Bar & Grill – The City
What is it? Exactly what it says – a rooftop terrace bar and grill with views of The City and East London.
Why should you go there? You can go here for lunch, cocktails or dinner and they have seasonal menus which both sound amazing. The decor is inviting and even better for evening dates when all the little lights come on.
Flight Club – Bloomsbury, Shoreditch or Victoria
What is it? A social darts experience with cocktails and food.
Why should you go? It’s different, it’s fun if you want something more from your date and it’s probably a date you won’t forget. I want to try the brunch social because prosecco, bottomless pizza, music and fun.
Pizza Pilgrims – Various locations
What is it? Pizza’s based on the owners belief that Neapolitan pizza’s are the best one’s to be found in Italy.
Why should you go? Neapolitan style pizza’s at affordable prices and a simple menu. If you’re a cheese lover, you might want to ask for double cheese! This is more like a 5th date, lunch date type place or a “we’ve been together for years” kind of date place but definitely worth a visit.
Flesh & Buns – Covent Garden or Marylebone
What is it? “Izakaya pub-style venue with a rock soundtrack, serving steamed buns with meat or seafood fillings”
Why should you go? They specialise in Japanese steamed buns and offer bar dining as well as Sunday brunch. The food looks good and it sound’s like a unique experience too.
Hoi Polloi (Ace Hotel London) – Shoreditch
What is it? An all day brasserie (a type of French restaurant with a relaxed setting) open for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, aperitifs, dinner, supper and nightcaps
Why should you go? The setting is lovely – the pictures of the restaurant alone made me want to go before I even saw the menu. It’s a bit pricey but I would go just to see if it was worth it and for the pictures of me in such a beautiful setting! They have an all day menu, a breakfast menu, a weekend brunch menu and an afternoon tea menu.
Champor Champor – London Bridge
What is it? Champor-Champor offers a unique & creative Thai-Malay (Asian fusion) dining experience with Chef Adu Amran’s innovative award-winning cuisine.
Why should you go? Okay, so this is the only place on this list I’ve actually visited and I went for my birthday last year with a group of friends – the food was amazing! Worth the money and with something for everyone (if you don’t like Thai flavours, then maybe not for you). My friend was happy with the fish and vegetarian options and everybody finished their meal. Nobody was upset by the price at the end which isn’t cheap but also wasn’t bad for 5-6 people with alcohol, starters and mains. I would definitely go again.
Hakkasan – Mayfair or Hanway Place
What is it? Contemporary Cantonese cuisine in an elegant setting.
Why should you go? Cocktails, wine, dim sum and better than fast food Chinese – a combination made in heaven. The food looks amazing and I actually think Mr.A would like this place a lot as well. It seems like a really good place for a date to be honest with vegetarian options too but it isn’t cheap with main courses ranging from around £15 up to the most expensive dish being £60 and that isn’t including a side. They do have some special offers though if it’s something you want to try without killing the bank.
Hutong – The Shard
What is it? Hutong at The Shard serves cuisines of Northern China and is based on the much-loved restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong.
Why should you go? Firstly, everything I’ve seen online looks amazing from the restaurant itself to the food. Traditional red lanterns and wooden decor create an authentic feel and they also serve less traditional cocktails based on Chinese medicine but obviously with a twist making them worthy of a cocktail. Again, quite pricey but with special offers available.
The Barbary – Covent Garden
What is it? A restaurant inspired by the Barbary Coast – The Barbary menu reflects the countries from the Atlantic Coast through to the Mediterranean Sea leading to Israel.
Why should you go? The Barbary has been named by Time Out as the number one restaurant in London for 2 years in a row so that’s telling you something. You might need to ask a waiter to decipher the menu for you (or you could just it up on Google to get a general idea) but the menu has a traditional feel to it with prices that won’t kill you. Meals are on the smaller side but still enjoyable.
Kiln – Soho
What is it? A Thai barbecue restaurant from the guy who created the restaurant I’m mentioning right under this one!
Why should you go? From what I can gather the food is cooked and seasoned to perfection and the environment is simple with a rural feel. The menu is small and looks simple but the food delivers a punch of flavour with every bite.
Smoking Goat – Shoreditch
What is it? A Thai restaurant experience
Why should you go? It’s an experience. Best for late night kind of dates – there’s food to go with drinking and there’s drinks to go with eating. “You can enjoy either an impromptu wood grilled feast of slow roasted duck or smoked lamb ribs – served with sticky rice and Thai dipping sauces – or a cutlery-free “Whole Cornish Chilli Crab” experience” – The Nudge. You can also go for breakfast on the weekends. I personally like this menu more than Kiln also.
Temper – Soho, The City or Covent Garden
What is it? A BBQ and open fire pit restaurant where they cook everything in front of you using only wood and charcoal in a fire pit in the middle of the room.
Why should you go? Definitely for the experience. I beg someone to tell me that there is not one thing they can find on the menu that they would eat (my sister being the exception) because I think I would have to visit multiple times to try all the things on the menu that I want to eat!
Padella – The Borough
What is it? A pasta bar serving hand rolled pasta with sauces and fillings inspired by the owner’s trips to Italy
Why should you go? The prices are good and the menu is unique and made even better by the fact you know the pasta is hand rolled. There”s vegetarian options as well and if you like pasta, I think you should be able to find something to try.
Tandoor Chop House – Covent Garden
What is it? A combination of a North Indian food and British chop house.
Why should you go? Tandoor ovens, well seasoned and spiced food, select cuts of meat and a great atmosphere. Naan’s cooked fresh in the Tandoor ovens and grilled food to suit everyone. Plus, they do a “Nutella” Naan!
Chick N Sours – Covent Garden, Haggerston or Islington
What is it? Fried chicken, sides and cocktails.
Why should you go? Properly fried chicken is a must – with the house fry you get a thigh and a drumstick. There’s also fried wings, a watermelon salad, loaded fries and a starter that comes in a “strange flavour sauce”. NOTE: They only take card payments
Passyunk Avenue – Marylebone or Westfield Stratford
What is it? Good old food from Philly
Why should you go? Philly cheesesteaks, buffalo wings, nachos, hoogies, parm and cannoli’s are just some of the great items on the menu… It’s American dining without needing to take a flight.
Bar 61 – Streatham Hill
What is it? A family-run Spanish tapas restaurant and bar
Why should you go? For the high level of service. It’s personal, friendly and relaxed. They have a tapas menu, starter menu and chicken specialities menu which all have pictures of the food.
Paladar – Waterloo
What is it? Latin American cuisine in a bright and vibrant setting
Why should you go? Paladar boasts to have some of the best Latin American food alongside wines, spirits, cocktails, coffee, music and contemporary art. It’s an experience of sight, sound and taste all rolled into one. I already know what I want to order and can’t wait to get the chance!
Where The Pancakes Are – The Borough
What is it? A not-so traditional pancake house serving a menu of fancy sweet and savoury buttermilk pancakes
Why should you go? The pancakes are fluffy but not stodgy and the menu is diverse. They also offer a vegan, dairy-free, wheat-free pancake too. Having looked at the menu’s, I know I would be going for a sweet pancake at any time of the day but there’s plenty there for less fussy fans too.
Casa Do Frango – London Bridge
What is it? Algarvian cuisine that proves what piri-piri really tastes like
Why should you go? Because grilled, authentic piri-piri chicken (frango) is something everybody should experience. There’s also an extensive list of sharing plates and salads, vegetarian options and beautiful portuguese wines. The restaurant itself is light and airy with a industrial element too. NOTE: There’s a hidden bar! It’s open from 6–11pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 6–12 from Thursday to Saturday.
That’s the end of the list for now and can I say it took me the better part of 6 hours to complete even though the list itself already existed!
Let me know – have you been to any of these spots? Would you recommend them? And where exactly do you want to go for your next date? Drop me a comment below or let me know on Twitter!