Dating in London can be a pricey pursuit, let’s face it. With literally hundreds of up market eateries, brasseries, and bistros, if you’re going on lots of dates in a short space of time it can quickly add up and you might find yourself looking to increase your overdraft as well as your pulling prowess. Not to worry; the good thing about dating in London is that if you do your research you can actually find restaurants that are not only cool and classy but are also good value – result!
We’ve come up with some of the best reasonably priced hot spots to tickle your date’s taste buds and make sure that dating in London doesn’t dent your cash flow.
Best if you’re dating a seafood lover: The Fish Club
189 St John's Hill, Clapham Junction, London SW11 1TH Perched on the trendy but understated St John’s Hill in South West London you’ll find this little sea food restaurant with its delightful indoor water feature. It’s thought that Oysters are a classic aphrodisiac and you’d be mad not to try out this theory while you’re here with your date. Most dishes are under a tenner too, so you won’t be fishing (groan) for pennies in your wallet at the end of the night.
Best if you’re dating a vegetarian or vegan: Itadaki Zen
139 King’s cross Road, London WC1X 9BJ For something healthy and exquisitely presented, turning Japanese may not be a bad idea. Itadaki Zen, which means ‘the food I humbly receive’, serves vegan food and will win you points if you’re dating a veggie. Likewise if your date has new age type tendencies, because the people at Itadaki Zen believe food is a ‘life force which has a close link to human consciousness’, putting a whole new meaning into the idea of food for thought.
Best if you’re dating a cocktail connoisseur: Satay
447 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LP Satay was one of South London’s hidden gems until a couple of years ago when a famous R&B singer opened her mouth in an interview to sing its praises. Since then, Satay has become a favourite of Londoners who flock there to take advantage of its unbelievably good value Malaysian, Thai and Japanese menu. The fact that Satay has a cocktail happy hour from 5-8pm daily is merely the icing on the cake.
Best if you’re dating a trendy lunch lover: Princi
135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UT Rumour has it that the staff uniforms in this Italian eaterie are designed by Giorgio Armani. This busy little bakery/cafe has become a popular Soho hangout for Italians and Londoners alike. Impress your date with a little piece of Milan, but avoid the crowds by arranging your date either early in the day or late at night.
Best if you're dating a quirky romantic: Paradise…
19 Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green, London, W10 4AE The delightfully quirky Paradise by Way of Kensal Green is a unique gastro pub in West London. The decor reminds us of Miss Havisham's residence in Great Expectations, in a good way! Think chandeliers, birdcages and old paintings. Chef Tim Payne has created a menu of contemporary-yet-classic hearty British meals, such as braised beef, slow-cooked lamb and sirloin steak, and the service is very friendly. If you choose to dine with your date on a Friday or Saturday, you could always stay for a few drinks and a dance with their weekly DJ nights – keep an eye out for famous faces!
Best if you’re dating an atmosphere junkie: Colony
7-9 Paddington Street, London W1U 5QH Colony, as the name suggests, features a fusion of dishes designed to invoke the British Raj. With main courses ranging from £12 to £16.50, this is an affordable way to eat up market in London. Guinea fowl, venison and sea bream are given an Asian twist, and sit alongside more traditional Indian dishes on the menu such as Paneer and Chicken Tikka Masala, so your date is sure to find something to their taste. Live jazz and blues every evening in the lounge make for a swanky atmosphere offset by original artworks in stone, ceramic, bronze and glass.