With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s about time to start thinking about restaurants to head with your love. Or even your mate. Remember that episode on Sex and The City when Carrie and Miranda head out together? Love that one. Given the popularity of top London restaurants, you’ll need to get in there pretty snappy with your reservation to avoid disappointment.
You know how much I love eating out and whilst I may have reigned it in compared to last year, there are still so many that I love to visit. Granted a typical meal and bottle of wine for two may cost around £100, it’s certainly a one off treat that a special one deserves on Valentine’s Day. It can be super tricky to find the perfect place though so always consider:
Good Service: Any date no matter if it’s a first, fifth or one hundredth, needs good service. Particularly if a conversation runs dry. Avoid anywhere where the service isn’t 100%
Transport: I personally hate getting public transport after a gorgeous meal. Is there parking? Are you driving? Is it uber distance?
Reservation: Always make a reservation. No date likes to wait outside in the cold for a table.
Tourist Traps: Even though Covent Garden boasts some of London’s best restaurants, it’s also home to lots of chains. Chains are likely to be heaving with tired tourists.
So here’s my run down of the best places to eat this V day:
There’s nothing quite like eating in Venice. You’ll have seen from my previous post just how amazing the food is there and quite frankly I’ve never tasted fresh Italian quite like it. So imagine my delight when I heard that the newest addition to the Salt Yard portfolio is Veneta, a restaurant inspired by the beautiful city. With a menu created from typical Venetian dishes and cooking, their aim is to offer customers incredible food in the heart of London.
Choose from a set menu (from £42.50 per person), a raw bar, small plates or go for some of their delicious charcuterie and cicchetti. The venue itself is a cute space with an either bar-counter service or booths and tables.
3 Norris St, St. James’s Market, SW1Y 4RJ (020 3874 9100)
3) Aqua Shard
It was a toss up between using a photograph of the stunning venue and its view, or using a picture of the food. Both are equally as fantastic. If you haven’t been up the Shard before, now is the time to do it. Daniel and I went up the Shard before it opened to the public and it was such a special evening. Four years later I’m secretly hoping he’ll take me back but this time we can visit Aqua too.
If you’re splashing out, go for the Earl Stonham Farms Wagu. It comes with the most divine mash, salt and vinegar onion rings and gem lettuce. It’s £160 for two people so on the pricey side but totally worth it. Enjoy with a glass of delicious red wine and soak in the amazing view.
4) Oblix at The Shard
When there’s a dress code in place (jeans are ok so long as they’re not ripped, smart sneakers only) you know it’s going to be pretty fine dining. Again at the Shard, venture to the 32nd floor and you’ll come to Oblix. The menu is centred around a grill concept so there’s plenty of meat (including tasty steak), from a spit roast, charcoal grill and wood-fired oven. With Rainer Becker at the steering wheel, expect his usual upscale sophistication with every plate. The best thing? No kids after 6pm. They’re also doing a special Valentine’s Day cocktail. How many more reasons do you need to go?
If you haven’t heard of Rainer Becker, he’s had experience around the world with some insane Michelin star restaurants. Aside from the Hyatt Carlton Tower hotel, he’s been a consultant at Hakkasan (fine Chinese food), opened Zuma in Knightsbridge, set up Roka and now has eateries in multiple cities around the world.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, SE1 9RY (020 7268 6700)
I couldn’t mention Rainer Becker without including ROKA. When I first moved to London, old media almost always involved taking clients to ROKA for a boozy Friday lunch. These days though, there are some great alternatives that are less pricey. But when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’d struggle to find another sushi restaurant to beat it.
For more experienced sushi lovers, it’s totally worth trying out the tasting menu (£88 per person). From a simple yellowtail sashimi with yuzu truffle dressing to a more adventurous ‘gindara to kani no gyoza’ (black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings) there’s something to suit every palette.
6) Clos Maggiore
You may have seen Clos Maggiore on Instagram. The interior is like something out of a fairytale and it’s been considered as London’s ‘Most Romantic Restaurant‘. The beautiful venue in the heart of Covent Garden sees Chef Marcellin Marc source local and seasonal products to create stunning dishes. From lobster, crab and vegetable starters to sumptuous fish and poultry courses, it’s easy to see why they’ve been awarded with AA-rosette awards. It’s rustic vibe has been massively influenced by the country inns of Provence and Tuscany and given it’s gorgeous flowers and conservatory, it really is the place to fall in love.
The wine menu is as extensive as deserved paired with each of the courses. It’s the perfect place for a pre theatre dinner but hurry, you might struggle to get a table on Valentine’s Day.