If I’m 50/50 about the guy, I always push for casual, as it’s quicker and easier to escape if things go badly. If I’m interested in the guy and it’s not a first date, I don’t mind somewhere a little more romantic. Here are a few ideas at both ends of the romance scale, starting, of course, with romantic.
Near Covent Garden with great Moroccan food that’s all about sharing, it’s impossible not to get up close to your date. With cozy seating tucked away in caves and intimate rooms, and the lighting dimmed as dim as possible without being turned off, this place provides candlelight romance all the way!
Yes, it’s a chain I know, but Dim T at London Bridge serves top notch dim sum coupled with a top notch view. Make sure you reserve a table by the window upstairs and enjoy your dinner with the Tower Bridge lit up in all its glory as your backdrop.
It’s the pizza you know and love in a ground floor Soho club. Expect live jazz acts and a very relaxed setting. There’s a cover charge in addition to the bill, but for something a little different, it’s worth it!
Wonderful French food tucked away in the corner of a cobbled courtyard in Farringdon. Homely dining rooms spread across several floors and a great wine list. Not easy to find, but well worth it when you do.
If you’re unsure about spending a full, three-course evening with your date, keep it light with one of these options:
This sleek modern Thai eatery has added its fifth location in Old Street with others in W1, WC1 and SW1. The service is fast; you’ll be presented with the bill as soon as you put down your chopsticks. With shared tables of around 12 people, there will be no footsie, and he’ll find it tricky to slip his hand on your knee.
Fast service, café style, in the heart of Farringdon, this place is all about great Vietnamese food not romance. The tables are packed in tight, creating a buzzy atmosphere, with a few bar style seats at the back. Great in summer as the whole front of the restaurant opens up and the tables spill out onto the street.
Hectic and noisy with no airs and graces, this is my favourite spot for Pakistani food. It’s a little out the City (head east to Whitechapel), but the lamb chops and grilled meats are well worth the cab fare. It’s BYO, so you can grab your giant Cobras from the offy across the street - just don’t expect to have your glass topped up. Expect queues during peak times, but tables turn around fast, and there's not a hint of romance about the place.