You made great effort on flirting, being charming and smiling (a lot!) and finally got it! You have your first date!! Then you start stressing out (first dates can be really stressful) because you have to make a good impression and make this first date a good one (this is what I call hard work, right?). You have so many things to think about, like what to wear, what subjects are good to discuss, where to go… and should it be dinner or drinks…? One thing less to worry about as I have a list with the best restaurants in London that offer great food and amazing cocktails and will transform this night to a unique experience.
Please remember: love goes through the stomach.
INAMO: Covent Garden, Soho, Camden
When restaurants make a quantum leap into the future London leads the way. At Inamo guests use tablets to place their orders, and can then interact with the stunning interactive tabletop projections – splash with playful passing fish, watch live video from the kitchen on chef-cam, and even upload your own images in advance before dining.
A pan-Asian menu with a strong selection of sushi & sashimi; Asian tapas dishes such as baby crispy prawns, and beef tataki; and Inamo classics like hot-stone rib-eye and black cod in spicy miso (drooling on my keyboard)
Downstairs you can enjoy Oriental-themed cocktails in the intimate and sushi bar area. Ideal for a first date, Inamo never fails to impress. Inamo Covent Garden is also home to Sushi & Sake Masterclasses, ask them for more details.
Dishoom: King’s Cross, Covent Garden, Soho
Personally this is my favourite restaurant in London. If someone would take me there he would already have done a big step towards winning my heart.
It’s been voted in 2016 the best restaurant by the public! You are dining in a cool, vibrant space that makes you feel like you are in the new hotspot in Bombay.
Dishoom was founded by Shamil and Kavi Thakrar, who are cousins, and Adarsh and his brother Amar. They spent three years deciding how it would look, but the driving force was their shared experience of home-made Indian food. The Radia brothers grew up in an Indian family in Kenya, while the Thakrars lived in the UK but enjoyed regular trips to India as children.
Careful though as the Reservation Policy won’t allow any bookings for less than 6 people. My advice is just to try to show up early as sometimes the queue is just massive. However, even in this case, the lovely staff will offer you a warm chai latte trying to make your wait enjoyable.
Cafe Pacifico: Covent Garden
Hidden away in an alleyway in Covent Garden, you’ll find this little gem. It has a rustic and authentic feel as you approach the Mexican taverna like entrance, on hot summer’s evening it almost feels like you’re traipsing through Mexico City circa 1970. You can sit at the bar and warm up the night with some exquisite cocktails (I personally would recommend the “Fresh Fruit Mojito), which include sharing pitchers, anything from classic and fruity Margarita to an almost addictive Sangria or a simple Fruit Daiquiri. Personally, I like to share food but before you judge me, it’s only so I can eat theirs (muahaha), it’s a great way to try as many different dishes and flavours whilst maintaining a playful and social atmosphere.
Cafe Pacifico is the perfect place for that, a lot of the dishes are meant to be shared…it’s in their culture, so there is no surprise. The Antojitos platter is a great way to start dining experience as it gives you a little taste of the flavours on the menu and the different meats too. When it comes to the main course, I’m a big fan of the “Degustacion Pacifico” which includes an enchilada, tostada and a street taco, which basically is a one person sharing platter. If you fancy something lighter you should try the “Tempura Sea Bass and King Prawn Tacos”. It’s full of flavour but also has a little extra kick to it and best thing about it, it’s not too filling so you won’t be too uncomfortable. For dessert, you can only go with one choice… the Churros! How can you miss out on the chance to feed each other with doughnuts that are dripping with melted chilli-chocolate…Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
P.S. Don’t forget, SHARING is CARING!!!
Sushi Samba: Bishopsgate
Probably one of the most well-known restaurants in London for many reasons, Sushi Samba has maintained its prestige by having a carefully selected menu, extremely high standards and of the best dining experiences you can ask for. The Japanese/Brazilian fusion (a new concept to many), the dizzying heights of the Heron Tower (aka Salesforce Tower) which of course comes with the breathtaking views from over 200m high make this restaurant an incredible experience… especially on a date night. I would normally like to suggest items from the menu which I’m personally very fond of but everything was soooo good I wouldn’t know where to start… actually I do, it’s all about the samba rolls for me. The “El Topo”, “Tiger Maki” or “Negitoro” are especially tasting but it would be a sin not to try the “Samba London”. For those who don’t mind forking out a bit more for the high life, try the “Inkarri”, this dish is an experience on its own right.
The drink menu is incredible and extensive, whether you like a fruity samba experience like the “Nina Fresa” or if you fancy something with an oriental twist try the “Sesame Old Fashioned”. It is an experience not to be missed, whether it’s for the view, the hidden rooftop gardens or the tantalising menu. FYI – this will not be a cheap experience so make sure the date is worth it 😉
Talli Joe: Tottenham Court road
Seated in the heart of the City this restaurant dares to combine successfully the traditional flavour of India with the bubbly & colourful cocktails of the western world. Talli Joe gets two crucial things right: the food and service. I’ve gone there for the first time when one of my Indian colleagues suggested this place to me as a must.
The host welcomed us with a wide smile and gave us the estimate waiting time, he showed us the way to the bar where we could try the marvellous menu which makes even the more determined drinkers indecisive!
Then he escorted us downstairs in a really atmospheric room, with candles brightening the space with a warm light and industrial touches. The waiting staff were super friendly and they were able to assist with their knowledge over the menu. Food and drinks well mind-blowing.
TIP: Be cautious with those sweet spicy cocktails- they might look innocent but a couple of them and you might have a constant smile on your face 😉 (a friend of mine once told me…)
Until next time xxx