First impressions count (no pressure!)
This is it – your one chance to make a great impression on your first date. But where to take them? Whether you’re out to impress with a fancy meal, or looking for something a little more relaxed or perhaps even quirky, we’ve put together our choice of the best first date destinations in Brighton, guaranteed to score you date no.2!
The Salt Room – Seafood
Following the success of The Coal Shed, restaurateur, Raz Helalat expanded his empire in February 2015 promising a seafood restaurant that would rival the likes of Riddle and Finns. Cue The Salt Room, a modern British seafood and and grill restaurant and possibly the most talked about eaterie of 2015. If you fancy a spot of wining and dining with a view make sure to request a window seat when booking where you can look straight out onto the West Pier – especially beautiful at sunset. In the summer the terrace is open so you can enjoy a cocktail or two before tasting your way through the menu. Oysters anyone?
First date buzzword: Trendy
Le Nantais Bistro – French
Le Nantais Bistro is a wonderfully French feeling, authentic bistro, perfect for kindling those flames of Parisian romance without having to bother with the pesky Eurostar. Modestly sized with dark wood floors and tables, it is an instantly intimate and relaxed space to wine and dine. The menu offering is quintessentially French, with simple but well prepared classic bistro dishes with weekday specials and a lovingly hand picked wine list.
First date buzzword: classic French
Food For Friends – vegetarian
If you’re dating in Brighton, chances are you’ll stumble across the odd vegetarian. Food For Friends multi award winning selection of seasonal, local produce is sure to impress. The restaurant itself is nestled in the heart of the Lanes with chic modern decor and soft ambient lighting. The food presentation is artwork and the friendly knowledgable staff can talk you through their hand crafted and tested wine menu and seasonally inspired selection of cocktails.
First date buzzword: modern
Curry Leaf Cafe – Indian
Curry Leaf Cafe has two restaurants, for something more off the beaten track, and to show off your knowledge of Brighton’s treasures, head east of the Pavilion for Curry Leaf Cafe Kemptown, it’s the smaller of the two venues and offers a tapas style dining experience with a more playful exploration of India’s cuisine. Curry Leaf Ship Street is just as much a gem in the city, albeit more centrally located one, with a host of awards this relaxed cafe holds nothing back on delivering great flavour. Both restaurants serve a host of swoon worthy cocktails that bring a hint of Indian flavour to well known classics.
First date buzzword: spicy!
Third Avenue – Eat, Drink, Dance.
As far as covering your bases is concerned Third Avenue is pretty much on point. Two dining experiences lets you choose from a casual helping of sushi and sharing platters or for something more elegant the Grill Room serves up 39 day matured steak flame cooked on a Josper grill. The drinks menu is sizeable with wines, beers, speciality spirits and plenty of cocktails, whilst the decor is dark, moody and effortlessly sophisticated. If things are going really very well there’s dancing into the wee hours with live DJ’s in the Club Room every Friday and Saturday.
First date buzzword: Confident.
The Shepherd and Dog – British
Roaring fire, scenic location and cosy seating – we’re off to a good start. First date locations don’t come much better than The Shepherd and Dog, a cosy pub nestled deep in a valley within the South Downs National Park, just ten minutes drive from Brighton. Specialising in craft beers and speciality gins there’s plenty of fine beverage options, but the menu is where the magic really happens, with fantastic roasts and an al la carte menu for the evenings with plenty of modern twists on traditional pub dishes. Sundays get busy so if you fancy taking your date on a stroll around the village before – make sure to book in advance to avoid a red face and a hungry tum…
First date buzzword: Cosy
Waterhouse Bar & Terrace – Classic
The Waterhouse Bar in The Hilton Metropole is named after Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse (#DateFact). Whilst the Victorians weren’t know for liberal ‘romantic’ attitudes, stories of Victoria and Albert reveal them to have had a very deep love for one another (#DateFact 2). For the modern romancer, the Waterhouse Bar offers the grandeur of a former age respectfully modernised, sunset views across the promenade, relaxed and excellent dining and a wide range of cocktails and sparkling wines. Perfect for you to find a low lit booth or a couple of close set wing backs, and let your story begin.
First date buzzword: Atmosphere
Gars – Chinese
There’s Chinese… and then there’s Gars. Nestled amongst the busy eateries on Prince Albert St (opposite Brighton Town Hall) this little delight has been around for years (1983!) and has a loyal following amongst Brightonian foodies. The sultry, lantern-lit interior casts a warm feeling over diners upon entry and the staff exude an air of friendly professionalism and knowledge. Described as ‘Asian fine dining’ one of the most popular dishes on the menu is Dim Sum, small individual plates of food that have been steamed, baked or fried – order a selection and get sharing!
First date buzzword: Legendary!
The Chilli Pickle – Indian
The Chilli Pickle sits proud in the centre of Brighton with a list of awards under its belt as long as your arm. Whether your date has visited before or not you’ll be sure to score some serious romance points by booking in. Offering a dinner menu to swoon over including street food treats, meat and fish from the tandoor oven and curries that will ensure you never eat a chicken korma again there’s no wonder they’ve recently been listed in the UK’s top 100 restaurants. Staying in? The Chilli Pickle also offers a takeaway service with thali trays that will bring a taste of India to your living room.
First date buzzword: Innovative
Hotel du Vin – Cocktails
With a gothic interior that looks a little like a scene from Harry Potter (and who doesn’t love HP?!) Hotel Du Vin is a firm favourite amongst the Restaurants Brighton team. Stepping out of the busy South Lanes you’ll soon find yourself snuggled into a cosy leather sofa with an attentive waiter at your side. Famous for their exquisite cocktails, your date is sure to be spoilt for choice on what to choose, and the relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere is the perfect setting for a first date in Brighton.
First date buzzword: Stylish
Plateau – Bistro
Nothing says romance like a French bistro. Plateau mixes simple, locally sourced, ingredients cooked with a passion for taste and marries these with a selection of dazzling cocktails and fun packed ‘low intervention’ wines. Like the food the ambience is laid back, effortless style with an eclectic mix of background beats. It would be really hard to not look good on a date here.
First date buzzword: Amour
Indian Summer – Indian
Often overshadowed by the mighty Chilli Pickle, Indian Summer (situated on East Street) offers a more low-key and quieter dining experience with a fantastic menu created by a team of talented chefs. Offering Indian flavours with a modern twist, it is listed in the ‘Top 100’ restaurants in the UK by the Cobra Good Curry Guide. The service is second to none and you’ll be sure of a warm welcome that will impress your date as much as the food itself.
First date buzzword: Modern
BeFries – Chips
For a casual, quirky first date why not hit BeFries, who doesn’t love a good portion of chips? Brighton’s best chippy with a difference; they’re double cooked and there are over 20 sauces to choose from! A stones throw from the beach lends itself to a great first date, you can take a trip the pier after eating these great fries. Sauces include smoked chilli ketchups, copious mayonnaise variations, truffle infused greatness and magnificent mustards, so much choice.
First date buzzword: Fun
West Beach Bar & Kitchen – Experiential
For a great first date, why not head to the West Beach Bar & Kitchen. With it being at the base of the BAi360 tower, you can take a flight up in the pod with a glass of champagne from the BAi360 bar and catch the sunset. The restaurant offers a whole variety of dishes, all inspired by the fun and vibrant city. Whether you fancy sharing, a salad or a hearty burger, you’ll be in for a first date to remember with the spectacular views.
Silo – British
Looking for a lunch date with a twist? Head to Silo in the North Laine, the bohemian hub of the city. Silo sprung onto the restaurant scene in late 2014 and has quickly become a favourite for those who are both supportive and simply intrigued about their zero-waste mission. If your date has a passion for making a difference then you’ll be spot on choosing Silo, whose menu changes daily depending on what’s in season and offers just six main dishes, always including at least one meat, fish and vegan option.
First date buzzword: Sustainable
Riddle & Finns – Seafood
With stunning sea views by day and illuminated by antique candelabras at night, Riddle and Finns II (on the beach) is top of our list for a first date location. Order champagne and oysters to get in the mood (oo-err!) and follow up with the catch of the day for the freshest seafood in the south-east. General Manager, Barry Malone is a natural host who will welcome you in like old friends and talk you through the menu – suggesting wine matches at your request. Although open all year round, we’d recommend heading down in the summer to catch a romantic sunset over the sea.
First date buzzword: Fancy
Proud Cabaret – Saucy
Ok we’re going to end with the curve-ball. If you fancy a night to remember then book into Proud Caberet on a Friday or Saturday night, where you and your date will be treated to a three course meal with a view of Brighton’s best burlesque and cabaret performers. Sumptuously decked out in retro 1920’s style furnishings, it’s a great place to break the ice and escape back in time when couples courted in a cloud of champagne and glamour. Disclaimer: Things can get a little… racy on the stage so perhaps sound out your date beforehand!
First date buzzword: Saucy