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!

Heart waffle

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

The Salt Room Restaurant, Brighton, Seafood, Fish, Metropole Hotel, Seafront

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

The Shepherd & Dog, Country Pub, Fulking, Henfield, West Sussex

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!

Dim Sum at Gars Chinese, Chinese restaurant, Brighton

24 St Georges | Modern European

Tucked away in Kemptown, 24 St Georges is a Michelin featured restaurant that specialises in creating beautifully presented dishes from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients with a menu that changes daily. If you think that Michelin dining comes with a hefty price tag… then you’d generally be right but the restaurant offers a great value Menu Du Jour that runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm which could just be the ticket for a midweek date with a difference without breaking the bank!

First date buzzword: Seasonal

24 St Georges, steak, restaurant, kemptown, Brighton

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

Chilli Pickle Brighton, Tarka Dal, how to video, Indian cooking, Brighton

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

Bistro Du Vin, Afternoon Tea, Brighton Restaurant, Boutique Hotel

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

Poached pears at Indian Summer, Brighton

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

Silo food preparation, Brighton

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

Oysters at Riddle and Finns, Brighton Restaurant

Proud Cabaret | Experiential

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
Proud Cabaret. Brighton