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 romanic restaurants Brighton, guaranteed to score you date no.2!
For stylish cocktails
Cocktail bar, games room and generally all round stunning venue, there really isn’t any reason why Upstairs at The Joker isn’t top of everyone’s date night list. Formally a late night gig venue, the space has been completely transformed and is now unrecognisable from its former self. Describing itself as the diamond in the rough, Upstairs at The Joker is an Instagrammers dream, from the sleek and stylish but slightly rustic interior to stunning drinks served in ‘real’ glassware. A local jazz artist also performs here, adding to the laid back and luxurious atmosphere that oozes from this bar.
Fish and seafood
If its the romantic feel you are after, GB1 restaurant and terrace is a great shout. The stunning interior will impress without a doubt. The restaurant’s central champagne and oyster bar (seats 14) and is a prime pitch to watch the expertly trained staff prepare some seriously good cocktails. Their standout menu items include sea bass with suckling pig chorizo, and the king prawn pan-roasted fruits de mer platter, and the new Wagyu burger. After dinner why not not head out onto their terrace over looking Brighton seafront to continue the first class luxe experience.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
If you are looking for less food and more booze (who isnt?!) head to GungHo bar on Preston Street. With a cocktail menu that is constantly evolving, each experience at GungHo bar is different from the last. Influenced by seasonality the cocktails are often made with foraged and local ingredients championing all types of fruit and veg; from green strawberries and elderflower to chicory root and mushrooms. Expect vibrant, fresh and complex cocktails at GungHo. Natural wine is served too alongside craft beer from some of the best breweries in the UK.
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.
The Sussex Ox offers local craft beer, natural wine, seasonal cocktails and a menu made up from ingredients from their own organic farm just over 2 miles away. The lunch menu consists of some of our favorite pub classics from sausage and mash to ox liver and bacon. The evening menu brings a more refined gastro style menu focussing on flavors from the farm. In the winter a roaring log fire welcomes you to settle in for a cosy evening and in the summer, an extensive beer garden offers some of the best South Downs views in Sussex.
Rathfinny offers a unique experience to its guests who can enjoy an educational afternoon tour of the beautiful vineyards, or walk the scenic Cradle Valley footpath and complete their day with a visit to the Tasting Room Restaurant where local and seasonal cuisine awaits. The exceptional produce of Sussex shines in the menu which is finessed with Asian and Iberian influences. A lunchtime menu consists of two or three courses whilst dinner is a five course set menu, arranged as either meat, fish or vegetarian.
Date venues for the foodies
Chard Brighton have collaborated with the fabulous I GiGi General Store in Hove to create a unique space for eating, drinking and shopping. Rustic, creative and welcoming, the venue feels relaxed and homey with a touch of beautiful French chic. By night, the venue is transformed into arguably the most romantic restaurant in Brighton, with low light, chic candles and wooden rustic tables. The space is small and intimate, the staff are non-fussy and welcoming and the food in nothing less than brilliant. This one’s definitely for the bucket list.
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.
Kujira Brighton is the newest addition to the set of bright young things rejuvenating the Preston Street area of the city. The design throughout is sleek and modern and the menu at Kujira Brighton is divided into Kobachi, small bowls or starters, salads, and small and large robata – perfect for sharing! Kujira also offers Japanese inspired cocktails invented by their mixologist adding to the area’s growing reputation as the cocktail capital of Brighton.
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.
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.