Restaurant Brighton's guide to
Our top picks
What’s your romantic style?
Bohemia bar is tucked away in the Lanes, almost missable from the front but opening up inside to three floors and a roof terrace. The interior is stylishly decked out with a gothic opulence, so it’s a bit like going to a modern day party in an old European castle. Cocktails are an event at Bohemia, featuring dry ice, pyrotechnics and of course plenty of premium quality booze.
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.
The Golden Pineapple is hidden away in the Lanes, with modest understated cool vibes, dark interiors and a little bit of retro kitsch chic going on. The cocktail menu is concise, but you can go off piste (but really you don’t need to, they’re great). Food is provided by Mexican kitchen, Tlaloc, to spice things up a bit.
Prohibition themed bar L’Atelier du Vin in Seven Dials and the North Laine offers guests a wealth of intimate little corners to occupy and whisper sweet nothings in. The vibe is purposefully low key with mismatched armchairs, lamps and occasional tables, but the wine and cocktail menu is anything but thrown together. Boasting more fine wines than any other bar in Brighton, the cocktails have also been painstakingly researched and mixed to the original recipes.
Fish and Seafood
Duncan Ray’s Little Fish Market is one of Brighton’s most esteemed restaurants. The tasting menu is refined and creative, the restaurant itself has only 20 covers and, unusually for a restaurant of this size, the table is reserved for the diners for the whole night. So you can really take your time and even linger a while after, over wine conversation.
The scale of the set-up in conjunction with the scale of the reputation means The Little Fish Market is one to be planned in advance, don’t call up on February 12th expecting to reserve a table for Valentine’s day.
Following the success of The Coal Shed, restaurateur, Raz Helalat expanded his empire in February 2015 promising a seafood restaurant that would rival the best in the city. 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?
The Urchin pub in Hove is a spot for lovers who are lovers of craft beer and seafood. This little independent is a gem in the city, loved locally and nationally. The basement micro-brewery produces Willy Wonka style concoctions for adult consumption that regularly change, as well as a host of guest independent ales and beers. While The Urchin is serious about good beer and good seafood, this is also a really joyous place to go, no pretences, just good living.
Kujira is a robatayaki grill restaurant which uses marinades and high heat live colas to produce intense and sensational flavours. Decked out in black and gold, the venue is super stylish and cool. Small plates are great for sharing in a tour de force of flavour, matched with their signature cocktails. Situated on Preston Street, we recommend topping or tailing your visit with a trip to GunHo bar just a few doors down.
Japanese restaurant Moshimo is designed around the shoji aesthetic. With the appearance of paper screen walls and booths divided by red perspex there’s an air of mystery as fellow diners are blurred out. Sushi lovers and animal lovers can all enjoy Moshimo, whose menu excludes any endangered fish and is bountiful with vegan, plant only, options.
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.
Indian Summer (situated on East Street) offers a fine 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!
At TEN in the North Laine is a perfect date destination before a trip to the nearby Corn Exchange of Theatre Royal. The welcoming interiors are classically styled, with forest green walls, deep comfy chairs and quality tableware. The menu is seasonal and ever-changing. Small sharing plates each focus on a single main ingredient which is creatively finessed. With around four to five plates adequately giving two people a delicious exploration of the menu. The wine list is equally impressive, with fine wines to suit all tastes levels of ‘good impression’.
Plateau mixes simple, locally sourced, ingredients cooked with a passion for taste and marry 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.
Swing down to Market in Hove with your amor for a truly romantic dining experience. Sit side by side at the bar and watch hospitality theatrics whilst sipping on a cocktail del dia, or opt for a more intimate restaurant table where you and your date can spend hours sat eye to eye, sharing tapas-style small plates and bottles of succulent vino. Wednesday evenings at Market are marked as Date Night – where you and your guest can enjoy a special set menu designed for two for only £25 each!
If you want to impress a date with your insider knowledge of Brighton then a trip to Twisted Lemon cocktail bar is a good bet. Hidden in plain sight in the heart of the Lanes, Twisted Lemon is located down a narrow cobbled passageway which opens up into a tiny and very cute little courtyard. Inside Twisted Lemon is a prime example of Brighton’s fun easy going and eccentric drinks scene. Being quite a small venue you won’t get much in the way of whispering sweet nothings to your date here, but if your idea of a memorable night is just seeing where the adventure will take you, then Twisted Lemon is a good place to start.
Restaurant Interlude was open for less than a year before being awarded a Michelin Star. The tasting menu is inspired and largely sourced from the surrounding gardens, with incredible creativity, taste and flavour. A visit to Restaurant Interlude is guaranteed to be one you’ll remember for a lifetime.
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 favourite pub classics from sausage and mash to ox liver and bacon. The evening menu brings a more refined gastro style menu focussing on flavours 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, completing their afternoon with lunch at 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.
Morleys Bistro in Hurstpierpoint offers a complete package for a romantic break with Bed and Breakfast also available. The menu is modern European with a strong emphasis on locally sourced, quality ingredients. Hurstpierpoint and the surrounding areas have plenty to explore, from arts and crafts and antique shops to local nature walks and vineyards, making for a complete weekend break.
If you’re looking for a destination restaurant that exudes romance, passion and exquisite attention to detail, then look no further than Kokedama. Set in the historic Lewesian landmark, The Needlemakers and brought to you by the acclaimed team behind the multi award-winning pub The Roundhill. Kokedama is the first exclusively plant-based modern dining restaurant in Lewes. It offers guests a truly unique dining experience, from a seven-course tasting menu or a paired wine tasting menu to and a la cart offering that’ll certainly dazzle your date. Kokedama is one of those restaurants that you really must visit at least once in your life but we’re pretty confident that it will end up being, at the very least, a yearly date destination. .
Date Venues for Foodies
Steven Edward’s Etch was voted Brighton’s Best Restaurant in the 2019 BRAVO awards, as well as receiving multiple national accolades and awards. The tasting menu is a celebration of local and seasonal produce with each dish showcasing only two ingredients. Unusually Steven doesn’t use any spice to flavour his dishes, not even pepper, instead flavour is controlled through concentration and reduction to create unique and authentically flavoursome dishes.
Amarillo by Ian Swainson is located in the stylish boutique hotel Drakes. Opening in 2019 first as a pop-up in the Lanes, Amarillo quickly became one to watch. The food is Spanish tapas inspired, elevated to fine dining of Michelin proportions (Swainson has previously been head chef at more than one Michelin starred venue, we expect a star her to follow!). Drakes brings intimacy and classic style into the mix, as well as sea facing rooms with bay window bathtubs; it’s romance from basement to chimney tops.
If you’re looking for a restaurant to impress someone special then Wild Flor is a great option. With is French elegance, luxurious food and word class wine list, Wild Flor offers its guests a space to enjoy a truly romantic dining experience. The team have known each other for many years, coming from a background of the acclaimed Gingerman Group, and it is this that shows in their polished and seamless approach to dining. So, rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.
For steak lover lovers, head to Baqueano on Western Road, this intimate restaurant offers a tasting menu for two that gives diners a tour of the most traditional Argentinian food. For a little extra the tasting menu can be paired with exceptional Argentinian wines, or let the friendly front of house manager, Adriana, guide your choice through knowledgable recommendations.
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.
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