3 | Southbank Nearest tubes: Waterloo / Southwark Perfect for: Culture Skylon, Royal Festival Hall On the surface of things, the Southbank is a terrible choice for a first date: full of tourists and over-priced chain restaurants.But with a little insider knowledge you can make use of the world-class cultural options and the romance of the river without looking like you're a teenager on his first visit to London.If you're early enough, the Real Food Market (Fri-Sun, Southbank Centre Square) is a fun spot for street food (and rum ice lollies if the weather suits).For a proper sit down, Sea Containers at the Mondrian London offers both delicious seasfood and view of St.
Or if tucking into a perfect steak is more you and your partner's idea of good dining, pop over the road to unpretentious Argentinian eatery Gaucho. Technically in Mayfair but a mere hop, skip and a jump away from Soho is Blades at Hush, a small, 60's inspired dining room that aims to be a 'private member's club without the membership'.
If gin's your thing, try Graphic Bar on Golden Square - their martini selection is second to none and their 'Paint Tin Punches' will get your night off with a bang. Slightly off the beaten track on Rupert Street is the hottest new table in town The Palomar, where interesting, delicious food from Jerusalem is served by energetic, friendly staff who create a brilliant atmosphere – perfect for a first date you want to be fun and memorable (with no space for awkward silences). If you can't can't get a table there, you're still spoiled for choice when it comes to established restaurants of the highest quality.
Copita (D'Arblay Street) is a chilled out tapas bar with great wine, Quo Vadis is a Soho institution serving British cooking at its best and Jackson Rye, Richard Caring's brilliant latest venture on Old Compton Street, brings the best of New York dining to London.
But in the same way you shouldn't just cave and listen to Rihanna because it's the first thing you think of, resisting Leciester Square or Covent Garden is the smart choice when it comes to wooing in the capital.
Instead, pick from these Zone 1 locations and our tailored guide to each, whether you're after an expensive dinner, a night of culture or just a fun area where anything can happen. *** 1 | Soho Nearest tubes: Tottenham Court Road / Oxford Circus Perfect for: Dinner The Palomar London's most famous playground can still be a bit bewildering if you're new to it, but many of the finest restaurants in the country – scrap that, the world – are here, meaning if you're going for dinner and want to impress, Soho is still the place to go.
Pauls, RSJ on Coin Street has been offering an unfussy escape from the Southbank and great food for years, and Skylon, on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall, offers the best views for a romantic drink anywhere along the river.