When it came to date-night dinners, Virginia Woolf knew how important it was to get the venue right. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” was her view. The food, of course, is important (especially at the start of a relationship, when the scene for what’s to come is being set; save BOGOF Wednesday at Pizza Express for further down the road), but even more crucial is the vibe.

Pasta somewhere with low lights and staff who know when to step discreetly into the shadows will always beat a solemn procession of two-starred expectorations from the chef-patron of a Mayfair dining room/mortuary. Just remember: shareable dishes can be very romantic, but only if there really is enough for two on the plate.

1. Minnow

Minnow, 21 The Pavement
London SW4 0HY, UK
020 7720 4105
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Since it opened in 2017 this neighbourhood restaurant has been quietly going about its business, serving stylish but substantial plates (homemade fettuccine, asparagus and pesto; poached pear with ganache) in a room that’s more than a touch #AccidentallyWesAnderson. The truffle chips lend themselves to a bit of knowing finger-licking, while the mid-century jazz and blues playlist is spot on.

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