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Casse-Croute, 109 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XB, uk Tiny and bustling, this French restaurant is like a trip to Paris only without being so full on as to suggest a first date on the Eurostar.Names get scribbled on the paper tablecloths, baskets of bread and carafes of wine get brought in seconds, and staff shout in French over your heads.Good food, low lights and subtly - not overpoweringly - romantic The factors that make a good date restaurant: reliably good food and drink. A feeling that you've made a bit of an effort without going over the top. Make sure you have the King crab ravioli with sage butter, rich primrose-yellow parcels that glisten with herb-scented oil, and the gremolata-crusted lamb cutlets, specked with lemon zest.Not so much noise you can hear what your date is saying. And then the potential for decent places nearby to go on to if the mood takes you. Dinner here is a like a mini-holiday, a moment of relaxed refinement that comes with a stellar wine list. The Balcon London, 8 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5NG, As grand an interior as The Wolesley but far more intimate, The Balcon lounges invitingly on the corner of the Sofitel Hotel in St James, all art deco swirls and elegance by the silver champagne bucketful. Cuttlefish, fried with beacon red chilli, chicken served on aubergine glistening with golden batter. May Fair Kitchen, The May Fair Hotel, Stratton St, London W1J 8LT, uk The newly-refurbed May Fair Kitchen is a sunny delight full of Mediterranean goodness: sharing plates that are made for dates. Huge meaty slabs of octopus, slick in a sour sauce, an umami crunch from a bed of wafer thin celery.Fireplaces, armchairs, and live music every night of the week it's pretty impossible not to fall in love with the person who brings you here.Spuntino, 61 Rupert St, London W1D 7PW, uk You'll almost certainly have to wait for a spot to eat at the bar at Polpo-offshoot Spuntino, but waiting takes place along the back wall, Negroni in hand, and becomes part of the fun.
Hutong, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1, the-shard.com/hutong Halfway up The Shard, stretching expansively across the 33rd floor, is upscale Chinese restaurant Hutong. This is event dining at its best - impossible not to fall for the person sat opposite you, framed by the skyline below. There's a rustic charm to the decor and the menu reads like one you might find down a quiet street in San Sebastian, but don't let that fool you - this is high end, high quality food and service, offered in a refreshingly friendly way.
One candlewax-covered-bottle short of pastiche, this place is practically perfect.
Primeur, 116 Petherton Road London, N5 2RT, primeurn5uk Speaking of names on tables, Red's Deputy Features Ed Natasha Lunn captured the spirit of Primeur perfectly with this recent shot.
It prides itself on honest cooking and a good wine list, which really are the backdrop to any decent date.
There's a slight Spanish bent to this neighbourhood restaurant: expect jamon and squid and the tremor of excitement that always comes from fast-moving tapas and sharing plates.