Thursday, 19 January 2017

Date Night in Brighton: 9 Tiny Romantic Restaurants

Generally speaking, when it comes to date night dinners, teeny tiny restaurants have the most romantic charm. Obviously the food has to be spot on, too, and although Brighton is
packed with great little restaurants, there are plenty of NOT so good, not so romantic ones. So, to make sure you have one of those fantastic, giddy, date night dinners you’ll remember for years, here are 9 tiny romantic restaurants in Brighton the Ellie & Co team have tested and highly recommend.

1) Riddle and Finns in the Lanes is a champagne and oyster bar tucked away up a little alley between the Lanes and North Laine. The decor is 'New York' elegant – white subway tiles, marble table tops, flickering candlelight and the menu is filled with gem seafood dishes like homemade fishcakes with tartare sauce, fish pie and crab linguine. They  also do delicious fresh salads and obviously plenty of oysters and champagne. 

2. Semolina Bistro is a cosy neighbourhood gem restaurant tucked up a side street near Preston Circus. It's great for a mid-week catch-up dinners but also laid-back weekend date nights. It's owned by a couple, Orson and Linda, who immediately make you feel welcome and relaxed. The food is a mix of French and English and beautifully presented, the wine crisp and cool, the cocktails delicious. Finish up with a 'Brighton coffee' – a heady mix of coffee, cream and Tuaca (sweet butterscotchy liqueur).

3. Mediterraneo Deli. This teeny tiny local Sicilian restaurant is absolutely magical. It has one of the coziest, quirkiest dining rooms in Brighton, speckled with candlelight and feels like someone's home. The food is comforting and delicious – my favourite is the Parmigiana de Milaneze. Dan and I have had some of our loveliest dates here (it's also good for groups since you can book out the whole restaurant). Insider tip: it’s only open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights so book ahead.

4. Carlito Burrito. The ambience at this colourful 'dive' Mexican street-food restaurant is bustling yet romantic – despite the buzz, you can easily lose yourself and feel like the only people in the room. Food wise, everything is delicious and the portions huge – the fish tacos, burritos and margarita are best in the world. (I love all the Mexican curios all over the walls!). 

5. Isaac AT on the fringes of the North Laine serves exciting tasting menus in a cosy, modern dining room. Every dish looks like a work of art, they're so beautifully prepared and presented. The service is also exceptional – the waiters talks you carefully through the details of each dish, and recommend wines to go with each course. Insider tip: For a fun date lunch or dinner, book the two seats at the front of the restaurant at the chef's table and watch all the food prepared in the buzzy open kitchen. 

6. Solera de Tapas makes you feel like you've left the North Laine for Spain for the night with their authentic dishes and local wines. The atmosphere is dark, cosy and rustic and all the food is delicious and not-expensive-at-all – try the garlic chicken, meatballs in tomato sauce, chorizo in wine stew and of course, patatas bravas. Insider tip: they also have a quiet cosy patio out the back.

7. 64 Degrees. Great British Menu winner Michael Bremner's 64 Degrees is a perma-packed restaurant in the centre of town with a sleek, hip yet intimate and cosy atmosphere. The creative food is amazing and comes in small portions to share (think pork shoulder, pineapple and gojuchang and brill, grapefruit and chilli!), each served as they're made. For a fun date night, book a table at the counter and watch the chefs at work. Insider tip: this place is no secret having won tons of awards, so book ahead!

8. The Gingerman. Set close to a pretty square close to Brighton seafront, this is a smart but relaxing spot for a splurgy romantic occasions. It serves full-flavoured delicately presented modern European food (think: venison with croquette, parsley puree, celeriac fondants, calvero nero, blackberry and cocoa oil), or if you prefer, there are two- and three-course menus. Request a table away from the door, order a not-too-expensive bottle of wine, and enjoy!

9. Little Fish Market in the backstreets of Hove serves the most amazing five-course tasting menus for the perfect long, laid-back, splurgy romantic dinners. The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed and the service elegant and beautiful; you can pay extra to have a different wine served with each course. Only the main ingredient of each dish is listed on the menu, so each plate is a surprise. We came here for Dan's birthday and it was perfect. 


  1. I need to try them all!

  2. Subway tiles and candles, yes!

  3. Ooh, I must make a note to have a read. I have friends that have a flat in Brighton!

  4. Thanks for including us in your round up, Ellie. Duncan.

  5. My wife and I love shopping in North Laine! The tapas restaurant, Solera de Tapas, sounds like it would be perfect to visit. We went to Spain on our last holiday and fell positively in love with the cuisine there. I would be excited to try out the restaurant's tapas version of Spain's authentic style.

    1. Hey Grover - I'm so sorry I only just noticed your comment! I can vouch for the food in Solera de Tapas having spent a lot of time in SW Spain. I hope you enjoy it!