riddle and finns restaurant brighton

Generally speaking, when it comes to date-night dinners, small, cosy, candlelit restaurants have the most romantic charm. Obviously, the food must be spot on, too. Seeing as Brighton is the spiritual home of the ‘romantic weekend-away’, it’s packed with restaurants – some set the tone for date night far better than others.

Cheesy places handing out single red roses to the ladies must be avoided at all costs! So, to make sure you have one of those fantastic, giddy, date-night dinners you’ll remember for years to come, here are nine small, cosy, romantic restaurants in Brighton that the Ellie & Co. team of two has tested and highly recommend.

Don’t miss my other posts on where to eat and drink in Brighton: my absolute top 10 favourite restaurants, the most Instagrammable, best places for cheap eats in Brighton, four unique and unusual cafes, charming spots for afternoon tea  including Brighton’s smallest tea room

Best romantic restaurants in Brighton for date night

1 Palmito, Hove

picture of a light green restaurant shopfront in Hove, England
Palmito © Ellie Seymour

One of my latest favourite restaurants in Brighton, and also a great romantic choice, is teeny tiny Palmito in Hove. Since it opened in 2022, there’s been a buzz about the place. It’s down to the unique menu – a mix of Ecuadorean, southern Indian and Mexican dishes, all the owner’s favourite foods, which work surprisingly well together.

Go purist or mix things up with a dish from each country. My tried-and-tested combination is grilled sweetcorn with chipotle mayo and lime salt (Mexico), slow-braised beef short rib (Ecuador), and Kerala-style grilled mackerel, tomato, beetroot, and blood orange.

Every dish is an absolute thrill, not to mention an excellent conversation starter – great news if your date night is flagging! Starting with one of their punchy cocktails – the Paloma gets my vote – and take it from there!

picture of a bright red hibiscus Paloma on a table at Palmito in Hove, England
Palmito, Hove © Ellie Seymour

Find Palmito at 16 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AE


2 Riddle and Finns in the Lanes

inside of a champagne and oyster bar in brighton with marbled topped tables and candelabras
© Ellie Seymour

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 which makes for a romantic atmosphere come evening when the light dims.

The menu is filled with superb seafood dishes, like homemade fishcakes with tartare sauce, fish pie, and crab linguine. They also serve delicious fresh salads and, obviously, plenty of oysters and champagne to get your romantic evening off to a heart-warming start.

riddle and finns brighton seafood

Find Riddle and Finns at 12b Meeting House Lane, Brighton BN1 1HB


3 Plateau, The Lanes

picture of a stylish restaurant dining room in Brighton called Plateau with a menu written on a chalkboard
© Plateau

Grab a seat at the counter, order a cocktail and settle in for a tete-a-tete French style at Plateau, a sophisticated cafe-bistro-wine bar in The Lanes. Here, it’s all about natural wines and small plates of modern French fare dishes which are fun to share, making for the perfect date night.

Order a heady French 75 and a plate of shishito peppers for starters. Follow up with a bigger dish, also to share, like seared bavette steak with pomme frites and rocket, which I recommend. If you like more privacy, I’d recommend nabbing a table by the window in the upstairs dining room, where it’s more peaceful.

picture of a stylish restaurant interior in brighton
© Plateau

Find Plateau at 1 Bartholomews, Brighton, BN1 1HB


4 Bincho Yakitori, Central Brighton

bincho yakitori brighton
© Ellie Seymour

To me, there’s no place better for a romantic date night than sat at the counter of this tiny, perma-packed Japanese tapas restaurant that transports you to the backstreets of Toyko. Especially if you get the two seats tucked in the corner to the right. It’s the perfect spot for huddling, sipping sake, and watching the chefs cook up the delicious, inexpensive small plates for sharing, a talking point boon for any date night.

It also cooks up the world’s best kara age – Japanese fried chicken – IMO which admittedly have trouble sharing. The vibe is cosy yet buzzy and fun, and it’s a great place for date night or dinner with friends. Insider tip: Since it won a couple of awards, getting a table here is tricky. Try your luck, here.

bincho yakitori fried chicken
© Ellie Seymour

Find Bincho Yakitori at 63 Preston Street, Brighton BN1 2HE


5 Wild Flor, Hove

wild flor brighton
© Wild Flor

This is another small neighbourhood gem restaurant, which was the talk of the city when it opened in May 2019. There’s a smart, buzzy downstairs dining room with lots of tables for two, and another upstairs, bathed in candlelight come evening. Nab the window seat up here if you can, overlooking the main drag. It is a great one for people-watching.

The food is classic, and the menu changes weekly. Dishes are beautifully presented, both light and decadent. I always enjoy the little starters served with sourdough bread, like the salad of beetroot, walnut and poppy seed with fennel rosquilletas. The veggie oyster mushroom schnitzel and herb salad is surprisingly filling. 

The wine list is epic and they also do two- or three-course set seasonal menus for lunch and dinner, which include their famous Madeleines to finish.

picture of the Wild Flor restaurant dining room in Hove
© Wild Flor

Find Wild Flor at 42 Church Road,  Hove BN3 2FN


6 Solera de Tapas, North Laine

picture of a Spanish tapas restaurant in Brighton with an illustration of a flamenco dancer on the front facade
Solera © Ellie Seymour

Being in this little tapas bar makes you feel like you’ve left the North Laine for Spain for the night with its authentic dishes and local wines. The atmosphere is dark, cosy and rustic, and all the food is hearty and not expensive at all. Try the meatballs in tomato sauce, chorizo in wine stew and patatas bravas. Insider tip: most people don’t know there’s a quiet, cosy patio out back.

Find Solera at 42 Sydney Street, Brighton BN1 4EP 


7 64 Degrees, The Lanes

I couldn’t write a post on Brighton’s most romantic restaurants without including the city’s original small plates restaurant. It started as a pop-up and created such a buzz when it opened in a permanent space in 2013.

Now, 11 years later, it’s still much loved by locals and visitors alike, who pack into the small, sleek dining room for a taste of the magic. Again, my favourite seat here, especially for a date night, is at the counter in full view of the talented chefs at work in the minuscule kitchen.

So much effort goes into each small imaginative plate. Unlike most small plate places, dishes here are served one by one, giving you time to focus on each individual work of art. Think: pork shoulder, pineapple and gojuchang and brill, grapefruit and chilli. Insider tip: This place is no secret, having won tons of awards, so book ahead!

Find 64 Degrees at 53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton BN1 1HB


8 The Gingerman, Hove

picture of a small restaurant in Brighton with a blue facade called The Gingerman
The Gingerman © Ellie Seymour

Set by a pretty square a couple of blocks north of Brighton seafront, this smart but relaxing spot is good for a special date. The food is full-flavoured modern European, beautifully presented (think: venison with croquette, parsley puree, celeriac fondants, calvero nero, blackberry and cocoa oil).  

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!

Find The Gingerman at 21A Norfolk Square, Brighton BN1 2PD


9 The Little Fish Market, Hove

picture showing the outside of the little fish market restaurant in Hove
© Ellie Seymour

It’s fun to find acclaimed chef Duncan Ray’s award-winning fish restaurant tucked away in the backstreets of the historic Brunswick Town area of Hove.

It opened in 2013 and is Brighton’s most-awarded restaurant. It’s as much loved for its impeccable, refined, and simple fish-focused dishes as it is for its friendly and elegant service, for which it has become well known.

The five-course tasting menus serve make for the perfect long, laid-back date night. The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed, and the surroundings are contemporary and understated.

© The Little Fish Market

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 fun surprise. We came to celebrate Dan’s birthday, and it was perfect. One to bookmark for a splurge.

Find The Little Fish Market at 10 Upper Market Street, Hove BN3 1AS

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

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