Life isn’t a Werther’s Original advert. You’re more likely to age holding your phone than the hand of your partner after 50 years. With that in mind, every anniversary should be honoured. Be it one glorious year with a loved one, or one thankful year without, an anniversary is an anniversary, and it calls for a celebration. So whether you’re looking for a casual spot with the one month love of your life, or you’re looking to splash out on something fancy for the person who can now interpret your dreams via snores, you’ll find all kinds of options in this guide.
There reaches a point in every long-term relationship where things become a little predictable. Where you go to the same restaurants, order the same things, and fall asleep in front of the same episode of Peep Show you didn’t finish the night before. As exciting as that sounds, you want to mix things up. And placing your faith in Hunan’s ‘trust me’ 12 or 18-course tasting menu is the way to do that. It features some of London’s best Chinese food, like crispy green beans, or pork in a bag, and it makes for an unpredictably delicious meal.
You’ve been together for a long time. It feels like forever. So long that the memory of you serenading each other to the tune of a dial-up modem feels like a lifetime ago. So, it’s only fitting that you celebrate in a restaurant that feels just as old. Kitty Fisher’s is an old school British restaurant that makes frankly delicious takes on classic dishes. It’s a creaky old thing, just like you two, and it’s filled with velvet, candles, and all sorts of Victorian fire hazards. But you don’t have to be old to come here.
From the ever-changing sharing plates, to the constant buzz of conversation, to the London Fields location, everything about Bright feels effortlessly impressive. Which is convenient, because that’s what you should be looking for in an anniversary dinner. The atmosphere here is just cool - there’s no other way to describe it - and the food is also superb. There are five sections to the menu: snacks, seafood, meat, pasta, and desserts, and each one always has something outstanding on it. Everything does tend to add up bill-wise with wine, but it’s worth it.
If life was a Richard Curtis film, then Llewelyn’s would be the cosy neighbourhood restaurant you met your partner in, proposed in, and fed your child its first confit duck leg in. In fact despite there being less Elvis Costello on the soundtrack, it can be. This spot is directly next to Herne Hill station, it’s classy and cute, and makes the kind of food you want to eat all the time: ricotta ravioli by candlelight, or roast chicken, chips, and aioli in the day. It’s simple, which makes it an easy choice for a lowkey and tasteful celebration.
Every once in awhile you need to drop a serious wad. To celebrate your time together. To say sorry for your time together. Or for both. Either way, Core By Clare Smyth is the place to do it. Although this fine dining Notting Hill spot is going to set you back at least 120-odd quid a head, it’s worth it. The room feels like going to that well-off kid’s house from school: fancy, but not uncomfortable. And the food is, well, it’s like that kid’s snack cupboard. But better.
You thought that conscious uncoupling was a myth, but here you are a year later organising a break-up anniversary. The 21st century is relentless. You may as well guarantee you both have a good time, and few things feel more je ne sais quoi than celebrating a break-up at The French House. It’s a Soho institution that’s as good at food as it is at getting people plastered.
Sometimes the easy win is the best win. The impulsive massage. The trip to Paris. The apology even though you absolutely know you’re right. The River Café is one of these classic wins. It’s a name that gets you an ‘ooh’, and that’s before taleggio pizzetta or the chocolate nemesis cake has arrived. There’s a reason this riverside Italian is world famous, and it’s not just because of the high prices. You come here for a good time, not a cheap time, and it always delivers.
Finding a special restaurant with plenty of special vegetarian dishes on the menu used to be a slog. There are plenty more options nowadays and Rovi is undoubtedly the best of the lot. It’s Ottolenghi’s latest (and fanciest) restaurant in Fitzrovia, and the menu is made up of beetroot, corn, tomato, and cabbage dishes that will make you gawp. Combined with the super-modern and super-slick space, it makes Rovi one of the most creative and cool choices for a celebratory dinner.
For the couple who is anti-attention and anti-hassle, there is always Trullo. Few London restaurants get the balance between casual and class spot on, but this Italian spot in Highbury is one of them. From the homemade pappardelle to the Amalfi lemon tart, everything here is food that you’ll both want to eat. Again. And again. And again again. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve come every year you’ve been together. It’s a classic.
If making a big song and dance is your kind of thing - you know, some theatre, some napkin folding, some unexpected snacks - then you’ll enjoy Pollen Street Social. This is a fine dining restaurant in one of the most casual senses of the term. Although there are many courses, and many people seemingly monitoring your every breath, the food in this Mayfair spot is consistently tasty, and the atmosphere surprisingly, well, atmospheric.