10 romantic restaurants to dine at in Hampshire

Get cosy at the intimate Chesil Rectory in Winchester

Get cosy at the intimate Chesil Rectory in Winchester - Credit: The Electric Eye Photography

The way to the heart is through the stomach – and our county is filled with beautiful places to go on a dinner date. Here’s where to book a table for two in Hampshire…

Romantic restaurants to dine at in Winchester

The Black Rat
This Michelin starred beauty serves a variety of delicacies and cuisines, so no matter what you’re craving (besides the person you’re on a date with), you can be satisfied. A sample of the sort of treats to expect includes agnotti with wild garlic, monk fish with potato and sea herb curry and Woolley Park duck with hazelnut dukka. Paired with a dessert, such as madeleines with miso butterscotch, and you’re onto a truly exquisite evening. Wine is sold by the halves and bottles, so you have no choice but to polish off a few glasses too. What a shame, hey?

Chesil Rectory
Encase yourself in a historic, cosy atmosphere at this Grade II listed house. Brimming with charm and character, you can relax in one of its soft seats and soak in its chic touches. Owned by royalty in the past, you can still expect deluxe dishes. Each dish is a twist on a classic, so you can indulge on exciting flavour combinations without worrying about going too far out your comfort zone. Sea bass with bourguignon sauce, pork rib eye with fricassee of beetroot, and salted caramel tart with a balsamic reduction. It caters well to vegetarians, vegans and gluten free diets too, making it even easier to enjoy. chesilrectory.co.uk

Rick Stein
The king of seafood has coastal charm and scrumptious seafood in spades, with its fresh fish dishes cooked in the heart of Winchester. The airy, contemporary space makes for an intimate place to feast, and its convenient location means you can head out for a show or an extra drink before and after dining. Tuck into fruits de mer in French style, perfect for two to sample and share, shellfish ragout, dover sole with noisette butter, all wonderful washed down a good glass of white. For those who fancy cooking an intimate meal at home, it also sells fresh fish boxes, with produce ready to sing on the plate. rickstein.com

READ MORE: Romantic walks in Hampshire

HarBAR on 6th is a great location for watching marina life come and go

After a meal at The Jetty, head to HarBAR on 6th – which is also located at the Harbour Hotel in Southampton – for a tipple - Credit: Harbour Hotels

Romantic restaurants to dine at in Southampton

Porters Wine and Charcuterie

Hands touching to pick up that last piece of cheese. A bottle of rioja. For those who love a dining experience where you can delve in and share, Porters has a beautiful, contemporary offering. Taste British meats such as Sussex mangalitza ham and wild venison from the Highlands, as well as cheeses such as Isle of Wight blue and Cornish Yarg. Pick your own produce and build a board depending on how peckish you’re feeling, all accompanied with fresh bread, chutney and crackers. porterssouthampton.co.uk

The Jetty
Southampton harbours stunning scenes of the water, which make for romantic viewing over a plate of sumptuous seafood. Chef patron Alex Aitken’s menu is filled with locally sourced treasures, such as amuse bouche (oysters are an aphrodisiac) and quail with shallot marmalade. If you want a tailored experience, you can choose the private dining option where you can be treated to a tasting menu, a ‘bring me food’ platter-style dishes, or even ask Alex to create your own menu for a unique experience. harbourhotels.co.uk/southampton/eat-and-drink/the-jetty

Sink your teeth into sumptuous steaks at Carnicero, which has cuts of all types reared from Hampshire herds. Sirloins, chateaubriands and rump tails are all the menu, and can be paired with decadent sides such as roasted bone marrow, Iberico pork ribs and steak tartare. Top your steak with a red wine or garlic butter sauce, then top your glass with Dom Perignon or a delicious of Riserva. If you have room for dessert, the chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. carnicero.co.uk

Make like Lady and the Tramp and delve into Italian pasta over a candlelight dinner, which you can do at this beautiful bistro. Start with gamberone – tiger prawns with garlic and white wine on a crostini – and a classic combination of olive oil and balsamic with ciabatta. Then take your pick of the restaurant’s range of pasta dishes, from penne Barcelona to linguini mare. Alternatively, try one of the fresh fish specials, which change on the daily and can include lobster, sea bream and sole. soleto.co.uk

SUBSCRIBE: To Hampshire Life for the best of the county

Enjoy French flavours at Restaurant 27 in Portsmouth

Enjoy French flavours at Restaurant 27 in Portsmouth - Credit: Restaurant 27

Romantic restaurants to dine at in Portsmouth

Restaurant 27
Studded with the only double rosettes in Portsmouth, Restaurant 27 blends French flavours with global cuisines, making for a modern but elegant experience. It changes its menu daily to pair with the fresh ingredients, but the structure of multiple courses on the menu means you can show up and let the magic happen. The wine is also carefully curated with seasons and trends, and you can even match a wine flight to go alongside your meal. restaurant27.com

You can’t go wrong with British classics, especially when elevated with Hampshire ingredients. Favourites featured include sage and apricot stuffed chicken, smoked salmon fishcakes and apple crumble with vanilla custard – lovely and hearty for filling your stomach while filling your heart. If you’re looking for a more casual date, it also has a two-course brunch menu at weekends, with unlimited prosecco or pornstar martinis to help keep the conversation and fun flowing. montyssouthsea.co.uk

Minnie’s Kitchen
This family-owned restaurant is well-known for its warm, friendly service paired with a fun menu. Fluffy pillows of gnocchi, vegetable hotpots, meltingly soft beef cheeks are some of your savoury choices. For sweets enjoy modern nostalgic bites, with snickers, rhubarb and custard souffle and gooey orange pudding. Each wine on the list has been hand selected by Yvonne, one half of the husband-wife duo that run the restaurant. From your glass to your plate, you can be assured the contents has had love and thought put into it. minnieskitchen.co.uk