Edinburgh & Glasgow's best date places

Get classy and cosy with your favourite restaurants and bars to head for on a romantic date

Feature by Peter Simpson | 05 Jan 2016

Much like taking a long journey, or firing a pistol while jumping through the air, dating in the movies tends to be very different to how it is in real life. On screen, dates are either perfectly crafted nuggets of romance with enormous unexplained time gaps, or they’re embarrassing nightmares involving copious vomit and/or swearing.

Dates in real life tend to be more sedate affairs, squeezed in between long days at work and all that ‘sitting around time’ you’ve pencilled in. If you’re going out on a date, it’s worth going somewhere nice, and that’s one word that describes each of your favourite date places.

Inn Deep, off Great Western Road in Glasgow, is nice. It’s got a lovely riverside view onto the Kelvin below, there’s a cosy ambience to the place, and the great beer selection will give you and your date something to discuss if things are really flagging, or the fuel needed to openly discuss said flagging. Stravaigin is also nice. The West End feature serves up lovely, inventive food in a homely, woody atmosphere; there’s a roaring fire for a snuggly winter catch-up, and outside seating for an afternoon lunch of judging passers-by on their haircuts and poor sartorial choices. Convivial is the word we’re looking for; well, nice and convivial.

Ox and Finch, on the Finnieston strip, also manages that particular combo. The ‘small plates for sharing’ menu manages, if not enforces, a level of conversation and cooperation that make this an ideal second or third date venture. Yes, your new partner seems lovely, but will they crash through the confit duck before you have the chance to pick up your fork? Take the high road, enjoy the menu and the bright and quirky space, and mark their lack of sharing for later. It’ll give you something to talk about, if nothing else.

You’ll definitely have plenty to chat about after a meal at Timberyard in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. The setting’s one thing, but step through the enormous red door and things move up a gear. Dishes are laid out like works of art, beautifully presented and packed with intriguing ingredients, and the dining room somehow manages to keep its warehouse roots while present a cosy space ideal for a well-deserved date night.

Blackfriars in Edinburgh takes cosy to a whole new level; dates in the dark, moody and stripped-back space could easily take on a conspiratorial tone if that’s what you’re into. The drinks list is excellent, the food is modern and inventive, and the place has one of the most charming and best-hidden beer gardens in the city. We won’t tell you how to find it; just know that if you find your way there, it was meant to be.