Riccardo’s, Chelsea

Riccardos Restaurant London
Charming mix of wood and water beakers that we call ‘rustic’

The Vibe

It may be mistaken for being the hangout of King Sloane himself but the Fulham/Chelsea type attracted here is slightly  more ‘if it’s not too much bother’ than  ‘yah-yah-sure-sure’. Think elderly couples who treat their meal like a leisurely South of France lunch, fabulous couples who have dressed down (in the loosest sense of the term) to come to their favourite local, and pairs of housewives lunching in Prada and Celine.  It’s an unassuming Italian joint from the front, with interiors that offer that charming mix of wood and water beakers that we excitedly like to term ‘rustic’. The staff seldom change and after one visit greet you like old friends, making your date assume you’re much more debonair than first imagined. In the evening, it’s a glowing space, with tables close to each other and a heady faux-casual charm. To take someone to a pricey Italian is easy, but when it manages to achieve the foodie’s nirvana of ‘authenticity’ (Tuscan, don’t you know) , it’s dreamy.

The Order

Tuscan food is all about sharing. The menu is one long list, without divisions, of plates big and small. It’s all about few, well chosen ingredients, think spaghetti with olive oil, seasoning and sun dried tomatoes (fresh of course) or a simple plate of lemony smoked salmon. My advice is avoid the vegetable plates and stick to the pastas and meals. The ravioli is a must, as is the half chicken, the venison and the risotto. Always consult the specials which, although usually much pricier, are far more exciting. For dessert, try their famous Affogato, vanilla ice-cream and espresso. Drink wine and a lot of it. Finish with a shot of limoncello.

The Game

The food is divine at Riccardo’s but light so you’ll leave wanting to go on somewhere for drinks. Alternatively you can take a romantic summer walk through the gorgeous neighbourhood, pointing out homes you might one day own…. For more drinks, head down to Eclipse, a dark, blingy but small bar on the Fulham Road. If feeling very cheeky, blag your way into the members-only Chelsea Arts Club opposite (not hard to do). Befriend the eccentric artists in the garden, booze along with the creative alcoholics at the bar and, when it looks like you may be caught, stumble out of the place. You’ve shared both an intimate meal and a daring moment now, the perfect preamble to a bedroom session that is both kinky and straight out romantic. Enjoy.

The Faults

Somewhat expensive, a posh crowd (whether good or bad thing is up to you) and can be a little on the chilly side in the winter (but glorious in the summer).

Sex Factor

3. Nothing beats a good Italian meal and a beautiful neighbourhood.


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