‘Where can we go in Warwickshire for a special dinner?’ is probably one of the most common questions I get asked as a blogger. Joyfully, the answer always results in a long list of great restaurants in Warwickshire and Coventry, from Michelin-starred venues to others that turn out great food, often with little recognition.
From supper club style experiences to swanky restaurants, unusual experiences and old favourites, you’ll find a great selection across the whole county, with brilliant places to eat in Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Warwick, Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon and yes, even Rugby.
As ever, this little list is far from exhaustive and just includes some of the places you could try, but it might give you a bit of inspiration and has certainly reminded me that there are plenty more bookings I need to be making!
Villa Capri, Leamington Spa
Villa Capri just feels special. The interior and ambience is lovely, the food great and the service fabulous. It blends traditional, bold Italian flavours with a feel of refinement. It also has a lovely bar area for a romantic post-dinner cocktail or two.
I’m yet to have the full experience at Tailors (yes, I know, I’m rubbish) but I’ve seen enough on a few work-related visits and through reviews from people whose opinions I trust to know it’s fabulous. From what I’ve seen and tasted, it probably should have its Michelin star, but that really doesn’t matter. It’s fully-booked for months in advance and I know it’s the go-to for plenty of people for their special occasions, with good reason.
La Mesa, Warwick
This is somewhere I have been and while La Mesa might not be your stereotypical fancy schmancy restaurant, if you want somewhere memorable, with great food, personality, and a relaxed atmosphere where you can forget the world and just be together.
Cafe Vin Cinq, Rugby
Cafe Vin Cinq is a mainstay in Rugby. It offers classic dishes in a lovely setting across two floors with the bonus of a cocktail bar tucked up on the third floor. I haven’t been for a while but I know it’s still popular.
Earlsdon Supper Club, Coventry
I’m still yet to try Tobias’ food officially, but seeing him in action at the cook-off that won him Best Chef at The Foodie Awards in 2021 was enough to demonstrate that this guy can cook. His supper clubs use ingredients grown himself and he uses Italian influences as well as other twists to create brilliant dishes. The setting is unique, so it’s definitely one for a one-off night.
The Cross, Kenilworth
One of my favourite local places for a special occasion, you’d be forgiven for not realising The Cross has a Michelin Star when you walk in, purely because it’s so relaxed and welcoming. Then you taste the food and reminded that this is a place where experts are at work. Brilliant food – innovative without messing with the classics, and an all-round wonderful experience.
La Coppola, Leamington Spa
I think I’m right in saying La Coppola is the OG of Italian restaurants in Leamington and has always been well known for its beautiful setting. An oyster bar, great Italian food, friendly service and a brilliant wine selection. A lovely spot for a special occasion 365 days of the year.
The Boathouse, Stratford
I’ve never actually eaten here, but my friend Ness (@Hungriness on Instagram – go and check her out) swears by it so it’s definitely one to try. This riverside bistro certainly has the setting for a special occasion and apparently the food is banging too.
Okay, perhaps it doesn’t slightly count as Warwickshire but I can’t help myself. Hampton Manor is the place for special occasions. Whether you fork out for their foodie staycation, get yourself to Peel’s, book in to their new venue Grace and Savour or eat Masterchef: The Professionals winner Stu Deeley’s food in Smoke, it’s all undoubtedly brilliant. I am far from having all the experiences on offer here, but what I’ve seen is enough to convince me it’s the place for a special occasion.
Oscars, Leamington Spa
Oscars is a mainstay of the food scene in Leamington and if you’re looking for a proper French-inspired bistro serving up classic dishes in a special setting, plus great wine and lovely service, you’ve found it. You’ll feel transported to France despite being in the middle of Leamington.
Gourmet Food Kitchen, Coventry
Gourmet Food Kitchen is a great place for date night – if you can get a place! Tony’s cooking is easily as good as any top restaurant, yet super accessible thanks to an amazing price point. Get yourself there for a date, or go with friends or a group. Just get there.
Another place I should have been to far more than I have. Paul Foster’s Salt isn’t your average Michelin Star restaurant and has a wonderfully casual feel, but don’t let it kid you into thinking the food is anything less than special. And don’t forget the Chef’s Table upstairs for your very own fine dining festivities away from everyone else.
The Pickled Crab, Warwick
You could easily walk past The Pickled Crab on Smith Street in Warwick, but you shouldn’t. As well as being an excellent fishmonger and turning out great street food, Nigel produces fabulous dishes with the freshest of ingredients and is now doing tasting menus too that are incredibly affordable. And cocktails. And affogato. What more do you bloody need for a great date night?
The Woodsman, Stratford
Very much towards the top of my list, The Woodsman has everything that I’d personally want in a date night. A load of meat and game cooked over fire, a cocktail trolley, big sharing platters, great cocktails, and it’s dog friendly too. Get me there!
In the interests of transparency, Loxleys are a client of mine, but I’ve eaten there as a customer too and all you have to do is look at how busy it is, the reviews, and try it yourself and you’ll see that it’s a great place for a special night. Cosy corners, a great menu, regular specials, a broad wine list and cocktails too. It’s got it all.