10 romantic restaurants in Ipswich to consider this Valentine’s Day

Cocktails at Aurora

Cocktails at Aurora - Credit: Archant

Staying in can be nice. Stick on a movie. Snuggle under a blanket with a bottle of red and a box of chocolates.

Kesgrave Hall

Kesgrave Hall - Credit: Archant

But, come on, you kind of have to make the effort on Valentine’s Day - right? says Charlotte Smith-Jarvis.

So here are 10 spots to try out this weekend in and around Ipswich. A few roses wouldn’t go amiss either!

Kesgrave Hall

Belly dancing at Alaturka Restaurant.
Manager Semra Avcikaya with dancer Cielo Avila

Belly dancing at Alaturka Restaurant. Manager Semra Avcikaya with dancer Cielo Avila - Credit: Archant

It’s got the English country manor meets American lodge thing going on, with a lot of quirkiness and a real buzz in the restaurant, with its open kitchen.

If you’re taking someone out on a first date this Valentine’s, they’re sure to be impressed by the long driveway entrance and colonial-style exterior of this mansion. Typical dishes from the menu include wild mushroom tortellini with wild mushroom veloute, whole grilled fish with salsa verde and new potatoes, 28 day aged Dedham Vale steak with trimmings and chocolate and meringue roche tart with caramelised hazelnuts.


Alaturka Ipswich

Alaturka Ipswich - Credit: Archant

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Service is super-friendly at this homely Turkish eatery, where owner Semra has managed to build up a solid reputation for good food. Pick your way through the hot and cold mezze because, you know, sharing is romantic and all. From broad bean falafels to hummus topped with spiced lamb, and silky Turkish rice pudding with a dusting of cinnamon, there are too many good things to choose from here.

Salthouse Harbour Hotel

Treat your other half to afternoon tea at this cool waterfront destination with its wacky art collection and quirky dining room. Arriving on a colourful perspex stand, the tea includes sweet and savoury scones, sausage rolls, finger sandwiches and delightful little pastries and cakes, with unlimited hot drinks on the side - including a very indulgent hot chocolate!

Aqua Eight

Aqua Eight - Credit: Archant


Another place to view the jumble of boats on the waterfront. Aurora is known for its cocktails so be sure to try one (or two) before you head upstairs to the slick glass-fronted dining room where the Valentine’s menu, priced at £55pp with a glass of Champagne or £47.50 without, is packed with temptations dreamt up by head chef Stuart Drane. Think Mersea oysters, roast Gressingham duck breast with confit leg and warm chocolate soup with vanilla ice cream and pink pralines.

Aqua Eight

Aqua Eight - Credit: Archant

Aqua Eight

Celebrated Pan Asian restaurant Aqua Eight has the X Factor. An intimately lit, trendy dining room. A fab wine list. And decadent cocktails (or mocktails if you’re driving). Swoon with your amore over the set menu (£45pp with a glass of Prosecco) which includes a selection of starters, crispy duck with pancakes to follow, and then venison with black pepper, bulgogi marinated poussin with plum sauce, diver scallops with wasabi mayo, seasonal vegetables and Thai steamed rice.


The Mariners on the Ipswich Waterfront.

The Mariners on the Ipswich Waterfront. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich’s only permanent floating restaurant. All polished wood, sparkling glasses, linen and portholes, this is a special place. The five course set menu (£49.95pp) at the French brasserie is injected with fine ingredients, from venison which has been home cured with orange and coriander, to half shell Isle of Man queen scallops with creamed leeks and thyme shallots and rack of lamb with confit garlic. To finish there’s an assiette of dainty little puddings to share- from chocolate mousse to iced nougat.

The Cookhouse, Suffolk Food Hall

If you can’t possibly wait until suppertime to woo your lover, how about Valentine’s breakfast at The Cookhouse, looking out to the River Orwell? The price of £29.50 per person includes bucks fizz on arrival, Danish pastry, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and painting with All Fired Up on one of the selected ceramic hearts, mugs, plates or trinket boxes. So you can cover that present at the same time.

The Last Anchor, Ipswich

The Last Anchor, Ipswich

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This family-run restaurant has become a hot ticket in Ipswich for relaxed dining and fab food from chef patron Mel. There’s a great burger to behold. And puddings are yummy.

Nick Henn (left) and Chris Lee at the Bildeston Crown.

Nick Henn (left) and Chris Lee at the Bildeston Crown. - Credit: Archant

The Last Anchor

Another waterfront eatery, The Last Anchor has been a staple Valentine’s Day destination for years. This weekend the restaurant’s special menu (£40 per person) begins with Prosecco and antipasti. Then there’s pretty in pink beetroot bagel with vodka cured salmon and horseradish dressing or crisp duck salad with watermelon and pomegranate, drizzled with a Thai dressing. To follow choose from steak, crusted cornfed chicken with braised bacon and thyme butterbeans, and a whole roasted plaice with samphire and lemon and parsley butter. The cherry on top is pudding – a selection of mini desserts.

The Bildeston Crown

This one, near Hadleigh, is obviously outside of the town but well worth inclusion on this list for the ‘wow’ factor. Chris Lee’s food is spectacular and he is the highest AA Rosette awarded chef in the county. On Sunday night the restaurant has created a luxurious menu of antipasti, followed by steak and lobster with trimmings, and a selection of desserts – all to share with your other half. The menu is £45 per person.

Have you got another suggestion? Share your recommendations below.

See Suffolk’s top romantic hotspots here