The Most Romantic Restaurants In America
Because true love deserves more than takeout.
The dating world might be full of sneaky links and situationships, but being completely, unabashedly in love is a highly recommended radical act. Go on and lean into the butterflies by booking a table for two at any one of these extremely romantic restaurants throughout the country.
In this guide, you’ll find a vine-covered house that’ll have you daydreaming about backyard weddings and a candle-lit wine bar where you can playfully fight over the last bite of duck rillettes with the person you split the utility bill with. And of course, the perfect spot for an extra special date with the real number one: yourself.
THE ROMANTIC SPOTS
photo credit: Kate Previte
You should definitely book a reservation at Manhatta to impress your date with unparalleled New York City views that don’t require cramming into an elevator with loads of tourists in Midtown. The warm, dim light and floor-to-ceiling windows will take your breath away faster than realizing you and your date have extremely compatible astrology charts. Order the five-course tasting menu, which will give you plenty of time to unpack their attachment style.
La Vara is another great place for a romantic date in New York City. It’s a neighborhood spot where you can enjoy anchovies with dukkah butter in a cozy space with exposed brick and tea light candles while eavesdropping on the table next to you. An after-dinner walk through the brownstone-lined streets of Cobble Hill will have you dreaming about one of the most romantic things of all: home ownership.
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photo credit: Sarah Felker
Empress By Boon
If you’re looking to impress your date with a meal that feels like a party (either because they like that sort of thing, or you’d like them to like that sort of thing), head to San Francisco’s Empress by Boon. Splurge on an order of perfectly crisp and fatty pipa duck, but know that any of the menu items here are winners. There’s also a fantastic view and plush leather lounge seating set inside of a gorgeous pergola. Think of it as an excuse to wear that outfit that’d be too hot for your cousin’s wedding but would have you feeling overdressed at your regular wine bar.
The Corson Building
If you live in the Seattle area, you’ve probably gone to a wedding in the Corson Building’s gorgeous backyard. And if not, a meal here will likely leave you daydreaming about marriage (or at the very least, eloping). The Corson Building is actually a restaurant that’s inside a 1920s vine-covered house filled with vintage decor, so we won’t blame you if it sparks a serious conversation about quitting your jobs to become cottagecore homesteaders in between bites of ricotta dumplings with delicata squash.
photo credit: Sammy Faze
Chicago’s Kumiko is great for anything romantic, including an early-in-the-game date, anniversary, or when there’s an important question burning a hole in your pocket. The gorgeous main bar casts a moody glow over the space and has lots of small seafood bites and unique cocktails. They also have Kikko, an eight-seat basement omakase bar, but much like you and your college ex who studied abroad, it’s currently on hiatus.
photo credit: Richard Casteel
Wine bars are almost always sexy, but 13 Celsius in Houston dials it up to 100. The combination of candles and historic patinas on the walls will make you feel like you’re a lost time traveler (in a hot, Outlander type of way). They also have a great list of wines that you can sample while debating how many weddings you’re actually going to attend this year out of the 15 you got invited to. Plates of charcuterie, baked brie, and duck rillettes make for easy shareables, and there's also a cozy toast-your-own s’mores dessert.
photo credit: Roger Ho
If your date’s love language is excellent Mexican food, you should know two things: they are almost certainly a keeper, and you should take them to Suerte in Austin. The acclaimed Mexican spot feels cool without trying too hard, and the outdoor patio overlooking East 6th Street is ideal for coming up with fake inner lives for the strangers that walk past. The food is really the star here, to the point that you might find yourself promising to your partner, “I love you more than I love these tacos.”
photo credit: Chris Prosser
Rasika is a fine dining Indian spot in DC that’s been around for more than a decade, but still holds up for celebrating a special occasion. The dining room is filled with warm, flattering light, so throw on a new shirt and be prepared to answer serious questions like: “would you still love me if I were a worm?” If you’ve had other dates ruined by allergies, Rasika has specific nut, dairy, and gluten-free menus that can help you avoid cross-contamination, because nothing is hotter than a restaurant that takes dietary restrictions seriously.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Take a break from your routine of watching Mamma Mia on the couch with cartons of takeout and book your next date night at Mandolin Aegean Bistro, even if it’s just for yourself. Walking into this Mediterranean spot feels like stepping off a ferry in Santorini, but without the commitment of giving up your PTO. The beautiful white and blue plates really lean into the Greek Isles vibes, as do their contents of grilled octopus, grilled halloumi, and spicy kebab wrapped in a fluffy piece of pita. Plus, Mandolin also makes for a great first stop if you’re planning on a night of dancing.
photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee
Lazy Betty has all the wow factor that you’d expect from a nearly $200-per-person tasting menu, but it doesn’t feel pretentious or stuffy—instead of ironed white tablecloths, the dining room has plenty of calm, diffuse light and plush banquettes with throw pillows. There’s a six-course and eight-course tasting menu, both of which give you plenty of time to get your partner up to speed on whatever niche online drama you’ve been following on TikTok. If you want to really make a night of it, go for the caviar service with steamed milk buns and scallion pancakes.
photo credit: Jean-Georges
If you bring a date to Philadelphia’s Jean-Georges, it should probably be for a very important anniversary or occasion, or else your partner will be expecting a ring. Any meal located on the 59th floor of the Four Seasons is as romantic as it is luxurious, but Jean-Georges knocks it out of the park when it comes to dishes like egg toast piled high with caviar. If you’re looking to toast to getting through dinner without mentioning each others’ mothers, there’s also a champagne cart that goes well with the swanky interiors.
photo credit: Laura La Monaca
Nature is a Japanese-French restaurant in Waikiki that’s a quiet respite from tourists. Head here to share plates of chicken liver mousse with guava confit and melba toast after a day of diligently applying sunscreen to your date’s back. The gray lime washed walls and plants hanging above cozy dining nooks make the space feel moody and cozy—an ideal place to plan your next vacation while still on vacation.
This Japanese American spot in San Diego is where you want to go to celebrate those important milestones. Sure, something like a new promotion would work, but so would celebrating the fact that you’ve lived with your partner for a year and have finally come to an agreement on how to load the dishwasher. A walk through the space feels like exploring a well-stocked European villa: there’s a wine room with floor-to-ceiling shelves complete with a Beauty and the Beast-style ladder, freshly-pressed table linens, and plush chairs that wouldn’t look out of place at Versailles. Everything here feels incredibly fancy, from gold-leaf dessert preparations to the well-dressed and knowledgeable staff. Plus, Addison has one of the best wine and cocktail lists in the city.
photo credit: Brian Samuels
If your date is the type to take candid museum photos of you on Portra 400 film, they’ll probably love a meal at Celeste. Everything at this Peruvian restaurant in Boston feels charming, from the moody blue neon above the small open kitchen to the hung glass and cookware that would make Carmy from The Bear proud. Go here, order all the ceviches and crudo, and then take pics of your date sipping on pisco sours to soft launch them on your socials.