The Best Date Night Restaurants In Los Angeles guide image


The Best Date Night Restaurants In Los Angeles

Whether it’s the first or the 101st, this guide to date night has you covered.

Dating is tough. First dates require the strategy of a war council, second dates are arguably even worse, and if you make it to a third one, you have to finally start telling the truth about your life. But what about the 20th date? Or the 'please god let’s not sit on the couch and watch HGTV again' date? None of this is easy. But we’re here to help. Read on for our best LA bets for all-around dating success.


photo credit: Barra Santos

Barra Santos review image

Barra Santos


1215 Cypress Ave, Los Angeles
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Falling into the Date Spot Where You Aren’t Trapped In A Booth All Night category, this Portuguese wine bar in Cypress Park is a great pick if you’re hoping to keep things casual while still showing off that you know about cool stuff like fortified wine and cured meats. There are no reservations, the only seating inside is basically at the bar, and if you’ve never given sherry a shot, the staff will do everything in their power to change that. The food menu is short, but between the lemony tuna crudo and shaved Iberico ham or more substantial dishes like confit chicken leg in vinegary piri-piri sauce, there’s not a single dish we wouldn’t recommend. 

Part natural wine shop, part retro vinyl store, and part pizza parlor, this funky, disco-ball adorned spot in Topanga Canyon is a great place to post up with a date and let them know you aren’t defined by your corporate marketing career. You’ll snack on nicely charred Neapolitan pies, sip natural wine from Puglia, and pretend for a few hours that neither of you has to do a presentation on Q2 revenue goals in the morning.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

If you feel like you’ve been to every splashy date night spot in town, add Loreto to your list. Located in the sleepy enclave of Frogtown, this impressive Mexican seafood restaurant feels more like an upscale place in the Arts District—there’s a cavernous dining room with exposed wooden beams, a sleek wrap-around bar, and lots of very well-dressed people who are also on dates. While some of the raw fish dishes can get expensive, the real date night hack is to order the whole grilled fish. At just $64, it comes with rice, beans, escabeche, blue corn tortillas, three different salsas, and unlimited quesadillas (yes, really), and is a feast unto itself. If you’re looking to keep costs down, you could order just that and walk away thrilled. 

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Bar Chelou review image

Bar Chelou



OpenTable logo

Dinner and a show is a tried-and-true date night format, and if you’re looking for the most cultured version of that category, you won’t find a better one-two punch than dinner at Bar Chelou followed by a show at Pasadena Playhouse. Not only is the Playhouse one of the top regional theaters in the country, but Bar Chelou is a French-ish bistro that completely breaks the mold of sleepy pre-theater dinner spots. The moody, barely lit dining room buzzes into the night with other dates sharing hearty, artfully plated dishes like snapped peas topped with smoky crumbled sausage and tuna crudo in a celery root puree. And while there are plenty of people eating here who aren't seeing a show later, if you are one of them, the staff will make sure you’re paid up and comfortably in your seats by showtime. 

Given the sheer number of theaters and concert venues, Hollywood is a place many people end up in for “dinner and a show” dates. But deciding where to actually eat can be complicated. Keep it simple and go to Colibri. Taking over Los Balcones on Vine, Colibri is a Peruvian spot with a warm, romantic interior and menu that focuses on traditional classics. There’s citrusy ceviche with sea bass and sweet potato, briny squid ink rice, and tallerines rojos, a ragu-based pasta topped with crispy chicken thigh and housemade cheese sauce. There’s also a fun cocktail menu filled with pisco sours, caipirinhas, and chilcanos. If you’ve got tickets to something at Pantages, Palladium, The Fonda, or Hotel Cafe, Colibri is within a few blocks walk.

If you’ve been with someone long enough, there are limited date scenarios that actually sound exciting. A meal at The Old Place should be one of them. Located up in the Santa Monica Mountains, this 20th-century saloon-turned-steakhouse is one of our favorite destination restaurants in LA. Our recommendation is to snag an early evening reservation and then drive up early to explore the surrounding shops before your meal—including a great little wine bar right next door. After a glass or two of pinot, head back over for a glorious, over-the-top meal that includes chicken pot pie topped with mashed potatoes, decadent noodle bakes, and one of the best ribeyes in town

When it comes to fancy, big-deal date spots, Hollywood is loaded with splashy options, but the understated Gwen remains one of our favorites. This art deco-designed meat emporium has developed a strong neighborhood following since it opened in 2016 and is one of the most consistently great $$$$ meals in the area. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings, floor-length glass lockers showcase prized meats, and multiple open hearths roar in the kitchen. It’s an epic setting, but the energy is classy and subdued—perfect for a high-end date night. Be sure to get the lamb chops, risotto, and 30-day aged ribeye.

With only a couple of posters on the walls, two communal tables, and a few chairs scattered on the sidewalk, Voodoo Vin feels like a no-name Parisian cafe that a local sent you to with the qualifier, “no one knows about this place—it’s great.” The quaint Virgil Village wine bar isn’t necessarily dripping in romance, but there’s an intimate charm that’ll let the person sitting across from you know the night is special. For food, we absolutely love the beef tartare toast with Caesar cream, spicy ‘nduja bolognese, and a plate of homemade mortadella with pickled sweet chilis. Warning: Voodoo doesn’t accept reservations (never ideal for date night), but even on weekends, wait times rarely exceed 20 minutes.

If the idea of planning and executing the perfect date night triggers every anxiety portal in your body, just head to Lasita. At this Filipino rotisserie/wine bar in Chinatown, there’s no pressure to make decisions or a long-standing reservation, and you and your date are free to hang out as long as you want. Looking to drink natural wine, get to know one another, then share some snacks? Go right ahead. Maybe things are going better than expected and you want to add more to your order. No problem. Head right to the host stand and order all the garlicky chicken, pork belly lechon, dips, and sauces your table has room for. At Lasita, the only rule is there are no rules (though we do insist that you order the pancit).  

You just got out of a movie at the Los Feliz 6 with your date and neither of you is ready to call it just yet. Go grab some snacks and a nightcap or two at Nossa Caipirinha Bar. The tiny Brazilian spot on Hillhurst opened in 2021 as a more formal restaurant, but has now evolved into the kind of casual hangout spot perfect for a last-minute add-on to date night. There’s an open-air dining room and a sidewalk patio—both offering excellent Los Feliz people-watching—plus hearty bar food like chicken heart skewers and mortadella sandwiches, and of course refreshing caipirinhas, the daiquiri-like national cocktail of Brazil.

A restaurant with a roaring open fire in the dining room is always going to be a good bet for date night, making Dunsmoor an easy choice for a slightly romantic dinner. And yet, the real move at this Southern-ish spot in Glassell Park is to skip the dining room altogether and just walk into the hidden wine bar around the back. Here you’ll be able to chat up the sommelier about their favorite bottles that aren’t listed on the menu, eat from an abridged bar menu (that includes all the major highlights from the main menu), and prove to your date that you actually are as cool as your highly-curated dating profile would suggest.  

Cento’s new indoor/outdoor space in West Adams is certainly bigger than the original operation, but it still maintains the look and feel of a neighborhood wine and pasta bar—and that’s exactly what date night calls for. There’s a cozy, string-lit front patio if you’re looking for something classically romantic, but the bar inside is even more exciting. Here’s where you and your date will get a front-row seat to the pasta show: spicy pomodoro covered in basil, and the iconic beet spaghetti drenched in brown butter, whipped ricotta, and chives. Cento’s expanded menu has plenty of excellent new dishes like savory chicken liver crostini and banana pudding tiramisu that will live in your subconscious for weeks, but at the end of the day, you’re here to eat a lot of pasta—which is still among the best in the city.

Jones Hollywood is what we call an ace restaurant. Pull this casual Italian Weho spot out for any kind of date imaginable, and Jones will get the job done—and then some. The menu is full of solid staples like margherita pizza and spaghetti and meatballs served in a skillet, and their briny Dirty Sue martini is one of our favorites in town. The atmosphere inside always feels like a cool after-party in the Hills, but not in a way that’s intimidating. At Jones, everyone feels like a Hollywood insider.

On paper, the concept of Mātu is sort of absurd. This dimly lit spot in Beverly Hills specializes in a five-course prix-fixe menu consisting of various premium Wagyu beef dishes. It's an indulgence of the highest variety, and yet, the experience inside is toned-down and sensible. For starters, the prix-fixe menu is $78. Sure, that’s a lot of money and no one should be mistaking Matu for a casual Tuesday spot, but to be eating five courses of premium meat on S. Beverly Blvd. for under $100 is a good value. Secondly, the food is excellent and coursed out in a way that doesn’t feel like a grotesque meat parade. You’ll sip clear earthy beef broth, sample thinly sliced pieces of NY strip steak, and finish with a wood-fired ribeye and perfectly cooked broccolini. Mātu is the kind of place where celebrating an anniversary or the fact that you’re head-over-heels for this person feels euphoric—without having to constantly check the prices. 

The Best First Date Spots In LA guide image

LA Guide

The Best First Date Spots In LA

One might expect a “globally inspired” restaurant that’s been open since 2011 to feel somewhat tired at this point, but not Tar & Roses. There’s still a genuine excitement at this popular Santa Monica spot, and it’s because the food is better than ever. You and your date are going to eat dishes like shellfish curry, strawberry crostatas, and share a plate of oxtail dumplings you’ll both be making mental note of to have served at your eventual wedding.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

11 Ridiculously Romantic Restaurants For When You’re Shamelessly In Love  guide image
11 Ridiculously Romantic Restaurants For When You’re Shamelessly In Love

Believe it or not, it does happen.

The Best LA Bars & Restaurants With Live Music guide image

20 of our favorite spots to catch a live set without buying a ticket.

The Toughest Reservations In LA Right Now (And How To Get Them) guide image

Our thoughts on the most exclusive restaurants in Los Angeles and advice on how to get a table.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store