The Best Date Night Restaurants In Los Angeles

Whether it’s the first or the 101st, this guide to date night has you covered.
The Best Date Night Restaurants In Los Angeles image

photo credit: Sal's Place

Dating is tough. First dates require input from several close friends and a local astrologist, 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.


photo credit: Jilli



$$$$Perfect For:Drinks & A Light BiteCasual Weeknight Dinner
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Appearing slightly cooler than you are is an essential component of a successful first date, and also why this casual Korean wine bar in Koreatown is a good choice. You’ll snack on excellent fusion-y dishes like rigatoni kimchi alla vodka and squares of shrimp toast while putting away $40 bottles of natural wine. Weekends get crowded but as long as you make a reservation, you’ll have a corner to cuddle up in.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightSmall Plates


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Giant portions during date night never end in anyone’s favor, which means tapas works well. And this warm, energetic Spanish spot in Santa Monica serves LA's best versions. The menu spans several regions, so you can eat crumbly Galician tuna empanadas, Cantabrian anchovy toasts, and grilled Basque squid stuffed with shallots and minced scallops, with most shareable dishes falling below $15. Xuntos is the kind of place to order some food, drink a bit, then order some more, so make sure you like this person, because you’re going to be hanging out for a while. When in doubt, there’s always an icebreaker: vermouth. 

Our only hesitation about date night at Sal’s is that you might want to talk with the charming waitstaff more than the person sitting across from you. It’s all part of the disarming romanticism of this Provincetown-based Italian-ish bistro, which has officially relocated to West Hollywood through June. Don’t be surprised when Siobhan, the linen-wearing host, drops off a complimentary glass of champagne, while your server skirts tables of old-guard locals and explains that if you don’t have enough money to foot the bill (it’s cash only), just pay them back next time. You’ll eat big bowls of pasta and pepper-crusted steak, sip martinis, and realize there’s no way the next date will top this.  

Drinking great wine and eating sushi are two time-tested date night activities. At Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks, you'll experience both at the same time. They serve sushi a la carte, but we prefer to go all-in on the Whole Note omakase. At $155, it’s certainly not cheap, but after eating 12 pieces of high-quality sushi, edamame, miso soup, a starter, hand roll, and dessert, the meal more than earns its price point. And make friends with the sommelier, who can course out all the wine you need.

This old-school Argentinian steakhouse on Melrose feels like the kind of place you'd only know to look for if someone told you about it. There’s a front dining room adorned with antique mirrors and family photographs and a string-lit patio out back where merlot flows like tap water. The menu has no shortage of meat. We’re especially into the prime ribeye, which comes covered in a bright, punchy chimichurri glaze. Whatever you do though, save room for dessert. All the options, like flan and ricotta cheesecake, come out on a giant tableside platter.

Some date nights call for cozy meals at neighborhood bistros. Other times, scoring a table at the hottest new restaurant in town is the priority. If you’re leaning toward the latter, make the trip to Uchi. The modern, sleek Japanese restaurant in West Hollywood originates from Texas, a state not normally associated with pristine sashimi. But Uchi proves otherwise. The menu is…Texas-sized, but we’d suggest concentrating on the nigiri, then scattering in small plates like tempura, pork belly with pumpkin, and smoked yellowtail on crispy yuca. And feel free to finally wear that daring jacket you bought last year—people here are dressed to impress.

Spina is a small Italian restaurant in Atwater Village, and, in many ways, the ideal place to flirt with someone. It’s walk-in only so chances are you’ll have 20-ish minutes to break the ice before a seat opens up. The menu is short, which is great for an indecisive date, but still features rotating specials to keep things fresh. We suggest sitting at the bar with a special someone, where you can share nebbiolo and ricotta-stuffed ravioli, and watch the kitchen staff toss pasta in the air all night. The proximity to the stove might make you a little sweaty, but at least your date will think their cheeky jokes have some effect on you.

We don’t know the exact science behind it, but the combination of good pasta, great wine, and low lighting is foolproof in the world of early-in-the-game dates. It’s why a night at Etra is a slam dunk. This dark Italian spot in Melrose Hill feels like a secret wine bar in Berlin that only fashion-y people know about. The floors are tiled, the walls are plywood, and every person is so unbelievably well-dressed you’ll wonder if they’re hired extras. But it’s more than just vibes here—the food is excellent, too. Start with the chicory Caesar and decadent carne cruda and end with the rigatoni and a pork ribeye dusted in fennel pollen that’s easily the best thing on the menu.

You want to splurge a bit on a tasting menu, but aren’t looking to fork over two car payments in one date. A night at Baroo is an ideal middle-ground. The only dining option at this Korean spot in the Arts District is an eight-course $110 tasting menu designed to be paired with their interesting list of wines and Korean spirits. Think milky makgeolli and yeast rice squares topped with 'nduja and pichuberry, parae-battered skate with funky Riesling, and lots of fermented vegetables. The modern, industrial aesthetic helps keep things breezy and casual. 

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

If you dated on the Westside between 2016 and 2022, chances are you know Coucou by its former name, Chez Tex. That barebones wine bar was one of the best casual date spots in Santa Monica, and the good news for everyone seeking love is that not much has changed at Coucou. This bistro leans more French than its predecessor, with dishes like steak frites and mussels mariniere, and art-covered walls that say, “I’m in a Parisian apartment!” Just don’t assume you’re in for a sleepy night of red wine and French fries. With a chic crowd and electro-pop quietly thumping in the background, this is a place to look hot. Also, they just opened a second location in West Hollywood.

Lingua Franca might be the first restaurant in the city’s history to successfully romanticize the LA River, and that means you can trust it for date night. The warm American spot sits right on the river in Frogtown (you have to walk on the bike path to get to the front entrance) and already feels like a worn-in feel neighborhood hangout even though it only opened in the spring of 2023. There’s plenty of natural wine to drink, a string-lit back patio, and a rotating menu that can best be described as elevated picnic food. Think crunchy lavash with albacore crudo, Mashti Malone’s ice cream, and a particularly good burger served on a crispy english muffin.   

photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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Things are going well. You’re planning a fifth date and enthusiastically replying to each other’s texts. And, after several nights of the same sorts of cutesy dinner dates, you need a place like Amiga Amore to mix things up. This Highland Park spot combines Mexican and Italian dishes in a way that feels unique rather than gimmicky. You’ll eat well-constructed, hearty dishes like plump elote agnolotti, a caprese salad with diced cactus, and a bowl of chorizo and clams with thick slabs of toast. The small interior space has a tiny bar area for walk-ins, but for date night, we suggest heading out back to the string-lit patio. 

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.

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 are as cool as your highly-curated dating profile would suggest. 

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