Let’s face it - 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 the 20th date? Or the 120th 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.
We don’t need to tell you that French things are sexy. But it bears repeating - FRENCH THING ARE VERY SEXY. And when it all comes in the form of a beautiful restaurant with an even better outdoor patio, the romance is off the charts - making AOC a date night no-brainer. You’ll have to put on your best button-down for this one, but you'll want to - with a vibe this special, and food this good (the Spanish fried chicken is a must), you’re definitely here to impress.
Despite the crowds and the scene and the nightmare prospect of trying to find parking at night around Abbot Kinney, Gjelina remains one of LA’s ultimate date night spots. You’re going to ignore that girl wearing her sunglasses inside at 9pm, and instead focus on all the things that Gjelina gets right. The pizza, the gnocchi, the wine, the vibe, and that back patio where everything wrong in the world goes away.
L&E has been around for a few years now, and yet it still somehow flies under the radar. The two-story oyster bar in the heart of Silver Lake has one of the strongest curb appeals of the entire Eastside, with the food and vibe inside to back it all up. This is the definition of a true neighborhood spot, but with an upscale atmosphere that makes it feel special. Also, google aphrodisiac.
After enduring a terrible kitchen fire that nearly closed the whole place down, the Santa Monica golden boy is back and as good as ever. This place just gets everything right - a cool atmosphere, excellent food (the best duck in town), and a back patio that will make any date a success.
At the end of the day, old-school Italian always wins out on date night. And at Little Dom’s in Los Feliz, you’re getting the kind of meatball and red sauce dishes you just don’t come across frequently in LA. Add that its location on Hillhurst feels like a backdrop to a Woody Allen movie, and you’ve got yourself date night glory.
And some nights, you just want something completely different. Cicada Club is where you go when you want to put on a suit jacket or a dress and dance the night away to big band swing music. Be sure to check the calendar online to see who’s playing when, and then go all in on the very reasonable pre-fixe dinner for $59 a person. The food is good, the bars is serving up classic cocktails (hello again, Singapore Sling), and the dance floor is where you want to be.
This hidden Laurel Canyon spot has been a sceney Hollywood staple for a long time now, but come on a weeknight, and you’ll find the quiet, romantic version that makes this place so special. The food is familiar, but it’s also downright delicious. Think pizzas, pastas, and perhaps the best grilled salmon in town. Just be sure to Uber if you can - parking is non-existent.
Norah is the newest spot on this list, but no one’s going to argue that this beautiful Weho spot isn't a date night winner. Smack in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd., Norah brought a classy, elegant option to an area that surprisingly lacks such places. The American menu isn't reinventing the wheel, but you won't care because it’s good and everything is easily shareable. There’s also not a bad cocktail on the list.
Mexican food might not be the first thing that comes to mind for sexy date night, but Broken Spanish is modern Mexican food unlike anything you’ve probably had before. Oxtail quesadilla? Lamb neck tamale? You'll be into it. And you’ll also be into the dark, romantic space and a wine list that goes on forever.
Located in an ivy-covered building along Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, Firefly is one of those rare LA restaurants that seems to have only gotten better with age. There’s the library-themed lounge area up front that's still perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail, and a patio that remains one of the most romantic spaces in the Valley. The food got a recent overhaul too, and it’s better than ever. Order the mushroom papardelle.
Is there anything sexier than a night out for fancy sushi? We think not. This town has no shortage of excellent places to get your raw fish on, but when it comes to date night, Asanebo strikes that ideal chord. The Ventura Blvd. space is sleek and cool, far more so than your typical Tuesday night go-to white-walled sushi bar. Omakase is generally the move here, but it also doesn’t have to be - they have a full a la carte menu that’s excellent.
In that strange, sleepy section of Culver City West you always thought was Mar Vista (but somehow has really good restaurants) sits Hatchet Hall. The modern Southern spot has quickly become one of our favorite dinner go-to’s for an absolutely fantastic menu in a beautiful space. You’re definitely going to want to sit on front patio for dinner, but be sure to stroll around inside until you find the hidden bar in the back. You’ll be drinking there afterwards.
Little Beast is one of those places you always forget about, and then remember it, and then make plans to get back there. The converted, vintage bungalow in Eagle Rock has a fantastic, affordable menu (the pork chop is a must), all the parking in the world, and a bright back patio that makes you feel like you’re eating at a friend's house. Whatever you do, save room for the brioche bread pudding.
Culver City isn’t exactly the first place your mind goes to when you think old Hollywood, but in the center of its lively downtown sits the Culver Hotel - one of LA’s landmark buildings, steeped in movie history, and home to an excellent bar/restaurant situation perfect for a slightly off-center-in-a-good-way date night. Think live jazz music, silent movies playing on the wall, Wizard of Oz themed cocktails, and a solid bar menu.
Restaurants come and go all the time, but no matter what, there is always The Little Door. One of the most reliable date night spots in the entire city, this tiny brasserie in the heart of 3rd St. has an extremely romantic patio and a French-tinged menu that never disappoints. Whether it's the third date or you've been together for years, The Little Door always hits the mark.
This bright, airy restaurant/market a block off the Venice boardwalk pretty much has the brunch thing on lockdown, but we love it for a casual date night too. The menu changes frequently, so just go in expecting good food across the board, and a vibe that’s laid back but romantic. Word to the wise - you’re still by the boardwalk, so parking is a nightmare. Definitely Uber or bring some cash for a lot.