The Most Romantic Seattle Restaurants for Date Night guide image


The Most Romantic Seattle Restaurants for Date Night

Where to eat when you want to feel like you're in a pivotal scene in a rom-com.

What makes a restaurant romantic? Is it flickering candlelight and white tablecloths? A place with soft lighting that makes you look perpetually well-rested? The absence of shrieking children? Romantic restaurants can take many forms (though not having shrieking children is non-negotiable), whether it’s a dark place to stare into someone’s eyes while swirling a wine glass, or a cute trattoria that inadvertently charms you into booking that ill-fated trip to Rome. Seattle doesn’t have many of them, but here are the ones that really lean into slathering on the romance.


photo credit: Canlis

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2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle
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Suppose you want to literally impress the pants off of a date. In that case, the mid century modern panache of Canlis will probably achieve this goal of yours, especially if you use the word “panache” during the evening’s conversation. Between the overall darkness, dress code, thoughtful service, worth-it-at-least-once tweezer food, a pianist on hire every night, and stunning view of a glittering Lake Union, it doesn’t get much more romantic than this Queen Anne institution. Just don’t forget that swinging by the bar early for a cocktail while looking sexy is half of the fun.

The Corson Building is a great farm-to-table restaurant that comes in handy for literally every romantic relationship milestone. If it’s pretty early in the game but you want to lock this down, an a la carte meal outside on the beautiful garden terrace that overlooks wood nymph sculptures should help. Hand over a key to your apartment over albacore confit and braised short rib with creamed cabbage and bacon. Maybe in a few years you can propose at the end of a prix-fixe tasting inside the antique brick cottage-like dining room. Then, get married here—it’s a wedding venue, too. 

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If you put a lot of money into Smeg appliances or sensory deprivation tank sessions, you may not be able to take that trip to Italy. But Spinasse is just as romantic as a candlelit dinner in Piedmont. You can watch pasta being made in the back of the restaurant all night long while sipping an Aperol cocktail, which is enough to set the tone. But then there’s the food, like tajarin with fragrant sage butter, fresh cavatelli with braised short rib, and milk-braised pork with semolina gnocchi—it’s all outstanding enough for you to decide that staying in America is just fine.

The Pink Door goes above and beyond the usual romantic night out requirements. There’s a secret entrance, dimly-lit trattoria surroundings, excellent Italian food, excellent service, and the occasional acrobat suspended above you on silks. The tasteful pomp and circumstance make it a place where you’ll want to break out that nice outfit that’s been collecting dust in your closet for months. This should be your first choice for an anniversary, Valentine’s day, or a one-on-one birthday dinner. You could even pop the question here by getting your server to wedge the ring in between layers of lasagna.

If darkness is an indicator of how sexy a restaurant is, List is the pinnacle of romance. It’s incredibly difficult to see (but in a good way) with an abundance of red light bulbs to add to the sultry mood. Is the food phenomenal? Not really, but that’s not why you’re here. You’re here to eat some gnocchi swimming in truffle cream across from someone that files joint taxes with you. If there’s a wait for a table, head to Wakefield Bar around the corner for a drink in the meantime.

This retrofitted historical home in Ballard is not trying to shove the romance in your face. Instead, there are subtleties to appreciate, like teeny library-style lamps, rustic shiplap, and sparkling wine that comes in fancy coupes. It’s the perfect place for homemade pasta and caesar salad without dealing with the over-the-top ambience of the white-tablecloth Italian spots in town. Finish the night up with a stroll along Ballard Ave and a scoop of gelato from D’Ambrosio

If there ever was a restaurant that screams “let’s rent an Airbnb in Leavenworth for the weekend and never leave the bedroom,” it’s Il Nido. This Italian spot located inside the historic Alki Homestead has upscale lodge vibes, candlelight galore, and a damn good smoked pork chop for two. That alone should set the mood, but there’s also a cozy bar, should you want to slowly sip an amaro-based nightcap while gazing into each other’s eyes.

A meal at Cafe Juanita feels like crashing a Microsoft executive’s dinner party at their Medina estate in the best way possible. With a dark, sleek space that can only belong on the Eastside where the tech daddies play, it's a restaurant where you can dress up and propose to the love of your life over A5 miyazaki wagyu and homemade tagliatelle with chanterelles. Their $185 tasting menus have both vegetarian and vegan options, which also makes Cafe Juanita incredibly versatile for a cuisine that tends to prioritize pork and butter.

File Single Shot under your “romantic secret weapons.” The whole establishment is just one small room with a marble bar and a candle on every table, and the subdued moodiness makes you feel far removed from the sidewalk-shaking bass drops of Pike/Pine. Plus, it’s always easy to book a table. Grab some cocktails and small plates, including the great margherita flatbread topped with prosciutto. Or, if you’re feeling really romantic, spring for a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape alongside a New York strip with red wine sauce and mashed potatoes, while passionately promising never to leave the fridge water pitcher empty ever again.

Nothing says, “be mine, baby” like sitting beside your significant other in a glowing dining room with dainty china plates and raw cow torsos on display. Bateau is a date night no-brainer if you enjoy eating beef, either in the form of one of many limited-quantity nightly cuts, rendered down as a fat soak for the pomme frites, or ground to make the best burger in the entire city. Don’t hold us responsible if you accidentally say “I love you too, Bateau” instead of your sweetie’s name later that night.

At Sushi Kashiba, you’ll never have to wonder about the quality of the hamachi, or the temperature of the sushi rice, or the amount of wasabi dolloped within your nigiri. A night at this seafood institution is going to be perfect, and the couple hundred dollars you’ll spend on raw fish will be worth it—whether you’re at a table or you showed up an hour or so before opening to secure seats at the counter. It’s all a blur of sake, soy-basted tuna, silky uni, fried prawn heads, and a sweet egg finale that we wish was available at the supermarket. If you’re looking to connect with someone you love through a powerful experience that isn’t tandem bungee jumping, this is the place.

Sometimes you’d like to treat a date to a tasting menu, but those can get pricey—especially if you might be trying to save up for a ring (if your significant other sent this guide to you, consider the hint officially dropped). Tomo’s outstanding dinner tasting is around $78, which is one of the more reasonably-priced ones in Seattle. From start to finish, it’s a seasonally-changing voyage, from charred squash bits floating in stracciatella cream and polkadots of chile and dandelion oil to extravagant kakigori topped with fluffy cheese whip that you should absolutely add on for $20. And if you need to give yourself a quick pep talk in the restroom before asking if they’ll go halfsies on a Costco membership, there are soothing whale noises to ground you.

Eden Hill is the kind of place where you’ll step inside and encounter a sea of couples. We’re not sure if they’re all romantically involved, but we do know that this Queen Anne spot works wonders for a special two-person meal. The menu is full of dishes like savory French toast with dungeness crab, cauliflower chilaquiles with lime cream and manchego, and foie gras-infused cake batter with sprinkles served in an overturned mixing bowl with the spatula included. If you’re still riding the high of having found a babysitter for the night, you could order the $95 per person tasting menu, which is a surprise each evening.

At first glance, this tapas bar in Madison Valley doesn’t slap you across the face with romantic energy. But once you descend down a flight of stairs, see the cavernous stone-paved wine cellar full of candlelit bistro tables, and barely get interrupted by the servers, it becomes clear quickly that the date night tone has officially been set. You’re here to lounge among the dusty Tempranillo and gaze upon your cutie in between mouthfuls of jamón, tortilla española, olives, and sherry-blasted button mushrooms.

Copine is inherently impressive by design. The space is sleek, but still feels intimate—thanks to chocolatey-wooden furniture and a Glassybaby on every table—and the mostly-French menu is excellent. Among the crudos, smoked pork bellies, housemade agnolotti, tempura-battered salmon topped with roe, and exquisite cuts of beef is Copine’s greatest contribution to the world: a warm brioche thyme roll. It’s fluffy, a little earthy, and when you cut it open to layer on some fresh butter, it’s much steamier than whatever happens after dinner.

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