4 Fancy Date Night Restaurants At The Wharf guide image


4 Fancy Date Night Restaurants At The Wharf

You’ll look almost as good as these restaurants.

You’re both dressed to the nines—or at least something a few steps up from a work-from-home uniform with no pants. You’ve posted those waterfront photos to make your single friends jealous of your DC love story. But where the hell are you going to eat on your fancy date night at the Wharf? We got you. Save your panic for more important things—like what shoes will keep you from feeling every piece of the cobblestone (but still look fly in your pics).



Getting to Nara-Ya requires navigating the minotaur’s labyrinth that winds through a dedicated picture room, and an incredibly slow elevator that takes you to floor 3.1 (eye roll). But the Japanese spot serves some of the best food on the Wharf, so go anyway. The restaurant is papered in cherry blossoms and has year-round waterfront views. While there’s an extensive sushi menu (the rolls are a little bland), our favorite dishes are the miso-glazed sea bass and lamb chops served with a yuzu chimichurri.

Kaliwa is the kind of restaurant that straddles the line between casual and fancy, so it’s really all about what you make of it. The Asian fusion restaurant is always busy, and you’ll definitely need a reservation, but it’s a great place for watching people or the fire shooting out of the grill in the open kitchen. The chef’s sharing menu is a fun way to explore Filipino, Korean, and Thai food in one place. You pay $50 a head and get to choose six dishes from over 20 options, which they'll portion out according to how many folks you're eating with. Get the Bicol express, a Filipino stew that comes with crispy pork belly in a spicy coconut broth and warms you up from the inside.

The Grill is one of those places that solves the special occasion dilemma for anyone dealing with a picky eater—making it the easiest Wharf spot to take your 35-year-old partner who has barely graduated from chicken tenders and fries. The American restaurant covers the basics, like the pimento cheese and onion jam burger that you’ll see on almost every table. The Grill stays pretty crowded, and tables are so squished you have to apologize to your neighbor when you head to the restroom. But that also makes it harder for your eyes to wander around the room, since you’ll be staring right into the eyes of the person next to you. Better to focus on the person you came with.

If you’re in the market for a spot as fancy as your outfit, La Vie is probably the most extravagant restaurant on the Wharf. The Mediterranean food isn’t great, but if you’re trying to get TikTok in a riot over how cute you and your latest fling are, La Vie is it. Crystal chandeliers shimmer as the sunset pours through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Don’t worry about the tourists and suburban families having a special night out. You can sneak away to the balcony tables overlooking the water to enjoy a private, romantic meal.

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photo credit: Reema Desai

4 Fancy Date Night Restaurants At The Wharf guide image