The Best Romantic Restaurants For Date Night

Where to eat with someone who likes you back.
The Best Romantic Restaurants For Date Night image

photo credit: Bourbon Steak

There aren’t many universal truths, but here’s one—dating in DC sucks almost as much as a government shutdown. While the Smithsonian gives you lots of freebie options, eventually you’re going to have to shell out some cash for food. So if it's date night (again), here are some places that make the experience just a bit better, whether you’re out for the first time or the 500th.


photo credit: Maiz 64


Logan Circle

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightImpressing Out of Towners
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Trying to make a good impression on someone wading through a round of Hinge dates isn’t easy. But with Maiz 64, it can be. Escape the Logan Circle hustle and bustle at the Mexican restaurant, where oakwood tables, enticing blue-gray walls, and subtle warm corn gold and yellow lighting set the scene for an intimate rendezvous. Split the steamed sweet corn tamal drenched in a rich, chunky charred tomatillo, goat cheese, and pecorino sauce, and the charred octopus, served with a subtly bitter mole.

photo credit: Bourbon Steak



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Nothing says “I love you” like a 14-ounce wagyu ribeye, and no place says it better than Bourbon Steak in Georgetown. The Four Seasons restaurant is like the James Bond of dining–sleek, sophisticated, and ready to impress. Cozy up with your partner under warm, woodsy lighting in comfy brown leather booths. Split a bottle of pinot noir and get ready to confess sweet nothing to your partner—or your perfectly seared steak.

You know in the movies when a door opens and the super romantic partner glides their significant other into a dimly lit room with lights flickering and everything is perfect? That’s what happens when you step behind the curtain at Beloved BBQ, a vendor inside at Love, Makoto in the East End. Except the flickering lights at this Japanese restaurant are grill flashes from dripping wagyu grease. You’ll be surrounded by other couples (and a few families) on your interactive date night, where you get to show off your skills by cooking the delicate cuts of delicious beef on the golden-plated grills yourself. Make sure to order the $135 off-menu Japanese upgrade, which is all Japanese A5 wagyu that is so smooth you could swallow it without chewing.

Albi, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Navy Yard, is the place to take your date when you really need to prove you’re not a s*ithead who can’t plan a romantic evening. The Sofra menu, a $125 tasting menu that is never exactly the same, is served with piping hot pita that might be the best in the city. And if they give you the lettuce wraps with the carrot and tuna pastes, savor the crispy, flavorful goodness. There are no TVs here to distract you and everyone around you is so loud, you'll barely hear the music. Use the dimly lit room and noise as an excuse to snuggle close to your partner and feed each other great food. And if you want to be really impressive, book your dinner at the chef’s table and watch it get cooked over the wood-burning hearth.

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo



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Kitchen Savages is all about the community, and brings a much-needed fancy restaurant with serious date night vibes east of the river, complete with black linen tablecloths, gold flatware, and comfortable blue velvet chairs. From their signature Savage fries to the jerk lamb chops, you'll taste the care that goes into every bite at this Anacostia soul food spot. We’re especially obsessed with the lobster mac and cheese that comes topped with a perfectly fried lobster tail. The music is bumping jams from artists like TLC, so don't be surprised if your date wants to go dancing after you've finished eating.

There are lots of reasons to take a date to The Red Hen in Bloomingdale, like the open kitchen and stacked firewood that make the space feel a little bit like that cabin you’ve been eyeing on Airbnb. Or the menu, which is full of very good Italian food perfect for sharing. Make a reservation or come early, but if you’re stuck waiting, grab a drink from the bar and discuss how many pastas you should order.

Rasika is an Indian fine-dining restaurant in Penn Quarter that’s a great addition to your usual spots for a big night out. While you don’t need to be ultra-formal, you can use this dinner as an excuse to get a little dressed up and to break out that ‘fit that’s been living in the back of your closet. There’s something for everyone on the menu, regardless of whether you’re vegetarian or a devoted omnivore. And if you’re using tonight to celebrate something big, go all out with the $75 tasting menu and $40 wine pairing.

Maketto, an Asian fusion spot on H Street, is the kinda place that has so much going on, you'll have tons to talk about with your date while you split giant portions of food. There's a spacious upstairs cafe with a retail area full of books, clothes, and knickknacks, plus an intimate dining room on the ground floor. Maketto works for either a food or coffee date, depending on your mood. No matter what you choose, don’t miss the massive fried chicken, which you can order in both places and may lead to your first fight when deciding who takes home the leftovers.

Iron Gate, an Italian and Mediterranean spot in Dupont Circle, has a fire-pitted outdoor patio or bar area that screams romance. Both are nice spots for a date, especially if you’re still doing the whole “just drinks and appetizers” thing because you’re not ready to shell out all of your hard-earned pizza dollars on internet strangers. Grab their Iron Maiden cocktail made with golden beet tequila, lime and squash.

This Georgetown spot is a love letter to Beirut—and your date. The Lebanese restaurant’s limewash brick walls are lined with vintage photos of the capital city, and Arabic love poem are etched on each plate. Admittedly, the food here isn’t great, but if you’re looking to sip massaya blanc clair with that special someone, then you found the right place. We especially love the outdoor courtyard, where you can cozy up with your sweetheart under a canopy of twinkling string lights as you listen to Fairuz’s love songs.

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