Food & Drink

Cozy Up at These Romantic Restaurants in Boston

Is romance dead? It sure as hell can feel that way, especially in a city known more for its dysfunctional public transportation than its schmaltz. After all, how many romantic comedies are set in Boston? (Ted doesn’t count.)

But love can definitely be found in our stoic metropolis -- especially when food is involved. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary with your longtime boo or yearning to impress your latest swipe, there’s a romantic restaurant out there to serve your needs. To make your date night planning a little less anxious, we’ve rounded up some of the most romantic spots in the city -- to prove that, under that chilly exterior, Boston does have heart.

Fat Hen

Somerville
Cozy, charming restaurant serving homemade pasta

This is a romantic slam dunk. Plus, when a restaurant is committed to seasonal ingredients, all the better. (Nothing sexier than locavorism!) Fat Hen checks off all the boxes: a tiny and book-lined interior, pastas outfitted with regional toppings, and decadent entrees like roasted duck breast. Trust us, by the time your drinks come through the cocktail window leading to sister restaurant La Brasa, your date will already be entranced. 

Euno

North End
Sicilian spot with an impressive wine list and downstairs candlelit grotto

We’re easy. Give us some exposed bricks and classic Sicilian (and Southern Italian) fare and we’re yours for the night. Euno offers both in spades, with a roaring fireplace and an impressive wine list to boot. Little wonder that this place books out for Valentine’s Day so far in advance. Be sure to opt for a table in the candlelit wine grotto downstairs.

Bondir

Area Four
Intimate farmhouse space with fireplace and locavore cooking

Jason Bond’s cozy, farmhouse-like space is catnip for romantics, and not just because of the tiny fireplace lounge up front. The 28-seat restaurant is understated yet atmospheric, moody yet accessible, and one of the best locavore dining experiences in town. And if carbs are the way to a person’s heart, Bondir’s homemade breads serve as a love drug.

Talulla

Huron Village
Tiny Cambridge spot with big, globally influenced flavors

It’s hard not to feel the love at Talulla. Husband and wife team Conor Dennehy and Danielle Ayer have created a space that overflows with affection, from the spare but cheery decor to the flavor-forward dishes that reflect their passion for seasonal ingredients. And in a restaurant with just 12 tables, impeccable service is assured. You’ll feel warm and fuzzy afterward, and not just because of those epic wine pairings.  

75 Chestnut

Beacon Hill
Casual, welcoming bistro with Boston seafood classics

This one feels straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie. An American comfort fare restaurant tucked away on a charming side block, complete with black awning and two enormous windows facing the street. In other words, you want to save this one for someone special. As you’re splitting the molten chocolate cake and lingering over the last of your Willamette Valley pinot, you affirm that romance is far from dead.

No Relation

South End
Nine-seat sushi bar serving traditional Japanese sashimi and nigiri

What is it that makes omakase so … sensual? Ponder that timeless question while you and your sweetie take your time to revel in all the exquisite plates (up to 14!) from Chef Colin Lynch. With just nine seats and two nightly seatings, the clandestine No Relation demands you slow down and savor the moment -- and the Maine crab Sunomono.

Giulia

Porter Square
Impressive housemade pasta served in a rustic, dimly lit space

First date, ninth date, anniversary date, besties date . . . Giulia is perfect for them all. The cozy, intimate, brick-walled space is so dimly lit you almost can’t not get in the mood. And the service is so far above what you might usually settle for that you’ll quickly relax into the evening -- just in time to twirl delectable plates of housemade pasta and then share bites of the chocolate terrine. When you return years later for your engagement party, be sure to book the special-occasion pasta table.

Branch Line

Watertown
Roasted meats and veggies alongside an expertly curated wine list

Chicken drippings are the way to a person’s heart. Sugar snap peas, too. Or a perfect rotisserie chicken. And black perigord truffles, come to think of it. In other words, Garrett Parker and Andrew Holden have assembled an idyllic menu for the starry-eyed sap. What brings it home is the stupendous wine list and the wait staff who serve it -- they are masters at pairing the perfect bottle with your evening. 

Oleana

Cambridge
Bold Meditteranean flavors and a peaceful patio keep diners satisfied

Oleana has proven the world’s greatest date spot for vegetarian couples, given that the majority of the meze plates are meat-free. But even paleo pairs can’t deny the delicious allure of Oleana’s baked Alaska, the closest thing to foreplay that doesn’t involve human touch. And anyone who has spent more than a year or two living in this town has almost assuredly enjoyed at least one romantic meal on the twee patio. 

Top of the Hub

Back Bay
Iconic Prudential Center penthouse with live jazz and classic dishes

If you grew up here, your parents probably spent at least one special night at the Top of the Hub -- that’s how iconic a date spot it is. And now you only have until April 18 to take in the most iconic views in the city before the restaurant closes forever. So kick it old-school one more time: live piano, sycophantic service, and baked stuffed lobster. 

Saltie Girl

Back Bay
A one-stop shop to satiate all your seafood desires

The last time we were here, we witnessed a man lovingly spooning uni into his date’s mouth before they both downed a glass of champagne. Yeah, they were getting lucky that night. Oysters, bubbly, caviar . . . all the traditional trappings are here, plus the entrees that get New Englanders’ particular motors running: chowder, fried clam bellies, hot lobster rolls. Grab two seats at the bar, watch one of the chefs torch a slab of salmon belly, and feel the heat rise.

Pammy’s

Central Square
A neighborhood restaurant serving special-occasion food and strong cocktails

Another fireplace alert, this one with a dual opening. But there’s so much more that makes Pammy’s such an idyllic date spot. The bracing cocktails will fuel conversation, the attentive but laid-back service will calm your nerves, and the perfectly executed new American cuisine will just make you happy. Looking to mix things up? Take a seat at the long communal table and see who else you meet. 

Newburyport Lighthouse

Newburyport
Dinner atop a freakin’ lighthouse
This is the closest you can get to staging a Bachelor date. At the top of the preserved North Shore lighthouse, up a short ladder and through a hatch door, is a single table in the lens room that’s available for private bookings. How intoxicating is this place? Here we will quote directly from the lighthouse’s dining rules: “It should go without saying, (but needs to be said for a few), that although our romantic lighthouse dinners are designed for lovers, it does not follow it is meant for love-making. Please save yourself, and our wait staff, from embarrassment by leaving that activity for the privacy of your home.” Yeah, it’s that good.

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No one would call Meaghan Agnew a romantic, but then again, she does love her dogs very much. See how much by following her on Twitter and Instagram