Food & Drink

The 16 Best Date Spots in LA

Published On 12/18/2014 Published On 12/18/2014
Kettle Black
Ryan Tanaka

Whether you’re looking for a place to take your latest match on Tinder/Bumble/Hinge/LinkedIn or in need of a change-up from your typical “date night” routine of Netflix-and-Fall-Asleep-on-the-Couch, you’ve come to the right place. From casually romantic spots to full-tilt fancy reservations, here are the best date spots around LA that are sure to ignite the flames (or at least serve as some pretty good kindling. We’re not miracle workers here).

Courtesy of Salazar

Salazar

Frogtown
This jazzy, new-ish Frogtown spot offers a stunning and colorful, plant-adorned patio that has laid-back, al fresco date night written all over it. Add to that top-notch cocktails from Aaron Melendrez (formerly of The Normandie Club, Walker Inn, etc.) like the rum-fueled Joven y Alocada served in a coconut (get two straws!), along with Sonoran-style mesquite-grilled meats from Chef Esdras Ochoa (of Mexicali Tacos), and you have yourself one happy date. Also, definitely get the papas con chorizo side dish: your date (and stomach) will thank you.

Kettle Black

Kettle Black

Silver Lake
A sexy addition to the neighborhood, Kettle Black is your new favorite Italian spot for excellent handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and quality cocktails, all of which is likely to lead to some very close talking with your date. Pro tip: snag a seat at the chef’s counter where you two can watch the action up-close and feel the heat from the pizza oven’s roaring embers. Added bonus: you can also warm up to each other before dinner at Sawyer, the slick spot next door from the Kettle Black team, where you can sip drinks and share bites by the outdoor fireplace on their beautiful patio.

Courtesy of Michael's Santa Monica

Michael’s

Santa Monica
This legendary spot, known for turning out Big Name chefs, just received a shiny new renovation and has placed at the helm the talented and innovative Chef Miles Thompson (formerly of the highly praised-yet-shuttered Allumette). The revamp gives a fresh look at the museum-worthy (and date-impressing) artwork on the walls as well as the uber-romantic, tree-lined patio. The new, locally sourced menu sports shareable plates like ricotta gnudi with lamb sausage and bigger bites like duck confit, which you two can enjoy with choice cocktails from Meredith Hayman (previously of Bestia, Faith & Flower).

E.P.

E.P. & L.P.

West Hollywood
Here’s what date night might look like at this bustling, two-for-one WeHo hotspot: cocktails on the stylish L.P. rooftop patio with sunset views (and maybe one of those spicy chicken sandwiches). And then, before the crowds arrive, head downstairs to E.P. for deliciously mind-expanding eats with a Chinese/Fijian/Vietnamese flourish from Chef Louis Tikaram. Try to sit up at the chef’s counter for a bit of extra love from the kitchen. And definitely save room for dessert. Where your night goes from there is up to you two (but it should already look promising).

Cliff's Edge

Silverlake
This perennial date destination maintains its alluring charm with one of the prettiest, foliage-covered patios in town, excellent seasonal bites, and stellar cocktail offerings. The menu may change with the seasons, but you can always count on Cliff’s Edge to impress, whether it’s a first date foray or a 50th anniversary.

Sotto

Pico-Robertson
A sultry, stylish, and dimly lit basement serves the perfect backdrop for spectacular Neapolitan pizzas and sumptuous house pastas perfect for you to “ohh” and “ahh” over together as you “ohh” and “ahh” over each other. Those smooth-sipping and potent cocktails and the restaurant’s extensive wine list will also likely help further the cause.

Mohawk Bend

Mohawk Bend

Echo Park
For those early dates when you’re keeping it casual to those going-steady-we-don’t-feel-like-dressing-up dates when you don’t need much fuss, Mohawk Bend is always a reliable option. The California-only menu offers an extensive lineup of great craft beer, wine, and cocktails for any palate, plus straightforward and tasty dishes for meat-eaters and vegetarian/gluten-free/vegan eaters alike. And the signature buffalo cauliflower seems to bring everyone closer together.

Terrine

Beverly Grove
Perhaps not surprisingly, one of our favorite French restaurants also happens to be prime date territory. The starry-eye-inducing, Javanese bishopwood tree on the back patio very likely holds magical powers and the house charcuterie, roasted duck for two, and exceptional cocktails together possess some sort of love potion. It’s all difficult to quantify, but trust us, it works. Besides, if all else fails, you can train Pokémon together there.

Faith & Flower

Faith & Flower

Downtown
This gorgeous Downtown favorite continues to draw crowds of the romantically inclined. Fire up the evening with a dozen oysters and hits from their stand-out cocktail rundown, including the classic English Milk Punch -- an award-winning and labor intensive concoction made with rum, whiskey, cognac, absinthe, clove, nutmeg, coriander, bitters, pineapple, lemon, green tea, and milk that’s been curdled (trust us) and clarified. Seriously, order one for each of you. From there you’re in for some saucy dishes like handmade cavatelli with pork cheek sugo and spicy jerk chicken. You’re also perfectly poised to continue date night at nearby L.A. Live or, you know, someplace more intimate far from hundreds of screaming fans.

Flickr/Juan Monroy

Angel City Brewing

Arts District 
Even as more and more breweries dot the Downtown landscape, Angel City remains a solidly clutch date spot with a variety of all-in-one opportunities for getting to know each other. Why stop at sampling flights when you can also tour the brewery or attend a beer and cheese pairing nights to expand your beer knowledge together? Feel like grabbing a bite? Hit one of the food trucks parked in the courtyard. You can also scope out the work of local artisans on weekends or hit up karaoke, tacos & trivia, bingo, open mic or paint nights to keep each other entertained. Oh, and if either of you have a pup, the whole place is dog-friendly.

Maccheroni Republic

Downtown
This adorably cozy Italian favorite is an excellent low-key date night option where you get plenty of charm and handmade pasta without blowing the budget. That’s thanks in part to the excellent BYOB policy (they also have some for sale in case you forget), so you can enjoy healthy pours of your favorite vintage. Try to grab a seat on the patio for maximum romance.

Yamashiro Hollywood

Yamashiro

Hollywood
The iconic mountain palace recently came under new ownership and while the change-up has ruffled some feathers, the incredible views from the hilltop of the city below remain an irresistible date destination. Head up into the Hills those killer views and “Lucky 7” happy hour deals (Fri-Sun, 5-8pm) on sushi, light Cal-Asian bites and cocktails like the large, shareable Koi Bowls, including the Red Lotus -- with vodka, lychee, and fresh raspberries. Upcoming renovation plans include restored historic features, a new enclosed deck and a revamped Pagoda Bar and pool, as well as the return of the nighttime farmers market, so we’ll stay tuned for those.

Firefly

Firefly

Studio City
This trusted East Valley joint boasts a pitch-perfect date-night patio complete with private candle-lit nooks if you’re looking for some privacy. You’ll find plenty of stand-out shareables like smoked trout rillettes and mussels to bigger bites like seasonal risottos and killer roasted chicken. And should you stop by for the live music on Monday nights (and you should), you can order up cocktails and bites from the late night menu like the K-town BBQ hanger steak with Vietnamese rice porridge and kimchi or the Honey Boo Boo Burger with applewood bacon, Fiscalini cheddar, and whipped honey butter.  

Providence

Providence

Hollywood
All right, so Providence is far from a casual night out (unless you’re a total baller, in which case, kudos), but it remains a quintessential special occasion/anniversary winner. Chef Michael Cimarusti’s sustainable-seafood-centric menu offers a few tiers of prix-fixe options depending on how big you’re looking to go, and they’re all worth the splurge. You’ll both be glad you saved up for it.

1886 Bar at The Raymond

The Raymond 1886

Pasadena
Whether you’re dining inside the historic Craftsman bungalow, by the fireplace on the patio or getting close up at the bar sipping exceptional cocktails, this Pasadena institution brings the love. Executive Chef Tim Guiltinan serves up an excellent range of modern, globally inspired California fare like furikake-crusted wild albacore and 72-hour braised short ribs, while the talented team behind the bar busts out some deliciously creative concoctions.

Toscana

Bar Toscana

Brentwood
This sparkling neighborhood outfit is a great low-key spot for grabbing cocktails and some small Italian bites for a night out. (They also just won accolades at the Tale of the Cocktail competition in New Orleans for the Montenegro a colazione, which involves Amaro Montenegro, orgeat, apricot jam, peach and coffee bitters, and frothy egg white). And should the date move along swimmingly, you’ll definitely want to order up one of their wood-fired pizzas and rustic Tuscan-inspired pastas.

Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.

Danny Jensen is a regular Thrillist contributor who is easily wooed by patios and charcuterie. Find him al fresco on Twitter and Instagram.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Salazar 2490 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Located in a converted auto body shop in Frogtown, Salazar specializes in Sonoran-style Mexican food, which means mesquite barbecue, tacos, and burritos. The mostly outdoor space has a huge desert-themed patio with communal tables and utilitarian chairs. Expect plenty of mezcal, tequila, and Micheladas.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Kettle Black 3705 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Silverlake)

From the team behind Silverlake favorite Sawyer comes Kettle Black, an Italian restaurant boasting some of the best decor in the hipster ‘hood. Below dozens of Edison bulbs dangling from the tall ceiling are tables for two, communal seating, a wall with plant life jutting out, and bottles of wine and liquor stacked seven golden shelves high behind a marble bar. The menu is full of modern pizza and pastas, like the crimini mushroom-topped funghi pie and gnocchi with braised lamb. For a front-row seat at the wood-fired oven, book a spot at the chef’s counter where you can watch pizzas emerge from the flames, crisped to perfection.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Michael's 1147 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (Santa Monica)

Chef Miles Thompson (formerly of Allumette) is at the helm of this legendary spot in Santa Monica, where your date is bound to be impressed by the refined shareable plates and romantic, tree-lined outdoor garden aglow with twinkle lights. Some of the plates on this locally inspired menu include duck confit and ricotta gnudi with lamb sausage. Michael's has a history of top chefs in its kitchen, and the same goes for the bar, where the talented Meredith Hayman (previously of Bestia, Faith and Flower) is slinging expertly crafted cocktails.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. E.P. & L.P. 603 N LA Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (West Hollywood)

It's a bit hard to discern which is which at this two-for-one West Hollywood spot. Downstairs is E.P., an Asian restaurant that combines Thai cooking with Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese elements. Meanwhile, L.P. is the upstairs patio bar serving up street food small bites and killer cocktails surrounded by stunning views of the Hollywood Hills.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Cliff's Edge 3626 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Silverlake)

Cliff's Edge is a Silver Lake hotspot, with towering wood doors, a tree-lined patio, and a simple seasonal menu filled with New American and Mediterranean eats- plus a killer brunch. The interior features eclectic decor and beautiful romantic lighting to add to the date night (or even regular night) atmosphere.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Sotto 9575 W Pico, Los Angeles, CA 90035 (West La)

This West LA restaurant serves Southern Italian food in an upscale and hip basement space. The menu is always changing but remains consistent for its emphasis on comfort and creativity. Expect small, medium, and large plates of meat and seafood, plus simply refined pasta dishes (like spaghetti with clams) and knock-out Neapolitan pizzas. The dimly-lit interior is outfitted with rustic communal tables and an open kitchen.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Mohawk Bend 2141 W Sunset, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

From the guys behind Tony's Darts Away, Mohawk Bend is a "craft everything" brewpub in Echo Park. The space is divided into five areas: a cozy dining cathedral (complete with fireplace), a pub room with a communal concrete table; two separate bars; and a covered patio. Drink options include more than 60 beers and a few wines (all from California) on tap, plus a cocktail program boasting 100 spirits from the Golden State. Menus change seasonally here but the selection of upscale, wood-fired pizzas like the Pig Newton topped with Serrano ham, goat cheese, fig, and rosemary tapenade are always guaranteed to stave off a rumbling stomach.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Terrine 8265 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Mid Wilshire)

Nostalgic French fare is given the expansive brasserie and a fairytale garden it deserves in Terrine, with chef Kris Morningstar masterminding elegant chicken confit salad, garlic-butter bathed escargots and a steak frites with smoked bone marrow that can be paired with an impressive French wine list. The namesake terrine, made with foie gras and served with apricot compote, proves worthy of the honor. Yet, a visit is utterly incomplete without sampling the charcuterie boards: with truffled chicken liver, terrine de campaign, liverwurst, andouille sausage and smoked beef deckle arranged with pickled morsels on a sturdy wooden disc. Dreamy and casual, the dining room is filled with bistro chairs, distressed brick and umber-hued leather banquettes with ornate mirrors propped behind them. The best part awaits behind an archway in the back, revealing an outdoor lounge with a giant illuminated tree as the centerpiece. The spot is more than an ideal perch for star-gazing, a well-balanced classic cocktail by Ryan Wainwright making you question your balance.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Faith & Flower 705 West 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (Downtown)

A beautiful Downtown restaurant -- from a Michelin-award winning chef and the guys who founded the Pebble Beach Food & Wine fest -- Faith and Flower serves up a menu of seasonal dishes, classic staples, and a raw bar. The aphrodisiac seafood, vintage touches, and romantic décor, including hand mirrors and candles throughout the eating area, establish this as a prime date night spot.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Angel City Brewery 216 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Downtown)

Located in the historic John A. Roebling warehouse in the Arts District, Angel City Brewery has become a leader in the craft beer scene, selling its top-notch brews throughout California, Nevada, and, of course, in-house at the brewery with a rotating selection on tap. Its signature beers range from staples like the Angel City IPA and Pilsner to gems from the warehouse collection like the Peach Berliner Weisse to limited-time brews like a Salted Caramel Gose. You can toss 'em back in the art deco space or in one of the numerous restaurants and bars at which they're sold.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Maccheroni Republic 332 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

This worth-the-wait BYOB (no corkage fee!) has some of the best pasta in Downtown and is well worth the extra SoulCycle class you'll need to work it off.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Yamashiro 1999 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068 (Hollywood)

Perched 250 feet above Hollywood Boulevard, Yamashiro is an iconic hilltop palace offering guests magnificent views of the city below, plus fresh sushi, Cal-Asian fusion plates, and cocktails. Built in 1914 and modeled after a palace in the Yamashiro province in Kyoto, it's become a landmark in LA over the years, attracting many a couple looking to dine around the romantic, manicured garden and koi pond. Beyond sushi, dishes like Asian BBQ baby-back ribs, pistachio-salmon sashimi, and ahi poke line the menu, as do shareable drinks perfect for said couples, like large Koi Bowls, including the Red Lotus with vodka, lychee, and fresh raspberries.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Firefly Studio City 11720 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

This laid-back, Studio City bar is most famous for stirring up its very own infused alcohols (think jalapeño-pineapple tequila, apple-vanilla-cinnamon bourbon), which the bartenders happily use to concoct custom cocktails. Dinner eats include gussied up American classics, like free-range chicken with bacon and honey dates.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Providence 5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Hollywood)

The ultra critically acclaimed and seafood-centric Providence offers various tiers of prix fixe meals, and service that's unparalleled in the city. It's the kind of place reserved for special occasions, and one ultimately worth every bit of the hefty price tag.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. The Raymond 1886 1250 Fair Oaks Dr, Pasadena, CA 91030 (Pasadena)

As their name suggests, The Raymond 1886 focuses on old-school craft, whether it comes to their dishes or their cocktails. Executive Chef Tim Guiltinan serves modern American dishes like roasted duck, Hawaiian Ahi, and braised short ribs. The bar focuses on throwback styles like fresh juices and hand-cut chunks of ice in the drinks. Feel free to go off-menu, since bartenders here like to experiment and surprise.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Bar Toscana 11633 San Vicente, Brentwood, CA 90049 (Brentwood)

This new small-plates-and-cocktails offshoot of the upscale Italian resto's got a curved liquor cubby and an ottoman-laden lounge, as well as an extensive menu. The quaint, cozy eatery is known for all sorts of authentic Italian pastas and insalatas, but their pizzas are the main event. Baked in a wood-fired oven using a proprietary recipe, each pie boasts a thin crust, flavor-packed sauce, and plenty of cheese. Do yourself a favor and order the tartufo nero (black truffle).

Clickbait