Food & Drink

LA's 13 Most Romantic Restaurants

Laurel House Published On 05/08/2015 Published On 05/08/2015
Firefly

Firefly

Studio City
From the intimacy of the Moroccan-influenced cabanas and the refined grand veranda, to the intellectually stimulating library lounge and lively pulse of the old-school bar, this Studio City seductress knows how to please any romance-seeker’s needs. Start the evening in the bar, move onto dinner in a cabana or veranda, then indulge in a nightcap seated with thighs touching on the sofa in the library.
 

Speranza

Los Feliz
You wouldn’t think it from this restaurant's nondescript street-side appearance, but the romantic style here is just as low key as its public presence. The two patios are adorned with an array of wildly growing potted plants, simple cafeteria-style tables, plain wood chairs, and attractive people nibbling on fresh pasta with bold flavors like squid ink and dried cod roe.

James Merrell

Tres by José Andrés

Beverly Hills
Hotel restaurants can be a romantic cliché thanks to the easy accessibility to a bed, but Tres by Jose Andres (at the SLS on La Cienega) is an unexpected departure from the generic hotel dining atmosphere. Sink into a fluffy sofa and dine off of an oversized coffee table in your own cozy living room, complete with a fireplace and a bookshelf filled with art, history, style, pet (?), and travel books. The only reminder you're not ACTUALLY in your own cozy living room? The server interrupting with plates full of elevated California comfort food.
 

Casa Ado

Venice
From the quaint, two-story yellow cottage exterior to the crisp white tablecloths, candles, and classic Italian chef, servers, and food, Ado is a mashup of all things romantic. Request a table on the packed, petite 2nd floor where dim lighting and flowing wine will quickly get you to forget that you’re a few feet from other dining strangers.

Matthew Kiefer

Melisse

Santa Monica
If romance for you means Michelin-star caliber food, truffles, and a 10-course tasting menu, your best LA bet is Melisse. It’s one of the few refreshingly refined restaurants in town where a suit and even a tie (!!) are appropriate. A Champagne cart arrives table-side upon your being seated, setting the tone for a very different LA dining experience. If you’re at Melisse, you may as well go all out and indulge on one of the wine-paired tasting menus. Sure, it’s slightly snobby (and very expensive), but that’s part of the fun.

Inn of The Seventh Ray

Inn of the Seventh Ray

Topanga Canyon
Iconic, expected, maybe even boringly romantic? Fine. But nonetheless, you've got to give this old guy credit for being one of LA's OGs of romantic date night destinations. You can't discount the fact that not even time has been able to take away or even taint its twinkly allure -- every table hugs a natural cascading creek bed, while the gazebo table looks out over the rest of the crowd (request it in advance).
 

Sofi Greek Restaurant

West Hollywood
Enter Sofi though the almost-hidden awning squeezed between 3rd St’s "Optical" and "Quality," walk down the long hallway, and through the big wooden door... and BAM, welcome to Sofi's hidden, secret, twinkly lit garden terrace, which feels more like you’re in Europe than in the heart of the city. Beyond the environment, the Greek food is authentic, fresh, and on point, including house specialties and family recipes that will make you feel like you’re dining in the owner’s home.

Little Door Santa Monica

Little Door Santa Monica

Santa Monica
Since its opening in September 2014, The Little Door Santa Monica has followed in the footsteps of its Mid-Wilshire sibling, becoming THE new hot Westside proposal spot. That's because, like its forbear, this newbie is rustically charming and oozes intimacy. The only problem is that it's hard to enjoy if you're NOT popping the question: your date will, unquestionably, think you are. So, be ready to deal with that probably.

Il Cielo

Il Cielo

Beverly Hills
Thanks to this old-school spot's twinkly patio lights, roses, candles, and “you’re the most important person here” service, it's no wonder you’ll likely be party to a marriage proposal, birthday, or 50th wedding anniversary celebration on any given evening.

Cliff's Edge

Cliff's Edge

Silver Lake
Patio + twinkly lights + fire pits + a canopy of trees + not to mention the addictive craft cocktails + perfectly shareable, tastebud-awakening foods = the quintessential romantic spot on the Eastside. If you haven’t been on a date here, it’s time to emerge from your cave.
 

Off Vine

Hollywood
Doused in flowers -- in pots on the twinkly lit patio floors and in vases on the tables -- Off Vine is one of the more quaint, charming, almost precious un-Hollywood restaurants in Tinseltown. The rustic, remodeled American Craftsman cottage will make even the most hardened date swoon; add great food and music that includes classics by everyone from Whitney Houston to Cat Stevens, and you've got yourself a sure thing (or at least a sure-ish thing).

Square One

Square One at the Boathouse

Echo Park Lake
This isn’t your typical romantic restaurant. In fact, it’s not romantic at all. It’s a café inside the boathouse -- yes, the same place where you can rent your paddleboat. But that’s not the point. It’s all about the environment. For breakfast, brunch, or lunch, this is the place to go for love. Order a squash blossom breakfast burrito, add jerky-like chunks of bacon, plus the watermelon lemonade, and head out to the grass where you will be served a picnic-style lakeside meal. Once digested, work off the bacon by peddling along the lake. It's simple. It's romantic. Trust.

Perch

Perch

Downtown LA
A favorite for matchmakers sending clients on first dates, the drop-dead rooftop restaurant Perch has almost become predictably romantic. Still, you can’t deny that a fire pit overlooking the DTLA skyline is alluring -- and tack on a live jazz band, and there’s no denying the pull.

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Laurel House is the Dating Coach for Three Day Rule Matchmaking, and has been a featured expert on The TODAY Show, E! News, and Good Morning America. Her 5th book, Screwing The Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love was published in December 2014 with Running Press. Find her at ScrewingTheRules.com, on Twitter, and Instagram.

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1. 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.

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2. Speranza 2547 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

This unassuming locale packs a big culinary punch. The two patios are adorned with an array of wildly growing potted plants, simple cafeteria-style tables, plain wood chairs, and attractive people nibbling on fresh pasta with bold flavors like squid ink and dried cod roe.

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3. Tres by José Andrés 465 South La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Beverly Hills)

Tres by Jose Andres (at the SLS on La Cienega) is an unexpected departure from the generic hotel dining atmosphere. Sink into a fluffy sofa and dine off of an oversized coffee table in your own cozy living room, complete with a fireplace and a bookshelf filled with art, history, style, pet (?), and travel books. The only reminder you're not ACTUALLY in your own cozy living room? The server interrupting with plates full of elevated California comfort food.

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4. Casa Ado 12 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 (Marina Del Rey)

Right near the beach, this upscale Italian spot in Marina del Rey serves perfectly cooked, homemade pastas and grilled meat entrees. The cozy dining room will make you want to carboload on dishes like blank ink tagliolini noodles, seafood risotto, and ricotta gnocchi. Snag a seat on the outdoor patio to watch the sun set and you've got one heck of a romantic night.

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5. Melisse Restaurant 1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

Melisse's a Santa Monica swank-house that's serving French seafood fare. Try out their tasting menu and enjoy the scene.

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6. Inn of the Seventh Ray 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290

This Topanga resto is a class act all the way, featuring beautiful decor and serving seasonal organic fare using ingredients that come from local farms. Their brunch menu (omelets, waffles, quiche, etc.) will keep you talking long after your visit and even their water (which is ionized by AlkaViva) will delight you.

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7. Sofi Greek Restaurant 8030 3/4 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (West Hollywood)

Enter Sofi though the almost-hidden awning squeezed between 3rd St’s "Optical" and "Quality," walk down the long hallway, and through the big wooden door... and BAM, welcome to Sofi's hidden, secret, twinkly lit garden terrace, which feels more like you’re in Europe than in the heart of the city. Beyond the environment, the Greek food is authentic, fresh, and on point, including house specialties and family recipes that will make you feel like you’re dining in the owner’s home.

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8. Little Door 246 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402 (Santa Monica)

Sit on the patio at The Little Door. Trust us. Go on a Sunday night so you can take advantage of the French/Moroccan menu, and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) with that special someone. There's also a regular dinner menu, a brunch menu, a kid's menu, and a tasting menu, so you can go again and again without getting the same thing twice. For more casual fair, head to The Little Next Door: an awesome associated cafe for those who can't stick around.

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9. Il Cielo 9018 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 (Beverly Hills)

Il Cielo brands itself as the most romantic spot in LA. And though the food is great, the ambiance is unparalleled. Dine on Tuscan classics in its, "enchanted garden," and you might just forget you're in Beverly Hills.

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10. 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.

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11. Off Vine 6263 Leland Way, Hollywood, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Off Vine, in Hollywood, is serving up some of the best Californian comfort food in the LA area. Everything about this quaint little spot will charm you, right down to unlimited mimosas for brunch.

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12. Square One at the Boathouse 751 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

For the best picnic you'll ever have, hit up Square One at the Boathouse. This small cafe has coffee, pastries, and some killer sandwiches. Order a squash blossom breakfast burrito, add jerky-like chunks of bacon, plus the watermelon lemonade, and head out to the grass where you will be served a picnic-style lakeside meal. Once digested, work off the bacon by peddling along the lake. Bring a date. Bring your family. Bring a book. It's all good.

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13. Perch 448 S Hill, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

This bar-centric restaurant from the Must guys is so laden with foliage and lounge chairs, it's like a rooftop version of Disney's Tiki Room; and if that's not enough to get you in there, Perch also has French grub like rabbit rillette with braised plums, candied kumquat & vanilla shallot marmalade; pork confit cassoulet with pork belly & cracklings; and the three-mini-club platter called "Duck, Duck, Goose."

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