20 Romantic Restaurants In Washington DC For Date Night

When dining out in Washington D.C., you can find pretty much any global cuisine you crave. What's harder to locate is a restaurant that meets a specific environment for a date night. On or off the apps, dating is hard. And once you've made it past the swipe, narrowing down a special place to take a special someone can feel just as daunting. That's why simply lowering the lights isn't enough to call a restaurant "romantic" anymore. Similarly, if date night is your evening to escape for some quality time with a loved one, you deserve to spend your time where the interior design is as intentional as the food. Romance starts when many or all of the senses are engaged.

With that in mind, we've looked into the restaurants around Washington D.C. that offer romantic date night opportunities. Using extensive experience as a local diner around Washington D.C., as well as personal recommendations from contacts within the industry, this list was created with a few things in mind. Mainly the considered restaurants have a great aesthetic, food that can completely stand on its own, and service that is attentive without breaking the mood. Bonus points in the dining rooms have live fireplaces, private booths, or pieces that can facilitate conversation.

1. Masseria

‌Looking for a place you can go to share the opposite end of a spaghetti strand with your beloved? You'll be hard-pressed to find somewhere cozier than Masseria. Sometimes the noise from an open kitchen is a preferred trait; in the right spot, it creates just enough din for diners to get lost in conversation. Tucked against the wall, nuzzled at the marble-laid chef's counter, or sat right in the middle of it all, the low-light air of Masseria falls evenly and makes each table feel on a planet of its own.

At Masseria, Chef Nicholas Stefanelli brings rustic Puglian-inspired flavors to artful tasting menus. The most accessible of these is La Cucina, a six-course run that covers the essentials of Italian cuisine: bread, then antipasti, followed by seafood, pasta, meat, and sweets.


(202) 608-1330

1340 4th St. NE, Washington, DC 20002

2. Anju

No matter what your eyes land on at Anju — verdant plants, gentle lights, airy rafters — there is a unique sense that you are gazing at something intimate. This pulled-back feel makes the restaurant a perfect date spot for a romantic night out in D.C.

As pub fare, anju is a classification of food that's intended to be consumed with alcohol. It's convenient for your date night that both food and drink are incredibly done well by executive chef Angel Barreto. The yukhoe made the list of best meals that the Tasting Table staff tried this year and, alongside a craft makgeolli or choice from the PG beverage list, it becomes a meal to arouse the senses.


(202) 845-8935

1805 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

3. Maydān

Maydān doesn't necessarily meet the traditional criteria for a romantic restaurant. The lighting isn't all that low, and the restaurant isn't exactly spacious. In fact, it can be downright crowded in some areas, as part of the theme at Maydān revolves around the joy of group dining. What makes this a great location for a date? The wood-fired cooking pit is set at the center of the downstairs dining room. So much live fire is sure to ignite some amatory sentiments.

Along with the deliciously charred branzino or chicken shish taouk, part of Maydān's biggest culinary draw is its bread program, which is freshly baked in clay ovens. The tamarind chile Omani shrimp is also a must-try.


(202) 370-3696

1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

4. The Red Hen

Although the culinary program at The Red Hen also relies on many wood-fired options, the kitchen of this Bloomingdale eatery isn't as likely to wow you and your date with the intensity of raw elements. The appeal of Red Hen is more subtle. Instead, it will impress with food over everything else, offering plates of pasta to make anyone shout 'amore.'

A fresh mafalde pasta (porcini crema, wild mushrooms) is one of the menu highlights, as is the friable pork chop Milanese. Accompanied by an array of seasonal ingredients and bitter bright flavors, the finish of Piave Vecchio cheese is a caring touch.

The Red Hen

(202) 525-3021

1822 First St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

5. Chez Billy Sud

Washington D.C. isn't short on options for quality French cuisine. But not all of the restaurants serving worthwhile French fare have a romantic atmosphere, and not all of the romantic spots are worth the spend. Chez Billy Sud should be a particular consideration for your date night, however, because it is as delicious a place to eat as it is charming.

Le Bar à Vin at Chez Billy Sud is known to get crowded, but the bistro dining room allows guests to slip into white tablecloth luxury without pretension. Alongside an approachable menu of French classics, the service at Chez Billy is exceptionally attentive, especially in those nuanced moments when less is more.

Chez Billy Sud

(202) 965-2606

1039 31st St. NW, Washington, DC 20007

6. Izakaya Seki

Izakaya Seki is the perfect place for those looking to enjoy a casual date where food facilitates conversation. Its well-prepared sushi is also great value for the money, with a sashimi omakase that runs just $50 for 10 types of fish. The upstairs dining room decor is brutally minimalist, with Edison bulbs generating just enough glow to light up your table and maintain the mood without overplaying the space. The 10-seat sushi bar on the bottom floor is another place to cozy up.

Maybe the most romantic thing about Seki comes when all the lights finally go out. On Tuesday nights, an after-hours wine bar opens in the space called Seki Nikai. If you're weeknight escape requires something evocative, this is the ticket.

Izakaya Seki

1117 V St. NW, Washington, DC 2000

7. Ilili

When the D.C. outpost of Ilili opened at the Wharf, it was a bright spot in a dining scene that was on the rebound from lockdowns. And no matter if your dinner partner is also a rebound — or a long-time love — a reservation at Ilili will add some allure to the meeting. You can slide into a cushy yellow booth and peek out to the water's edge or listen to it pouring from a fountain running in the center of the dining room, all while feasting from hot and cold mezze or an entrée section that boasts day boat scallops.

Because of its varied sweets menu, Ilili is also a good location for dessert dates. A Lebanese cheese tart with orange blossom syrup, called knafe bil jibneh, is perfectly portioned for two.


(202) 918-7766

100 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024

8. Albi

A Michelin star doesn't guarantee that the restaurant wearing it will be a romantic place to spend your evening. At Albi, it does. Once again, the most romantic seat in the house will be at any of the booths that look into Chef Michael Rafidi's kitchen, where charcoal fires smolder lamb kebabs and rainbow trout to perfection. For the spontaneous, Albi's chefs can prepare sofra, a menu created from seasonal components.

Albi's menu influences come from Rafidi's Palestinian routes and cover a range of Mediterranean and Levantine cuisines while also infusing locality. The current offering has a Maryland crab and soujek stuffed pepper, just one example of the thoughtful approach that makes Albi elicit feelings of love.



1346 4th St. SE, Washington, DC 20003

9. Fiola Mare

For some people, it can take a lot of flash and sophistication to be wooed. In that case, you'll want to make a reservation at Fiola Mare, Fabio Trabocchi's waterfront ode to the Italian coast. The wood and white interior design scheme isn't so nautical as to be kitschy, but there is an air of refined air to accompany an excellent crudo menu (along with other choices).

Should your date night be a multi-stage event that includes a performance at the nearby Kennedy Center, Fiola Mare also offers a prix fixe, pre-theatre menu. The seating starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and will have you in the performing arts center before showtime.

Fiola Mare

(202) 350-4982

3050 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20007

10. Bistro Cacao

Some people can find romance in the middle of a crowded room, but for others, a bit of quiet and some privacy are required to connect. The luxuriant, curtained tables at Bistro Cacao are perfect for the latter crowd. The dining at Bistro Cacao provides a relatively secluded place to sit and take in your company without being overwhelmed by the comings and goings of the restaurant around you.

In addition to the tasteful, simple touches that make up this classic French bistro menu, the service at Bistro Cacao is always warm and skilled at creating a comfortable atmosphere. Because of that, it's well-known for special occasions as well, and certainly a place you'd go when things are starting to get serious.

Bistro Cacao

(202) 546-4737

316 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

11. Rasika - West End

There are two Rasika locations in D.C., and both of them serve a refined take on Indian cuisine to put hearts in your eyes. However, if you need a table that gives the right amount of "alone in a crowded room" vibes without feeling too far removed, go to Rasika in West End. Swanky turquoise booths and domed lights create a unique mood.

From lobster curry in Bengali style to a succulent duck makhani-cooked tandoori, you should also consider Rasika for a date that revolves around robust and exciting flavors. The restaurant also keeps incredibly specific menus for nut, dairy, and gluten allergies, should you or your date need.


(202) 466-2500

1190 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037 (Additional location in Penn Quarter)

12. Seven Reasons

Here are seven reasons why Seven Reasons makes a good date spot: It put Chef Enrique Limardo on the map in D.C.'s culinary scene, so it's instantly cooler than a first date at The Cheesecake Factory; The menu has always been focused on a total sensory experience, which sounds sexy; Dishes on the current menu iteration have a range of global flavors, and so they fit a variety of cravings; the view onto 14th can provide good people watching, an easy way to break the ice.

There are a few more reasons to love this spot, as well. Exposed brick walls create a more relaxing charm, where conversation can become laid back as well; the service has been some of the best we've had in D.C., and the bar program pushes the boundary of classics while generating creative new additions.

Seven Reasons

(202) 417-8563

2208 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

13. Imperfecto

‌If Seven Reasons was Chef Enrique Limardo's suggestive entrance to the Washington dining environment, then Imperfecto is his love letter to his bountiful relationship with cooking. The menu at this restaurant comes from a marriage of Latin and Mediterranean cuisines and an ethos responsible for its name: the beauty of human imperfections.

On a night spent scanning for potential red flags, this eatery can be a reminder that we all have beige ones, too. As for green flags? You'll find them all across the menu. It's re-imagined daily, but a recent version listed a duck magret with pickled green banana alongside celeriac root accented by tepache and salsa cruda. Sommelier Maurizio Arberi's wine list is in a balanced pursuit of perfection.


(202) 964-1012

1124 23rd St. NW, Washington, DC 20037

14. Tortino Restaurant

The menu at Tortino is a tour through Tuscan cooking, and in particular, dives into what its chef Noé Canales defines as cucina povera, or "poor cooking." It's a fashion of Tuscan preparation that shirks rich sauces in favor of hardy herbs and practiced techniques. Tortino is the destination you'll want to reserve for casual date nights; it's tasteful enough but not over the top. Simple, yet still nuanced. And always well executed.

The prices at Tortino are enough to keep anyone coming back for a few tries, but it's truly amazing how much justice the food is given, considering the cost. While enjoying a meal out, it can be incredibly hard to find something as affordable and well-done as the braised lamb ravioli ($20) or the roast veal tenderloin with black truffle reduction ($28).


(202) 312-5570

1228 11th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

15. Lutèce

Historic Georgetown is a romantic place to stroll, especially if you happen to stumble onto the charming 33-seat neo-bistro, Lutèce. Helmed by Chef Matt Conroy (who once made Michelin-starred Mexican cuisine in Brooklyn's Oxomoco), offers a slim menu that is hyper-focused on the reinvention and elevation of classic French cuisine. The design feels humbling and earthy; exposed brick walls, marble tabletops, and firm wooden chairs — Lutèce is the perfect place to lean into a good conversation.

At their tables, diners are offered plates of red kuri squash gnocchi, heritage pork with a biting, balanced sauce charcutière, and bright, fennel-infused cod poached in olive oil. Make sure to book ahead, as reservation dates can turn some heads.


(202) 333-8830

1522 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

16. Bresca

We can't speak for your date in particular, but there's something romantic about being in a space that feels alive. While some neo-bistros aim for the toned-down approach of a neighborhood hang-out serving high-end food, the ambiance feels as haute as the culinary program at Bresca. The assertive, enlivening approach is one of the many reasons why Chef Ryan Ratino has once again brought home a Michelin star to his restaurant.

Between the living moss sculpture hanging from the dining room wall to the vibrantly purple booths, Bresca generates a feeling of buzzy excitement that can be perfect for a date night. The menu is set up with chef's tasting or prix fixe options, including a compressed two-course offering four days a week.


(202) 518-7926

1906 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

17. The Monocle Restaurant

Ask around enough about romantic restaurants in Washington D.C., and there are sure to be a few people who recommend The Monocle. We fall into those who would suggest it, but let us be clear, this isn't the date spot to take just anyone. The steakhouse has been around since 1960 when both Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were both regular customers. In that sense, The Monocle can feel like a spectacle while still offering levels of service and execution to impress world leaders.

With that in mind, we recommend one of D.C.'s most classic tablecloth steakhouses as a place to wine and dine with a special someone. It helps that The Monocle serves one of the best jumbo lump crab cakes around the Potomac.

The Monocle

(202) 546-4488

107 D St. NE, Washington, DC 20002

18. La Ferme Restaurant

Although not in D.C. proper, Chevy Chase isn't too far of a drive when love is concerned. La Ferme's deeply earnest nature allows guests of all familiarity to settle in effortlessly. The attentive staff is as warm as the fireplace that roars in the dining room. Gentle candlelight plays on soft surfaces, and a few lucky tables even have terraced seating under the cathedral ceilings, giving a true bird's eye view of the first-floor dining room.

The food at La Ferme is as inviting as the aura of the eatery. It's a classic French menu with a fair focus on seafood — from trout amandine to Prince Edward Island mussels. But it's truly the setting that paints a perfect evening.

La Ferme Restaurant

(301) 986-5255

7101 Brookville Rd, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

19. 1789 Restaurant & Bar

1789 Restaurant & Bar, which is located in Georgetown, doesn't shy away from its role as an upscale destination. No, there's a braised Wagyu short rib and Ossetra Caviar to remind you that this is a serious establishment. The Eurocentric menu has comfort foods as well, like butternut squash risotto, which reveals that 1789 isn't a place that's hard to relax at.

Your meal is set inside a historic building flush with antiques, which can either develop into conversation pieces or a place to divert your eyes if things aren't going well. 1789 shows up big with a mocktail menu section that looks like it was given some respectful thought, a show of the attention to detail that will grace your entire meal.

1789 Restaurant & Bar

(202) 965-1789

1226 36th St. NW, Washington, DC 20007

20. Succotash Prime

Chef Edward Lee is a James Beard winner whose preeminent talent for cooking is on display at Succotash. Fusing the cuisines of South Korea and the American South, this Penn Quarter staple is a riveting restaurant for a date night. The menu has both an appetizer and snack section with smaller plate options that first daters should like for two good for two reasons: If your date is going well, this ordering style can extend your time together. If it's going poorly, you can have a quick bite with minimal commitment. Either way, the food is delightful.

In addition to a fried chicken menu and deviled eggs ordered by the single count, Succotash offers a highly customizable steak menu as well as plates inspired by the Mississippi Delta. Although the shrimp and grits aren't traditional, Lee's version of the dish has chemistry.


(202) 849-6933

915 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Additional locations at National Harbor.)