Date Night: Echo Park

Where to eat and drink on your next night out

You're on a boat—even though you're landlocked.

We can't think of a more swoon-worthy setting than pedaling a boat á deux ($10 an hour per adult) at Echo Park Lake. Water lilies, wading ducks, a footbridge, misting fountains set the scene year-round for an unforgettable outing with your S.O. smack-dab in the middle of the city.

Break for lakeside bites at Square One at the Boathouse. Order the breakfast sandwich ($5 to $6.50) layered with sausage, heirloom tomatoes, frisée and aioli on a brioche bun, or the patty melt ($8) with grass-fed beef, mustard and caramelized onions. If you've brought a four-legged friend along, ask for a dog treat.

If a DIY picnic is the way to your heart, head to Cookbook for provisions to go: peak-of-the-season fruit, house-made sandwiches and salads and a not-to-be-missed Meyer lemon cake. Post up with your spread on a knoll overlooking the lake.

The Mole Poblano taco at Guisados | Photo: Courtesy of Guisados 

Tacos are an aphrodisiac, no? Keep snacking by sharing a six-taco sampler plate ($6.99) at Guisados. You can't go wrong with any of the braised choices on á la minute tortillas.

Charge things up late-afternoon with the new baristas on the block at Woodcat. The adorable Sunset Boulevard gem (think: homespun meets industrial loft) serves Wrecking Ball lattes ($4), drip coffee ($3) and pour-overs ($4). Or steep into deep conversation over tisanes (a.k.a. herb, dried fruit and spice infusions) at Valerie Confections. Go halfsies on petit fours ($4 to $4.50)—we like the white chocolate-covered, tea-infused Earl Grey—on the brick-laid patio.

As the sun sets, cozy up with craft beers at tiny El Prado, where dim lighting and old-school vinyls are trés romantiques. Aprés, sit down to yakitori and sake at Kush. Order in twos—thigh, wing, heart or green curried breast grilled skewers—all made with free-range chicken. Pair them with sake-spiked cocktails. 

And because nothing says, "How do I love thee?" more than pie, count the ways with slices ($6) of salted honey, honey whiskey, chocolate caramel banana crème and more at Brite Spot. The best part: A 3 a.m. closing time on weekends means you can whisper sweet nothings after everything else has shuttered for the night.