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The best romantic restaurants in Los Angeles

Seduce your sweetheart with fireplaces, ocean views and splurgeworthy meals at LA's best romantic restaurants

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Nobu Malibu

Lady and the Tramp had the right idea—what better way to celebrate with your significant other than sharing a romantic meal? Whether you're looking to wine and dine on a rooftop, cozy up on a first date or splurge to celebrate a special occasion, we've got you covered with a round-up of LA's best restaurants that lay on the charm. Check out our guide to the best romantic restaurants in Los Angeles.

RECOMMENDED: Ideas for Valentine's Day in Los Angeles

LA's most romantic restaurants

1

One Pico

Escape to Nantucket at this beachside destination seducing lovers and landlubbers alike, where you can grab front row seats overlooking the Pacific. If that's not enough to impress your sunset-discriminating friend, cozy up to the roaring fire over surf and turf plates, like wild snapper with housemade cous cous, lobster fettuccini, 24-day aged rib-eye and Sunday night prime rib dinner served table side. The quiet dining room jazzes up, literally, come nightfall with live piano Sundays to Tuesdays and Supa Lowery Bros. on trumpet and drums Thursdays to Saturdays in the hotel's Living Room lounge, perfect for graduating on to cocktails and more fireside canoodling.

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Santa Monica
2

Elf Cafe

Because vegetarians are lovers, too. This Echo Park haunt is a date night go-to for Eastside vegetarians and omnivores alike who fall for the Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean menu that changes with the season. Call ahead to claim a spot at the counter or table, rubbing elbows with your date (or neighbor) inside the cozy, matchbox-size dining room. BYOB ($5 charge) and toast over vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options like Moroccan vegetable tagine and walnut-pesto pappardelle.

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Echo Park
3

Inn of the Seventh Ray

Forget the Topanga stereotypes of burning sage and healing crystals (OK, they sell those here too). Off Old Topanga Road, love-stricken diners can enter a bucolic, wooded city escape: A multi-tiered outdoor dining space draped in lights, lilac and oak trees—and, yes, the wafting scent of incense that hits you on your way in. Take in the serene, creekside surroundings under heat lamps and twinkling stars. Start with a fermented elixir and follow with a slow-poached local egg with potato-truffle foam and then, charcoal-grilled grass-fed beef or miso-braised short ribs with housemade kimchi. Nostalgic Angelenos will be happy to know that it's still veg, vegan and gluten-free–friendly and has been romancing diners for more than 35 years.

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Topanga
4

Firefly

Firefly may be the closest thing to a modern day secret garden in LA, walls of tangled ivy included. Found on a more popular stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, the fine-dining restaurant offers modern American cuisine from chef Paul Shoemaker in a romantic, cozy setting—a heated patio is decorated in candles and twinkling lights, while the library-like bar area offers a truncuated menu and an ideal date-night vibe. In this secret garden, you’re fed exquisite plates of Shoemaker’s carefully constructed dishes, like perfectly seared scallops or the popular John Dory chicken. Make goo-goo eyes at your date by sharing A Beautiful Disaster: a deconstructed ice cream cone (with spiced mocha and peanut butter scoops) that looks like it has fallen and splattered on a plate.

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Studio City
5

Nobu Malibu

While ocean views are a dime a dozen in LA, Nobu's rivals any we've seen, with waves crashing down below, some sandy footsteps away from the Malibu pier. And while the dramatic oceanscape, complete with a beach house–like patio, is an obvious draw that seems all-looks-and-no-substance, the eatery doesn't give it all away at once—there's food chops to back its good-looks reputation. Sushi whiz Nobu Matsuhisa's food is still as good as ever, and with a new address of sleek, minimalist style, the destination is more relevant now than before. Sit on the patio or take a seat at the sushi counter and let the chef guide you through Peruvian-inflected tiradito, uni mini tacos and sashimi so fresh, you can taste the Pacific. (Take note: Every night of the week is packed; reservations are a must.)

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Malibu
6

The Bazaar by José Andrés

The Bazaar at the SLS hotel is the kind of place where you seal the deal with salt air margaritas and caviar cones. There are five different dining rooms, each with a different menu and ambience, but the Rojo y Blanca—oozing with a not-so-coy je ne sais quoi—is where couples should head. Dine dangerously in the more masculine, matador-themed banquettes—a nod to chef José Andrés' Spanish roots, hence the Iberian-style small plates on the menu—or opt for rustic, tan leather chairs as you contemplate traditional and modern tapas. Go avante-garde with bites like eel and chicharron Japanese tacos, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches—the inverted serving features air bread flanked with strips of Wagyu beef—and steamed buns from uni to oxtail. Staids need not apply.

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Central LA
7

Scopa Italian Roots

Oh, Scopa, what are you doing to us? Those crispy squash blossoms and homemade meatballs are making our hearts melt, not to mention the intoxicating glow of the fully-stocked liquor bar that lights up the restaurant. Couples canoodle in dark booths, sharing plates of rigatoni in vodka sauce and fusilli tossed with capers, olives and anchovies. Chef Antonia Lofaso has a knack for churning out quality comfort food in a date-worthy atmosphere (look to her Black Market Liquor Bar for a Valley alternative), and Scopa is no exception. End the night with a fried fluffernutter (trust us).

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Venice
8

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Since opening its doors in 1946, Hotel Bel-Air has been the site of Old Hollywood's (then new) city escapes—from honeymoons to camping out in the secluded hills away from the lights. Couples should set up at a booth on the patio overlooking verdant gardens and expect to indulge in top-notch food (at top dollar). The Mediterranean-influenced menu sees glimpses of old and new with updated Puck favorites like Cantonese-style duck, weiner schnitzel and agnolotti. Finish with a nightcap in the glam bar that features a live pianist evenings or a stroll through the fabled Swan Lake for a fairy-tale ending.

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Bel Air
9

Lucques

Long heralded as one of the top restaurants in the city, Melrose Avenue's Lucques continues to draw both foodies and the fashionable set who come to worship at Suzanne Goin's Cal-Med staple. The menu takes cues from the season with local farmers' market ingredients highlighted on the plate (and in your cocktail glass), and the bar menu features a separate selection of eats and seasonal concoctions, another experience and reason to visit. Indulge by flickering candlelight over a bottle—the well-curated wine selection features worlds both old and new—and don't skimp on desserts. You won't want to pass up housemade donuts, ice creams and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

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West Hollywood
10

Taylor's Steak House

What's sexier than steaks over stiff drinks in a dimly lit room of red leather booths? Prime rib under $30 and rib-eye dinners served by old-school waiters at a 50-plus-year-old steakhouse. The Koreatown fixture may not look like much at an unlikely location but, once inside, curved tufted seating, dark wooden panels and low lighting give way to irreplicable charm—what date nights are made of. Traditionalists order a classic wedge salad or French onion soup and work up to au jus and a horseradish-adorned prime-rib plate or the super retro Monday night special, Steak Diane, at Eisenhower-era prices. What to drink? An Old Fashioned, naturally.

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Koreatown
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