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The most romantic restaurants in Boston

Planning a first date or a Valentine’s Day bonanza? Cozy up in one of the most romantic restaurants in Boston.

O Ya
Photograph: Courtesy Gentl and Hyers O Ya
By Eric Grossman and Time Out Boston Staff |
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Here at Time Out, we're always quick to share our picks for the best date ideas Boston has to offer, and when you're in a pinch, making a reservation at a swoon-inducing eatery is always a safe bet. From champagne and caviar in plush surroundings to homemade pasta in intimate Italian quarters, when it comes to romantic dining options, it’s just a matter of whatever floats your boat. Want to make it a night you won’t forget? After a meal at one of the most romantic restaurants in Boston, get a room at one of the best hotels in town and follow up with one of the city's best brunches in the morning. Or class it up with a nightcap at one of the best cocktail bars or best wine bars in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Most romantic restaurants in Boston

1
O Ya
Photograph: Courtesy Gentl and Hyers
Restaurants, Japanese

o ya

icon-location-pin Leather District

Bite for bite, this Japanese temple of gastronomy serves some of the priciest fare in all of Boston, so its impressive date material purely on that front. It’s also, less arguably, some of the most thrilling cuisine—daring yet meticulous, and delicate but rarely precious. Sushi isn’t the half of it: Chef Tim Cushman, a James Beard Award winner, transforms the humblest fare—such as miso soup and tonkatsu—into luxuries, which sommelier Nancy Cushman pairs with sakés from her select list.

2
Bondir
Photograph: Andrew Ryan
Restaurants, American creative

Bondir

icon-location-pin Inman Sq

Church-pew seats (made comfortable with cushions) and old-fashioned wooden paneling create a cozy yet understated farmhouse vibe at chef Jason Bond’s American bistro. Sip an aperitif in the lounge area in front of the huge brick fireplace before heading to your table. The carefully composed menu takes full advantage of seasonal and local ingredients. If you want the full experience—and you do—spring for the additional wine pairings.

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3
Deuxave
Photograph: Courtesy Deuxave/Andy Ryan
Restaurants, American creative

Deuxave

icon-location-pin Back Bay

The glamorous, chandelier-lit dining room creates a special occasion-feel, but there isn’t a hint of stuffiness thanks to the friendly vibe at this Back Bay eatery. The contemporary French fare is complemented by a lengthy wine list. Chef/co-owner Chris Coombs’s talent for hospitality and sumptuous dishes translates to a sophisticated yet relaxed tryst with champagne and caviar, spiced duck breast, and French onion soup simmered for a full nine hours.

4
Giulia
Photograph: Courtesy Giulia
Restaurants, Italian

Giulia

icon-location-pin Porter Sq

Brick walls and candlelight keep the mood cozy at this rustic Italian retreat run by chef Michael Pagliarini and his wife Pamela Ralston. Savor one of the killer handmade pastas, such as pappardelle with wild boar or spaghetti alle vongole, and end the night on a sweet note with the sumptuous chocolate terrine. 

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5
No. 9 Park
Photograph: Courtesy No. 9 Park/BLG
Restaurants, French

No. 9 Park

icon-location-pin Beacon Hill

A place of beauty for the beautiful one in your life; the word “timeless” is bandied about by No.9’s admirers. Barbara Lynch’s flagship offers a head-on view of Boston Common. The former mansion's good looks compliment the professional service—from the remarkable bartenders to the splendid sommelier, Cat Silirie. And the French/Italian-based cuisine? Rarely less than luscious, for all its elegance—especially the finely wrought pastas.

6
Oleana, Restaurants and cafes, Boston
Photograph: Elan Fleisher
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Oleana

icon-location-pin Inman Sq

Two tiny, coolly pretty dining rooms and an enormously popular garden patio provide a showcase for chef-owner Ana Sortun's passion for and mastery of the hauntingly aromatic cuisines of Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Morocco, Egypt and Sicily. Most of the small plates are memorable, while many of the desserts are downright extraordinary. Get intimate, Boston. 

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7
Menton
Photograph: Courtesy Menton/Michael Warren
Restaurants, American creative

Menton

icon-location-pin Seaport District

If money is no object, treat yourselves to a multi-course or customized chef’s tasting menu at this Relais & Chateaux fine-dining establishment, which takes its name from the Côte d’Azur town near the Italian border. The plush details—from French linens to Austrian crystal—and attentive service will make you feel utterly pampered. Local culinary luminary Barbara Lynch’s French-Italian cuisine features luxe ingredients such as sea urchin and black truffle. 

8
Ten Tables, Restaurants and cafes, Boston
Photograph: Chris Bourn
Restaurants, American creative

Ten Tables

icon-location-pin Jamaica Plain

It’s almost like having a romantic dinner at home, but without the kitchen dramas or the pile of dirty dishes afterwards, at this intimate Jamaica Plain eatery with (you guessed it) ten tables. Candlelight, the aromas wafting from the open kitchen, and a local-centric, seasonal menu—house-made pastas are a highlight—seal the deal. 

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9
Alden & Harlow, Restaurants, Bars, Boston
Photograph: Kristin Teig
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Alden & Harlow

icon-location-pin Harvard Sq

Slip down into this subterranean Harvard Square hideaway with your sweetheart. The romance begins with a drink at the bar under honey-colored glass lanterns that’ll give your complexion a flattering glow. Be sure to reserve a table in the atrium, which is lush with cactus and ferns and set apart from the hubbub of the main dining room. (Staff will bring a flickering votive to your table on request.) But once you’ve tucked into Michael Scelfo’s creative American cuisine (e.g. smoked lamb belly ribs with carrot and cashew tahini), it won’t matter where you are. 

10
Café Artscience
Photograph: Wayne Chinnock
Restaurants, American creative

Café Artscience

icon-location-pin Kendall Sq

Half classy dining experience, half sensory trip, Café ArtScience—the brainchild of Harvard University professor David Edwards—could be the perfect formula for a unique dinner date. To cultivate chemistry, snag one of the tables with curvaceous couch seating, and for an extra-special experience ask for WikiPearls of foie gras (flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, encased in an apple “skin” and dusted with fennel pollen), or ask to experience Le Whaf, which produces “flavor clouds” that are inhaled instead of eaten.

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11
Tasting Counter
Photograph: Courtesy Tasting Counter
Restaurants, American creative

Tasting Counter

icon-location-pin Somerville

Impress someone special by whisking them away to a hidden corner of Somerville to experience Chef Peter Ungár's culinary talents. Creative dishes are prepped in front of the 20-seat counter, thus the “dining as theater” aspect of the experience. For a less formal, fine dining-caliber experience, head to Time Out Market Boston, where Ungár operates a Tasting Counter outlet.

12
Harvest
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Harvest

icon-location-pin Harvard Sq

If the two of you are the cerebral type, it's hard to beat a seat on Harvest's garden terrace (or in one of its cozy dining rooms), surrounded by academics and local luminaries. Since 1975, this refined Harvard Square stalwart has led the local farm-to-table charge, celebrating regional ingredients with an elegant, seasonal menu. The kitchen personifies a sophisticated approach to New England dining; locally-sourced seafood and meats, plus homemade pastas, are all meticulously and imaginatively prepared. 

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