Best romantic restaurants in Boston
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.
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.
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.
If you can’t whisk your lover to the City of Light for diner à deux, this traditional French bistro should suffice. Housed in a restored 1840s brownstone, the three small, antique-appointed dining rooms glow with candlelight. In winter, request a table by the fireplace; in the summer, escape to the hidden garden patio. Wherever you sit, this Beacon Hill fixture is a magical setting for classic dishes like duck à l’orange, or venison cooked in cognac.
Bite for bite, this self-styled Japanese tavern arguably serves the most expensive food in Boston, so it’s 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.