Puritan reserve be damned—romantic restaurants in Boston cater to every predilection. From champagne and caviar in plush surroundings to homemade pasta in intimate Italian quarters, when it comes to V-Day date ideas (or any date night ideas, really), it’s just a matter of whatever floats your boat. For your next big romantic night out, come armed with a thoughtful, sexy or funny gift, or say it with flowers with our top florist picks. 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 a decadent brunch in the morning.
RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Boston
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 five-course menu from Chef de Cuisine Brendan Joy takes full advantage of seasonal and local ingredients. If you want the full gustatory 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 460-plus bottle wine list with more than 20 options by the glass. Chef and 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 in a restored 1840s brownstone lives up to its romantic reputation with three small antique-appointed dining rooms aglow 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 2012 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 four-course prix fixe 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 exotic ingredients like sea urchin and black truffle, and such sumptuous dishes as the chef’s signature Butter Soup, made with New England shellfish, milk, honey and caviar.
Jody Adams’s passion for Italian cuisine shines through in sensual dishes served in a breezy, elegant dining room with sheer curtains and splashes of sage green and orange. Let the dinner conversation heat up over $1 oysters on Monday nights in the lounge or explore various regions with a special, rotating three- and four-course fixed-price menus, which feature dishes such as grilled boar with thyme, toasted freekeh, cranberry mustard, and hen of the woods. If you really want to make a night of it, book one of the Charles Hotel’s luxurious rooms and skip the drive home.
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 familiar 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. Executive chef Patrick Campbell (No. 9 Park) gives classic cuisine a contemporary touch with inventive small plates, such as cauliflower velouté with sea urchin, lobster oil and curry salt; and saffron cavatelli with Prince Edward Island mussels and Calabrian chili. Follow up with playful desserts like the “tiny spoon” (literally a spoonful) of PB&J or other flavors. Alternatively, stimulate your senses with Edwards’s culinary experiences: WikiPearls of foie gras, flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, encased in an apple “skin” and dusted with fennel pollen, or Le Whaf, “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 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 affordable, creative American cuisine, such as 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. Although the word “timeless” is much bandied about by No.9’s admirers, Barbara Lynch’s flagship can also (despite its head-on view of Boston Common) seem oddly placeless, thanks to its sleekly cosmopolitan air. The former mansion's good looks demonstrate how ‘smooth’ and ‘sharp’ can be synonyms; the service—from the remarkable bartenders to the splendid sommelier, Cat Silirie—hits the heights of professionalism. 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.