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Olivetta West Hollywood restaurant romantic
Photograph: Courtesy Olivetta

The best romantic restaurants in Los Angeles

Seduce your sweetheart with fireplaces, ocean views and splurgeworthy meals at L.A.’s best romantic restaurants

By Katherine Kims, Stephanie Breijo and Time Out contributors
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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 L.A.’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

L.A.’s most romantic restaurants

Inn of The Seventh Ray
Inn of The Seventh Ray
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

1. Inn of the Seventh Ray

Restaurants Californian Topanga

Forget the Topanga stereotypes of burning sage and healing crystals. Off Old Topanga Road, love-stricken diners can enter a bucolic, wooded city escape thanks to Inn of the Seventh Ray’s multi-tiered outdoor dining space draped in lights, lilac and oak trees—and, OK, the wafting scent of incense that hits you on your way in. Take in the serene, creekside scene under heat lamps and twinkling stars, then start with a glass from their organic-leaning wine list and follow with the likes of roasted-mushroom toast with sherry tarragon cream, and then, grass-fed filet mignon with truffled mashed potatoes or a dish of black-vinegar-braised short ribs with BBQ-spiced carrots. Nostalgic Angelenos will be happy to know that it’s still veg-, vegan- and gluten-free–friendly, and has been romancing diners for roughly 45 years.

Nobu Malibu
Nobu Malibu
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

2. Nobu Malibu

Restaurants Japanese Malibu

While ocean views are a dime a dozen in L.A., Nobu’s rival 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, this famed Japanese restaurant doesn’t give it all away at once: There’s food chops to back its good-looks reputation. Sushi legend Nobu Matsuhisa’s food is still as good as ever; 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: Reservations are a must.)

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Olivetta West Hollywood restaurant romantic
Olivetta West Hollywood restaurant romantic
Photograph: Courtesy Olivetta

3. Olivetta

Restaurants Contemporary European West Hollywood

One of L.A.’s newest restaurants just so happens to be one of its most beautiful. Matt and Marissa Hermer entered L.A.’s restaurant scene with a charmer, the Palisades’ Draycott, but their new West Hollywood sibling spot is a true stunner: Fabric drapes casually from the ceiling, tassels hang off velvet stools at the two bars, and the patterned wallpaper practically glows in the evening. And, of course, then there’s the coastal European menu from seasoned chef Michael Fiorelli, which turns out lobster spaghetti for two; grilled Spanish octopus, fabulous house-made bread; and a range of cheffy seasonal vegetables. A mishmash of style and era, Olivetta is precisely the place to get lost in your date’s eyes—that is, if you’re not too busy taking in the trellised patio, the buzzy ambiance and all that gorgeous velvet.

4. Il Cielo

Restaurants Italian Beverly Hills
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If a restaurant could make you weak in the knees, Il Cielo would have diners dropping left and right. Serving lunch and dinner under a canopy of twinkling lights, the romantic Italian family-owned spot aims to be a “country restaurant in the city,” where bubbling fountains and white tablecloths create a darling ambiance evoking a Tuscan trattoria. Sample the risottos, pastas and carpaccios before diving into surf-and-turf entrées: branzino, Maine lobster, lamb chops and filet mignon have all made an appearance on the menu. And because dolce really is the most romantic course of all, we advise sharing a plate of tiramisu before Il Cielo completely sweeps you off your feet.

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5. Perch

Restaurants French Downtown Historic Core
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This rooftop bistro is one of the prettiest in town, with patterned tile floors, dead-on views of the Central Library and other DTLA landmarks, and an ambiance full of potted trees and twinkly lights, not to mention beautiful locals—plus a few hundred of their closest friends. Inside, the eclectic French décor displays a series of tasteful boudoir paintings over the bar and a scattering of plush sofas. Sample the wide selection of kir and wines (and bubbly) by the glass, and drop in for happy hour—dubbed “Apéritif Hour”—on weekdays from 4 to 6pm.

6. Firefly

Restaurants American creative Studio City
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Firefly may be the closest thing to a modern-day secret garden in L.A., 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 in a romantic, cozy setting: A heated, firelit patio is decorated in candles and twinkling lights, while the library-like bar area offers an ideal date-night vibe. In this secret garden, you’re fed exquisitely constructed dishes such as veal meatballs swimming in San Marzano tomato sauce, or an artful roasted monkfish with pumpkin and salsa verde. Make goo-goo eyes at your date by sharing a decadent butterscotch budino topped with Maldon sea salt. Note: Firefly is currently only open for takeaway, curbside service.

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Gwen restaurant in Hollywood
Gwen restaurant in Hollywood
Photograph: Courtesy Gwen/Wonho Frank Lee

7. Gwen

Restaurants American Hollywood

Gwen is currently open for pickup and delivery only.

Flame-kissed, dry-aged steaks served under chandeliers in a glamorous Hollywood setting? It’s all to be expected at Gwen, Curtis Stone’s masterful and elegant take on a steakhouse where everything—from the glassware and what comes in it to the ethical sourcing of the meat—feels especially considered. Handmade pastas, house charcuterie and market vegetables in decadent sauces and butters are all worth an order, so much, in fact, that we recommend taking a few ingredients home, too; the butcher case and market provisions at the entrance make that part easy.

8. Little Beast

Restaurants American creative Eagle Rock
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There’s romance even in the story of this Eagle Rock gem: The cozy Craftsman bungalow turned bistro is run by—of course—a husband-and-wife team. Chef Sean Lowenthal and Deborah Schwartz-Lowenthal cook up a hyper-seasonal New-American menu in a setting with such low lighting in almost feels entirely candle-lit. Get there early to grab a seat at the tiny marble-topped bar or on the cozy plant-draped front porch, or hole up in one of their banquette seats with tufted leather backing as you share your way through braised meatballs, duck liver mousse with sherry gastrique, and charred flat iron steak. Around the side of the restaurant, the bulb lights flip on when the sun goes down, providing an intimate patio that glows as much as your date will.

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9. Taylor’s Steak House

Restaurants Steakhouse Koreatown
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What’s sexier than steaks over stiff drinks in a dimly-lit room of red leather booths? Great cuts for $30 and rib-eye dinners served by old-school waiters at a 50-plus-year-old steakhouse, that’s what. The K-town and La Cañada fixture may not look like much, 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 a horseradish-adorned prime-rib plate or the retro daily specials. What to drink? An old-fashioned or a martini, naturally.

10. Terra

Restaurants Italian Century City
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Are you in a trattoria, or are you on the roof of the Westfield Century City mall? Perched high above Santa Monica Boulevard, Eataly’s wood-fired rooftop restaurant and bar offers a two-part adventure: For scenic views under bulb lights and olive trees, head to Terra’s gorgeous patio; for an intimate dining room with a view of the restaurant’s massive wood-burning oven and grill, dine indoors. Either way, you’ll be feasting on Italian dishes such as house-made pastas, grilled meats, charred fish and vegetables, and ample gin cocktails—just be sure to end your romantic evening on a sweet note with dessert from the roving gelato cart.

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11. Catch LA

Restaurants Seafood West Hollywood
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Perched above the dynamic streets of West Hollywood, CATCH LA is the West Coast outpost of NYC’s acclaimed CATCH. A globally-influenced seafood spot and a definite place to see and be seen, it provides a little something for everyone with its blend of dining, nightlife and events in a an open-air dining room with retractable roof. With its signature open kitchen, set against breathtaking views of the Hollywood Hills, the massive rooftop haven invites the outside in as it blends seafood with sushi, Asian influences and an excellent brunch (but let’s be real—bring your date to dinner, for best results).

12. Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Restaurants Californian Bel Air
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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 a composed loup de mer, veal weiner schnitzel, and hand-cut tagliatelle with truffles. Finish with a nightcap in the glam bar that features a live pianist, or a stroll by the fabled Swan Lake for a fairy-tale ending.

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Scopa Italian Roots
Scopa Italian Roots
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

13. Scopa Italian Roots

Restaurants Italian Venice

Oh, Scopa, what are you doing to us? Those crispy squash blossoms and house-made 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 dateworthy 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).

Looking for a good view?

Mama Shelter Los Angeles
Photograph: Courtesy Mama Shelter Los Angeles

L.A.'s best rooftop bars

Bars

There's nothing more romantic than a beautiful rooftop. After dinner, grab a night cap at one of these top rooftop bars.

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