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Merois Nighttime Dining Room
Photograph: Courtesy Christian Horan

The best romantic restaurants in Los Angeles

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

Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Katherine Kims
&
Stephanie Breijo
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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. Below, check out our guide to the best romantic restaurants in Los Angeles.

Looking for more sentimental ideas? Check out the most romantic things to do in L.A.

L.A.’s most romantic restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Topanga
  • price 3 of 4

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 nearly half a century.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Malibu
  • price 4 of 4

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. The beach-house–like patio has the food chops to back its good-looks reputation. Sushi legend Nobu Matsuhisa’s food is still as good as ever; sit on the patio 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, and offered by phone only; 310-317-9140.)

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Studio City
  • price 3 of 4
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Firefly may be the closest thing to a modern-day secret garden in L.A., walls of tangled ivy included. The Studio City 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

This stunning open-air Mediterranean eatery from the h.wood Group (Delilah, The Nice Guy) comes alive every night with a curtain of twinkling lights, transforming the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton into one of the most romantic spots in the city. On weekend nights, live Greek music plays from 7 to 10pm, while h.wood Group chefs Michael Teich and Burt Bakman's flavorful Cal-Mediterreanean cuisine wows from every angle. For breezier sunset views, hit up Sant'olina's excellent happy hour.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Malibu
  • price 3 of 4

Looking for a patio with a breathtaking view? This Malibu restaurant specializing in California cuisine lets you enjoy a meal right at the Pacific's edge for a sunset view that can't be beat. The unenclosed dining room makes even “indoor” views of the sea possible from every angle, and tall hedges to the side only add to this high-profile spot’s exclusive vibe. Straightforward seafood and steaks reign supreme here, though you’ll find a few deviations from the American steaks and chops by way of baked Brie in puff pastry and miso-braised tofu. 

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • West Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4
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You can’t avoid a bit of that trying-a-little-too-hard Sunset Strip scene inside this dinner spot at the West Hollywood EDITION. But any drawbacks are easily outweighed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s veggie-focused menu and the astoundingly lush garden interior (seriously, you just might be competing with a wall of palm fronds for you date’s attention).

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 3 of 4

Wouldn’t it be romantic to whisk off to Mexico City for an impromptu vacation? Well, you’ll still be firmly in the Arts District, but you sure won’t feel like it on this palm and cacti-lined patio escape. The aesthetic details at LA Cha Cha Chá are divine, as is the seafood and tequila-forward menu at this CDMX-inspired terraza. Order a tuna tostada and a painkiller or two and you’ll feel as though you’ve slipped away to paradise.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Bel Air
  • price 4 of 4
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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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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 3 of 4

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 (temporarily suspended).

  • Restaurants
  • Pan-Asian
  • West Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4
Yes, it's yet another Wolfgang Puck entry on this list, but the dining room of the fine dining icon's latest restaurant has all the elements for a memorable meal. Stellar views? An interior that looks like a colorful wedding tent? A mix of French Californian dishes with a flair for Japanese and Southeast Asian flavors? Sounds like a date to us.
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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4
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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. 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.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Downtown Financial District
  • price 3 of 4

Skyscraper-topping restaurants always seem like perfect go-big date ideas, but many end up coasting on views alone. But 71Above—you guessed it, it’s 71 floors up in the U.S. Bank Tower—backs up its height with a tasty prix-fixe feast of poached oysters, agnolotti, steak tartare and scallops. Try the bar for a sunset-facing seat, and look out for a pair of tables pushed right up to the edge of the windows.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Eagle Rock

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.

  • 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).

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Century City
  • price 3 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Burbank

The sprawl of the Valley may not typically scream romance, but it sure does when it’s twinkling a few hundred feet below you. Burbank’s Castaway swapped its over-the-hill country club atmosphere for a hillside retreat that feels more fresh, with steaks, whole roast fish and impressive charcuterie boards. The patio, with a clear shot of the entire SFV, is the place to sit, as is the adjacent subject-to-availability bar, the Green Room.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4
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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 such as fresh pasta with lobster, seared scallops with bok choi and soy caramel, 24-day–aged rib eye and Sunday-night prime rib dinner served tableside.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Rancho Palos Verdes/Rolling Hills Estates
  • price 3 of 4

Palos Verdes’ sumptuous resort Terranea boasts more than a half-dozen outdoor dining options, but Mar’sel is the go-to for an impress-your-date kind of place. Its peninsula-topping patio looks out toward the rugged PV coastline and Catalina Island; it’s the kind of privileged setting that you simply won’t want to give up when you’re done. Dinners quickly climb into the triple digits, so consider the three-course Sunday brunch for (a still expensive) $75 to keep things in check.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • West Third Street
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The Little Door’s ample candlelight, rustic cuisine and one of the best patios in the city keep L.A. couples entranced—and have for a quarter of a century. The formerly French restaurant is now home to a Mediterranean-leaning menu, but still just as much romance as ever before: Catch couples canoodling—especially in the courtyard—over pine-nut–crusted rack of lamb with goat cheese or seared scallops in a wild-mushroom carbonara sauce, with organic produce sourced from local farms and wines that trot the globe. This “hidden” gem is hidden in location only—make sure you land a reservation so as not to keep your date waiting.

  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Koreatown
  • price 3 of 4

What’s sexier than steaks over stiff drinks in a dimly-lit room of red leather booths? Well, for plenty of Angelenos, probably just about anything. But if you share a red-hot passion for red meat, then consider great cuts for $30 and rib-eye dinners served by old-school waiters at a 50-plus-year-old steakhouse. 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.

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