Date Night: Romantic Restaurants around the World
Whether exploring the Tuscan countryside or the bustling metropolis of Beijing, travelers seeking the hottest tables for a night out can count on the expert recommendations from these influential tastemakers.
Intimate spaces, candlelight, a lengthy wine list: these are just a few of the details locals and regulars love about their favorite romantic restaurants. After all, nothing sets the stage for a special night out like shareable plates and a roaring fireplace.
We asked seven Rosewood insiders to share where they go for date night in their hometowns. Their picks for most romantic restaurants evoke a sense of place, have menus worth traveling for, and promise to make your significant other swoon.
On a date night, you might find Vancouver-based travel writer Celeste Moure at AnnaLena, in Kitsilano.“Chef Mike Robbins prepares intricate and beautiful dishes that fuse French culinary techniques with ingredients and flavors of the Pacific Northwest. The restaurant is small and intimate, with comfy leather banquets, great lighting, and whimsical decor—think LEGO Storm Troopers that sit on the marble bar and on shelves next to colorful Be@rbricks and pieces by Kaws.”
What to order: Olive-oil poached steelhead trout with baby squash and chard, a tomato compote and garlic cream.
The details: AnnaLena: 1809 W 1st Ave; 778-379-4052
“It’s one of our favorite places to reconnect over superb Vietnamese cuisine,” Lila and Jeremy Stewart say of Một Hai Bai, in East Dallas. The Texan couple—founders of the high-end, do-good flip-flop company, Hari Mari—love that the restaurant’s “distinctly quaint footprint, soft lighting, and tapas-like samplings keep you and your date closer-than-close as you taste and share” the northern Vietnamese plates.
What to order: The baby carrots appetizer, with caramelized, curry-roasted carrots in a peanut aioli with carrot-and-ginger puree, green papaya and peanut streusel.
The details: Một Hai Bai: 6047 Lewis Street; 214-826-0968
For a romantic evening, Pierluigi Giachi, whose family has owned Tenuta Torciano vineyards in San Gimignano for 15 generations, heads to Ristorante dei Frescobaldi in Florence. Don’t let its location off the touristy Piazza della Signoria fool you. It’s owned by—and named after—the Frescobaldi family, one of Italy’s most historic winemaking dynasties, and its soft lighting, leather seats, and tiled walls make it one of the city’s most charming restaurants.
What to order: Local wines from Frescobaldi, including their prized Chianti; traditional plates of prosciutto and burrata; and fresh-made spaghetti with anchovies or shrimp.
The details: Ristorante & Wine Bar dei Frescobaldi: Piazza della Signoria, 31; +39 55-284-724
San Francisco-based designer Annouchka Engel has an eye for interiors, and her favorite romantic restaurant in Silicon Valley is a Hellenic masterpiece, specializing in wood-grilled seafood and lamb. Diners at the “warm and inviting” Evvia Estiatorio are transported to Greece by way of “wooden beams and classic Mediterranean décor.” Though it’s “always bustling with people, Evvia still manages to feel intimate, and the food never disappoints,” Engel says.
What to order: psari sto fournou, wood-oven-roasted whole fish of the day, served with saffron potatoes, tomatoes, scallions and olives.
The details: Evvia Estiatorio: 420 Emerson Street, Palo Alto; 650-326-0983
“Arca is one of those restaurants that reminds you why Tulum is special,” says Meagan Drillinger, co-founder of Vaera Journeys, a new boutique travel company with deep roots in Mexico. The candle-lit spot at the edge of the jungle is “the type of restaurant where you can unpretentiously tuck into succulent lobster, sip a sexy cocktail, and feel disconnected from the rest of the world—which is what makes it so romantic.”
What to order: Grilled lobster tail with heirloom corn, chipotle butter, watercress, and regional cheese.
The details: Arca: Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 7.6; +52 984-112-6823
The D.C. outpost of popular Belgrade restaurant Ambar is the preferred date spot for Kim Sajet, director of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. “Definitely go for the all-you-can-eat option,” says Sajet , “as they keep bringing out new and amazing Balkan dishes.”
What to order: Braised cabbage, house-ground veal kebabs and urnebes, an aged cheese spread with roasted peppers.
The details: Ambar: 523 8th Street SE; 202-813-3039
Every corner of Beijing’s Cinker Pictures is inspired by an iconic moment from television and film—just one of the reasons local jewelry designer Hannah Ren loves this romantic cinema restaurant. In addition to a modern Asian fusion menu, Cinker Pictures contains its own theater that shows a monthly rotation of classic or cult films, as well as a private room for viewing films of your own choice. “It’s the perfect dinner-and-a-movie date, all in one place.”
What to order: Share the grilled veal short rib or the crackly suckling pig in a pistachio vinaigrette.
The details: Cinker Pictures: Taikoo Sanlitun Village North; +86 10 6409 4577