Whether you’ve just swiped right or have been married for what feels like forever, every couple needs go-to date night spots. Enter Boston’s most romantic restaurants, extensions of the city’s rich cultural melting pot.
In Back Bay, an Italian mainstay that has dished up sophisticated plates of pasta since 2006 was made for milestones. Live music calms first-date nerves at a charming, brick-lined spot in the South End. Mojito towers and inventive Cuban small plates make a Roxbury restaurant a sought-after group hangout spot.
Read on for a guide to Boston’s 12 top romantic restaurants, ready to raise the bar on your next dreamy night out.
For a first date
Cloud & Spirits (Cambridge)
First-date jitters drift away at Cloud & Spirits, where the dining room is an idyllic tropical escape. The interiors are decked with exposed beams, pine slats on the walls, and faux florals hugging lantern-like lights. The menu from executive chef Ron SH features Pacific-inspired spins on New American dishes. Get to know your date over shareable plates such as Xi’an street noodles with housemade cumin chile crisp and pork belly adobo with chile fig jam. If those inventive dishes don’t get you talking, maybe the inspired cocktail list, which takes plenty of Polynesian and Southeast Asian detours, will.
Judy’s Bay (Cambridge)
The wood-burning fireplace at this New England-style izakaya makes it one of the best spots for a cozy early date in Cambridge. Fortunately, the light and snacky menu, an inspired selection featuring Maine mussels with gochujang butter and unagi bone chips served with a salt and lemon dip, is also conducive to post-meal cuddling. Fittingly, Judy’s is steered by a husband-and-wife team who started with Asian-accented barbecue popups before debuting their adorable brick-and-mortar in 2022.
For a second date
Zuzu’s Petals (Cambridge)
Even if your relationship status goes from single to taken at Zuzu’s Petals, you’ll have to wait to update your profile—there’s a strict no-phone rule at this intimate dessert and wine bar. Co-founder Alexandra Whisnant is renowned for her tonka bean-infused crème brulée and tiramisu, although it’s worth bringing an appetite: the signature cheeseboard, crammed with locally made treats, shouldn’t be missed. Pair the food with diverse, by-the-glass sections from Europe and the U.S. Impress your date by requesting a sultry song or two on the record player for the full Zuzu’s experience.
For an intimate and cozy night out
Frenchie (South End)
Travel to a Parisian wine bar sans passport at Frenchie. The cozy solarium makes for a picturesque perch, thanks to its ivy-lined glass ceiling; string lights illuminate fresh roses on the table. The salt-encrusted branzino was made for sharing, as were Frenchie’s signature oysters; to drink, there are bubbles—mostly Champagne and prosecco—galore. If you’re just getting to know each other, opt for a brunch date instead, where can’t-miss options include a white truffle croque monsieur and lobster eggs Benedict.
As the adage goes, you can’t please everyone all the time—but Pammy’s, an Italian American star in Cambridge, defies that notion. Lead mixologist Rob Ficks makes magic at the small but mighty bar, creating crowd-pleasing concoctions such as the Wildfire (whiskey, smoked pineapple, bitters, and chartreuse). In the dining room, warm leather banquettes, plants, and polished brass fixtures fuel an intimate ambience. Snag a table near the tiled fireplace and dig into a three-course Italian feast including faithfuls such as agnolotti with duck, Brussels sprouts, and amaretti crumble; kale gnudi with candied walnuts; and venison loin with Japanese eggplant.
For an anniversary or romantic milestone
Sorellina (Back Bay)
Sorellina, a mainstay on any Boston foodie’s hit list, has more than 16 years of proposals, anniversaries, and birthdays under its belt. Special-occasion-worthy dishes include fazzoletti pasta (cut to resemble silk handkerchiefs) with braised wild boar and pillowy ravioli with honeynut squash and sage brown butter. Save room for desserts such as Meyer lemon curd meringue with brûléed figs—or one of the myriad dessert wines, ideal for toasting your special evening together.
Mooncusser (Back Bay)
Mooncusser, a three-story seafood spot in a historic flatiron building, promises one of Boston’s sleekest meals. The kitchen here is steered by Top Chef alum Carl Dooley, whose seafood-forward prix-fixe lineup includes four courses with two options each; plates rotate frequently with what’s in season, but crudos are a staple, as are plenty of chiles. Before or after your celebratory meal, check out LTD Bar, the watering hole downstairs, where techie mixologist Todd Maul pushes the boundaries on cocktails—don’t miss the exceptionally icy martini.
Bricco (North End)
Though it’s best known for one of Boston’s foamiest espresso martinis, Bricco draws celebrating couples for consistently great contemporary Italian fare. All the bread for its top-notch panini is baked at its own panetteria, and much of the meat on its charcuterie boards is from its salumeria. If you’re out late, impress your date by popping in here for a midnight snack. Only regulars know about the restaurant’s late-night pizza option—the wood-fired margherita pies, topped with housemade buffalo and regular mozzarella, are served exclusively between 11:30 pm and 2 am.
For group dates
Doña Habana (Roxbury)
There’s something for everyone at this convivial Cuban spot. Doña Habana’s signature large-format cocktails, which include a 25-mojito tower with seven separate fruits, are especially suited for lively group get-togethers. The assortment platter, crammed with cassava chips, sweet potato fries, ham croquettes, and beef and chicken empanadas, is another crowd favorite. The fish here is arranged vertically and served with a medley of fresh veggies—the striking presentation makes an excellent conversation starter, if you’re just getting to know each other better.
For an adventurous and transportive date
Krasi (Back Bay)
Krasi brings the Greek islands to Gloucester Street. The chic mezze bar (which took over the site of the iconic Cafe Jaffa in 2020), is a marble-heavy hideaway, boasting one of America’s largest Greek wine lists (“krasi” means wine in Greek). While the small plates selection features plenty of usual suspects in the cheese and charcuterie department, opt for lesser-seen Mediterranean options, including octopus mortadella and and sheep’s milk cheese from Naxos, to add to the far-flung vibes. If your date is going really well, escape to Hecate, a sexy, European-style cocktail bar downstairs, stocked with rare spirits such as Lithuanian honey liqueur and French apple brandy.
For an evening of eatertainment
Beehive (South End)
Skip the awkward conversations at The Beehive, where live jazz music takes the edge off any date-related nerves. The menu spices things up, too. Expect New American plates such as cider-glazed pork shoulder and sesame and white bean dip with piquillo peppers. Come truffle season, dig into beef short rib for two, embellished with black truffles and a red wine sauce. Bubbly fans can toast with some of the most extensive Champagne and sparkling wine menu in Boston.
For a proposal worthy place
Deuxave (Back Bay)
If you’re planning on popping the question, you’re in good company at Deuxave, an acclaimed, French-inflected beauty in Back Bay. So many couples have decided to tie the knot here that there’s a special table designated for engagements. Certainly, the table’s cozy spot by the fireplace, surrounded by gray and blue interiors, sets an extra romantic mood. As do artistic plates of seared foie gras, lobster gnocchi, and duck breast with wild mushrooms. Don’t skip dessert, including chocolate mousse with hazelnut ice cream. If you’re ending the meal with the big question, bring an engagement ring and your server will tuck it in a confection to present to your SO.
Carley Thornell-Wade is a Boston-based food, travel, and technology writer who’s been to more than 70 countries and delighted in tasting the regional delicacies of each.
Nathan Taveres contributed to this guide.
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