12 romantic restaurants in Los Angeles for every kind of date

At Saffy’s, a multi-regional Middle Eastern restaurant in East Hollywood, inspired desserts include bergamot chocolate cake and rose ganache. | Credit: Joseph Weaver

Los Angeles is easy to adore (except, of course, when it’s rush hour). The City of Angels also makes a cheery backdrop for love—as do its romantic restaurants, made for various stages of the relationship timeline.

Linger over kebabs and shawarma at a casual Middle Eastern spot in East Hollywood. Recreate a Parisian getaway at a West LA bistro. Or get cozy by the ocean as you sip margaritas and tuck into a Sonoran feast in Manhattan Beach.

Whether you’re on your first date or tenth, marking Valentine’s Day or just another weeknight together, restaurants in Los Angeles know how to celebrate your love. Here are 12 of the city’s most date night-worthy spots to book for your next romantic occasion.

For a first date

Perch LA (Downtown)

Avoid any awkward first date-related silences at this live music venue. The sprawling, two-story rooftop space does a stellar aperitif hour from 4 pm to 6 pm on weekdays, featuring French-inspired bites (brie en croute, vadouvan chicken skewers) and kir royales, among other cocktails. But Perch is best known for string quartets and live DJ performances. If your date is going swimmingly, stretch it with dinner at Mrs. Fish, a modern Japanese restaurant that sits 15 floors below.

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For a second date

AOC (West Hollywood)

Get to know your date better by breaking bread—mushroom focaccia, to be precise—at this LA institution. Helmed by chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, AOC is a French Mediterranean restaurant known for seasonal small plates starring California’s freshest ingredients and a wine selection that’s biodynamic and sustainable. Tapas-style plates mean you can savor dishes such as Spanish fried chicken and green quinoa dumplings together. Enjoy it all in a chic indoor or outdoor dining space, complete with a European-inspired courtyard.

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For an intimate and cozy night

Saffy’s (East Hollywood)

Bar seating at Saffy’s in East Hollywood

The pink-tiled bar at Saffy’s, a multi-regional Middle Eastern restaurant in East Hollywood. | Credit: Joseph Weaver

Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis are well-known in Los Angeles for their hotspots Bestia and Bavel. In June 2022, they returned with a more casual take on Middle Eastern classics at Saffy’s in East Hollywood. Unwind over kebabs, shawarma, and falafel wraps—Saffy’s shareable dishes are meant for eating sans utensils. Post up at the curved bar or get cozy in one of the gold banquettes for a laidback, low-pressure date night.

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Hinoki & The Bird (Century City)

Executive chef Brandon Kida and his culinary team at Hinoki & The Bird have been creating innovative new American dishes since 2016. Hidden among a cluster of commercial skyscrapers, the quaint restaurant draws date-night regulars for signature dishes such as a lobster roll on a black charcoal bun, hinoki-scented black cod, and crispy chicken with lemon aioli. Reserve a table here if your idea of a perfect date is a low-profile spot in a garden-like setting.

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For an evening of entertainment

Here and Now (Downtown)

A date at Here and Now delivers more than a typical evening at a swank bar. With drag bingo, karaoke, and live music, this downtown spot is filled with entertainment options ideal for an out-of-the-box hangout. The gastropub menu is well-suited for a late-night rendezvous, serving pillowy biscuits and an excellent fried chicken sandwich, plus slices of homemade pie that go well with the frozen Irish coffee for dessert. Book drag bingo, karaoke, and seats for live music via OpenTable experiences.

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For an anniversary or romantic milestone

Per L’Ora (Downtown)

For a glitzy anniversary celebration, head downtown to the Hotel Per La’s flagship restaurant. This sparkling, spacious spot housed in a former bank is sure to impress your beau with its golden-coffered ceiling, white upholstered chairs, and marble walls. Chef Courtney Van Dyke’s modern Californian menu is equally inspired and special occasion-worthy, featuring chorizo and manchego on toast, juicy spatchcocked chicken with Peruvian aji verde sauce, and veal milanese with fermented chile vinaigrette.

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Osteria Mozza (Hollywood)

The dining room at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

Osteria Mozza, a dimly lit, white tablecloth restaurant in Hollywood, serves refined Italian plates. | Credit: Kelly Campbell

Famed chef Nancy Silverton’s Osteria Mozza is a dimly lit, white tablecloth establishment that’s a top choice for a festive evening. It’s decidedly more formal than its next-door sibling restaurant Pizzeria Mozza and the kind of place you want to go for a proper special occasion date. Celebrate over a refined lineup of Italian plates including grilled octopus, crispy duck confit, and handmade pasta—plus an impressive Old World wine list to match.

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Via Veneto (Santa Monica)

This elegant neighborhood gem is one of LA’s best kept secrets. Via Veneto, in all its candlelit and chandeliered glory, is an Italian restaurant made for romantic milestones. Classic pasta dishes such as cacio e pepe and a housemade bolognese are fan favorites. Save room for one of the decadent desserts, such as the tiramisu or chocolate lava cake, best devoured with two spoons.

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For an adventurous and transportive date

Cara (Silver Lake)

The pool at Cara in Silver Lake

A shallow pool makes an arresting focal point at Cara, a dreamy urban oasis. | Credit: Cara

Santorini comes to Silver Lake at this dreamy urban oasis. Housed in a reimagined motel with the same name, Cara is a bonafide date-night spot decked with olive trees, white lounge seats, flowy drapes, and a shallow pool as the arresting focal point. Chef Michael Patria, whose resume includes a stint at the Four Seasons Biltmore resort in Santa Barbara, conceived the New American plates such as ceviches, roasted fish, and charcoal-roasted chicken with crispy fingerling potatoes. It all adds up to breezy getaway vibes.

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Bicyclette (West LA)

Bicyclette, a love letter to the French capital, comes from the team behind Republique, Petty Cash Taqueria, and MICHELIN-starred Manzke. Despite its Pico Boulevard address, Bicyclette is reminiscent of bustling Parisian bistros. Traditional French dishes such as a soft egg in the shell, steak tartare, and beef bourguignon are on the menu here. If you can’t whisk your date away to Paris, Bicyclette makes a charming stand-in.

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For group dates

Esperanza (Manhattan Beach)

Ceramic lamps hang from the ceiling at Esperanza in Manhattan Beach

Esperanza, a Sonoran-inspired restaurant in Manhattan Beach, channels a beachside fiesta. | Credit: Esperanza

If you’re looking for a lively group date spot in the South Bay, Esperanza is a solid choice. The Mexican hotspot channels a beachside fiesta. Its Sonoran-inspired menu, featuring halibut street tacos and tostadas with shredded beef and refried beans, was designed for sharing. Kick off your evening together with the guacamole trio and some hand-shaken margaritas, rimmed with pasilla chile salt.

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For a proposal worthy place

Merois (West Hollywood)

This rooftop stunner by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck provides all the pomp you need to pull off a stylish wedding proposal. For starters, it’s decked with alluring chandeliers and drapes. The menu is classic Puck, a bold blend of French and Asian techniques featuring creations such as squid noodles with a ginger-garlic clam sauce and Kona kampachi with a Meyer lemon ponzu. But equally as arresting are the shimmering city vistas. Merois is perched on the highest floor of the Pendry West Hollywood hotel—and a diamond is the only thing that can rival this glittering view.

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Kristin Braswell is a journalist and founder of CrushGlobal Travel, a company that customizes travel guides and authentic experiences around the world.

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