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The 11 Best Restaurants in Washington, D.C. for Any Romantic Occasion

Washington, D.C. may be known as the seat of government for some, but Washingtonians know that it can be pretty romantic as well. The district’s quaint neighborhoods — with their iconic façades and historic interiors — spectacular riverscapes, and burgeoning culinary scene mean an intimate venue, to commemorate everything from proposals and anniversaries to date nights and special occasions, is never hard to find.

From exceptional waterfront views to Instagram-worthy indoor dining spaces, here are the 11 most romantic restaurants in Washington, D.C., with indoor, outdoor, and takeout options to help you celebrate this Valentine’s Day.

A photo of Otlogo
Christabel Lobo
11 Restaurants
Updated January 20, 2022
Restaurants:Nara-Ya, Punjab Grill, Das Ethiopian - Georgetown
Price Range:$$$ - $$$
Cuisines:Japanese, Indian, Ethiopian
Neighborhoods:Southwest Waterfront, Penn Quarter, Georgetown
A photo of Nara-Ya restaurant

Nara-Ya

$$$$
Japanese
Southwest Waterfront
4.5
716 reviews

With a menu carefully curated by chef Kaz Okochi and a kitchen helmed by chef Lucas Irwin — who trained under the renowned Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto — Nara-Ya offers up some of the best Japanese cuisine the district has to offer. Expect exceptional plating of a la carte dishes such as the braised short ribs with koji-glazed kabocha, as well as omakase menus that are ideal for an intimate date night out where you can exchange thoughts over every bite. To top it all off, the colorful dining room offers stunning vistas of D.C.’s Wharf waterfront.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Punjab Grill restaurant

Punjab Grill

$$$$
Indian
Penn Quarter
4.7
833 reviews

Opulent, moody interiors, intricate, hand-carved wood paneling, and Mughal-inspired decor — that transports you straight to a regal Indian palace — all make Punjab Grill an unforgettable spot for your next date night. Perfect for extra-special occasions is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors), the restaurant’s private dining room that’s covered from floor-to-ceiling with 150,000 intricately hand-laid mirrors. Boasting outposts in the UAE, Singapore, and India, this luxury international chain has taken D.C.’s fine-dining scene by storm since the opening of its first stateside location in Penn Quarter in 2019. Diners can expect a creative contemporary Indian menu with international ingredients such as burrata, cornbread, and olive tapenade seamlessly blending with traditional Punjabi flavors.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Das Ethiopian - Georgetown restaurant

Das Ethiopian - Georgetown

$$$$
Ethiopian
Georgetown
4.7
1162 reviews

Being home to the country’s largest Ethiopian population means that good Ethiopian food is never hard to find in Washington, D.C. For a memorable night of fine dining, romance, and some seriously good beef tibs and injera in the nation’s capital, head down the charming cobblestone streets of Georgetown to Das Ethiopian, a MICHELIN Bib Gourmand award-winning restaurant. White tablecloth dinner service and a cozy vibe make indoor dining at Das Ethiopian a stellar choice for proposal and anniversary celebration. Vegetarians need not worry — the menu also includes several meat-free dishes, including shiro wat (chickpea stew), gomen (collard greens), and red lentils.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of dLeña restaurant

dLeña

$$$$
Latin American
Mt. Vernon Square
4.7
756 reviews

Wood-fired grilled meats and seafood, fresh ceviche, and an extensive selection of smoky mezcals, tequila-infused cocktails, and tasting flights feature at dLeña, the district’s newest restaurant offering by Denver-based chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval. Focused on contemporary Oaxacan fare, the restaurant’s plush interiors, mood lighting, and private booths set the tone for any romantic occasion. For added privacy, opt for a roomy booth or dine outdoors on the spacious patio, which seats 70.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


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A photo of Iron Gate restaurant

Iron Gate

$$$$
Mediterranean
Dupont Circle
4.7
2330 reviews

Nothing beats date night set in a historic Washington, D.C. townhouse that dates back to the late 1800s. Once a former stable and carriageway, today Iron Gate serves up some of the district’s best Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant’s Pikilia — the Greek word for variety — menu, offered every Friday and Saturday afternoon, features mezze such as trumpet mushroom arancini, hummus platters, and parmesan fritters. Diners can choose to wash it all down with a selection of Greek and Southern Italian wines or Mediterranean-inspired cocktails such as the Cappelletti spritz and Otto’s Athens vermouth highball.


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Takeout available
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A photo of Dauphine’s restaurant

Dauphine’s

$$$$
Contemporary American
Downtown
4.6
848 reviews

Let the good times roll with a reservation at Dauphine’s, a downtown D.C. hotspot that exudes New Orleans’s renowned culture and charm. Helmed by James Beard Award-nominated chef Kristen Essig, a reservation here means you and your date get to transport yourself to Crescent City with some exquisite NOLA cuisine. Begin with a platter of oysters Dauphine — chargrilled to perfection with spinach, horseradish, and pecorino. End the night with a café au lait and a shared plate of beignets, served with a hearty dusting of powdered sugar.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of District Winery restaurant

District Winery

$$$$
American
Navy Yard
4.5
975 reviews

Set along the Anacostia River in the southeast neighborhood of Navy Yard is District Winery, the district’s only commercial winery. Begin your romantic date night with an urban wine tasting and tour of the sprawling 17,000-square-foot glass-encased complex that offers Made in DC wines and some serious Instagram-worthy waterfront views. Dinner focuses on shareable boards and snack plates of seasonal American cuisine that pairs well with the house wines and craft cocktails — the fried Brussels sprouts and grilled cheese are not to be missed.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Tabard Inn restaurant

Tabard Inn

$$$$
Contemporary American
Dupont Circle
4.6
2717 reviews

An intimate, parlor-like setting makes for an unforgettable romantic dinner or casual date night at Tabard Inn, one of Washington, D.C.’s longest-running hotels. Housed in a trio of historic Victorian-era row houses, this charming employee-owned property is also home to an award-winning eponymous restaurant. Chef Cliff Wharton’s commitment to only using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients ensures that your meal at this celebrated spot is one worth remembering.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Cork Wine Bar & Market restaurant

Cork Wine Bar & Market

$$$$
Contemporary American
Logan Circle
4.4
460 reviews

This casual Logan Circle spot has long been considered one of DC’s popular date night spots since first opening up more than a decade ago. Focused on wine flights from the Old World, as well as a curated selection of shared plates that includes artisanal cheese platters, charcuterie boards — curated by the in-house cheesemonger — and the ever-popular avocado bruschetta, Cork Wine Bar’s cozy setting serves as the ideal location for a relaxed, romantic brunch or date night out in the district.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Experiences available
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A photo of Floriana restaurant

Floriana

$$$$
Italian
Dupont Circle
4.7
3349 reviews

Housed in a quintessential red-brick DC rowhouse, this underrated Dupont Circle establishment — it first opened in 1979 — is all about handmade pasta and exceptional service. With its romantic red walls, the cozy indoor dining area serves as an ideal backdrop for proposals and anniversary dinners. Celebrate with Italian classics such as the Chianti-braised lamb gnocchi, burrata ravioli, and scallop and shrimp risotto. Helpful staff are ready to make recommendations for a bottle of wine from the curated wine list to round out your romantic meal.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Chez Billy Sud restaurant

Chez Billy Sud

$$$$
French
Georgetown
4.8
2387 reviews

Consistently ranked as one of America’s best restaurants, Chez Billy Sud’s alluring interiors — complete with gilded mirrors and a quaint lamplit courtyard — also make it one of the most romantic. Reservations at this charming Provençal spot have diners feeling like they’ve embarked on a whirlwind romantic French getaway for the night. Celebrate an anniversary or proposal with classics such as escargot, chicken liver mousse, and poulet roti. Sweeten the date with a plate or two of dessert; the Basque cheesecake and vanilla rice pudding are must orders.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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