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Food & Drink

15 Of DC’s Most Romantic Restaurants

Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz

15 Of DC’s Most Romantic Restaurants

 We’ve found some of the most romantic restaurants across the city for the perfect date night.

If you’re looking to impress your S.O. and it’s fine dining and wining you seek — Look no further!

In the spirit of love and Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together some of the city’s most romantic restaurants. With indoor dining back on track, these options have a lot to offer, including cozy, magical igloos and yurts which are perfect for date night. Enjoy:

1.Tail Up Goat, Adams Morgan

Whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite or sit down to share a longer meal, Tail Up Goat has a spot for you. Tail Up Goat offers a modern, relaxed spin on Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisines. Its menu will surely surprise you with new, unexpected dishes as well as good old classics. They put special emphasis on pasta and bread so we suggest trying their absolutely delicious squash bread and ricotta cavatelli.

Tail Up Goat is only offering outdoor seating and to-go options at the moment, so make sure to book your spot ahead of time!

Find Tail Up Goat at 1827 Adams Mill Rd NW.

2. Compass Rose, Cardozo

It’s no wonder that at Compass Rose they call themselves “Armchair tasters.” At this restaurant, you’ll be able to travel the world from the comfort of your own table, as owner and experienced traveler Rose Previte so intended it. Compass Rose’s menu incorporates dishes from every corner of the world which ensures you’ll get a taste of a different country or region every time you visit. The restaurant’s fun and relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a sensual, low-key date. We suggest trying their “Taste of The World” family-style meal. Curated by Compass Rose’s chefs, the tasting menu incorporates the most popular dishes currently on the menu.

For Valentine’s Day this year, Compass Rose is also offering a special prix-fix menu inspired by Russia. The restaurant will also be transforming its parklet into a Trans Siberian rail car just in time for Valentine’s so you can enjoy an authentic and fun Russian experience!

Find Compass Rose at 1346 T St NW.

3. The Lafayette at the Hay Adams, Downtown

The Lafayette at the Hay Adams Hotel is a DC classic. If you wish to impress your date, you won’t go wrong with its New American cuisine and views overlooking the White House. The restaurant follows a business casual dress code and is also open for breakfast and lunch, so why not switch up the traditional dinner date for a brunch date next time?

This winter the Lafayette has moved outdoors and is serving dinner, lunch and breakfast at Top of the Hay, so you can enjoy their incredible food with an equally incredible view!

Find the Lafayette at the Hay Adams Hotel,  800 16th St NW, Washington.

4. Iron Gate, Dupont Circle

Iron Gate offers great Mediterranean mezze-driven dishes, all cooked over a wood-burning hearth and rotisserie. Cozy up in one of their three distinct dining spaces–The Carriageway bar, the Wisteria patio or the more intimate Winter dining room–while sipping one of their almost 400 wines for a low-key, intimate date. Although walk-ins are usually welcomed, we recommend booking ahead of time if there’s a specific room you wish to be sat at.

Find Iron Gate at 1734 N St NW.

5.1789, Georgetown

This restaurant, named after the year in which Georgetown University was founded, is another DC classic. Built within a renovated Federal house, you won’t get a more authentically DC dining experience than this one. Its richly decorated interior full of antiques and its warm fireplace make for an eclectic yet refined setting in which to cozy up in style.

The restaurant serves traditional American cuisine with a twist and adapts its seasonal menu to fresh and local ingredients. With a menu that changes daily, you won’t step in the same restaurant twice. Jackets are suggested and so are reservations, so make sure to book ahead of time for an All-American dining experience.

Find 1789 at 1226 36th Street, NW.

6. The Alex at the Graham Hotel, Georgetown

The Alex may be more of a speakeasy than a restaurant, but its delicious small plates and sultry Victorian décor make it worthy of this list. This underground cellar pays homage to the life of inventor Alexander Graham Bell and sure is the ideal place for romance. Tucked away in the basement of the Graham Hotel, The Alex provides an intimate setting for breakfast, brunch and dinner as well as late-night drinks. The little bar is perfect for sipping amazing cocktails and munching on small plates to the sound of live jazz music being played. If you like smokey cocktails we suggest trying their seasonal drink Fire in the Hills. The bar is accessible through a staircase across from the elevators and requires an access code that you can get from the lobby staff.

Due to the current Phase 2 restrictions, The Alex has limited seating and isn’t taking reservations.

Find The Alex at 1075 Thomas Jefferson Street NW.

7. Barcelona Wine Bar, Logan Circle

Barcelona Wine Bar is probably one of the best spots for tapas in town. At Barcelona, you’ll be able to try authentic Spanish charcuterie and cheeses as well as some amazingly delicious Spanish dishes. What is more romantic than sharing a meal of flavorful Mediterranean small plates and Spanish wine in a dimly lit setting? We suggest trying their “Gambas al ajillo” (Garlic Prawns), their “Pulpo” (Octopus) and one of their Paellas for a sensual and authentically Spanish dining experience. Oh, and while you’re at it why not pair it with a glass of one of their over 300 wines?

Find Barcelona Wine Bar at 1622 14th St NW.

8. Le Diplomate, Logan Circle

Can you get any more romantic than Paris? Built especially to look like a Parisian brasserie, Le Diplomate pays homage to French cafe culture.  The brasserie’s buzzing atmosphere is perfect for a fun, relaxed date. On their menu, you’ll be able to find a variety of French classics, such as onion soup and steak frites, as well as some daily plates including cassoulet and bouillabaisse.

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Plus, this winter Le Diplomate has also set up uber-cute outdoor “chateaus” so you can still enjoy the Parisian café experience safely outdoors.

Find Le Diplomate at 1601 14th St. NW.

9. Fiola, Penn Quarter

Its award-winning cuisine offers a blend of seasonal, nostalgic and contemporary Italian dishes.  Chef Fabbio Trabocchi sources all his ingredients from Chancellor’s Rock Farm, a Rappahanock, VA, estate that acts as Fiola’s garden kitchen, so you know that at his restaurant you’ll get nothing but the best. The restaurant offers two distinct dining experiences: You can have dinner in their main dining room and create your tasting menu of 5 or 6 different dishes (you can also ask the staff to choose them for you if you feel like being surprised) or you can dine at their Ezio Room in which you’ll be served from an abbreviated menu of appetizers, classic pasta dishes and Fiola signature dishes.

This winter, Fiola has also set up some dazzling yurts perfect for outdoor dining where you’ll be able to enjoy an exclusive 5-course meal!

Find Fiola at 678 Indiana Ave.

10. The Dabney, Shaw

Like most of the places mentioned on this list,  this Michelin-star restaurant sources its ingredients from the best Mid-Atlantic farms, purveyors and its own herb garden. Its open kitchen and wood-burning hearth “give a nod to the historic food culture of the [D.C.] area” while creating modern, delicious dishes. You can also visit the Dabney Cellar, a tavern located around the corner from the restaurant for a more relaxed date. Sip on one of their many wines while snacking on some of the best local charcuterie, cheeses and seafood.

This winter, The Dabney has reopened with a special prix-fixe menu showcasing seasonal ingredients from local farmers, watermen, and purveyors. In addition, due to the current Phase 2 restrictions, there is limited seating both inside and outside on their semi-covered patio, so we highly suggest making your reservations way ahead of time!

Find The Dabney at 122 Blagden Alley NW.

11. Fiola Mare, Washington Harbour

If you’re looking for some of the best seafood with romance as background, we recommend trying Fiola’s sister branch, Fiola Mare. Here you’ll try some of Trabocchi’s excellent yet simple seafood dishes meant to evoke the seaside dining experience of Italian coastal restaurants. Brave the weather and snuggle up at their seaside patio while enjoying some of their hot cocktails and snacks, or, if you’re not feeling so bold, try their three-course tasting menu in one of their dazzling igloos!

Find Fiola Mare at 3100 K St NW. 

12. District Winery, Navy Yards

This modern restaurant is actually DC’s first winery. Along with their home-made wine, at District Winery you’ll be able to enjoy some light bights like sliders and charcuterie boards, perfect for a low-key relaxed dinner. This winter, the restaurant has also set up igloos for outdoor dining where you’ll be able to enjoy everything District Winery has to offer!

Find District Winery at 385 Water St SE.

13. Inn at Perry Cabin, St Michaels, MD

So technically the Inn at Perry Cabin isn’t in DC, but we had to include it nonetheless. This Eastern Shore resort has set up some gorgeous greenhouses by the water that make for a totally romantic evening — We’re talking candles, top-notch seafood, waterfront views, the whole shebang!

 

Find Inn at Perry Cabin at  308 Watkins Ln, St Michaels, MD 21663.

14. Bresca, 14th Street

This Michelin-starred bistro offers a contemporary take on Parisian bistro fare made with high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. This winter you can enjoy their delightful French cuisine while lounging inside one of their dazzling winter lodges. Covered head-to-toe in twinkling lights and with glass walls, can you get any more romantic than that?

Find Bresca at 1906 14th St NW.

15. Albi, Navy Yards

This Navy Yards restaurant offering Middle Eastern delights has also jumped on the greenhouse dining trend and has set up magical glass lodges perfect for outdoor dining as well. Or if you’re more of an igloo person, they’ve got those too! These are perfect for enjoying a romantic, flavorful meal beneath the twinkling lights.

Find Albi at 1346 4th St SE.

See also: These Century-Old Gardens Are One Of The District’s Best-Kept Secrets

[Featured image: Instagram /@brescadc]