Where to Find the Most Romantic Restaurants in Boston Right Now
From a glamorous rooftop Italian restaurant overlooking the Public Garden, to an intimate wine-and-dessert bar in Cambridge.
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While many couples have settled into the takeout-and-a-movie-at-home routine, we’re here to declare that date night is back. It’s time to shower, get a little dressed up, and hit the town with the one and only person you could spend hours watching Yellowjackets with. Luckily, there are plenty of dimly lit dining rooms with exceptional food and drinks to help sparks fly. We’ve updated our list of our all-time favorite romantic restaurants with dine-in service, as well as a few offering takeout options for those duos who still prefer to dine in their sweatpants. [Last updated: January 2022]
With a cabaret stage and seating area that looks straight out of a scene from Moulin Rouge, The Beehive offers the perfect perch for a romantic evening. Nothing says razzle-dazzle quite like a night of clinking cocktails and splitting globally inspired plates, all while receiving a side of live jazz, world music, or maybe even a burlesque show. This subterranean, bohemian-style enclave remains the quickest trip you and your lover can take to (the Boston version of) Paris’s saucy Pigalle quarter.
541 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-0069, beehiveboston.com.
Bistro du Midi
From the second-floor dining room of this Back Bay Provencal-inspired locale, you and your date will go back and forth between gazing into each other’s eyes and taking in sweeping views of the Public Garden. Of course, that’s when chef Robert Sisca isn’t stealing your attention with, say, sumptuous venison tartare drizzled with pinecone syrup, or his signature New England seafood-laden bouillabaisse. Speaking of signatures, don’t forget to end your meal with the chocolate soufflé, a much-loved menu staple.
272 Boylston St., Boston, 617-426-7878, bistrodumidi.com.
A meal at this innovative BYOB Brookline dining concept will feel uncannily similar to a dinner party at your stylish co-worker’s place. With just four tables and one seating per night, you, your date, and 10 other lucky diners get to enjoy an unpretentious five-course, vegetable-centric menu prepared and served by chef Emily Vena. Plus, you can show off your very sophisticated mixology skills by pouring a mini bottle of Tito’s into one of Cobble’s house-made cocktail mixers—they’ll provide a shaker and garnish to complete the experience.
318 Harvard St. Ste 38 & 39, Brookline, 601-301-2193, dinneratcobble.com
If you can win a highly coveted reservation at this buzzy Back Bay rooftop extravaganza, you’re pretty much guaranteed to score a second date. Between the checkboard tiles, striped curtains draping the ceiling, and lush plant life, Contessa feel like a greenhouse designed by Marie Antoinette and Donatella Versace; flamboyant beauty aside, though, the food is exceptional. Pillowy ricotta gnudi, perfectly charred Mediterranean branzino, plump shrimp mezzaluna, and a grand Bistecca Fiorentina are among the superb dishes on this Northern Italian-inspired menu. Heck, order them all—after fighting the Resy app for months to get inside, you deserve a feast fit for royalty.
Three Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-5700, contessatrattoria.com
Chef Chris Coombs’ fine French-American restaurant in the Back Bay has a particular table that’s famous for hosting wedding proposals (with rings delivered inside sugar spheres and other sweets, no less), so you know this is the place to make major moves. But even if you’re not popping the question, the gorgeously plated foie gras with red wine poached pears, sunchoke and truffle agnolotti, and other elegant options still set the mood. Whether you’ve been dating for five years or married for fifty, Deuxave’s painterly plates and swoon-worthy wine list are suitable companions for celebrating milestones.
371 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-517-5915, deuxave.com.
If there’s a more romantic winter-patio locale than the outdoor fireplace-side tables at Harvest—well, we’ve yet to find it. String-lights and topiaries aside, chef Nick Deutmeyer’s menu highlighting the bounty of New England’s farms and fisheries is why you’re really here. Crafting impeccable New American cuisine for dinner (behold the bone-in heritage pork chop with bacon fat Brussels sprouts) and day-date-worthy brunch service (hello, fried chicken with foie gras waffles), Deutmeyer encourages us to embrace decadence. Meanwhile, pastry chef Joshua Livsey, alum of Food Network’s Best Baker in America, composes stunning sweet endings, like a rich chocolate dobos cake with maple ganache and cherry jam, which is perfect for devouring alongside a cocktail of brown butter-washed cognac spiked with stewed local crabapples.
44 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-868-2255, harvestcambridge.com.
If you and your other half aren’t looking for white tablecloths and dishes that end with “au jus,” this Scottish gastropub will keep you kindred spirits warm and well-fed. Intimate and undeniably fun, The Haven is the ideal site for some casual banter, bonding, and getting to know Scotland’s favorite bard, Robert Burns (history nerds should check out the three-course Burns-themed supper for two). The menu is full of uncommon-to-Boston fare like cullen skink (a traditional Scottish chowder), herb-roasted chicken with courgette and carrot, and lamb haggis, which is not only great comfort food, but also a cheeky conversation starter.
2 Perkins St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-2836, thehavenjp.com.
The key to a long-term relationship with a date-night spot? Consistent comfort and quality service—and that’s exactly what chef Josh Ziskin and sommelier Jen Ziskin have provided at this Brookline Village favorite for nearly 20 years. The wood-beam-and-brick-covered spot is named after the hilltop where the married couple lived for a year in the Piedmont region of Italy, and Josh’s plates, including house-made tagliatelle bolognese and bombolini with sweetened mascarpone, similarly pay tribute to this time abroad. Jen’s tenderly crafted wine menu, meanwhile, is its own kind of love letter to Northern Italy—one we want to reread over and over again.
48 Boylston St., Brookline, 617-739-0007, lamorra.com.
Roast beef and seafood are not the most obvious pair, but as the saying goes, opposites attract. The unlikely combo anchors the menu at Cusser’s, the ground-level bar that serves as a casual companion to the fancier Mooncusser restaurant upstairs. Cusser’s is a great first-date spot, a place where you and your Tinder match can meet over a couple of cocktails, beefy sandwiches, and beer-battered fish tacos. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, though, ascend to Mooncusser’s third-floor dining room: That’s where the tables are set with white tablecloths and multicourse tasting menus that feature Top Chef alum Carl Dooley’s exceptional, globally-inspired takes on New England-sourced seafood and more.
304 Stuart St., Boston, 617-917-5193, mooncusserboston.com.
Myers + Chang
Whether you and your S.O. are celebrating something big (a promotion at work!) or small (a particularly stylish new haircut), Myers + Chang’s “Great Date Night,” offered Mondays through Wednesdays, can turn an otherwise typical weeknight into something special. The prix fixe setup highlights some of chef Joanne Chang’s most standout dishes, from Taiwanese fried chicken to grilled mushroom longevity noodles to signature tea-smoked pork spareribs.
1145 Washington St., Boston, 617-542-5200, myersandchang.com
Nathálie Wine Bar
It’s a familiar feeling: Your Bumble match gave you the responsibility of picking out the first spot to meet in person, and now you’re overwhelmed by the options. Don’t panic, just head to this Fenway wine bar. It has all the trappings to make a great first impression: plush velvet booths, sultry lighting, an extensive list of little bites, and a revolving selection of small-production natural wines. Plus, the super-knowledgeable servers at Nathálie can wax on about all the details associated with these fabulous fermented grape juices, giving you plenty of fodder for conversation over a glass (or, if things go well, a bottle).
186 Brookline Ave., Boston, 857-317-3884, nathaliebar.com
Is that love in the air, or just baharat? Either way, many romantic evenings have started with the intoxicating aromas emanating from chef Ana Sortun’s award-winning Eastern Mediterranean kitchen. Whether you settle in at a toasty table near the dining-room wood stove or outside in the fairy-like garden, dinner at this Cambridge classic is always a feast for the senses.
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-661-0505, oleanarestaurant.com.
While the North End is practically a vortex of date night spots, the Old-World charm of this hidden gem, modeled after a country cottage in Sicily, makes it the indisputable top choice. For one thing, there’s a fireplace-equipped wine cellar for cozying up at a table in the wintertime—and in the warmer months, you can opt for a spot overlooking picturesque Salem Street. If neither setting can convince your date to pull a Lady and the Tramp moment with you over linguini alla vongole piled high with fresh seafood, well, consider that a red flag.
119 Salem St., North End, 617-573-9406, eunorestaurant.com.
This little trattoria is the sweetest setting for planning your first getaway as a couple or even hashing out a honeymoon. After all, it’s a transportive experience to spend an evening canoodling in Sophia’s leafy Roslindale Village courtyard—or in its intimate, hideaway-like interior—with a few glasses of wine and a smattering of Mediterranean-inflected small plates (roasted red pepper and feta tapenade, perhaps) and tasty thin-crust pizzas.
22R Birch St., Roslindale, 617-323-4595, sophiasgrotto.com.
Working with your spouse can’t always be easy—but some couples sure make it look that way. Consider husband-and-wife team chef Conor Dennehy and sommelier Danielle Ayer, who both worked at T.W. Food (a darling restaurant owned by another married couple, chef Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann), before opening their own spot in the space in 2018. Since then they’ve imbued the same loving care in Talulla, which is named for their young daughter. Dennehy pours his passion into tasting menus filled with surprises, such as a scallop-candied jalapeño crudo that was inspired by a family trip to the Yucatan; sommelier Danielle Ayer, meanwhile, effortlessly works the room with wine bottles in tow.
377 Walden St., Cambridge, 617-714-5584, talullacambridge.com.
As its name suggests, this Jamaica Plain mainstay is a pretty intimate affair. Scoring a reservation, then, feels like a grand romantic gesture. Just imagine how special it will feel when you and your date are among the very few tucked inside tasting house-made penne with spicy sausage, lamb lollipops lathered in onion-mint chutney, or honey panna cotta. Can’t snag one of the limited tables? Opt for takeout or book a spot for one of the weekly theme nights—Pasta Thursdays spotlighting special noodles and house wine, for instance—well in advance.
597 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-8810, tentables.net.
You’ll give your full and undivided attention to your date at this wine and dessert bar in Inman Square, which proudly promotes a cell phone-free policy. Without the blue-light distractions, you two can get to know each other IRL over Ethiopian coffee-infused tiramisu and glasses of chardonnay. (Craving something saltier? Zuzu’s Petals also offers charcuterie boards filled with local cheeses, meats, and jams.) With vinyl records spinning in the background, eclectic décor lining the walls, and a luscious tonka bean crème brûlée on the table, it’s the perfect place for app-exhausted romantics to authentically connect, sans technology.
204 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-945-7749, zuzuspetalscambridge.com