Where to Find the Most Romantic Restaurants around Boston
From a glamorous rooftop overlooking the Public Garden to an intimate wine-and-dessert bar in Cambridge, here's our guide to the most inviting restaurants around town.
Devoted foodies and restaurant newbies love The Feed. Sign-up now for our twice weekly newsletter.
Even if a low-key night in—sweatpants, Netflix, and takeout—is your preferred version of a date night, sometimes it’s nice to get a change of scenery and get a little dressed up for an evening out. Luckily, the Boston area has plenty of dimly lit dining rooms with exceptional food and drinks to help sparks fly. Here’s our updated list of all-time favorite romantic restaurants around town, whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just any old night with your favorite dining companion.
Last updated in January 2024; stay tuned for periodic updates.
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., South End, 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 wagyu tartare garnished with black winter truffles, 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. (Don’t want to make decisions? Try the elegant tasting menu with optional wine pairings.)
272 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-426-7878, bistrodumidi.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 checkerboard 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 (for two!) 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.
3 Newbury St. (the Newbury), Back Bay, Boston, 617-536-5700, contessaristorante.com.
Dalí Restaurant & Tapas Bar
An oldie, but a goodie—we never get sick of the surreal, romantic decor (including a clothesline of lingerie) at this Somerville Spanish hideaway, open since 1989 (!). It’s a good spot for parties but just as suitable for a date, especially if you manage to get one of the nook-like window seats. Besides, tapas are basically designed for sharing, ideally with a glass or three of sangria. We love the ultra-garlicky gambas al ajillo (maybe skip that one if you’re in the early stages of dating) and the chuletillas de cordero, lamb lollipops with peach sauce. End with churros or flan.
415 Washington St., Somerville, 617-661-3254, dalirestaurant.net.
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 poached quince, spiced duck breast with persimmon puree, 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., Back Bay, Boston, 617-517-5915, deuxave.com.
This transportive, tiny Vietnamese restaurant and cocktail bar will have you forget where—and when—you are, with a playlist that leaps from disco to Britney Spears to Vietnamese pop. Nestle into a high-top or bar seat in the eclectically appointed room (a former storage space at Bow Market) and pick a mix of flavor-packed small and larger plates from the concise menu, all conducive to sharing with your date. Hanoi-style bún chả vịt—with grilled duck breast, shiso leaves, and springy vermicelli, meant to be dipped into a fiery broth—was a top pick during our early 2024 visit.
1 Bow Market Way (Bow Market), Union Square, Somerville, instagram.com/midnight_eaves.
Field & Vine
Another Union Square favorite, Field & Vine (one of our top picks for beautiful restaurants, too) hits the right notes for romance with woodsy, farmhouse vibes. Enjoy conversation and a great view of the open kitchen at the counter seats under an eye-catching tangle of branches, or gaze at the extensive plant collection from other tables in the comfortable dining room. Explore adventurous farm-to-table fare with your date, featuring surprising—and delicious!—ingredient combinations. Grilled cabbage with ‘nduja butter and blue cheese, anyone?
9 Sanborn Ct., Union Square, Somerville, 617-718-2333, fieldandvinesomerville.com.
Grace by Nia
Live jazz, soul, and R&B five nights a week (and Sunday brunch!); gold-garnished cocktails; carrot cake chicken and waffles; a space decorated with giant gold palm leaves and elegant chandeliers? Yep, this fits the bill for a date night to remember. The Seaport’s newest music venue, restaurant, and bar—from restaurateur Nia Grace and nightlife giant Big Night—beckons with supper-club glamour. (Want to make date night even more elaborate? Add a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, right down the hall.)
60 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston, 617-927-9411, gracebynia.com.
If your idea of romance is chatting over an exemplary burger and fries, with something sparkling and pink to drink, let us point you in the direction of this Southie wine bar. The ambiance is welcoming: You’re going to want to become a regular, and it’s the type of place you could enjoy for a date every week, eating your way through small plates like tuna crudo with harissa, lime, and potato and grilled carrots with tahini hummus, harissa maple, and za’atar cashew. (And Gray’s comes from the team behind specialty shop American Provisions, so you know the ingredient sourcing is top-notch.)
615 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-1001, grayshall.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 juniper-rubbed venison loin) and day-date-worthy brunch service (hello, fried chicken and cornbread), Deutmeyer encourages us to embrace decadence. Don’t miss executive pastry chef Tab Volpe’s sweet endings, like the bananas Foster cheesecake, perfect for devouring alongside a cocktail of bourbon with honey, burnt orange, and Tempus Fugit Gran Classico liqueur.
44 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-868-2255, harvestcambridge.com.
It’s hard not to get up close and personal with your date across Kava’s small tables—the only downside is that it’s hard to fit all the dishes you’ll want to try! The low, warm lighting amps up the romance, and the Greek menu will have you planning your next vacation. Everything’s made to be shared, and there are plenty of great date-night snacks that won’t get your outfit dirty. Try the grilled octopus (oktapodi), lamb meatballs (keftedes), and grilled Mediterranean sea bass (lavraki). Explore different regions of Greece through a fairly extensive Greek wine list, too.
315 Shawmut Ave., South End, Boston, 617-356-1100, kavaneotaverna.com.
The Koji Club
Take a trip to Japan, via Brighton, at this petite sake bar—Boston’s most dedicated sake spot!—where the friendliest staff will guide you and your date to the perfect drink and educate you in the process. Most of the week, the food menu is snack-oriented, from simple steamed rice with toppings to luxe caviar service. But head in on a Wednesday for a three-course Japanese comfort food menu by chef Moe Kuroki (of Oisa Ramen fame) or a Thursday for a bento box from Cafe Sushi. Bonus: The Koji Club is part of the Speedway, a marketplace with several other food and drink spots, so you can stroll around before or after, or even add another stop to your evening. (Might we suggest a cocktail at Birds of Paradise?)
525 Western Ave. (Charles River Speedway), Brighton, Boston, thekojiclub.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 over 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.
Start things casual downstairs at Moon Bar with a tropical-leaning cocktail and a small plate or two, like mahi mahi ceviche or a Jamaican beef patty. It makes for a great first-date spot, a low-pressure place where you and your Tinder match can meet without committing to a multi-course tasting menu. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, though, ascend to Mooncusser’s third-floor, white-tablecloth-bedecked dining room: That’s where you’ll take a prix fixe journey through Top Chef alum Carl Dooley’s exceptional, globally-inspired takes on New England-sourced seafood and more.
304 Stuart St., Back Bay, 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 made-for-two prix fixe setup highlights some of chef Joanne Chang’s most standout dishes, from sake steamed clams in black bean sauce to grilled mushroom longevity noodles to lemony shrimp dumplings with kimchi yogurt. And the vibe? Cozy neighborhood spot.
1145 Washington St., South End, 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., Fenway, 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. Share the famous baked Alaska to end the meal.
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, Boston, 617-573-9406, eunorestaurant.com.
This one’s for the mezcal lovers: Newbury Street newcomer Sabina Mezcaleria—which bills itself as Boston’s first mezcaleria—is a dark and mysterious space where you can drink elegant cocktails (showcasing mezcal, of course) and enjoy Mexican cuisine, from huitlacoche empanadas to crispy soft-shell crab tacos. Swing by on the weekends for live music; you’ll find that people actually get up and dance (a Boston rarity!)
253 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-449-6023, sabinamezcaleria.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 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, Boston, 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 old T.W. space in 2018. Since then they’ve imbued the same loving care in Talulla, which is named for their young daughter. Dennehy (a 2024 James Beard Award semifinalist) 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; 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 Korean fried chicken with chili oil, bavette steak with mushroom cream, or crème brûlée. 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, Boston, 617-524-8810, tentables.net.
Sometimes we love to plan our date nights at a bustling neighborhood spot, the type of place where you can get cozy with your significant other—and also eavesdrop a bit on nearby tables. Tonino, which opened in JP in 2022, is the perfect restaurant for this: fantastic Italian food, warm hospitality, and lots of energy. (Try to snag the two wonderful counter seats if you want a little more separation from other diners.) Start with a small plate of countneck clams with guanciale, Calabrian chili, garlic, and basil—this dish charmed even the most clam-ambivalent Boston staffer—and then share a pasta or two, like plump agnolotti with honeynut squash, brown butter, and walnut salsa. To drink? Sake is the surprising specialty here; give it a try.
669A Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston, 617-524-9217, toninojp.com.
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 divine chocolate mousse and glasses of unique wines. (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. Try it for weekend brunch, too.
204 Hampshire St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-945-7749, zuzuspetalscambridge.com.
With additional reporting by Elisabeth Hadjis, Anna Arriaga, and Madison Trapkin.