Love Is in the Air at L.A.'s 10 Most Romantic Restaurants

Whether looking to celebrate a special romantic anniversary or to mark the start of a brand-new romance, there are plenty of restaurants in Los Angeles that are sure to spark that loving feeling. From the second you enter the front door to those last lingering moments, these are the 10 best romantic restaurants in the City of Angels, places where time stands still as you and your darling sip, sup and canoodle to your heart's content. There are traditional classics like Yamashiro, Il Cielo and the Inn of the Seventh Ray, places that have witnessed plenty of proposals over the many years they have been a part of the Southern California dining scene, as well as newer favorites like Culina in the Four Seasons Hotel and Nobu Malibu. Each restaurant presents a truly wonderful setting that is perfectly suited to having private moments, and each also offers up world-class dishes that practically cry out for sharing with the one you love. Don't forget the champagne!


Cavatina Restaurant at Sunset Marquis Hotel
Photo courtesy of Cavatina Restaurant

Nestled inside the Sunset Marquis Hotel, Cavatina Restaurant is a beautifully situated eatery, tucked in amongst the greenery with a pretty patio that's perfectly suited for a romantic tryst far from prying eyes. It certainly helps that the James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schlow is at the helm, offering up sensual crudos like his Hamachi (yellowtail) with aji Amarillo, pickled mushroom and black rice; delicious appetizers including Avocado Toast with burgundy truffle and pistachio; and main courses ranging from Mediterranean Sea Bass to perfectly prepared Beef Tenderloin. Be sure to look away from your lover's eyes now and then, too, as the Sunset Marquis Hotel is famous as a favorite haunt of world-renowned rock stars. You never know who might be sitting next to you here!

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: World-class food created by Michael Schlow and served up in a lovely atmosphere make Cavatina a winner on every level.

Jenny's expert tip: Avoid the often-crowded valet by parking in the Sunset Parking lot at 8570 Sunset Blvd. and strolling a block down the hill to the hotel.

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Fairfax District
The Little Door
Photo courtesy of The Little Door

Ready for a lover's tryst in a special place? Then head to The Little Door â€" which actually has a little door at its entrance on Third Street â€" and you'll find a winning combination of intimate ambiance and sensually delicious fare. Choose seating in the intimate, dimly lit courtyard or perhaps sit in one of the out-of-the-way tables tucked into a private spot. Wherever you sit, expect top-notch service and a wide range of tastes. The menu at The Little Door features plenty of classic California cuisine with a French influence â€" think organic chicken, fresh kale salads and locally sourced cheese, seafood and more â€" as well as a special French-Moroccan 3-course chef's menu served on Sunday and Monday evenings. No matter what you choose to partake in, the restaurant's extensive wine list offers bottles from the world over.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A 20-year history of serving up terrific tastes presented in a beautifully romantic setting makes The Little Door one of L.A.'s classic eateries for lovers.

Jenny's expert tip: Try the Dinner Chef's Selection, a three-course meal perfect for sharing a variety of different tastes.

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La Boheme
Photo courtesy of La Boheme Restaurant

Absolutely baroque in its opulence, the huge dining room at La Boheme in West Hollywood is ornamented with massive chandeliers, dining balconies for romantic privacy and lush garden space complete with a fireplace surrounded with beautiful roses and gorgeously scented night-blooming jasmine. Go for a prime seat near that fireplace and you'll feel the love-filled atmosphere wash over you. Add in a bottle from the restaurant's well-thought-out wine list of mostly California vintages and pair it with their perfect-for-sharing platters of charcuterie, cheese or vegetables. Savor the Porcini Ragu or dig into the classic Bouillabaisse for a meal to remember with the one you love.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: La Boheme has been one of L.A.'s most famed romantic culinary outposts since the moment it opened in 1991.

Jenny's expert tip: Be sure to try the Baked Japanese Sweet Potato for dessert; who knew sweet potato mousse could be so yummy?

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Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is a delicious Italian eatery with a lovely garden that is a perfect place to enjoy a romantic dinner, complete with cozy booths designed for snuggling. There are comfortable booths inside as well; in either setting, the fresh, locally sourced seasonal menu presented by Chef Denis Della Stritto features impeccable raw crudos for starters, melt-in-your-mouth house-made pasta, beautiful main course choices and even pizza (if you're feeling casual). Culina's extensive wine list features some of the world's best wines, particularly from Italy and California. To really impress the one you love, splurge and choose a Super Tuscan to share: bottles of Tignanello, Ornellaia and Sassicaia await in the restaurant's cellar for celebrating that special occasion.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A beautiful setting, excellent modern Italian fare and a five-star hotel room available right in the same building make Culina a winner for lovers.

Jenny's expert tip: Avoid the always crowded valet by parking for free on the street nearby.

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Redondo Beach
Photo courtesy of BALEENkitchen

BALEENkitchen combines a gorgeous seaside ambience with delicious, mostly seafood dishes, making it a perfect place to take someone you love for a fine dining experience. Located in Redondo Beach Marina, the restaurant features a pretty patio overlooking the boats, as well as a cozy indoor lounge and formal main dining room. It's been recently reimagined with a renovation and two talented chefs now at the helm in the kitchen (Vasili Tavernakis and Paul Dinulescu) are putting out some seriously great food. The Pan-Roasted Diver Scallops with a corn-truffle puree might just make you swoon. Pair it with the Lobster Mac & Cheese made with aged white cheddar and truffles and you'll definitely notice love in the air. BALEENkitchen is doing everything right these days, from craft cocktails that are very appropriate for a lover's night out (Cali Love and Catch Me If You Can are two favorites) to an excellent wine list that is half off on Wednesdays.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Moonlight on the water and terrific food and drinks make this a South Bay romantic retreat.

Jenny's expert tip: Use the Portofino Hotel's valet parking (it is just across the driveway) or self park in the lot just down the hill.

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Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

At the Inn of the Seventh Ray, lovers find waterfalls and sycamore trees in a taken-over-by-nature setting that easily leads to romantic feelings. That's especially true if you sit out in the slightly wild garden, where a welcoming fireplace gives a soft glow to the whole space. And being in Topanga Canyon, it's no surprise that the chefs at this iconic restaurant actually forage for the herbs they use in the organic dishes they concoct. Plus, most of the produce used in the menu selections are sourced locally and the chef makes sure that many dishes can be made gluten-free or vegan. Carnivores should be sure to try the 8-hour Plum Braised Short Ribs for a swooningly great dish. Located well into the canyon, you'll wend your way in for about five miles from either PCH on the ocean side or from the San Fernando Valley.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Moonlight on the water and terrific food and drinks make this a South Bay romantic retreat.

Jenny's expert tip: Allow a bit of extra time to make your way to this secluded restaurant, as it is right in the heart of the canyon.

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Located inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Wolfgang Puck's CUT has been at the top of the culinary hierarchy in Los Angeles since it opened in 2007. The strikingly modern interior, designed by famed architect Richard Meier, welcomes guests to an unparalleled dining experience. There's a steak for every taste here, ranging from U.S.D.A. Prime Beef aged 21 or 35 days; Grass-Fed Angus Beef; American Wagyu from famed grower Snake River Farms; and 100 percent Japanese Wagyu imported from Kyushu. No matter which type of beef or cut you choose, there's one thing certain here: your steak will be perfectly cooked and served with sauces that will make you swoon (be sure to try the Argentinean Chimichurri). Attention to every detail, charming service and â€" often â€" a chance to say "Hi" to the master chef himself make Puck's CUT a true cut above the rest.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The jewel in the crown of Wolfgang Puck's restaurant empire, CUT creates a sublime dining experience.

Jenny's expert tip: Valet parking can be a challenge if the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is having a big event that night, so we'd advise parking on the street and strolling over the restaurant instead.

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Yamashiro Hollywood
Photo courtesy of Yamashiro Restaurant

Yamashiro Hollywood is one of the most iconic restaurants in all of Los Angeles, simply by virtue of its fantastic location and decor. Set above Hollywood Boulevard in a gorgeous pagoda with stunning views of the whole city below, Yamashiro also boasts a beautiful Japanese garden and classic interior. What began as a private home in 1911 has long been a classic Japanese restaurant serving up everything from sushi to shoyu-glazed black cod, with some seafood tempura, seaweed salad and Asian baby back ribs thrown in too. After changing ownership in 2016 (and a moment when it looked like Yamashiro was going to be shuttered for good), this romantic restaurant is happily back and better than ever.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The views at Yamashiro are incredible, so book the ultimate romantic wedding here, for photos with a background that sweeps the L.A. basin.

Jenny's expert tip: During the Hollywood Bowl season, "Dine & Ride" with Yamashiro and you can catch a round-trip shuttle between the restaurant and the bowl.

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Nobu Malibu
Photo courtesy of Nobu Malibu photo by Henry Hargreaves

Los Angeles is where it all began for Nobu Matsuhisa, the acknowledged king of Japanese cuisine, who now has high-end eateries all over the world. His first restaurant, Matsuhisa, is a tiny place on La Cienega Boulevard; Nobu Los Angeles is further north up that same street; and the prettiest of them all, Nobu Malibu, is perched right on the sand on Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of that posh beach community. Malibu gets our vote for the best of three solely on location, for the stunning ocean views and sleek restaurant design somehow make Nobu's signature dishes like Black Cod Miso and Yellowtail with Jalapeno seem even more delicious when eaten there (and they are seriously fantastic no matter where you taste them). Make sure to get a table with a view and let the romance begin.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A ride along romantic Pacific Coast Highway with your favorite person gets even better with a stop for sushi at Nobu Malibu.

Jenny's expert tip: Time your visit to Nobu Malibu to see the sunset, for at this gorgeous beachfront location right on Pacific Coast Highway, there's no better view in town.

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Il Cielo owners Pasquale and Pattie Vericella have given Angelenos one of the most swooningly romantic restaurants in Southern California ever since they opened the doors of this Beverly Hills restaurant back in 1986. Combining classic Italian fare with a gorgeous garden area as well as a beautiful main dining room and even a few private rooms designed just for dinner for two, Il Cielo is arguably L.A.'s favorite spot for proposals, weddings and anniversaries. Be sure to include the Il Manzo filet mignon carpaccio served with shaved black truffles, paired with a lovely bottle of sparkling Prosecco as part of your meal, for nothing says "I Love You" quite like truffles and bubbly.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The ultimate in elegant romantic dining right in the heart of Beverly Hills.

Jenny's expert tip: Book a private dining room for two with 24 hours notice.

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Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny