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Best Romantic Dining in Washington

Table for two: romance is on the menu in the nation's capital


The Beatles famously crooned "All you need is love, love. Love is all you need." Well, they may be right but an unforgettable trip to a romantic restaurant certainly can't hurt, right? Washington, D.C. has a huge variety of restaurants to chose from with culinary dishes representing countries from across the world that will please the palate of that special someone.  

When it came time for 10Best to find the most standout romantic spots, we looked at several factors, venue ambiance, menu excellence and staff attentiveness, because when you are trying to impress someone special, you only want the best. 

Several of our picks contain places that change their menu daily to reflect the freshest ingredients including Fiola and The Tabard Inn. Every time you step in the door, a new food discovery can be made. If you are looking for a romantic getaway that marries both food and lodging, The Inn at Little Washington can not be beaten. Tasting menus are quite popular in the district so head on over to Iron Gate and Masseria for sinfully delicious selections. 


Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day, an anniversary or just a fun night out, romance is on the menu at these fine Washington, D.C. area restaurants.

 

 
 
 
 

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Dubbing itself a European-style oasis on American soil, this venue offers both a charming place to sleep and a restaurant featuring a seasonal dish menu. Located inside three townhomes dating back to the late 19th century, the Inn has 40 individually designed rooms. Note that some rooms have a private bath while others are shared. When dining at the restaurant, the menu changes seasonally inspired by local fresh offerings. A sample of dinner entrée options could include mushroom risotto, pan-seared scallops and heritage pork chop. Live jazz music is played in the bar and lounge every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. METRO: Dupont Circle

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A winning combination of charming accommodations and tasty daily dinner offerings.

Gina's expert tip: If staying on-site, check out their seasonal breakfast menu and get your day started with Tabard donuts or a croissant sandwich.

Read more about Tabard Inn Restaurant →


9
Downtown


With two locations in the district, this restaurant puts a modern twist on Indian cuisine featuring small plates with big taste. Start off with a dish made off a Tawa (griddle) like scallop chili-garlic or sweet potato peanut Tikki or head straight to their sigri (open barbeque) menu including selections of mango shrimp and spicy reshmi kebab. The entrees list will have you wishing for a bigger stomach with choices like tandoori chicken tikka and lobster Hawa mahal. Be sure to make time to check out the artwork throughout the restaurant. Each piece was created by Indian artists. METRO: Archives/Navy Memorial or China Town/Gallery Place

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: With soft lighting, warm colors and small yet big on taste dishes, this spot is the perfect date night restaurant.

Gina's expert tip: The dress code is smart casual but men are not allowed to wear shorts, sandals, sleeveless shirts and baseball caps.

Read more about Rasika →




Choosing its name to honor a historic year in Washington, D.C.'s history, the Georgetown venue harks back to days gone by. American antiques, paintings and china decorate the six dining rooms which add to the venue's historic ambiance. The restaurant prides itself on shunning commercial produce in favor of local fare. The four-course menu changes daily to reflect the freshest ingredients and seasonal flavors. A recent selection included Colorado rack of lamb, smoked tofu and mushroom cassoulet and swordfish. Men are no longer required to wear jackets but it is suggested. This destination will make you want to wear your very best. METRO: Foggy Bottom.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: In a district that loves history, this venue pairs days gone by with a delicious menu.

Gina's expert tip: Save some room for dessert because the apple spice cake verrine is not to be missed.

Read more about 1789 Restaurant →


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Rose's Luxury
Photo courtesy of Rose's Luxury


Named for Chef Aaron Silverman's paternal grandmother and his desire to provide a warm, casual and hospitable environment for guests, this venue is one of the district's favorites. Start off your experience with small plates likes spicy 'happy' oysters or green tomato Panzanella. Pasta and family-style options will draw you in with selections like lumaconi alla norma and smoked brisket. Vegetarians will enjoy their greatest hits section with choices like whole wheat reginetti and crispy cauliflower. Deserts such as popcorn créme brulee will make you forget about going to the gym. For those looking for just a drink, head upstairs to their bar. METRO: Eastern Market

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: One of the most buzzed about restaurants over the past several years, this venue offers superb hospitality and delicious dishes.

Gina's expert tip: Thankfully the venue now takes same day reservations so no more long waits as long as you book on their tab.

Read more about Rose's Luxury →




Opened in 2011, this much buzzed-about restaurant is Chef Fabio Trabocchi's first in D.C. With a modern upscale vibe and a focus on regional and contemporary Italian cuisine, this venue invites dinner guests in the main room to create their own tasting menu consisting of four to five dishes. (A staff member will help if needed so don't panic if you need suggestions.) Those in the Salon Ezio may choose from an abbreviated a la carte menu (Think appetizers, classic pasta, simply grilled items and signature dishes). The dessert and cheese menu is not to be missed so be sure to save room. METRO: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A Valentine's weekend menu is on their website and it is not to be missed.

Gina's expert tip: Fiola is closed on Sundays so if you are looking for a weekend visit, try Saturday night.

Read more about Fiola →


Masseria
Photo courtesy of Masseria


You will find a taste of Puglia right here in the district after stepping into Nick Stefanelli's Union Market-based restaurant featuring traditional yet modern Italian dishes. Masseria has a prix fixe menu offering between four to five courses. For those that are really hungry, try the La Cucina Menu which is a six-course tasting menu created for each guest. Whichever course you chose, don't leave without trying one of their signature cocktails. Sure, the names are fun (Like Pizza Dude's Got 30 Seconds anyone?) but the taste is what will bring you back again.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Forget the passport! Italian food is in the nation's capital at this Union Market destination.

Gina's expert tip: While they do take reservations, seating in the outdoor pergola are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Read more about Masseria →


Chez Billy Sud
Photo courtesy of Chez Billy Sud


For those of us who can't afford a romantic getaway to France, this restaurant is a great way to feel like you are there. Executive Chef Brendan L'Etoile has put together a Southern French cuisine menu that is fine dining in taste but won't leave your wallet reeling. Entrée choices include truite grenobloise (sautéed trout) and loup de mer (Mediterranean sea bass). Try their handcrafted cocktails such as Dandy featuring Rittenhouse Rye and Rose Window showcasing Capotoline Rose Vermouth to add some fun to the night. Be sure to check out their sister wine bar called Bar a Vin located by their outdoor patio.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Looking for an intimate venue for you and your sweetheart? Head to this Georgetown restaurant where French food and well paired wine will bring romance.

Gina's expert tip: If you are planning to bring a large group here, be aware the venue does not accept reservations for parties larger than 6 due to limited space. Large parties for private events are allowed.

Read more about Chez Billy Sud →


Iron Gate Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Iron Gate


Reopened in 2013 under the direction of executive chef Anthony Chittum, this venue dates back to the days of the Civil War when it was used as stables for its cavalry officer owner. Today, the original carriageway hosts the bar and year-round dining area and features a cozy courtyard complete with grapevines and wisteria. Focusing on Mediterranean inspired mezze driven dishes, a winter entrée menu recently featured caramelized ricotta gnocchi, spiced lamb sausage and whole roasted Maine lobster. For those that want a more personal experience, book the Chef's Family Table for a multi-course dinner served family-style featuring plates inspired by farm-fresh agriturismi dinners. METRO: Dupont Circle

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: With a gorgeous patio and garden and unforgettable modern Mediterranean menu, your loved one is sure to be impressed.

Gina's expert tip: The apple crumb cake is not to be missed. Order two so you don't have to share with your significant other!

Read more about Iron Gate Restaurant →


The Dabney
Photo courtesy of The Dabney


Housed inside a former row house in Shaw, this romantic dining destination will make you feel like you have walked into an upscale farmhouse thanks to the wood-burning hearth, open kitchen and exposed historic brick walls. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne has focused his menu around sourcing ingredients from Mid-Atlantic farms and purveyors and even growing some onsite on their patio and rooftop garden. You'll find a different menu every day featuring snacks (half dozen oysters, radicchio salad) and small plates (charred squash, beaver creek quail). Don't leave without checking out their drink menu including cocktails, ciders, wine and beer.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A wood burning hearth gives you the feeling of home without having to cook or clean up. Head here for a romantic date night.

Gina's expert tip: Dessert is a must for a romantic date so try the sticky toffee pudding featuring preserved plums and bourbon brown sugar ice cream.

Read more about The Dabney →


Inn at Little Washington


Nestled in Washington, Va., this cozy yet elegant venue is the perfect spot to bring that special someone for a romantic getaway. The Inn features 24 bedrooms and suites â€" some with picturesque views of the historic, untouched land. Patrons will find a decadent menu at the restaurant including mouth-watering classics such as carpaccio of herb-crusted elysian fields baby lamb loin, cavatelli pasta with chanterelles and seafood sausage. The wine cellar has more than 2,400 selections so you will surely find one (or more) to pair with the meal. Be sure to take a walk through the campus to watch the sunset on the Perimeter Path, buy some presents at the gift shops or meander through the cutting garden.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A romantic getaway that offers great food and a charming place to stay after your meal.

Gina's expert tip: Cell phone service is very limited in this rural area so be sure to have incoming calls forwarded to your room if you stay onsite.

Read more about Inn at Little Washington →


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Meet Gina Gallucci White

Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She...  More About Gina

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