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 beat. 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.




Tabard Inn Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Angela N.

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, note the menu changes every day inspired by local. fresh and seasonal offerings. A sample of dinner entrée options could include seared salmon, veal chop and gumbo. 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: There are no televisions in the rooms at this venue so be sure to DVR those programs you may miss.

Read more about Tabard Inn Restaurant →


With two locations in this district, this restaurant puts a modern twist on Indian cuisine featuring small plates yet big taste. Start off with a dish made off a tawa (griddle) like scallops rasem or ragda patties 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 grouper kerala curry. Be sure to make time to check out the artwork throughout the restaurant. Each piece was created by an Indian artist. 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: Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Friday. They are only open for dinner on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

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 chilled cucumber gazpacho, squid ink tagliarini and Icelandic cod. Men are no longer required to wear jackets but 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 →

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 regularly has a long line when its doors open for dinner seating. They do not take reservations for parties with less than six people and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The tapas menu is eclectic and features small and family style dishes. With seasonal offerings, a recent menu included such delicious dishes as beef ribeye tartare, pickled ramps and crispy potatoes, grilled quail with Brussels sprouts, Caesar and apples. 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 two years, this venue offers superb hospitality and delicious dishes.

Gina's expert tip: Make sure your phone is charged up or you bring a book because wait times on a Friday or Saturday night can be two hours or more.

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, this venue changes menus every day to reflect the freshest ingredients available for its regional and contemporary Italian cuisine. The menu includes selections of pasta, meat, fish and salads. The dessert and cheese menu is not to be missed so be sure to save room. Check out the large bar which serves classic and modern libations. For those who love wine, be sure to check out their impressive list of estate wines from Italy, France, Spain and the United States. 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 →

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 Champs-Elysees, royal tenenbaum and kir royal 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: Guests with eight or more in their party are asked to contact them prior to coming on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Read more about Chez Billy Sud →

Photo courtesy of Masseria

You will find a taste of Pulglia 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 three-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. Which ever course you chose, don't leave without trying one of their signature cocktails. Sure, the names are fun (Like Barnes with Noble Hooks 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 open air garden area is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Read more about Masseria →

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 farm house 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 roof top garden. You'll find a different menu every day featuring snacks (half dozen white stone oysters), small plates (spicy country sausage toast) and family style dishes (fried Chesapeake catfish). 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: Try the Navy Yard cocktail featuring Hamilton Jamaican rum, black walnut falernum, lime, hearth bitters and hildalgo px cherry.

Read more about The Dabney →

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. Booking a table in the dining room? The tasting menu is offered nightly with varying number of courses. Those who dine in the carriageway and garden area may chose from an a la carte menu complete with house made pastas, wood-roasted meats and seafood. 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 tasting menus change frequently to provide patrons with the freshest local offerings. Menus may be changed to fit dietary restrictions and preferences.

Read more about Iron Gate Restaurant →

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 baby lamb loin, truffle-stuffed breast of pheasant and a fricassee of Maine lobster. The wine cellar has more than 2,400 selections so you will surely fine 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.

Read more about Inn at Little Washington →


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