The Most Romantic Restaurants in Washington
Romance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Washington, but the nation’s capital boasts a burgeoning, sexy food scene that’s just as diverse as the 700,000+ people calling it home. The days when stuffy steakhouses ruled D.C.’s dining landscape are over and the District teems with restaurants that attract established couples and young singles looking for love, hopefully in all of the right places. Here are nine of the most romantic restaurants in Washington, guaranteed to make you and your date swoon — regardless of your political affiliation.
Contemporary Korean cuisine rules at Anju, a restaurant executive chef Angel Barreto helms and that - with its exposed brick walls, natural wood accents and live, indoor greenery - sets the tone for any romantic meal. Given all this, Dolsot Bibimbap, a classic Korean rice dish served with vegetables and meat toppings in a piping hot bowl, is the perfect dish for couples to share. “The hot stone bowl provides warmth throughout the meal, and the gochujang sauce is on the side so that each individual can use however much or little as they prefer,” says chef-owner Danny Lee.
Charlie Palmer Steak DC
What do Kim Kardashian, professional athletes, and certain lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have in common? Charlie Palmer Steak. The chain’s D.C. location near the U.S. Capitol makes it a convenient hub for lawmakers and celebrities alike. Its rooftop seats 200 guests and offers panoramic views of famous landmarks, including the Capitol and Washington Monument. Even the bathrooms are a little naughty — three large keyholes in the men’s and women’s bathrooms let patrons peek into the other gender’s W.C.s. General manager Michael Irving says he always steers couples to the restaurants’ seafood tower and recommends they pair it with Tattinger champagne. “People like shrimp, lobster, crab meat and then a nice, fresh Champagne to go with that,” Irving says. “To me, that’s sexy.”
This fancy industrial and inviting Michelin-starred restaurant from chef-owner Matt Baker is situated inside a former tomato factory and bathed in lots of natural light — the better to gaze at your significant other. Outside, snuggle up with your boo at one of the restaurant’s cozy tables for two, to enjoy its locally sourced, seasonal, modern American cuisine.
Chef-owner Philippe Massoud sees his Lebanese restaurant as a throwback to Lebanon’s golden age and captures that country’s 'joie de vivre' through decorative elements, including ceilings decorated with white doves to symbolise peace and love, and a reclaimed water fountain in the dining room that adds to the restaurant’s ambiance. Massoud recommends couples eat various mezza plates — including vegan, meat and fish plates — “to create a melting pot of experiences where each guest becomes his own chef mixing flavours and textures to reach a personal favourite bite. There’s nothing more romantic than sharing a bite.”
D.C. diners can’t get enough of this Michelin-starred, coastal Italian restaurant. Named after the agricultural estates in Italy’s Puglia region, from where the family of chef-owner Nicholas Stefanelli hails, Masseria woos diners with cuisine that shaped his palate as a child. “Masseria has this beautiful intimacy that makes you want to spend all night eating caviar and pasta, and drinking white burgundy,” Stefanelli said.
Tucked away into the lower level of a historic building that was erected in 1907, the Michelin-star Métier experience centres on a tasting-menu format from chef Eric Ziebold. You’ll enter the contemporary American restaurant through an elevator that takes you into a salon, complete with a fireplace. It’s the perfect spot for couples to sample canapé and sip cocktails before sitting down to a seven-course dinner in an exclusive dining room that seats 20 people — it’s almost like eating at Ziebold’s home.
Husband-and-wife team chef Henji Cheung and Sarah Thompson, the restaurant’s general manager/beverage director and prep cook, joined forces to open Queen’s English, an intimate restaurant that seats fewer than 40 people. The cuisine is inspired by the food Cheung ate growing up in the New Territories, a rural area just north of Hong Kong Island — the Queen refers to Queen Elizabeth; you’ll find a portrait of her on a wall across from the bathrooms. The dining room is lively and inviting with a lounge-worthy feel for the perfect date night. The chef’s counter can seat two in front of all the action. All of the restaurant’s traditional Hong Kong meals are designed to be shared.
Rasika West End
Boldfaced names, including Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts, and Bill Gates, have descended on this flashy restaurant where James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam slings modern Indian cuisine. If you go, either book one of the love carriages — carriage-like booths along the windows — or a table in the restaurant’s library. Both offer warm and intimate feels, says Ashok Bajaj, the restaurant’s owner. “Service staff is attentive, yet unobtrusive,” he says. “And (Sunderam) serves food that is sensual, unique and exciting.”
Do you après ski? Retreat to one of the Swiss-American restaurant’s cozy, private, wood-panelled, indoor chalets for two that transports you to co-owner Silvan Kraemer’s Switzerland home. “There is nothing quite as romantic as an intimate dinner for two in your very own ski chalet,” Kraemer says. “At Stable, we are known for our signature cheese fondue, so we recommend ordering a pot to share for an interactive meal centred around warm, bubbling cheese to top off the experience.”