Photography By: Julie Pinto with Simha Photo
Photography By: Julie Pinto with Simha Photo

The Best 27 Date Night Restaurants in Southern California 

Romantic Restaurants That Impress

Whether you’ve secured yourself a second date or you’re celebrating 20 years together, SoCal’s expansive dining scene means there’s no shortage of places to kindle your affection. From quaint sushi restaurants and casual Italian diners to innovative tapas bars and boujee steakhouses, the date night choices are endless! So call up your SO, make a res at one of these romantic restaurants and maybe, just maybe, you’ll lock in that third date. Best Date Night Restaurants

 

Orange County Best Date Night Restaurants

Best Sushi Best Date Night Restaurants

Starfish Laguna

For a worthwhile sushi date, head to Starfish Laguna. Share the lobster macadamia roll and their unique hand pressed roll, Hako Pressed Sushi. Sip a Whiskey Blossom and Buddha’s Kiss for a perfect pairing. 

Laguna Beach

Best Pasta Best Date Night Restaurants

Bello by Sandro Nardone

Modern yet authentic Italian food is what Bello is all about. Indulge in fresh, homemade pasta like the pomodoro, cacio e pepe or norcia, and you’ll be transported straight to the romantic streets of Italy. 

Newport Beach

EXP 8/20

 

Best Upbeat Ambience 

Cafe Sevilla

Live music, Flamenco dinner shows, Spanish tapas and traditional paella—you’ll love this spot! With an atmosphere reminiscent of Spain and authentic, flavorful cuisine, it’s bound to be an entertaining night.

Costa Mesa | Long Beach | San Diego

EXP 7/9

 

Best First Date Best Date Night Restaurants

Lido Bottle Works

Located at Lido Marina Village, Lido Bottle Works serves unique culinary dishes, craft beer, wine and cocktails—all sure to impress your date! Dine with views of the bay and order a few dishes to share (like the cheese and charcuterie board, burrata salad and Lido catch!). 

Newport Beach

 

Greater Palm Springs

Best Fine Dining

The Gardens on El Paseo

If you want to really impress your date, The Gardens on El Paseo is the place to book a res. With high-end restaurants like Mastro’s Steakhouse, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, there is no shortage of boujee spots to ball out and enjoy a world-class meal. Bring your wallet.

Palm Desert

 

Coziest Setting

Morgan’s in the Desert

Set on the gorgeous grounds of La Quinta Resort & Club, this elegant, hacienda-style eatery serving contemporary California cuisine is the ideal spot for a cozy dinner. Snag a seat on the patio and enjoy fresh air, seasonal flavors and sweeping desert views. After dinner, head to the bar for a selection of vintage cocktails like the Bitter Italian—made with amaretto, amaro, espresso and vanilla ice cream.

La Quinta

 

Best Shareable Menu

Cork & Fork

This chic yet unpretentious wine bar specializes in farm-to-table small plates like filet mignon tacos and goat cheese bruschetta. Executive Chef Andie Hubka paints each dish with flavorful and colorful sauces, making each plate unique. Cork & Fork is casual fine dining at its best.

La Quinta

 

Los Angeles Best Date Night Restaurants

Best Pizza and Pasta

Jon & Vinny’s

You simply can’t go wrong with Jon & Vinny’s for date night—between the cool tunes, unreal spicy fusilli and shareable pizzas, it’s guaranteed to hit the spot. Be sure to make a reservation instead of just showing up!

Brentwood | Fairfax

 

Best in Santa Monica Best Date Night Restaurants

Tar & Roses

Get ready to experience a culinary masterpiece through each of the menu items at Tar & Roses. Traditional food is elevated, and a wood-fired oven is incorporated into the preparation of dishes. Order a bottle of wine to enjoy the evening! 

Santa Monica

 

Best Upscale Steakhouse

The Arthur J

Now if you really want to impress your date, take them to The Arthur J. This steakhouse sources the best beef in the world and has an impressively curated wine list. Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan Beach just steps from the water, this restaurant is truly the whole package.

Manhattan Beach

Best All-Around

Felix Trattoria

One word: focaccia. Don’t skip ordering this beautiful bread before digging into homemade linguine al limone, tonarelli cacio e pepe and funghi pizza. You’ll both be leaving here with full stomachs and happy hearts. 

Venice

 

San Diego Best Date Night Restaurants

Best Old-School Atmosphere

A.R. Valentien

Relish gorgeous golf-course views at this intimate, wood-beamed eatery inside The Lodge at Torrey Pines. A.R. Valentien dishes out elegant, farm-to-table fare, so if your date doesn’t like you, they’ll at least fall in love with the food!

La Jolla

 

Best Seafood Specials

Ember & Rye

Play a round of golf at the Aviara Golf Club and then finish with an evening at Ember & Rye—Park Hyatt Aviara’s new shi-shi restaurant, featuring a menu of vintage steaks and fresh seafood. Let acclaimed chef and tv personality Richard Blais do the cooking and the restaurant’s garden-chic aesthetic do the rest.

Carlsbad

 

Best Cajun Cuisine Best Date Night Restaurants

Louisiana Purchase

By far North Park’s best Cajun cuisine, Louisiana Purchase is a must if you’re looking for a unique date-night experience. This N’awlins-inspired restaurant serves cocktails in disco balls and features crazy delicious menu items like Crawfish Birria Tacos and Dragos Stuffed Lobster.

North Park

Best Wood-Fired Fare

Fort Oak

Next to Fort Oak’s central bar stands a hefty stack of red oak logs—a nod to the restaurant’s specialty: smoky, wood-fired cuisine. Our recommendation? Start with two Monaco martinis and an order of oysters, then finish with the Hearth-Grilled Branzino (you’ll thank us later).

Mission Hills

Editor’s Picks

Trenta Pizza and Cucina
Costa Mesa

Bestia
Downtown Los Angeles

Le Vallauris Restaurant
Palm Springs

Starlite
Middletown

 

4 Casual Spots for a First Date

4th Street Market
Santa Ana

2nd & PCH
Long Beach

The Village at Indian Wells
Indian Wells

Liberty Public Market
Point Loma

 

End the Evening With a Glass of Red, White or Rosé at One of These Intimate Wine Bars

The Cellar
Sip on: BT Prisoner Cabernet Sauvignon
San Clemente

The Vine Wine Bar
Sip on: Waterbrook Reserve Merlot
Palm Desert

Esters Wine Shop & Bar
Sip on: Le Ferme Rouge ‘Le Blanc’ Kosher, Zaër, Morocco 2018
Pacific Palisades

Solterra Winery & Kitchen
Sip on: Solterra Rosé of Malbec
Encinitas

About the author

Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!

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