best restaurants huntington beach
Credit: Ed Visions

The 8 Best Restaurants for a Dinner Date in Huntington Beach

From Upscale Eateries to Rooftop Rendezvous, These Restaurants Set the Mood for Flirty Fun

Miles of uninterrupted beach and year-round summer sun make Huntington Beach ideal for oceanfront dining and memorable date nights. Stroll hand-in-hand along the sandy shores before cozying up in one of Surf City’s hip restaurants. From upscale Japanese to casual coastal fare, this seaside city has cuisine for every couple to enjoy. Ease date-night jitters and let us take care of the planning by visiting one of our eight favorite spots for a flirty evening in Huntington Beach.


Avila’s El Ranchito

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best restaurants huntington beach
Credit: Ed Visions

Discover the ultimate spot for a delightful dinner date in Huntington Beach at Avila’s El Ranchito. This charming restaurant sets the stage for an unforgettable evening in the heart of this coastal city. An OC staple, the Huntington Beach location was established in 1999—the Baja Mexico vibe celebrates the warmth of Mexican hospitality and fits this colorful family-owned HB staple. Authentic south-of-the-border flavors and the family-friendly atmosphere make for a relaxed evening out. Unwind with cucumber and watermelon margaritas made with the freshest ingredients amongst the restaurant’s colorful decor. Indulge your taste buds with mouthwatering Mahi Ceviche, a Mama Avila’s original recipe, brimming with zesty lime, succulent mahi-mahi and a burst of colorful diced peppers. And don’t be afraid to add some spice—it is date night after all!


Kai Lounge

best restaurants huntington beach - Kai Lounge
Credit: Ed Visions
@localemag Check out this new spot at #pacificcity in #huntingtonbeach #kailounge serves #japanese and other Asian cuisines. #localemagazine #ocfoodie #ocdatenight #ocdateideas #ocsushi ♬ Midnight Rain – Taylor Swift

Just steps from the sand, Tokyo’s electric energy is replicated by the lively bustle of Kai Lounge. The entrance to this modern Japanese bistro is illuminated by a brilliant floral wall while black and white tones cast an upscale ambience throughout Pacific City’s newest restaurant. Sit in the dining room for a front-row show of fire-lit woks that add a tangy char to dishes like the Shaking Beef stir-fry. Must-try menu items include pork belly bao buns with pickled pepper slaw and signature entrees like the lemongrass lamb chops. Tucked away in the secluded Whiskey Room, 10 seats offer an intimate experience for dining. This sultry space also doubles as a speakeasy for Executive Chef Tin Nguyen’s 18-course omakase experience.


Cucina Alessa

Italian cuisine and candlelit seating seamlessly set a romantic mood for a date night at Cucina Alessa. Find comfort in this bistro’s old-school charm that characterizes the two-story restaurant. From lobster ravioli in vodka cream to ribbons of homemade pasta dressed in a braised lamb reduction, Chef Eliseo’s authentic fare always leaves you wanting more. Save room for their famous tiramisu and ask your server about the gelato of the day!

Local Insight: Every meal at Cucina Alessa’s starts with their beloved “salsa verde,” which is a homemade olive oil and basil dipping sauce served with rosemary focaccia.



Social Cocina y Tequila

Social Cocina y Tequila - best restaurants huntington beach
Credit: Ed Visions

Social Cocina y Tequila brings Tulum to you at their beachy hideaway. Rattan lamps and succulent-lined booths give off vacation vibes, and the light-hearted atmosphere makes Social Cocina y Tequila the perfect date spot. Be sure to order one of their picture-perfect cocktails like the Primo Donna—refreshing pineapple balances smoky mezcal in the hand-painted adobe pot it’s served in! After dinner, dance the night away like you’re on spring break in Mexico with appearances by live DJs.


Sushi on Fire

Credit: Vinicius Benedit on Unsplash

Located in the heart of downtown, Sushi on Fire turns meals into memorable experiences. Nothing beats vibrant sashimi platters paired with a wide sake selection for an evening of good food and fun. Minimalist Japanese decor sets the scene for a casual date night where thoughtfully plated dishes steal the show. Order the HB Sun roll with spicy tuna and crab salad wrapped in fresh fish, avocado, creamy chili oil and eel sauce for a flavorful punch in every bite. 



ROL Hand Bar

Credit: Nick Gales

ROL Hand Bar’s invites guests to a chef-to-table dining experience at their 14-seat temaki bar. Known for contemporary takes on Japanese classics, ROL Hand Bar challenges the status quo with ambitious flavors like those in the Toro Uni roll, which is stuffed so full it’s served open faced! The bar isn’t just for sushi; there’s boozy cocktails too. With rum and dragonfruit, the Sumo Diet’s bright pink hue is the perfect date-night elixir.

Local Insight: Chefs recommend eating hand rolls within 10 seconds upon being served for maximum crunch of nori, warmth of rice and freshness of fish.



Tanner’s at Pasea Hotel + Resort

best restaurants huntington beach - Tanners at Pasea Hotel
Credit: Tanners at Pasea Hotel

Nothing screams date night like rooftop dining. Treehouse by Tanner’s is a chic bar with panoramic views of the Pacific. Watch the sky change color with a craft cocktail in hand as you wait to be seated in the bungalow below. Floor-to-ceiling windows in Tanner’s dining room showcase Huntington’s surf in a relaxed and modern atmosphere. For date night, we recommend ordering the Shishto Burger and miso glazed branzino with roasted potato and celery root.



The Black Trumpet Bistro

There’s something about Europe that’s oh so romantic. Dine like you’re on a European summer getaway at The Black Trumpet Bistro. This Mediterranean eatery brings flavors from abroad to Huntington Beach! The jazz-like ambience of this family-run restaurant makes it a local favorite. Order a bottle of wine and tapas to share. Lamb Lollipops with mint pesto and tuna tartare on crispy flatbread can’t be beaten! Come back for social hour from 2-5 p.m. and cheers with $10 martinis.

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!
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