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Romantic Dining in L.A.


Drea Knufken for DineLA.com

You’ve finally scored a date with the hot babe two cubicals down. Or maybe he’s the blue-eyed brunet who sits at the corner table of the coffee shop, tapping away on his laptop. Perhaps you’re already hitched and want to heat things up. Whatever your situation, you want to woo that special someone with the most romantic dining experience ever.

The LA dining scene abounds with potential, so read on – and discover the perfect way to romance your date with food and drink.

Sexy Servings

From the ancient Aztecs, who used chocolate as a love potion, to today’s LA chefs, who have access to the world’s finest ingredients, lovers have always known food to be a fantastic aphrodisiac. Consider Providence restaurant, which serves heaping plates of oysters in its cozy patio room. Two other great options are Firefly Bistro, which serves an enticing slice of tart key lime pie, and Melisse, with a delectable tasting menu.

Luna Park doesn’t serve traditional aphrodisiacs, but creates its own with drinks like the Ice Breaker, Midnight Kiss and the gigantic Volcanic Scorpion Bowl for Two. If you prefer to go the traditional route, pick the perfect bottle of wine from Patina’s award-winning list.

For non-alcoholic stimulation, head to Elixir Tonics and Teas on Melrose Avenue, where they sell specific tonics for everything from glum moods to enhanced libidos. Fill up on gourmet chocolate and lover-friendly rose petal concoctions at the delectable Boule patisserie on North La Cienega Boulevard.

Act Like a Star

If your date is awed by A-listers rather than oysters, try classic star-sighting hubs like Dan Tana’s, where Old Italy meets Old Hollywood, or the classic film noir setting of Musso and Frank Grill. For a pampered Hollywood royalty experience, toast your loved one at The Restaurant at the Hotel Bel-Air.

Find a Room With A View

Sometimes ambiance makes a delectable meal even better. Biting into a tender swordfish steak is one thing in a below-ground beer dive; it’s quite another with a 180-degree view of the sparkling Pacific just feet from your table. One Pico and Café del Rey are two places where the ocean air caresses every meal. A land-lubbing alternative is sitting back and soaking in the famous patio setting at Wilshire, where intimacy and big heat lamps add fire to any evening out. Cafe Pinot is another great option with its romantic garden-like patio and gorgeous views of the Downtown skyline.

Touch Up

Go ahead, do it; casually brush up against your date or slightly touch his/her hand while talking. Some places dare you to come closer. Nirvana, with fertility sculptures lining its walls and a menu invoking the kama sutra, will definitely set the right mood. You’ll get a lot of privacy at the Figaro Bistro, where low lights and tight seating make reaching in for a gentle touch easy. And Il Cielo, with its charming garden patio and elegant French cuisine, will leave you buzzing with intimacy.

Classic Romance

You can always do it like your grandparents did: with a simple, old-fashioned meal with candles and close quarters. Nobody knows romance like the Italians, and nobody knows Italian like Valentino, where you can slurp on spaghetti Lady and the Tramp style in an impossibly romantic alcove. Or you can melt into a secret garden at The Little Door, where subtle overhead lighting provides a starlit cast over your sweetheart—and your food. Stay indoors and sit elbow-to-elbow at a communal table at Ortolan, then head to the sofa by the fireplace for an après-meal cuddle.

There’s a place for every taste in Los Angeles. Pull a few of the right moves, and your sweetie will thank you.