Love Is in the Air at L.A.'s 10 Most Romantic Restaurants

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Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Whether looking to celebrate a special romantic anniversary or to mark the start of a brand-new romance, there are plenty of restaurants in Los Angeles that are sure to spark that loving feeling. From the second you enter the front door to those last lingering moments, these are the 10 best romantic restaurants in the City of Angels, places where time stands still as you and your darling sip, sup and canoodle to your heart’s content. There are traditional classics like Yamashiro, Il Cielo and the Inn of the Seventh Ray, places that have witnessed plenty of proposals over the many years they have been a part of the Southern California dining scene, as well as newer favorites like Da Lat Rose, Culina in the Four Seasons Hotel and Nobu Malibu. Each restaurant presents a truly wonderful setting that is perfectly suited to having private moments, and each also offers up world-class dishes that practically cry out for sharing with the one you love. Don’t forget the champagne!

Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Every Sunday, Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills transforms from a cutting-edge Italian eatery into the home of the best brunch buffet in town. Guests can sit inside or out on the terrace in Southern California’s almost-always sunny weather. The brunch offerings fill numerous rooms and range from classic made-to-order breakfasts including Belgian waffles, omelets and eggs Benedict. And if the lunch side of brunch is more suited to your mood, look for groaning tables of hand-rolled sushi selections, a huge choice of dim sum delicacies, house-made quesadillas and more. There’s even a nod to Culina’s fare, with an Italian spread of cured meats and tasty cheeses. Doughnut lovers will find the Four Seasons’ freshly made tidbits hard to resist – try dipping them in the flowing chocolate fountain for a decadent end to an unforgettable buffet brunch.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A beautiful setting, excellent modern Italian fare and a five-star hotel room available right in the same building make Culina a winner for lovers.

Jenny’s expert tip: Avoid the always crowded valet by parking for free on the street nearby.

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BALEENkitchen

Photo courtesy of BALEENkitchen

BALEENkitchen combines a gorgeous seaside ambience with delicious, mostly seafood dishes, making it a perfect place to take someone you love for a fine dining experience. Located in Redondo Beach Marina, the restaurant features a pretty patio overlooking the boats, as well as a cozy indoor lounge and formal main dining room. It’s been recently reimagined with a renovation and two talented chefs now at the helm in the kitchen (Vasili Tavernakis and Paul Dinulescu) are putting out some seriously great food. The Pan-Roasted Diver Scallops with a corn-truffle puree might just make you swoon. Pair it with the Lobster Mac & Cheese made with truffles and you’ll definitely notice love in the air. BALEENkitchen is doing everything right these days, from craft cocktails that are very appropriate for a lover’s night out to an excellent wine list that is half off on Wednesdays.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Moonlight on the water and terrific food and drinks make this a South Bay romantic retreat.

Jenny’s expert tip: Use the Portofino Hotel’s valet parking (it is just across the driveway) or self park in the lot just down the hill.

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Inn of the Seventh Ray

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

At the Inn of the Seventh Ray, lovers find waterfalls and sycamore trees in a taken-over-by-nature setting that easily leads to romantic feelings. That’s especially true if you sit out in the slightly wild garden, where a welcoming fireplace gives a soft glow to the whole space. And being in Topanga Canyon, it’s no surprise that the chefs at this iconic restaurant actually forage for the herbs they use in the organic dishes they concoct. Plus, most of the produce used in the menu selections are sourced locally and the chef makes sure that many dishes can be made gluten-free or vegan. Carnivores should be sure to try the 8-hour Plum Braised Short Ribs for a swooningly great dish. Located well into the canyon, you’ll wend your way in for about five miles from either PCH on the ocean side or from the San Fernando Valley.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Wild romance is bound to happen in this off-the-beaten-path place.

Jenny’s expert tip: Allow a bit of extra time to make your way to this secluded restaurant, as it is right in the heart of the canyon.

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CUT

Located inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Wolfgang Puck’s CUT has been at the top of the culinary hierarchy in Los Angeles since it opened in 2007. The strikingly modern interior, designed by famed architect Richard Meier, welcomes guests to an unparalleled dining experience. There’s a steak for every taste here, ranging from U.S.D.A. Prime Beef aged 21 or 35 days; Grass-Fed Angus Beef; American Wagyu from famed grower Snake River Farms; and 100 percent Japanese Wagyu imported from Kyushu. No matter which type of beef or cut you choose, there’s one thing certain here: your steak will be perfectly cooked and served with sauces that will make you swoon (be sure to try the Argentinean Chimichurri). Attention to every detail, charming service and — often — a chance to say “Hi” to the master chef himself make Puck’s CUT a true cut above the rest.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The jewel in the crown of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire, CUT creates a sublime dining experience.

Jenny’s expert tip: Valet parking can be a challenge if the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is having a big event that night, so we’d advise parking on the street and strolling over the restaurant instead.

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Yamashiro Hollywood

Photo courtesy of Yamashiro Restaurant

Yamashiro Hollywood is one of the most iconic restaurants in all of Los Angeles, simply by virtue of its fantastic location and decor. Set above Hollywood Boulevard in a gorgeous pagoda with stunning views of the whole city below, Yamashiro also boasts a beautiful Japanese garden and classic interior. What began as a private home in 1911 has long been a classic Japanese restaurant serving up everything from sushi to shoyu-glazed black cod, with some seafood tempura, seaweed salad and Asian baby back ribs thrown in too. After changing ownership in 2016 (and a moment when it looked like Yamashiro was going to be shuttered for good), this romantic restaurant is happily back and better than ever.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The views at Yamashiro are incredible, so book the ultimate romantic wedding here, for photos with a background that sweeps the L.A. basin.

Jenny’s expert tip: During the Hollywood Bowl season, “Dine & Ride” with Yamashiro and you can catch a round-trip shuttle between the restaurant and the bowl.

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Cafe Del Rey

Photo courtesy of Cafe del Rey

Cafe del Rey has always been one of the most stylish and romantic restaurants on the Westside of L.A. Located in Marina del Rey, with fabulous views of the marina right out its glass wall overlooking the water, the restaurant is not only in a beautiful setting, but also serves up terrific food. Choose a booth to get really private and cuddly, or go for one of the tables by the windows for a quintessential Southern California view. Be sure to sample some of the seafood here. Start with the blue crab cake and follow with beautifully plated and tasty main courses. Favorites include seared diver scallops and charred wild octopus. At lunch, the CDR Seafood Cobb Salad is one of the most flavorful salads you’ll ever eat. To have a quiet lover’s tryst, go for the lounge area, where fireplace, craft cocktails and couches await.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: With a perfect beach setting, always top-notch food and service, Cafe del Rey is a place to make loving memories.

Jenny’s expert tip: Note that the only parking available at Cafe del Rey is valet, which goes for $5 per car.

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Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill, Jazz, Etc.

Photo courtesy of Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill, Jazz, etc.

Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill, Jazz, Etc. is a perfect spot for a romantic first date — or an anniversary, or just any other night you and your love are in the mood for great music, good food and a cool vibe. Run these days by Alpert’s daughter Eden, the focus at Vibrato is bringing an eclectic mix of jazz, big band and blues into this beautiful space. Make reservations to ensure a cozy seat along the banquette facing the stage, where you’ll sit side-by-side and sip craft cocktails with names like “Moon River.” The menu features lots of seafood and steaks (try the Dungeness Crab Cakes) as well as vegetarian choices and comfort foods like Mac & Cheese. And naturally, for a really romantic time, have a bottle of bubbly while you listen to world-class musicians do their thing. There’s a lively bar scene too, if that suits your style.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Dinner and a show, what could be more romantic? Especially at Vibrato, where the bands are terrific and the scene is cool.

Jenny’s expert tip: Park on the street (Beverly Glen Circle) instead of in the shopping center parking lot, which is often jammed up completely.

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Nobu Malibu

Photo courtesy of Nobu Malibu photo by Henry Hargreaves

Los Angeles is where it all began for Nobu Matsuhisa, the acknowledged king of Japanese cuisine, who now has high-end eateries all over the world. His first restaurant, Matsuhisa, is a tiny place on La Cienega Boulevard; Nobu Los Angeles is further north up that same street; and the prettiest of them all, Nobu Malibu, is perched right on the sand on Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of that posh beach community. Malibu gets our vote for the best of three solely on location, for the stunning ocean views and sleek restaurant design somehow make Nobu’s signature dishes like Black Cod Miso and Yellowtail with Jalapeno seem even more delicious when eaten there (and they are seriously fantastic no matter where you taste them). Make sure to get a table with a view and let the romance begin.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A ride along romantic Pacific Coast Highway with your favorite person gets even better with a stop for sushi at Nobu Malibu.

Jenny’s expert tip: Time your visit to Nobu Malibu to see the sunset, for at this gorgeous beachfront location right on Pacific Coast Highway, there’s no better view in town.

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Il Cielo

Il Cielo owners Pasquale and Pattie Vericella have given Angelenos one of the most swooningly romantic restaurants in Southern California ever since they opened the doors of this Beverly Hills restaurant back in 1986. Combining classic Italian fare with a gorgeous garden area as well as a beautiful main dining room and even a few private rooms designed just for dinner for two, Il Cielo is arguably L.A.’s favorite spot for proposals, weddings and anniversaries. Be sure to include the Il Manzo filet mignon carpaccio served with shaved black truffles, paired with a lovely bottle of sparkling Prosecco as part of your meal, for nothing says “I Love You” quite like truffles and bubbly.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The ultimate in elegant romantic dining right in the heart of Beverly Hills.

Jenny’s expert tip: Book a private dining room for two with 24 hours notice.

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Da Lat Rose

Photo courtesy of Da Lat Rose

Da Lat Rose is the latest creation of Chef Helene An, whose fame as the force behind Crustacean is so great she was recently honored by the Smithsonian Institution. This little jewel of a place is located upstairs from Crustacean, where diners go on a unique “gastrobiography” experience that follows the journey she took from her pre-war Vietnam childhood to refugee immigrant to America, all the way to becoming one of California’s top chefs. The multiple-course meal (a collaboration with Chef Tony Nguyen) tells a story as it unfolds in an elegant setting featuring impeccable service. It’s a culinary tale of love, family, survival and success, and a complete treat to share with a lover. Choose the associated cocktail journey with each course or sip the inspired wine pairings and by the time you are sharing dessert you’ll be sold on the idea of going on a gastronomic life journey.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Sharing this unique dining adventure is an experience you and your love will never forget.

Jenny’s expert tip: Be sure to book a reservation, for one of the three nightly seatings offered Thursday through Saturday.

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