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Updated January 26

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away! Start freaking out! Or stay calm and make your dinner reservations now.

Below are 14 options on where to spend February 14. As of this posting, all of them still have availability. That will change.

Addis Ababa

I preface this by saying I rarely ever include a restaurant outside of the District in these lists, but the simple fact is that I rarely see Ethiopian food done with such class. Addis Ababa has been in Silver Spring for over a decade, offering phenomenal and authentic Ethiopian food in a completely immersive environment. Furthermore, it would be difficult to find a style of cuisine better suited for Valentine’s Day. I believe most relationships are about compromise– Those giant spreads of injera and doro wat are made for sharing. -Jonny Grave

The Atlas Room

Sometimes you’re not looking for something super opulent or trendy. Sometimes all you want is delicious food, great service, and a low key atmosphere. This is where the Atlas Room comes in. You’ve probably walked past it a million times, but this is the perfect opportunity to check it out. If you do decide to spend Valentine’s Day on H Street, the key is to save room for dessert. When I went there for V-Day, the two dessert options sounded so good we ordered both of them and ate every last bite. It was 100% worth it. Afterwards, wander down to Copy Cat Co. for a cocktail, because going to Copy Cat is always a good option. -Kaylee Dugan

Bistro D’oc

After some time in France, I’ve come back with a new appreciation for the French spots around my own hometown. Bistro D’Oc is the brick-and-mortar embodiment of french un-pretentiousness. Their portions are immense, their wine list has some of the best labels in town, their staff is gracious and accommodating, and, with the new construction site located up the street (thanks, Douglas!), it’s easier than ever to get a table. The food alone is worth walking through the jackhammers. Mind the concrete dust on the way in the door, though. -Jonny Grave

Bombay Club

If you’re like me, you’re sick of the traditional Valentine’s Day menus at restaurants (seriously, I don’t need to eat heart shaped ravioli). For something different, consider an Asian-inspired meal. Bombay Club is a high-end Indian restaurant that is perfect for an elegant and sophisticated Valentine’s Day (i.e. a non-cheesy Valentine’s Day). The dynamic Indian dishes will bring some spice to your palate and your night. The Valentine’s Day menu Bombay Club is offering this year is $85 a person and includes street snacks from New Delhi, your choice of Indian curries, saffron rice, truffle naan, and a variety of Indian desserts. Non-foodies need not apply; this meal looks epic already. -Priya Konings

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Boundary Road

The H Street restaurant is comfortable enough for a large birthday party or a pleasant dinner. A quality option for a couple that may want to spend the rest of evening at the bar or wandering in and out of other H Street spots. Or for the couple that wants to take advantage of the late night menu and just eat meat and cheese and drink Natty Boh. The place stays open til 2 a.m. and Natty Boh costs $3, which is how much Natty Boh should cost. -Brandon Wetherbee

Le Grenier

Valentine’s Day is easy to fuck up. Prevent that by sticking to the classics: a French restaurant, some cheese, outstanding yet affordable wines, and the perfect ambiance. That’s a pretty good summary of Le Grenier. It’s cozy enough to be super romantic, but not a teeny hole in the wall where you’re crammed next to the couple beside you who’s also trying to enjoy their night. The kitchen bangs out excellent versions of French classics, but doesn’t charge the usual French prices. Start with some of the best free bread in D.C., move on to some escargot or foie gras, do it big with Coq au Vin or a seared duck magret, then wrap up with a plate of gooey cheeses. Pro tip: make a reservation for 7:00 pm, but show up at 6:30 for half price beer, wine, and cocktails at the bar before dinner. -Logan Hollers

Mintwood Place

The Adams Morgan restaurant is great for special occasions. Promotions, birthdays, snowstorms that shut down the city, etc. It can also be a romantic dining destination. Even a month out, reservations are few and far between so if you’re looking for a V-Day brunch, start here. Convince your significant other dinner is for losers and Sunday brunch is much more romantic. -Brandon Wetherbee

1905

Small, dark, intimate, full of delicious wine, and has a beautifully curated menu. To be perfectly honest, it can be a tight squeeze, and you may not want to spend your Valentine’s Day dinner brushing shoulders with the bruiser at the table next to you. My advice? Go here for dinner early, make sure to stick around for the poached pear dessert and a house-made digestif, then go see a show. -Jonny Grave

Oyamel

If it’s good enough for the First Lady’s birthday, it’s good enough for Valentine’s Day. A good option for the couple that likes nice things but isn’t try to impress each other with mood lighting. -Brandon Wetherbee

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The Pig

Sure, a restaurant named The Pig is not what immediately comes to mind when thinking of where to make Valentine’s Day reservations, but as someone who has actually been to The Pig on Valentine’s Day, I can promise you it’s a good decision. While I wouldn’t recommend bringing a vegetarian (for obvious reasons), there are a wider variety of protein options than you would imagine. In fact, if I’m remembering correctly, I didn’t even have a slice of pig while I was there. From seafood (oh man, that lobster chowder…) to the pricier cuts of beef (I may or may not still dream about the veal), The Pig’s Valentine’s menu should have more than enough to satisfy any carnivore. Not to mention, the atmosphere strikes a good balance between being fancy enough to warrant dressing up a little bit, without making you feel uncomfortable (or forcing you to get too fancy). Also, get the beef heart tartar (if it’s available) because where else are you going to easily get to eat another animals heart on Valentine’s Day? -Kaylee Dugan

 

Russia House

Okay, I know. This is not a traditional Valentine’s Day spot, but if your partner and you have a sense of adventure it’s a fantastic choice. If you’ve never had Russian food, you might not want to wait for Valentine’s Day because Russian food is fucking amazing and you need to try it right now. It is essentially loads of heavy cream and meat, but WHAT COULD BE BETTER? If I could get away with it I would eat nothing but Russian food. Another thing you have to keep in mind is that, for some people, the ambiance leaves a lot to be desired. It’s as if your spooky old grandmother built a restaurant and then let it fall into a little bit of disrepair. What I’m saying is that most people probably think Russia House could do with an upgrade, but I love how it looks, like you’ve just broken into an old persons mansion and you’re dining in their living room. That’s the kind of atmosphere I’m looking for when I’m downing Moscow Mules. -Kaylee Dugan

SEI

If you’re looking for something upscale and a bit trendy, SEI is your spot. Add on amazing sushi and drinks and you’re set for a great Valentine’s Day. Their sushi rolls are not only delicious, but unique and adventurous. As far as the cocktails, I suggest the Mischief, a combination of ​citrus vodka, elderflower liqueur, basil, orange & lemon peel that will most definitely not disappoint. The atmosphere is incredibly romantic, all white accented with soft lighting and beautiful artwork. It will be sure to leave you and your date feeling dreamy. The restaurant has a 3 course prix fixe menu for the holiday which is great if you’re too unsure of yourself when ordering. -Marykate McCarthy

Thai X-ing

My lady friend and I went on one of our first dates here, so, naturally I think it’s a great Valentine’s Day choice. Chef Taw Vigsittaboot’s home-style Thai cooking is outstanding, but the real draw is the original restaurant itself. Sure, there’s no booze, but you’re in a beautiful converted rowhouse with family knick-knacks all over, tables stuffed everywhere, and an open kitchen you have to walk through to get to the bathrooms. That’s unique. Take a few hours off the hooch and just focus on your date (and the raved-about pumpkin curry) – what’s sexier than that? -Logan Hollers

Zentan

Go for Chef Yo’s sushi, stay for the sake recommendations. It’s difficult to get too full on sushi and it’s easy to get warm with sake. This is a great option if you’re the kind of person that lives in the suburbs and really likes to spend the night in a hotel in the big city. -Brandon Wetherbee

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Some places we would have recommended but are already booked: Barmini, Rasika (both locations), Rose’s Luxury (closed Sundays). We’ll update this post as bookings are filled.

No Longer Accepting Reservations But Try Walking In

Birch and Barley

There are few restaurants in D.C. more romantic than Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Birch & Barley. I say that because there are few restaurants darker, and barely being able to see your loved one across the cramped two person table is the pinnacle of romantic. All jokes aside, Birch & Barley’s ambiance does make it feel like one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. It’s small and intimate, the service is always impeccable, and the food never fails to impress. While portion sizes can be a little smaller than I would prefer, it does leave more space for you to fill up on beer. And if you and your date care about beer at all, you have come to the right place. It’s Valentine’s day, so I recommend treating yourself to some of their cask or barrel aged options. After all, this does only happen once a year. -Kaylee Dugan

Chez Billy Sud

As a principle, I am decidedly not a fan of spin-offs, as they rarely tend to be as good as the original. Chez Billy is a wonderful exception to this. Chez Billy got a Georgetown location opened a couple years ago, offering dishes completely different from the Petworth location. This version of the restaurant has recipes based on South of France cuisine. It’s also conveniently located up the street from the Georgetown theaters, across the street from the Canal, and down the street from M Street. -Jonny Grave

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Crane and Turtle

Let’s be honest: There is nothing romantic about asking your squeeze to wait in line for an hour or more when it’s 30 degrees outside. Winter wooing is not compatible with restaurants too cool for reservations. So instead of bundling up with the hope of maybe landing the 10:30 p.m. seating at Bad Saint, might we suggest booking a trip to one of its sister restaurants, Crane & Turtle. Part of Paul Ruppert’s empire of boutique dining establishments, Crane & Turtle has been serving up exquisitely playful twists on Japanese fare in Petworth for 23 DC Restaurant Years now. (It opened way back in the summer of 2014.) The 25-seater – formerly an Ethio­pian bakery – is intimate while still allowing for those fading vestiges known as “tables,” upon which you can eat your “entree.” (Look it up, kids!) Chef Makoto Hamamura’s menu goes heavy on the seafood, and honestly, there’s not a bad choice on there, so just go ahead and plan to share everything. The drink selection, meanwhile, spotlights cider, sherry, and sake, which gives you and your date the perfect excuse to break out of your comfort zones. Also, get to the neighborhood early for a cocktail at another Rupert property across the street, Citizen. -Phil Runco

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Fiola Mare

This is referred to as the “deluxe option” for Valentine’s Day. One of DC’s most opulent restaurants (with unquestionably one of the most beautiful views), Fiola Mare is one of the true special-occasion spots in the District. The fabulous service is surpassed only by the unparalleled seafood; you can’t go wrong with one of Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s house-made pastas, you can show off by dropping some dough on caviar service, or you can wander over to the ice case packed with fresh whole fish and choose your own adventure. A lot of superlatives in one paragraph? Yep. Well-deserved? Oh yeah. This is the epitome of fine dining, and a worthy indulgence for someone you love. -Logan Hollers

Garrison

You don’t want a super heavy, meat filled dinner. Keep things healthy on Valentine’s Day. From our Taste Test: Capitol Hill’s newest venue, Garrison, opened by Rob Weland (formerly Executive Chef of Cork, and before that, Poste) vegetables are the name of the game. -Priya Konings

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The Grill Room

Executive Chef Frank Ruta spent 11 years working as a chef at The White House, ran the esteemed Palena in Cleveland Park for 14 years, and just happened to pick up Food and Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef” in 2001 and the 2007 James Beard award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. Ruta’s marriage of classic technique and seasonal choice ingredients make his plates delicious and stunningly gorgeous (like, seriously beautiful). Oh, also, Chef Aggie Chin won this year’s RAMMY for Pastry Chef of the Year, so dessert’s kind of mandatory. This is one of the few places in D.C. that deserves a Michelin star. It’s hella expensive, sure, but it’s Valentine’s Day – live (and love) a little, you know? -Logan Hollers

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Iron Gate

Easily one of the most romantic restaurants in D.C. From the lamp-lit stone entryway to the gazebo’ed back courtyard, Iron Gate was made for Valentine’s Day. Fittingly, Wine Director Brent Kroll’s tightly curated wine list focuses on Greek and Italy, two cultures renowned for their, er, enlightened stances on love and sexuality. Splurge a little and go all-in with Chef Anthony Chittum’s tasting menu; his commitment to sourcing from local farmers lets you show the planet some love, too. -Logan Hollers

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Proof

There are not a lot of reservations sill available for Valentine’s Day, so you have to act quick, but if you’re a wine lover (or just a wino) this is where you want to be not only for Valentine’s Day, but probably everyday for the rest of your life. The wine list is just as intimidating as Churchkey’s beer list, and that’s really saying something. So settle in with your significant other, have fun exploring all of the different wines, and be sure to order yourself some charcuterie. Let’s be real, nothing is sexier than a well curated selection of cheese, meat, and bread. -Kaylee Dugan

The Red Hen

My perfect romantic evening is a roaring fireplace, a couple bottles of great wine, and food that’s both delicious and unpretentious. Makes sense, then, that my perfect romantic restaurant is the Red Hen. Roaring fireplace? Check: Chef Mike Friedman’s Italian-influenced cuisine is cooked over a live fire in a gorgeous open kitchen. Great wine? Check: sommelier Sebastian Zutant always has something new, interesting, and tasty (usually from Italy). Food that’s delicious and unpretentious? Huge check: give me the whipped ricotta crostini, the mezze rigatoni with fennel sausage, and the porchetta with crispy capers. Even if you live nowhere near Bloomingdale, coming here always feels like walking into your neighborhood go-to. -Logan Hollers

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Tabard Inn

This is a favorite of mine for dates, particularly during the week. Because there’s not a whole lot of natural light after 5 p.m., your sense of time kind of goes out the window. Perfect for getting lost in conversation with whoever you bring to this spot. Because it’s also very much off the beaten path, you either have to know exactly where it is, or come across it completely by accident. Try the gumbo if you eat meat, try the squash ravioli if you don’t. -Jonny Grave

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