As you might have learned from the headline, Valentine’s Day is less than a month away. If you want a seating at a good restaurant at a reasonable time, you’re running out of time. What follows is 14 of our favorite remaining options, 10 in D.C. and 4 in Baltimore. Getting out of town on a cold Thursday night isn’t the worst way to spend a romantic evening.
If it’s good enough for Tom Sietsema, it’s good enough for whoever you’re dating. All Purpose is the perfect middle of the road destination. It’s not so fancy that you feel like you have to wear a blazer (or heels), but it’s far nicer than your average pizza place. If you’re looking for dinner and a show, try to get one of the counter seats by the open kitchen where you can watch the pizzas get cranked out. I highly recommend you start your night with a round of garlic knots (because bread can bring anyone together) and then dive head first into those delicious pizzas. Don’t forget dessert, the rainbow cake will look good on your Instagram. -K.D.
Take a vacation from the crowds of 14th Street and book a trip to Ivy City. With its dim lighting and high ceilings, Gravitas was made to be a date destination. Stop at the cozy bar first for a classic cocktail and then it’s time to make an important decision, how many courses are you ready to eat? High rollers should definitely go for the 7 course showdown, but if you want something a little more low key, 3 courses should be just fine. Just make sure you get the scallops. Nothing says a good date like a dish topped with caviar. -K.D.
Yes, you could go to the Lupo on 14th Street and have equally as miraculous pasta, but the Osteria has one thing the U Street location doesn’t: the Alimentari (or the marketplace). You could play this one of two ways. You could have a killer dinner inside the Osteria and then pop over to the marketplace to stock up on all the ingredients you need to recreate your meal at home. Or, you could go hard and book the entire Alimentari and have a private meal among the shelves. Just make sure to get on that soon. Like right now. Actually it might be booked already. It’s impossible to tell online. -K.D.
It’s going to be cold this Valentine’s Day. Momofuku serves comforting warm food, nice for couples that are fine eating lots of comforting warm food. We very much enjoy new-ish Momofuku CCDC Executive Chef Tae Strain’s new options. Start with something new and end with something old from Milk Bar. -B.W.
José Andrés is the leader we need. Luckily, he resides in D.C. and is the de-facto leader of the D.C. dining scene. Visit any of his excellent options on Valentine’s Day. We’re going with Oyamel, his Mexican restaurant, for obvious reasons. If you have the funds, there’s one reservation remaining for barmini, Andres’ most romantic food and beverage option. -B.W.
This is the new kid on the block we can’t stop talking about. Pappe night not have the prestige of Rasika or Bombay Club, but if you’re looking to make your Valentines Day dinner a little more of a party, you’re at the right spot. Load yourself up with delicious food and drinks (the daal and the Cardamom Gimlet won’t steer you wrong) and then wander out into 14th street for some bar hopping. Or better yet, head to the Black Cat and check out their annual Valentine’s Day dance party. Either way, you’re going to have a good time. -K.D.
With its feathered lights and baby blue bar, Primrose’s look is specific, but by your third bottle of Lightwell Survey (owner Sebastian Zutant’s Virginia wine brand), you’ll be trying to find your own feather lamps on eBay. If you’re a wine lover, or a Francophile, Primrose’s French leaning menu and ample wine selection will make you feel right at home. But more than anything, Primrose caters to parents. If you don’t have anyone to take the kids and you still want to celebrate, this is your best bet. Primrose has fancy looking high chairs and bathrooms that are well stocked with all the necessary accessories (including diapers), so you should feel right at home. -K.D.
The second floor restaurant in The Line was visited by the Obamas the week the restaurant opened. That alone places it on this list. It also happens to have one of the best sunsets in the city. Romantic lighting, an Obama endorsement and a meal by James Beard Award-winning Chef Spike Gjerde make this a no brainer. -B.W.
The inside could do with an update, but if you and your date are dedicated to having a good meal, Westend will treat your right. It’s an underrated gem in D.C.’s restaurant scene, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every meal we’ve had there, from the chef’s table to the basic fall dining menu. Think of this as an exploratory mission. It’s your chance to try something new with your date without having to worry about it sucking. Because it won’t suck. We promise. -K.D.
Eaton has really good dining options. We’re recommending the rooftop for one of the same reasons we recommended A Rake’s Progress: a fantastic sunset. If things go well, you may want to visit their hidden lobby bar Allegory. If things go really well, remember you’re in a hotel. -B.W.
Perfect for the couple that loves beer, The Brewer’s Art is one of Baltimore’s finest breweries and they happen to have a very nice restaurant too. Get there early for happy hour, available in their bars. Maybe drink too much and skip dinner entirely. -B.W.
Baltimore’s best (and only) basque restaurant is worth getting lost on the wrong side of 83. Once you find it, settle in for their four course Valentine’s Day menu that’s filled with rich flavors you won’t get anywhere else in the city. Their seafood is especially divine, so don’t be afraid to lean in. A meal of swordfish, rockfish and bluefin tuna sounds like heaven to us. -K.D.
If you’re looking for some stunning views (and some serious booze) to go along with dinner, Rye Street Tavern should be at the top of your list. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s menu leans southern, but his Valentine’s Day menu offers a variety of options, including a lamb rack for two and a clarified butter poached halibut that we’d like to get our hands on right now. The three course menu will run you $95 per person (with an optional $55 beverage pairing). -K.D.
Between its candlelit bar and live jazz band, Tagliata is one of the most romantic restaurants in Baltimore. It’s a mix of Little Italy and Harbor East, with a menu has all the Italian classics you’re looking for and a decor right out of The Atlas Restaurant Group playbook. Like the rest of Atlas’s properties (The Elk Room, Bygone and Loch Bar, just to name a few) this is the place you pick if you’re looking to make a big impression. Want to blow hundreds of dollars or pasta and wine? Look no further. Just make sure to grab an order of the prosciutto and parmesan filled tortellini and a glass (or bottle) of whatever your server recommends. They’ll set you up right. -K.D.
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