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The Most Romantic Restaurants in Washington
Comments () | Published February 3, 2009

Young and on a budget: Eating Tuna Six Ways at Sushi-Ko can be a zenlike bonding experience. Order two of these horizontal plates so you can synchronize each bite of the ruby-red raw fish. Take your time, luxuriating as you move from the most delicate morsels on the left to the meatier seared toro on the right. You might also try the off-the-menu ikura, made with salmon roe preserved in salt topped with a raw quail egg. Uma Thurman seduced her much younger beau in Prime by telling him eating ikura was "like having sex."

Sushi-Ko, 2309 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4187; inexpensive to moderate.

Romancing a boy toy: Lighting is everything--just ask Catherine Deneuve. The rosy glow of the fire and the backdrop of luminescent white at Oya will make those laugh lines look like dimples. Ask for table 35--the one right in front of the "wall of fire." Royal Miyagi oysters with sake and a glass of Prosecco Valdobbiaden ($50) from Gemin, Italy, are all you need to move things along, but if you're feeling flush, the Roederer Estate Brut Rosé ($80) catches the firelight just so.

Oya, 777 Ninth St., NW; 202-393-1400; expensive.

Single and happy about it: Cream-filled chocolates and gooey platitudes? Please. Dial up some friends and slide into a booth at Jackie's, Jackie Greenbaum's loud, funky Silver Spring comfort-food lounge. Festive plates of pimiento-cheese-smothered miniburgers or guac-laden nachos will make you forget all about The One you're not really looking for anyway. Candy-color martinis and a dance-in-your-seat soundtrack will keep the smiles strong.

Jackie's, 8081 Georgia Rd., Silver Spring; 301-565-9700; inexpensive to moderate.

Married with children: If a hotel lounge seems an unlikely place for an intimate celebration, ask yourself: Where else are they so used to cosseting guests? And you don't have to be in residence or make a reservation. Romantically lit and old-world elegant, the lounge at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner is the definition of class. Everyone can spread out, and the food and drink arrive pronto--Lillet-and-vodka martinis and hanger-steak sandwiches for Mom and Dad, pasta with butter for the kids. And there's live music--a jazz pianist weekdays, a jazz trio weekends.

Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, 1700 Tysons Blvd.; 703-506-4300; moderate.

Trying to reignite the spark: Rediscover your sense of adventure together at Minibar at Café Atlántico with a dinner of 31 ultra-creative bites--from a demitasse of liquid foie gras (it doesn't get more sensuous than this) to the edgy melon "cured" in sodium chloride and water. Eating at this six-stool counter with four strangers is a surprisingly intimate experience. Two chefs do the honors in front of you with almost balletic precision. The menu is preset. All you need is a silky blindfold to make it feel like 9 1/2 Weeks.

Minibar at Café Atlántico, 405 Eighth St., NW; 202-393-0812; very expensive.

Finding your way as empty-nesters: You're tired of trendy restaurants full of bright young things, yet you're put off by the formality and stuffiness of older, established places. What you want is 2941. It's elegant without being fusty and has a sense of fun. The cooking is luxe and luscious. Ask for a table near the soaring windows by the pond or around the circular fireplace.

2941, 2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church; 703-270-1500; very expensive.

Looking to get away without leaving town: Quirky and loaded with character, the historic Tabard Inn near Dupont Circle has it all: a cozy lounge with a crackling fire, deep couches for snuggling and sipping highballs, artful Modern American cooking (think grilled rack of lamb with mint pesto and chocolate-mousse-pudding cake), and a sky-lit penthouse on the top floor to spend the night in.

Tabard Inn, 1739 N St., NW; 202-833-2668; moderate to expensive.

Want more Valentine's Day advice and information—from where to dine, to where to go, to what gifts to buy? Click here for the Washingtonian Guide to Valentine's Day.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/03/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Articles