Food

9 Romantic Restaurants for Valentine’s Day Around DC

Dreamy spots from our 100 Very Best Restaurants list.
Masseria tasting room is a hidden gem near Union Market. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Valentine’s Day weekend is almost here, and while you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants on our recently-released 100 Very Best Restaurants list, here are a few that put extra-romance in the equation.

Masseria

1340 Fourth St., NE

Chef Nick Stefanelli’s Italian tasting room may not look like much from the outside—the restaurant is housed amidst working warehouses near Union Market—but the inside is stunning, starting with the atmospheric courtyard, and the prix-fixe menus truly memorable. Valentine’s weekend kicks off with a late-night Champagne soiree on Friday, February 12 from 10:30 pm to 1:30 am.

Bad Saint

3226 11th St., NW

You’ll have to get in line early for one of the 24 seats at this Columbia Heights gem, but you can grab a delicious cocktail at Room 11 nearby while you wait for space. Once you’re in, expect to get cozy with your date (the place is tiny) over modern Filipino fare.

Cozy up to your date at Bad Saint. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Dabney

122 Blagden Alley, NW

The wood-burning hearth at the center of this gorgeous Shaw restaurant already seals the deal in terms of romantic atmosphere. The menu changes near-nightly, but you can expect exciting interpretations of Mid-Atlantic and Southern dishes.

The Dabney mixes Southern charm and Mid-Atlantic cuisine. Photograph by Andrew Propp

Chez Billy/Chez Billy Sud

Petworth and Georgetown locations

These sister French bistros won’t break the bank, and serve spot-on classics—escargots, steak frites—in two very different atmospheric spaces. Petworth feels like a Parisian haunt with a wood-burning fireplace and exposed brick, while the Georgetown space is all airy elegance.

Chez Billy and Chez Billy Sud (pictured) both offer their own charms.

Iron Gate

1734 N St., NW

This historic Dupont space offers a variety of chances for romance over Valentine’s weekend, from divine cocktails in the carriageway bar to dinner in the fire-lit dining room, and vino snuggled under heat lamps in the courtyard (weather permitting). Chef Tony Chittum’s stellar Mediterranean fare is served in various menus throughout.

L’Auberge Chez Francois/Jacque’s Brasserie

332 Springvale Rd., Great Falls, Virginia

There’s a reason this classic French restaurant is among the longest-running members of our 100 Best Restaurants list: old world indulgences like chateaubriand, lobster in sauternes-butter sauce, and the airiest soufflé in town. The red-hued brasserie bar is a fitting place to start the meal.

Bartender Christine Kim pours drinks at retro-romantic Riggsby.

The Riggsby

1731 New Hampshire Ave., NW

Restaurateur Michael Schlow’s retro American restaurant inside Dupont’s Carlyle Hotel has the feel of an Old New York supper club, and is just scene-y enough to impress a date. Cozy up in one of the oversize booths over well-made classic cocktails, steak with “super-Frenchy” béarnaise sauce, and chocolate ice box cake for dessert.

The Plume at the Jefferson Hotel offers true elegance. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Plume

1200 16th St., NW

Few places in DC offer the sumptuous elegance of this Jefferson Hotel restaurant, with its wood-burning fireplace, silk wallpaper, and formal yet attentive service. The Valentine’s tasting menu is a splurge ($155 per person; $255 with wine pairings), but this is wining and dining at its finest. Take time for cocktails at Quill beforehand, and snag a room for an over-the-top date night—U.S. News and World Report  named it the second best hotel in the country.

The Ashby Inn & Restaurant

692 Federal St., Paris, Virginia

Make a weekend of it and head out to Virignia hunt country for dinner or brunch at this 19th century inn overlooking the countryside (don’t skip drinks in the fire-lit taproom before). Even if the inn’s rooms are booked for Valentine’s day, there’re plenty of other accommodations nearby—and you can dine at any point over “valentine’s weekend” to make it count.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.