Food

10 Romantic Restaurants for Valentine’s Day Around DC

Swoon-worthy spots from our 100 Very Best Restaurants list.

Sip by the fire at Iron Gate. Photograph courtesy of Iron Gate.

Valentine’s Day is Friday, February 14. The good news: you can make it a weekend affair, and you can always walk in to certain places. The bad news: prime Friday reservations are going fast (we didn’t list entirely sold-out spots). Here are our picks for romantic dining rooms from the top 50 spots our 100 Very Best Restaurants list.

Iron Gate
1734 N St., NW
The historic Dupont space, previously a private mansion, offers a variety of chances for romance over Valentine’s weekend. On February 14, chef Tony Chittum will serve a five-course modern Mediterranean tasting menu ($145 per person) plus an optional $95 wine pairing. For those looking for something more casual, try the atmospheric carriageway bar, cozy all-weather patio, or a “forget-me-not” three-course menu  ($49 per person) served February 1 through 13.

Beet fettucini with Osetra caviar at The Inn at Little Washington. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Inn at Little Washington
309 Middle St., Washington VA
Caviar and lobster? Check. Wood-burning fireplaces, plush banquettes, and gorgeous country setting? Check. The Inn is an obvious romantic choice, but it checks all the heart-shaped boxes. Reservations are currently waitlist-only for Valentine’s Day itself but there are still openings surrounding the date. Three prix-fixe menus are available, include a special Valentine’s option starting at $248 per person. Score all the V-Day points by booking a room there or nearby.

Gravitas
1401 Okie St., NE
Cozy up with a prix-fixe fondue dinner at the rooftop lounge of chef Matt Baker’s Ivy City restaurant (the $100 per person ticket also includes caviar and two glasses of bubbly). In the main restaurant, late Valentine’s Day prix-fixe reservations are still up for grabs (starting at $98), but if your heart isn’t set on February 14 dining, we’d go for a primetime spot during Valentine’s Day week.

Chef Jeremiah Langhorne (center) in the open kitchen of The Dabney. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Dabney
122 Blagden Alley, NW
The wood-burning hearth at the center of this rustic Shaw restaurant seals the deal in terms of atmosphere. For Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is serving a five-course meal for $115 per person. Reservations go online January 31 at noon, and if it’s like their normal system, will be snapped up in minutes. Don’t have one? Try the first-come, first-serve candlelit Dabney Cellar wine bar around the corner for natural vino and light bites.

Nina May
1337 11th St., NW
We’ve become enchanted with this Logan Circle newcomer, which doesn’t break the bank but dishes up plenty of creative, hyper-local dishes alongside good drinks and pleasant service. On February 14 and 15 chef Colin McClimans offers a family-style $59 prix-fixe with nine plates that include oysters, fennel-spiced duck, and beet agnolotti.

Rose's Luxury. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Rose’s Luxury. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Rose’s Luxury
717 Eighth St., SE
Looking for a lovely ambiance without an insanely expensive set menu? Rose’s is our bet (and a new same-day reservation policy means you don’t need to wait at the door). Menus change frequently and often include a mix of new dishes and greatest hits like smoked brisket or lychee salad. It’s also worth checking out sister Little Pearl wine bar, which serves a delicious nightly $49 prix-fixe.

Bresca
1906 14th St., NW
Chef Ryan Ratino is embracing the idea of Valentine’s Day weekend, offering a six-course menu, Friday, February 14 through Sunday ($145 per person plus $75 optional wine pairings). Expect modern twists on classic indulgences like foie gras waffles and beef tenderloin with sherry and shiitakes. The dining room can get a bit noisy at peak times—all the more reason to book Sunday when reservations are still fairly plentiful.

Inside the dining room at Bresca. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Emilie’s
1101 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Chef Kevin Tien’s Capitol Hill spot is full of fine dining touches without fine dining prices and pomp (plus throw pillows and share plates make for a cozy atmosphere). Big bonus for the anti-Valentine’s crowd: the normal menu will be served. That said, February 14 reservations are very limited. But! If you’re anti-V-Day anyway, grab a spot right before or after.

Little Serow
1511 17th St., NW
Sure, spicy food might be a Valentine’s Day cliche, but we’d be thrilled if our date took us to chef Johnny Monis’s candlelit Thai spot below Komi (and also, to Komi, but only 9 PM-and-later spots are still available). Tables for the $54 prix-fixe here are first-come, first-serve, but it’s a good idea to line up early.

Fiola
601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Any of the Trabocchi restaurants would make a fitting Valentine’s Day destination, from the glitzy Del Mar to the more “casual” (but still spendy) Sfoglina pasta houses with their cream-and-red decor. Our pick for the big day: the flagship, which may not get as much hype as some of the newer ventures but is most consistent (and quiet enough for conversation). A luxury-laden Valentine’s Day prix-fixe is $165 per person, plus $135 wine pairings.

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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.

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