Los Angeles

The 18 Most Romantic Restaurants in LA

From stunning views to intimate spaces, these spots are sure to impress.

Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Bacari
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Bacari
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Bacari

Los Angeles couldn’t be a more beautiful city to fall in love. From beachside bungalows to rooftop views of the city skyline, there are endless romantic dining options. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or even a first date, we’ve rounded up a list of long-time favorites and trendy newcomers to celebrate your love life. Here are 18 of the most romantic restaurants across LA:

Cha Cha Cha

Downtown LA
A neon green sign in the shape of a lime draws diners to this expansive, 11,600-square foot rooftop oasis that acts as a sister restaurant to the popular Mexico City terrazza by the same name. Mexico City-born and longtime LA transplant Alejandro Guzman (Sqirl, Eggslut) helms a menu of classic Mexican dishes and well-guarded family recipes, drawing from California sensibilities along the way and resulting in shareable dishes like grilled huachinango with charred lettuce, and a NY strip steak with charred tomato, spring onion, and cactus that’s drizzled with a red wine salsa. With cozy booth seating and fanned palms that act as barriers between tables, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been treated to a private dining experience at an all-inclusive Baja resort.
How to book: via Opentable.

Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Bacari
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Bacari
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Bacari

Bacari

Silver Lake
This beloved neighborhood gem with several locations throughout Los Angeles expanded to the eastside, taking over the former Cliff’s Edge space in Silver Lake. Reminiscent of an old Tuscan farmhouse, the dreamy patio space adorned with string lights and two fire pits is built around an enormous Ficus tree. Mediterranean cicchetti-style dishes are meant to be shared and include dishes like Oaxacan pasta with handmade Oaxacan cream, glazed pork belly, and lamb-stuffed eggplant. But what will keep you lingering is the late night bar program, available daily until 2 am, with standouts like a Mad Mango Sour with mezcal, jalapeno pepper, juiced carrot, lemon, mango, egg white, and black salt.
How to book: via OpenTable, at least one week in advance.

Photo courtesy of The Victorian
Photo courtesy of The Victorian
Photo courtesy of The Victorian

The Beach Club at The Victorian

Santa Monica
This well-known event venue that’s housed in a historic landmark rebranded during COVID, debuting a gorgeous new interior, plus a new chef and menus that draw on Mediterranean flavors. With thick wood communal tables, velvet seating, and hanging plants, the interior feels like bringing chef service to your home (if your home is a historic Victorian mansion), while the exterior features an open-air patio with a canopy of trees and moody purple strip lights that cast a romantic glow across the property. The food is similarly breathtaking-the yellowtail sashimi that’s drizzled in mustard soy and chili oil is a must order, as is the shellfish platter, or go for the Beach Club Burger if you’re craving something heartier.
How to book: via their website.

Photo by Stefan Merriweather, courtesy of Agnes
Photo by Stefan Merriweather, courtesy of Agnes
Photo by Stefan Merriweather, courtesy of Agnes

Agnes

Pasadena
Located on a quaint, tree-lined street in Old Town Pasadena, a romantic destination in itself with its brick alleyways and historic buildings, Agnes was transformed from the Pasadena Fire Department’s former horse stable into a spacious restaurant with a secluded, plant-filled patio (complete with ceiling fans to keep that San Gabriel Valley heat at bay), and a stunning dining room that’s centered around an open hearth. Helmed by Vanessa and Thomas Tilaka Kalb, the attached takeaway market has convenient grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, cheeses, and wines for a romantic picnic in the nearby Angeles Mountains, or you could opt to dine-in and enjoy wide-ranging plates like loaded baked potato dumplings, a gnocchi-inspired dish that heaps bacon lardons, cheddar, roasted broccoli salsa, and crispy shoestring potatoes on tender potato dumplings, all served on one-of-a-kind floral plates that look like they’ve been plucked straight from a grandmother’s fine china cabinet.
How to book: via Tock.

Chifa

Eagle Rock
First opened by Wendy Leon after immigrating from Hong Kong to Lima, Peru, over 40 years ago, Chifa debuted its new Eagle Rock outpost earlier this year, serving a mix of Peruvian, Cantonese, and Taiwanese-influenced dishes. Wendy Leon still helms the menu, with the help of her children Humberto Leon and Ricardina Leon, as well as Ricardina’s husband, John Liu, who modernized the menu and turned the restaurant itself into a luxurious, jade-hued palace. Enjoy dishes like Peruvian tiradito with fresh Japanese sea bream that’s chilled in a spicy orange and lime sauce with garlic, and topped with salsa criolla, sweet potato, and toasted Peruvian corn, in a setting that feels like you’ve stepped into a chic modern art museum, with luscious velvet seating, gold accents, and trippy teal and black wallpaper, plus heart-shaped windows that overlook Eagle Rock Blvd. The restaurant has a rotating dessert menu that features one-of-a-kind delicacies from local bakeries and pastry chefs, and to add to the artsy vibes, has begun displaying gorgeous, hand-built sculptures by artists from around the world.
How to book: via Tock.

Yamashiro Hollywood
Yamashiro Hollywood
Yamashiro Hollywood

Yamashiro

Hollywood Hills
Yamashiro translates to “mountain place” in Japanese, which acts as a literal description of this historic hilltop mansion that was first built in 1914 and meant to be a replica of a palace located in the “Yamashiro” province mountains near Kyoto, Japan. Enjoy expansive, sparkling views of the city as you munch on globally-inspired dishes like sushi pizza, roasted bone marrow bruschetta, and a variety of specialty rolls. Before or after dinner, take a hand-held stroll in their spacious garden courtyard and watch the koi fish swim, some of which are over 60 years old.
How to book: via Resy.

Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

The Rooftop by JG

Beverly Hills
Sweeping views of the city can be seen from every corner of The Rooftop by JG-it’s al fresco dining at its finest. Make a reservation just before sunset so you can see the views during both day and night. In addition to panoramic views, you can expect elevated dishes including a lobster burger, french fries and caviar, and a Wagyu beef tenderloin. The shaded trellis makes every seat in the house a prime spot so the only thing that will be hot is presumably your date. If you’re feeling super romantic you can always book a hotel room at the adjoining Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to cap off your night.
How to book: via OpenTable.

Photo by iki.works, courtesy of Tree of Life
Photo by iki.works, courtesy of Tree of Life
Photo by iki.works, courtesy of Tree of Life

Tree of Wishes

Fairfax
For a more casual date night, reserve a table on the outdoor patio of this new neighborhood spot off of Melrose Avenue. The Turkish owners wanted to bring the flavors of the Mediterranean to the city with a menu filled with grilled seafood, light salads, and lots of seasonal vegetable dishes (read: vegetarians will love this place). Start with a mezze plate and choose from a variety of flavorful dishes including a beet hummus, muhammara (a roasted red bell pepper dip), and mutabel (an eggplant dip), but the charcoal-grilled chicken skewers or fried zucchini with tzatziki are also worthwhile options. Don’t forget to make a wish at the tree on the back patio.
How to book: via OpenTable

Il Cielo

Beverly Hills
Blink an eye and you might just miss Il Cielo off of Burton Way, but the romantic Italian restaurant has been around since 1986. Twinkling lights and ivy vines drape the walls, making it feel like you’ve just stepped into a fairytale. The cozy, country-style house features different rooms, including an outdoor garden with a skylight to dine under the stars. Forget you’re in LA for a few hours as you enjoy classic Italian fare like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken milanese, and grilled branzino that will remind you of a hillside restaurant in Italy.
How to book: via OpenTable.

Photo courtesy of Barbrix
Photo courtesy of Barbrix
Photo courtesy of Barbrix

Barbrix

Silver Lake
Start your evening at Barbrix off with a glass of wine at the bar, paired with a cheese and charcuterie plate that’s accompanied by a homemade jam and other trimmings. Then, request a table outside underneath the twinkling lights and work your way down the European-influenced menu, beginning with the tapas-style appetizers like the burrata, kampachi crudo, and lamb ricotta meatballs. Expect daily changes since Barbrix’s menu is an ode to fresh farmers market finds.
How to book: via Resy

Photo courtesy of Ardor
Photo courtesy of Ardor
Photo courtesy of Ardor

Ardor

West Hollywood
Ardor’s lush green interiors and jungle vibes are an indication of what you can expect to find on the vegetable-forward menu, thoughtfully crafted by chef John Fraser. The menu is Fraser’s love letter to vegetables, although that’s not all you’ll find here. Order the milk bread and Pacific tuna tartare crudo to start, and then work your way to the copious vegetable options like the tandoor carrots or cauliflower cacio e pepe that is so flavorful you’ll actually want to finish your vegetables. For heartier plates, the Greek orata fish imported from Greece, filet mignon or Alaskan king crab tagliatelle are all great options. Pair your meal with a drink from the inventive, produce-heavy cocktail menu.
How to book: via OpenTable.

Citrin

Santa Monica
Few chefs in LA can boast earning two Michelin stars back to back and a restaurant that has kept its doors open for 20 years. Chef Josiah Citrin has made his mark in LA, and after more than two decades since opening fine dining establishment Melisse, he knew it was time to revamp the concept to keep up with LA’s evolving food scene. He turned Melisse into a smaller, intimate tasting experience and used the remaining space to open up Citrin-the eponymous younger and sexier sister restaurant and bar. Currently, reservations are for the outdoor garden only and you can choose between a prix fixe menu or order a la carte. But don’t fret, iconic dishes from Melisse, like the lobster bolognese have made their way onto the Citrin menu. For a more casual date, grab a seat at the bar and enjoy an extensive happy hour menu which includes food and drinks and runs on Wednesday and Thursday from 6-7:30 pm and Friday–Sunday from 5:30–7 pm.
How to book: via Resy.

Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of Versa
Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of Versa
Photo by Wonho Frank Lee, courtesy of Versa

Verse

Toluca Lake
In a city filled with creatives, it’s no surprise that we’d have a restaurant concept that merges food and music together into a dual sensory experience. The eclectic menu led by chef Paul Shoemaker includes a range of surf and turf dishes including oysters, salmon, sea bream, tomahawk steak, and a duck bolognese, all of which are backed with music by nine-time Grammy Award-winning mixer Manny Marroquin, providing the soundtrack to your evening through a state-of-the-art acoustic system.
How to book: via OpenTable.

Fia

Santa Monica
This spacious, 300-seat restaurant features an indoor dining room, as well as a separate lounge area that’s perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks, but the most coveted seats are in the garden patio where a fireplace and string lights set the scene for a romantic night out. Sit amongst kumquat, pine, and ficus trees while you linger over the California-meets-Amalfi Coast seasonal menu, which features a selection of raw dishes like yellowtail soaking in leche de tigre, table-side Italian chopped salad, housemade cavatelli, grilled corn with shaved black truffle, and char-grilled lamb chops.
How to book: via OpenTable

Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Atrium
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Atrium
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Atrium

Atrium

Loz Feliz
Tucked away in an alley on Vermont Avenue, Atrium’s brick-walled dining room with high, wood-beamed ceilings, a skylight, and a big olive tree in the center, adds new flavor to a neighborhood otherwise lacking upscale dining options. The menu is eclectic with dishes like charred cabbage, Tokyo turnips, a vegetable tagine, and grilled duck breast, but don’t skip over the dark chocolate tart on the dessert menu either. There’s an appealing U-shaped bar at the heart of the restaurant, but the plush booths are where you’ll want to cozy up to your date.
How to book: via OpenTable

Photo courtesy of Castaway
Photo courtesy of Castaway
Photo courtesy of Castaway

Castaway

Burbank
Perched atop a hill in Burbank, Castaway provides stunning views of the city that make it well worth the drive. The lively, 12,500-square-foot, multi-level restaurant uses seasonal ingredients with meat as the central focus, offering special cuts like Mishima Wagyu as well as a build-it-yourself charcuterie board. The restaurant reopened in 2018 after a major makeover, and the new design offers a jaw-dropping spectacle from every corner, giving couples a one-of-a-kind experience no matter where they sit.
How to book: via OpenTable

Photo courtesy of Nic's on Beverly
Photo courtesy of Nic’s on Beverly
Photo courtesy of Nic’s on Beverly

Nic’s on Beverly

West Hollywood
Catering to a city that’s often considered the epicenter of plant-based eating, the menu at Nic’s on Beverly is a nod to the city’s iconic dishes and melting pot of cultures, all with a plant-based twist. Look out for items like the avocado crispy rice, the Chinois on Beverly salad (paying tribute to the Chinese chicken salad), the tempura maitake mushrooms, and of course, an Impossible burger.
How to book: via OpenTableWant more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Leila Najafi is a freelance food and travel writer in LA so on any given day she’s either stuffing her face or getting lost in a foreign country. Follow her adventures on Instagram @LeilasList.

Danielle Dorsey is the Los Angeles Editor at Thrillist.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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