Boston's 10 Best Date Night Restaurants
Looking for a place to celebrate a special night out? There are plenty of cozy, candlelit restaurants around these parts. But we took a look for those with special tables, menu offerings or swoony atmosphere that set them apart from other date night options.
Why: The Newburyport destination (home to one of our most recent 30 Under 30 honorees) offers quite the raw bar - and we all know about the purported aphrodisiac effects of oysters. And in September, BRINE will introduce "Oyster.edu," a Monday night oyster and wine pairing series. It will be limited to 10 guests, so it should make for an intimate and interactive date night.
Try: BRINE isn't just about seafood, and we love the duck duo ($28), a spiced breast with sausage and smoked cherry.
Why: If French is the language of love, then it's also the cuisine of it. And chef Chris Coombs' Back Bay restaurant has just the right setting to stoke the flame of amour. Ask for seat #61, known by staff as the "Alice in Wonderland table" because of its whimsical wingback chairs and romantic feel tucked to off to the side of the main dining area. It's been a popular spot for proposals.
Try: A sweet finish of four-ways native strawberries ($14), which we recently discovered is a must-try dessert. (And, strawberries. Duh.)
Why: Because it's a business that love built. The husband-wife team of Josh (chef) and Jennifer (wine director) Ziskin is responsible for this elegant and understated Italian gem in Brookline, named for the small mountain village in Piemonte where they lived in the late '90s. The two-level brick hideaway is dim, cozy, and unmistakably romantic.
Try: We love cornish hen ($20) grilled under a brick, with vidalia onion and a bean ragu.
Why: Because Joanna Chang's South End spot offers a "Cheap Date Night" menu every Monday and Tuesday night from 5-10 PM. There are five prix fixe menus available each geared around a different theme: from the Hot Date (which includes spicy tofu and dragon sauce) to the Pig Out Date (featuring grilled pork belly porchetta). And at $45 per couple, it's a cheap date, indeed.
Try: Off the main menu, take a honeymoon in the tropics with tasty Thai coconut clam chowder ($8).
Why: A romantic dinner at the top of a lighthouse? Indeed. Ascend about 55 stairs and a six-foot ladder to find an intimate 8x8 foot room with panoramic views. (You can also crawl out to a small deck for extra sea breeze.) This romantic table for two can be booked for $450 per couple, which includes five hours of private time at the top of a New England lighthouse, a private wait staff, and a membership to the Lighthouse Preservation Society, which the fee benefits.
Why: Because here's where one of the contemporary romances most indelibly etched in American culture became "official." Table 40, tucked by the street-side window, is where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier on June 24, 1953. The bright star of Boston's most famed political family gave his fiancée a 2.88-carat diamond-and-emerald doozy from Van Cleef and Arpels.
Try: The Omni Parker House Hotel is the birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie ($9 per slice), now Massachusetts' official state dessert, so end your romantic dinner on an appropriate sweet note.
Why: Available only on request is the "Captain's Table," a private table for two in its own space, behind closed doors that separate it from the main dining room. Which, come to think of it, also makes it a pretty good place for a break-up, too. (Panoramic harbor views have a way of dulling the pain.)
Try: We're all about sea scallops ($29) with carrot-cumin puree in a golden raisin brown butter.
Why: Because if you want the love of your life to feel like the center of the universe - or at least the room - you'll want to reserve table #25 at Strega Waterfront. In case its position in middle of the dining room wasn't enough, it's set underneath an audacious giant arch (above). Which looks sort of like a ring, if you get what we're proposing there.
Try: We're head over heels for the juicy chicken limoncello ($24), sauteed in a sauce of butter and capers.
Why: Because no matter how many tourists file in to this restaurant on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower (pictured at top of page), it's impossible to deny the amazing, romantic views of Boston. It's where you'll find twinkling stars above, twinkling city lights below, and a twinkle in the eye of someone special.
Try: You're doing it big tonight. So go for a two-pound lobster (market price) with cracker and crabmeat stuffing.
Why: This high-end Italian, co-owned by Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque, boasts a single table for two on a small second-floor balcony. Look past the wrought iron fence, and you'll see the buzzing activity below on Hanover Street, the North End's main thoroughfare of restaurants, Italian bakeries and espresso cafes. There's no extra fee to snag the exclusive seat, but know that Tresca tends to book it in two-hour increments, with nightly seatings available at 5, 7 and 9 PM.
Try: Splurge on a tasting menu ($75; add $40 for matching wine flight) to take a four-course "culinary tour" of Italy's regions.