They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and that may very well be true. Whether homemade or in the dimly lit dining room of the ritziest restaurant in town, many people can attest to falling in love with someone over a romantic meal.
Of course, romance is subjective. While candlelight and linen tablecloths may epitomize great date night restaurants for some, eating just about anywhere could be romantic depending on who’s sitting across the table.
From the food and overall vibe to AAA Diamond Designations, these are a few of our favorite restaurants for date night in the Northeast. All that’s missing is a table for two reserved just for you and your favorite person.
La Grenouille is a luxurious French restaurant that opened in the mid-60s. There just aren’t French restaurants like this in New York City anymore. Its old-fashioned dedication to style and class adds an air of romance to everything beyond its doors. The restaurant is filled with giant bouquets of fresh flowers, which are said to be collected and arranged by the owner himself. Waiters in ties and white suit jackets tend to your every need. For men, jackets are required to enter the dining room. But don’t worry if you’ve forgotten yours; they have jackets that you can borrow. Once you get there, make sure to order a souffle – they’re the house specialty.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea
Formerly a carriage house used by Aaron Burr, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is among the all-time great date night restaurants in New York City. A nod to it’s Revolutionary past, the Greenwich Village landmark is named after a line from Henry W. Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” The setting is elegant and historic, featuring brick walls, stained glass, chandeliers, fireplaces and arched windows looking out into a lush garden. Like many other Colonial structures, it’s rumored to be haunted, which makes the space all the more captivating.
The View Restaurant at Mirror Lake Inn
Take in the beauty of Lake Placid at this romantic restaurant located within the scenic AAA Four Diamond Mirror Lake Inn. In cold weather you see the snowflakes falling just outside, while the warmer months bring gorgeous lake views. Highlights of the modern American menu include dishes such as Hudson Valley foie gras, ricotta gnocchi and prime beef filet, and the wine list has won numerous awards.
Located in the historic town of Concord, 80 Thoreau is sure to leave a lasting impression. Reflected in both design and menu, the AAA Four Diamond restaurant takes on a straightforward, fresh and refined approach, pairing high-quality fine dining without pretension. The cuisine is contemporary American, using the area’s best locally sourced and regional ingredients. For a truly unforgettable experience, make a reservation for chef tasting menu dinners, offered on a limited basis.
For date night in Boston, try this Provence-themed French brasserie at the InterContinental Boston hotel. “Miel” is French for “honey,” and Miel delivers on that sweet promise with an organically sourced menu. Dine in their elegant yet rustic dining room or out on the terrace, which offers breathtaking views of the water. If you want to get your date off to an early start, you could drop in for the luxurious Sunday brunch. On any other day of the week, try out their Provincetown cioppino, roasted Hudson Valley duck breast, vegan ratatouille and the specialty, creme brulee.
The Old Inn on the Green
Eat fireside in a dining room lit by candles in this beautiful and historic country inn. The Old Inn on the Green’s three-course, prix fixe menu is served Wednesday through Sunday for $75 per person. Decor including the iron chandeliers and wall sconces date back to the Inn’s early history and provide the perfect date night ambiance. During the summer months, dining moves outdoors so that you may enjoy your delicious dinner on the shaded garden terrace.
In a city filled with legendary restaurants, Al Forno is perhaps one of the most well-known, gracing the banks of the Providence River since 1980. Local legend has it that grilled pizza was invented at this stalwart eatery, where you can now get one topped with crispy calamari, pea green pesto, mushrooms, pepperoni or margarita-style with pomodoro sauce, cheese, fresh herbs and olive oil. The restaurant is also known for its twist on Italian favorites like veal cutlets, short ribs, chicken and baked pasta dishes. In warmer weather, sit outside in the airy courtyard for an al fresco treat. But be forewarned: Al Forno only takes reservations for parties of six or more, so be prepared to wait if you go on a weekend night or on a special occasion.
Bouchard Inn & Restaurant
Located in the heart of Newport and just steps from the harbor and shopping, this great date night restaurant offers lighter and more modern takes on French classics such as rack of lamb, roasted squab, Dover sole in sorrel sauce and featured specials inspired by what’s fresh from the local markets or straight from docks. The intimate setting makes for a great night out. Book a room at the inn for an extended stay.
Prepare to be pampered at Gracie’s. The food, service and ambiance at this AAA Four Diamond restaurant are sublime. The farm-to-table menu changes with the seasons, with five-, seven- and nine-course tasting menus, a prix fixe menu and an a la carte menu available. There’s even a three-course dessert menu that should not be missed, as all the desserts are made in-house.
This rustic-meets-romantic option is a prime choice for treating your better half. The dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows overlook stunning views of a waterfall, setting the tone for executive chef Ashley Flagg’s menu, featuring dishes such as foie gras mousse and venison loin. Plus, you can even get Johnny cakes as a side dish. Try the chef’s tasting menu for a little bit of everything ($85 per person) or a carefully selected beverage pairing ($55 per person.)
Part of the sculpture garden Grounds for Sculpture, Rat’s was designed to make guests feel as though they’re dining in Claude Monet’s beloved town of Giverny, France. Specializing in French country cuisine, Rat’s is striking both inside and out, but the patio overlooking the living recreation of Monet’s “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies” is especially breathtaking. Try the burgundy-braised short ribs. And be sure to explore the gardens surrounding the restaurant after your meal – there’s art around every corner.
What’s your go-to restaurant for date night? Let us know in the comments.
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