Feel the Love at the 12 Most Romantic Restaurants in Boston

Credit: Krasi

When you hear “romantic restaurant,” a couple of images probably come to mind: Clinking glasses of bubbly at a candlelit table. Decadent — and, well, pricey — meals of filet mignon washed down with wine. An aphrodisiac dessert of chocolate-dipped strawberries. But what if that doesn’t get your heart aflutter?

These 12 restaurants around the Boston area prove that there’s more to romance than just moody décor and luxe plates (though, you’ll find plenty of stellar options like that, when you feel the urge to splurge, too). Think steakhouses that rip up the “old school” rule book, seafood towers served up in gleaming dining rooms, and cozy restaurants that offer a bonding experience served alongside steaming bowls of ramen. Whether you’re on a first date or looking for a special place to pop the question, dig into this list of places for a dreamy dinner for two.

Brasserie (South End)

Paris is known as the “City of Love” and there’s a little slice of it right here in the South End. Though Brasserie opened in 2021, it’s essentially the revival of the much-loved stalwart Gaslight restaurant, which had been in the space for 15 years. The same inviting atmosphere beckons you and your love to cozy up with a bottle of wine, from the handsome wood tones of the dining room and the zinc-topped bar to the white tiles that evoke the feeling of a French café. And then there are the huge windows that look to the street (though you’d swear that you’d be looking at the banks of the Seine and not the South End) that cast a glow onto warming plates of New England bouillabaisse and house-made gnocchi with gruyère mousseline. Do be sure to try the rotisserie duck à l’orange, a fall-in-love-with-one-bite beauty scented with orange rinds, honey, marjoram, and other spices.

Dining at the restaurant: Brasserie is open for indoor dining and outdoor dining on its heated patio.

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout via OpenTable.

Mooncusser (Back Bay)

Credit: Brian Samuels

After closing for some time during the pandemic, Mooncusser opened its doors again in May 2021. But it wasn’t just a reopening, it was a complete reimagining, pivoting to a rotating monthly prix-fixe menu focused on seasonal seafood, with new chef (and Top Chef alum) Carl Dooley now at the helm. The acclaimed chef focuses on pristine flavors for his four-course menu, which features two options each course, such as roasted local cod or slow-cooked lamb neck curry with crispy shallots as delectable entrees. The plates are offered in the bright, window-flooded dining room on the third floor of a historic Back Bay flatiron building. Besides the bites, though, the real draw is the intimate vibe. The pared-back menu means that all the focus is on you and your date and the conversations you’ll spin over a bottle of wine. 

Dining at the restaurant: Mooncusser is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: While Mooncusser’s prix-fixe menu is only available for in-house dining, the New England-inspired and seafood-centric menu of the spot’s first-floor more casual concept, Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, is available for takeout.

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: 6-Course Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu. Book the Experience here.

Boston Chops (South End)

This luxe steak bistro turns expectations on its head. The queer-owned spot rolls out the welcome mat, inviting everyone into its wood-filled and handsome interior for a romantic night on the town. Be sure to start a meal with a basket of warm and pillowy popovers. And since this is a steakhouse, the meats are obviously  a cut above — with Boston magazine naming Boston Chops as the city’s best steakhouse in 2015. From bone-in filets to prime New York strips, the steaks come with bountiful sides and your choice of sauce, like the zippy horseradish cream. The steak frites, too, overflow with a boatload of crispy fries — perfect for sharing along with a bottle of wine as the world disappears around you and your date. 

Dining at the restaurant: Boston Chops is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available by calling the restaurant directly. 

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day 3-course menu. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.

Bistro du Midi (Boston Common)

Oysters, anyone? If seafood is in fact an aphrodisiac, prepare to feel the love at this favorite spot, where France meets coastal New England with a celebration of gleaming seafood towers, oyster spreads, and more. From the bright and expansive bar and dining room that overlook the Public Garden, you can savor heavenly tuna tartare with smoked crème fraiche, or let the chef take the helm as you set sail through a crudo tasting menu that’s based on daily inspirations. Count caviar service as a luxe start to your meal of crusted halibut and rich bouillabaisse. And there are plenty of other options, from duck breast with a mole sauce brightened with yuzu to a filet served with a smoky bleu cheese bordelaise for diners who don’t hear the call of the sea.

Dining at the restaurant: Bistro du Midi is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available by calling the restaurant directly. 

Cloud & Spirits (Cambridge)

Watch as those first-date jitters drift away at Cloud & Spirits, a newcomer to Cambridge’s dining scene that’s already making its mark. The dining room is a tropical escape, with exposed beams, pine slats on the walls, and faux florals hugging the lantern-like lights and spilling down a glass wall that divides from the bar. Here, the menu from executive chef Ron SH features Pacific-inspired spins on new American dishes, with detours through East and Southeast Asia and Polynesia. Each of the shareable plates on the menu invites getting-to-know-you conversation. Does your date like a bit of heat? Order up the shoyu-marinated bluefin with chile coconut milk. Try a bunch of plates — the crowd-pleasing mushroom ravioli, the pork belly adobo with chile fig jam — and compare notes. If that doesn’t get you talking, the inspired cocktail list will.

Dining at the restaurant: Cloud & Spirits is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: Takeout is available by calling the restaurant.

Deuxave (Back Bay)

Credit: Andy Ryan

If you’re planning on popping the question, you’re in good company at Deuxave, which has snagged awards such as best French restaurant by Boston magazine. So many couples have decided to tie the knot at this French-inflected beauty in Back Bay that there’s a special table reserved for engagements. Certainly, the table’s cozy spot by the fireplace of the restaurant that’s swathed in grays and blues helps the romantic mood. As do artistic plates of seared foie gras, lobster gnocchi, and duck breast with charred baby leeks. But make sure to save room for dessert, such as the light mocha sponge cake with caramelized white chocolate ice cream. As a sweet way to end your meal — and start planning your future — bring an engagement ring and you can arrange for your server to place the ring in a dessert to present to your SO. 

Dining at the restaurant: Deuxave is open for indoor dining. 

Takeout: Takeout is available by calling the restaurant.  

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Chef’s 5-course Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu. Book the Experience here.

Ghost Pepper Taco and Tequila Bar (Dorchester)

Sometimes “romantic” gets lumped in with “an overly expensive restaurant that’s so dark you’ll barely be able to see your date.” That’s not Ghost Pepper. Come here for the complete lack of pretentiousness and the fun vibe, stay for every delectable bite on the “tapas + things” menu — from beautiful fried sweet plantains with crema and cotija cheese to blistered shishito peppers dressed with just olive oil and salt. The torta Mexicana is a standout on the main dish menu, while any of the offerings on the tacos menu are a sure bet, notably the tempting Tecate beer-battered fish taco that’s brightened by fresh slaw. Order a bunch and share. It might be slightly messy — but hey, that’s love. Pair it all with a leisurely perusal of the creative cocktail and extensive tequila and mezcal menu.

Dining at the restaurant: Ghost Pepper is open for indoor dining. Before you leave, be sure to snap a picture under the glowing “Hot in Dot” sign that’s a bright spot in the industrial-inspired space with its bursts of colors.

Takeout: Takeout is available by calling the restaurant, with delivery fulfilled via third-party apps. 

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Drag Queen Valentine’s Special Brunch. Book the Experience here.

Harvest (Cambridge)

If you and your partner are feeling a little stir-crazy, hit up Harvest for some romantic dining al fresco, even in the frigid months. This Cambridge seasonal American spot heats things up on its expansive patio, which is shrouded by a beautiful oak pergola with hanging heaters that beat back the winter chill. With a little luck, you might be able to snag a table by the outdoor fireplace, where you can dig into spaghetti carbonara that features salty-sweet brown sugar bacon or pan-fried gnocchi that’s paired with tender braised rabbit. While the goat cheese cheesecake with chai oat milk ice cream is a star of the dessert menu, might we suggest an after-dinner cheese plate? Go all-in on the fireside vibe, pretend this is an après-ski outing, and order up some hot toddies to savor with some Mad River blue cheese.

Dining at the restaurant: Harvest is open for indoor dining and outdoor dining on the heated patio.

Takeout: Takeout is available.

Krasi (Back Bay)

Credit: Krasi

First things first at Krasi: Start with the wine. In the funky space with its concrete-colored walls and Greek mythology-inspired artwork, wine takes center stage. After all, “krasi” means wine in Greek, and along with plates of lesser-seen Mediterranean fare (like octopus mortadella and sheep’s milk cheese from Naxos), this stellar spot features a long list of all-natural wines exclusively from Greece. If you and your date fancy yourself wine aficionados, the servers can help you pick pours based on your usual tastes. Also on offer at Krasi are the Symposium Wednesdays experience, where wine director Evan Turner takes over the bar seating and brings diners on a tour of four rotating wines. And while you’re treating yourself, opt for the Feast of the Gods dining package, which sees one of each delightful mezze delivered to the table, along with heaps of freshly made breads.

Dining at the restaurant: Krasi is open for indoor dining. 

Takeout: Takeout is available via OpenTable. 

Menton (Fort Point)

With a whole trophy case of awards — including nods for best service from Boston magazine and illustrious AAA Five Diamond awards — for this fine-dining spot and its iconic owner, industry titan Barbara Lynch, you’d be hard pressed to find a more pristine special-occasion choice. While a la carte plates are on the menu at this luxuriously appointed spot among the industrial-chic vibe of Fort Point — take the caramelle pasta with sea urchin and sugar pumpkin  or the wagyu beef with sunchokes — your romantic night calls for a splurge. The chef’s whim seven-course progressive tasting menu showcases Lynch’s favorite dishes, from poached lobster to beautiful preparations of venison. Dial up the divine flavors by adding Royal Osetra caviar and do be sure to sip on the riffs of classic cocktails, like the negroni with Campari, sweet vermouth, and prosecco. All it, it’s a luxe night out you’re not soon to forget. 

Dining at the restaurant: Menton is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: Takeout is available.

Mida (South End)

This well-loved spot from chef Douglass Williams — recently named Boston’s best chef by Boston magazine — never disappoints, with fresh-made pastas and generous, flavor-packed entrees. Williams’s menu includes playful updates to classics — think rich gnocchi cacio e pepe, short rib-packed lasagna, and silky carbonara with heaps of Maine lobster — while maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for bonding over bites of crispy arancini. 

Dining at the restaurant: Mida is open for indoor dining, including the special all-you-can-eat Mangia Pasta Mondays. 

Takeout: Takeout is available, with delivery via third-party apps.

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Lover’s Lane Weekend at MIDA. Book the Experience here.

Yume Wo Katare (Cambridge)

There are dinners and then there are dining experiences. This Cambridge walk-in only restaurant is a legend, both for its enormous bowls of garlicky ramen and for its quirky service. The only item on the menu is ramen made with a silky pork-bone broth that simmers for 14 hours, and diners can choose between large and small servings of pork. At peak hours, it’s not unusual for patrons to wait over an hour to step into the small space to slurp down bowls on long tables that face the kitchen. Once diners finish their ramen, they are encouraged to stand up and announce to the whole restaurant their aspirations in life — fitting as Yume Wo Katare means “speak your dreams” in Japanese. Instead of a staid supper, this is the perfect date night option for a bonding experience you won’t likely forget. And a bowl of perfect ramen you’ll be dreaming about.

Dining at the restaurant: Yume Wo Katare is open for indoor dining.

Takeout: The restaurant does not offer takeout as the ramen is meant to be enjoyed right away. However, check Yume Wo Katare’s Instagram, as sometimes DIY ramen kits and ramen served in lidless takeout containers (which you are meant to enjoy immediately outside) are available.