Best Romantic Restaurants and Winter Terraces in DC for Valentine’s Day


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Best Romantic Restaurants and Winter Terraces in DC for Valentine's Day

Best Romantic Restaurants and Winter Terraces in DC for Valentine’s Day

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Private log cabins and fireside seating at the Four Seasons Hotel Georgetown.Photo by Greg Powers

Valentine’s Day is Monday this year – which effectively means it’s a long V-Day weekend in our books. So plenty of time for dinner…or a romantic brunch or lunch.

The restaurants below show some of the online availability around Valentine’s Day — either the weekend before or the days after — if not the holiday itself. So if you’re wondering why romantic hotspots like Dabney or Red Hen aren’t on the list, voila (though you can always gift your sweetheart to book later).

Albi
1346 Fourth Street, SE
Chef Michael Rafidi’s Levantine is not only one of the best dining experiences in town – large wood-burning fireplaces, great wines (the adjoining Maxwell Park bar is a perfect front and rear stop), the atmosphere is mesmerizing. Ambient hum. There are also several tickets for the special Valentine’s menu at the Chef’s Table ($200) and outdoor enclosed seating ($150). Or start the holiday early on Thursday (currently fully booked on weekends). Reservation to Resy. Indoor and private outdoor seating.

Apero
2622 North West Street
The sparkling corner of George Town’s champagne and caviar bar always speaks of date night — and almost screams Valentine’s Day when it offers a fixed $75 price indoors and on a covered heated patio. We love owner Elli Benchimol’s list of all kinds of bubbles and caviar, ranging from mild splurges to expensive but stunning. Reservation to Resy. Indoor and outdoor seating.

Bresca’s “Homemade Caviar” with duck fat waffles. Rey Lopez/Photo by Buscher Photography.

Bourbon Steak House
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Bourbon Steak’s private outdoor cabanas are modeled after Four Seasons resorts in Colorado, Switzerland and beyond, and dinner for two takes on a new meaning. Valentine’s Day reservations ($500 for two) include a bottle of champagne and roses, as well as a full bourbon steak menu and cottage specials like buttery shellfish plateaus and icewine martinis. Reservations on Tock. Private indoor and outdoor seat.

Bresca
1906 14th Street NW
Chef Ryan Ratino’s Michelin-starred restaurant, with its moss walls, is a great place to dine – or lovers can opt for a private al fresco “cabin” for privacy. The glasshouses come with blankets, heaters and their own sound system. A special six-course menu ($185-$225 per person) is on offer from Friday, February 11 to Monday, February 14, including Sunday lunch (our choice, who doesn’t like a fancy lunch?). Guests can also add perks like caviar service and wine pairing. Indoor and private outdoor seating.

Dine at Chez Billy Sud, then sip by the fireplace at the adjoining Bar a Vin. Photo courtesy of Chez Billy Sud.

Chez Billy Sud, Cafe Colline and Parc De Ville
1039 31st Street NW; 4536 Lee Hwy., Arlington; 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax
These sister French bistros in Georgetown, Arlington and Fairfax won’t break the bank and serve Chef Brendan L’Etoile’s classics – French onion soup, steak fries in a gorgeous, upscale space . We also love Bar a Vin next to George Town where you can sample French wines at one of the best wood burning fireplaces in town. (There’s even a fire table on Chez Billy’s patio). Indoor and outdoor patio seating.

duck duck goose
7929 Norfolk Ave, Bethesda; 2100 NW Ave
There are restaurants that just say date night – and that’s true for Chef Ashish Alfred’s French Bistro’s Bethesda and new Dupont Circle locations. The menu also looks dreamy, with winter dishes like grilled bone marrow, steak with duck fat fries and foie gras butter bucatini. If you’re avoiding goose and meat in general, there are interesting vegetarian options, as well as a range of zero-proof cocktails. Indoor and enclosed outdoor seating.

New Duck Duck Goose at Dupont Circle. Photos courtesy of Duck Duck Goose.

Fiora
601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Any chef Fabio Trabocchi’s restaurant would be a proper Valentine’s Day destination, from the dazzling Del Mar to the more “casual” (but still extravagant) Sfoglina Pasta House, with its cream and red decor. The flagship store — which has the benefit of being quiet enough to talk — is planning a lavish Valentine’s Day package ($225 per person) that includes oysters, lobster, lamb and more. Tickets can be purchased at Tock. indoor seating

solemn
1401 Okie St., NE
Enjoy a set dinner in the dining room of Chef Matt Baker’s Michelin-starred restaurant, the outdoor patio or the gorgeous rooftop conservatory lounge. The menu ($14 per person) includes dishes like butter-poached lobster and wagyu beef. Optional champagne and caviar courses and wine pairings are available – a grab-and-go service for those looking to dine at home. Indoor and outdoor seating, takeaway.

Yili Li feels like dining in the garden.Photo by Rey Lopez

Ellie
District 100 sqm, Southwest
Chef Philippe Massoud’s Lebanese restaurant on the marina is like dining in an indoor garden, thanks to citrus trees, fountains and hanging bird cages. The restaurateur, who previously ran Neyla in Georgetown, just finished a 15-year stint in New York City, where he opened his first Illili. Upscale modern mezzes fill the menu—duck shawarma, yellowtail with pomegranate pomelo—and a special Valentine’s Day set ($150 per person).

Little Washington Inn
309 Middle St., Washington
Caviar and lobster? Absolutely. A wood-burning fireplace, plush benches and a gorgeous country setting? you bet. The Inn checks all of the heart-shaped boxes — the world knows it, judging by the limited availability around V Day (though there are some this week and next weekend). If you’re intrigued by the location but can’t make a reservation, you can always plan a day trip to Patty O’s, Patrick O’Connell’s less-casual country café with nice bars, fireplaces and rustic-premium tickets price. Indoor seating.

Sip by the fire at the iron gate. Photo courtesy of Iron Gate.Sip by the fire at the iron gate. Photo courtesy of Iron Gate.

iron gate
1734 N St., NW
Between road bars, wisteria-covered courtyards and lighted dining rooms, this historic restaurant space — formerly a private mansion — is arguably one of Washington DC’s most romantic destinations. Chef Anthony Chittum is serving up a special $120 per person shared menu for the festival. Indoor and outdoor seating.

L’Auberge Chez Francois and Jacque’s Brasserie
332 Springvale Rd., Great Falls
This classic French restaurant is one of Washington’s longest-running fine-dining restaurants for a reason: Old-world favorites like Chateaubriand, Lobster in Sauternes Butter Sauce, and the airiest souffle in town. The red bistro bar is a great place to start or end your Valentine’s Day meal. A special Valentine’s Day menu (starting at $125) with live music will be available on weekends. Indoor and outdoor seating.

The two were at Chateaubriand at L’Auberge Chez Francois.Photo by Scott Suchman

Nina May
1337 11th Street NW
We’re fascinated by Logan Circle’s seasonal American restaurant, which won’t break the bank, but serves a plethora of creative hyper-local dishes along with delicious drinks and friendly service in lovely, rustic rooms. From February 11-14, Chef Colin McClimans is offering a multi-course home-style “Chef’s Choice” menu for $80 per person, which includes courses such as cacio e pepe agnolotti, pan-fried grouper, glazed duck and chocolate cake. Indoor and enclosed patio seating.

queen english
3410 11th Street NW
Mom-and-pop chefs Henji Cheung and Sarah Thompson are behind this sleek, floral-hued Columbia Heights restaurant, which now offers three styles of seating: dining room, chef’s counter, and heated/covered patio (which is also dog-friendly ) . Pre-orders for Valentine’s Day are already booked, but there are currently plenty available for the day before the Sunday festival. Don’t miss the caviar with scallion pancakes, Peking-style squab and delicious natural wines. Indoor and covered outdoor patio seating.

luxury of roses
717 Eighth Street, SE
Chef Aaron Silverman’s Capitol Hill destination feels like dining in a quirky home (it used to be a townhouse). The ticketed Valentine’s prix-fixe ($135) includes Rose’s classics like pork lychee salad and festive luxuries like butter-poached lobster and Kusshi oysters. Dessert: Top Sundaes. indoor seating

An old-fashioned stand to buy steaks in St. Anselm.Photo by Scott Suchman

St. Anselm
1250 Fifth Street, Nebraska
Take your favorite carnivore to Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll’s retro-chic steakhouse, order a few martinis, and indulge in axe ribeye (and, of course, buttermilk biscuits and creamed spinach). Intimate booths are some of the best seats in the hotel, and the restaurant also offers heated outdoor “sheds” (similar to the Le Diplomate sisters’ castle) for al fresco dining all season. Indoor and private outdoor seating.

stable
1324 H St., NE
If your ideal date night is more comfortable than fantasy, this Swiss location along the H Street corridor is an amazing option. Private indoor cabins create a fun mountain vibe, and you can enjoy hot pot (or a whole set, including rental hot pot) in the restaurant or in the al fresco shop. The restaurants are usually closed on Mondays, but they will open on February 14 with a special fondue set ($52 per person, minimum 2 guests) that includes a glass of sparkling wine, appetizers, and gin-infused fondue Pot and dim sum. Indoor and outdoor patio seating, takeaway.

The stables are converting their patio pop-ups into hotpot spot small stables. Photo by Amanda Hoy.Stable serves hot pot in private cabins and outdoors on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Photo by Amanda Hoy.

time for tail goats and revelers
1827 Adams Mill Road NW; 1775 Columbia Road NW
What’s sexier than a steakhouse? Pop-up steakhouse at one of our favorite indie restaurants: Adams Morgan’s Tail Up Goat, with a special menu for the February 11-14 holiday, including wedge salads, shrimp cocktails, and New York strips ($125 per person, Optional caviar service for $120). If moody, dimly lit vibes are more your thing, corner sister pasta spot Reveler’s Hour is the place to indulge in noodles and wine. Indoor seating.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel reports on the dining scene in her hometown of Washington, DC. Before joining The Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various culinary and writing positions in New York City and St. John’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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