In honor of Valentine’s Day, we decided to take a look at some of L.A.’s most romantic restaurants. However, not only did we find the most charming, lovey-dovey places to grab a bite to eat, we found places where you can do so without emptying out your wallet.
While I know that trying to find that perfect romantic restaurant can be daunting, the truth is that when it comes to picking the right place to dine, the trick is just a little patient research. The goal? Finding great food with a great ambience without sacrificing the entirety of your work-study paycheck.
These restaurants are some of my tried-and-true favorites for date nights on a budget. Check them out!
7229 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA
If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck on Valentine's Day, you'll find exactly what you're looking for just a few blocks west of Melrose and La Brea at Lala's Argentine Grill. Lala's delicately combines the best of Argentinean traditional dishes and L.A. cuisine, with an extensive menu to choose from. With locals pouring in and out on the daily, this place is clearly a West Hollywood favorite. And with appetizers starting at just $2.50 a plate and wine starting at just $4.50 a glass, what's not to love? The restaurant also boasts a quaint and covered outdoor patio with overhead heating panels and romantic, dim lighting. In fact, once the average hungry regular is seated, one virtually forgets that you are just a few feet away from bustling Melrose.
2640 Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA
Situated in the popular Manhattan Village shopping center, Open Sesame is the place to go for moderately priced, authentic Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant has a subtle, sensual ambience with sheer curtains that section off the room, beaded pillows that accent the plush booths and ornate brass lighting fixtures that give off a dim, red glow. After the mood is set, feel free to dig into one of the many signature dishes, including the fried potatoes or the chicken tawook pita. However, for your date’s sake, I advise that you limit your garlic sauce intake (just to be safe).
10543 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
If you’re thinking something along the lines of beer brats and a cold one when Feb. 14 rolls around, you’re in luck. Established in 2010, Steingarten is a new classy beer garden in West L.A. that is perfecting the art of a well-crafted bratwurst. This place has every type of dog you could imagine: beef, pork, veal, chicken, duck, lamb, alligator, rabbit, wild boar, venison, elk and even a chipotle apple and sage vegan option for the non-meat eaters. And although the menu does include more traditional dishes, I suggest you stick to one of their famed $7 sausages. Although the inside dining feels a little masculine, the outside seating offers a tabletop fire pit surrounded by vine-covered walls, offering a more intimate experience.
201 S. La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Hidden under a leafy canopy on the corner of La Brea and 2nd Street is the quiet Café Verona, an Italian bistro that offers its customers a true escape from the city noise. One of the best things about Café Verona is that there’s absolutely no hype –no Hancock Park hipsters, no off-putting “scene”- just delicious, authentic Italian food against a quaint and tranquil backdrop. If for some reason you’re not feeling up to fighting Thursday’s evening crowds, stop by this place for a romantic brunch for two, and make sure you try the salmon eggs benedict.
2510 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
If you like tapas bars, you will love Manchego on Main. Despite its location in one of the more tourist destinations of L.A., Manchego has stayed true to their Spanish roots, serving up popular platters such as manchego, iberico and prociutto, alongside the more traditional dishes such as the tortilla espanola or the gazpacho andaluz. Due to the size of the dishes, ordering can get a little on the pricey side, but the restaurant has a no-corkage fee policy – so definitely make sure to BYOB. Also, this place is conveniently situated just a few blocks from the beach, perfect for topping the night off with a stroll to the pier.