From the tables overlooking crashing waves at the Marine Room in San Diego to the exceptional culinary experience at the White Barn Inn in Maine, outstanding and romantic dining choices are abundant from coast to coast. To make Valentine's Day a stand-out this year, go for the restaurants that offer not just a meal, but a truly romantic experience. We’ve tracked down the 20 most romantic restaurants in America.
Think about a romantic dinner and the obvious conventions probably comes to mind: candles, roses, a fireplace, low lights, hushed tones, violins, sharing a single noodle like Lady and the Tramp... Perhaps omitting that last detail, any self-respecting romantic restaurant will offer at least a few of these qualities to convey privacy, luxury and mood-setting ambience. When creating unforgettable moments, dramatic views, whether of water, cities, or sunsets are ideal, but cozy and exceptionally charming spaces are also very desirable.
While whispering sweet nothings, it’s important to have enough table space so that you’re not right on top of nearby tables …or able to hear their sweet nothings. Unobtrusive service can make all the difference in your romantic dinner for two; attentive is good, but you don’t want a waiter cheerfully popping up the moment you pop the question. Lighting should be flatteringly low, but not so that you need a flashlight to read the menu. Candles, small silk-shaded lamps, or lanterns while dining al fresco all create the sense of your own private world. Then there is the food. Your wooing efforts may fall flat if half of the dinner conversation revolves around the disappointing food. The best times are those you never want to end, so it’s memorable when you patronize a place that really understands and celebrates food.
It’s true that if you’re with the one you love, even a burrito from the nearest food truck can be fun. But sometimes — especially Valentine's Day! — you’ve got to up the game and go for the big romantic dinner: top-notch service, luxurious surroundings, sunset views or spots that make you feel as though you discovered them, and food that will make you dream of it for months afterward. To see the restaurants that would make Cupid most proud, we're happy to present America's 20 Most Romantic Restaurants.