Eat Your Heart Out: Romantic L.A. Dining


Published: 04/23/2013

by Nick Rufca


There’s something quintessentially romantic about spontaneity: a bouquet of flowers being delivered to your loved one unexpectedly, hitting the road with your partner for a day trip without an itinerary or cooking up a three-course meal for your boyfriend because he’s had a tough day. If only Valentine’s Day in L.A. could be this easy. In a city where prime dinner times at popular restaurants are booked weeks in advance, the chance of an impromptu table for two on Feb. 14 is a risky one. 

Don’t fret—what follows is our guide to some of the best options for you and your date for a romantic, stress-free Valentine’s day outing. Just don’t wait too long to make that reservation!

Off Vine 
It may be located in the heart of Hollywood, but once inside this charming bungalow, the hustle and bustle of city life is soon forgotten. The cuisine is classic Californian with comfort food like chicken pot pie served alongside upscale vegan fare such as stuffed peppers. There’s a lovely patio, a crackling fire and a scrumptious chocolate soufflé that is a must-order for first-time visitors. 6263 Leland Way, Hlywd., (323) 962-1900;

Lexington Social House
There are times you want a romantic vibe, and then there are nights when a high-energy, sexy dining experience is in order. For those seeking the latter, Lexington delivers. The Victorian-meets-classic-Hollywood décor certainly helps, as does the electric vibe permeating the atmosphere. Be sure to slide up to the bar with your honey for a pre-supper handcrafted cocktail, then settle into the nearby dining room for their dinner offerings. Every Wednesday, they feature a special woodfired pizza night, using the finest seasonal ingredients. On V-day, their choices include oysters on the half shell, filet mignon with blueberry sauce and blackberry cheesecake. 1718 Vine St., Hlywd., (323) 461-1700;

Bistro Laurent
French food is, for many, the quintessential cuisine for a romantic evening out. Culver City’s Bistro Laurent is a casual, intimate eatery known for both its cozy ambiance and the diverse selection of savory, buckwheat crepes. On Valentine’s Day, the bistro is expanding its offerings with such tantalizing items as Tahitian coconut corn chowder, a veal shank ragout over fettuccine noodles and lobster ravioli in a lemon beurre blanc sauce. 3936 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, (310) 398-6863;

Inn of the Seventh Ray
One visit to Inn of the Seventh Ray and it’s easy to see why this tranquil spot is considered by many to be one of the most romantic dining destinations in L.A. (as well as a popular spot for weddings). Located in a remote area of Topanga Canyon and almost entirely outdoors, you can’t help but be seduced by the atmosphere. On Valentine’s Day, enjoy a special prix-fixe menu that offers as many vegan options as it does meat entrees. 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd., Topanga, (310) 455-1311;

Wolfgang Puck’s Downtown fine dining spot occupies the top of the swanky Ritz-Carlton Hotel, ensuring that the sweeping view of the city outside the windows is unbeatable. The peking duck is considered one of the best in the country. It almost can’t get more romantic—yet on Valentine’s Day, it does. The more casual WP24 lounge next door will be offering a dessert menu titled “For the Love of Chocolate.” Perfectly conceived for sharing, it includes a hot chocolate shooter, caramel chocolate tart and a chocolate passion macaroon. I can’t think of a more appropriate ending to a dinner with your valentine than this. 900 W. Olympic Blvd., Downtown L.A., (213) 743-8800;