Whether it’s for date night, a job promotion, a birthday celebration, or really any other event worth breaking out the champagne for, there is no shortage of restaurants in Philly where you can have a romantic, candlelit, and celebratory dinner. When your neighborhood watering hole doesn’t feel quite special enough (no shade to Citywides, but sometimes a nice wine list is what you need), there are more than enough Philly destinations to visit for a special dinner on the town. The tuxedo is definitely optional at all of the following spots, but hey, that could be fun, right?Read More
16 Restaurants for a Romantic Night Out in Philly
Dim lighting, classy cocktails, and prix fixe menus for that special occasion dinner on your calendar
If you’re in the Northwest, there’s no better romantic restaurant than Jansen in Mt. Airy. Situated on the cobblestoned Germantown Avenue, Jansen occupies a historic 18th-century house with the original fireplace and a beautiful outdoor patio. Enjoy a fine dining menu that includes a seasonally changing menu of oysters Rockefeller, elk osso bucco, and stuffed acorn squash. The wine list is impressive, too.
On the rooftop of the Ironworks building across the river from Manayunk, Nick Elmi’s Lark is a lovely space for date night, with art deco chandeliers, soft wood tables, and a gorgeous view. The coastal Mediterranean menu is as special as the environment: Dishes like braised chilled leeks and blue crab and pink peppercorn strozzapreti are crafted with care. The cocktails and wine list are stellar, too.
The Head and the Hand
While not technically a restaurant, Fishtown bookstore the Head and the Hand (formerly located in Kensington) offers a date night option like no other place in town. The shop hosts by-reservation date nights in the bookstore, for $85 for one and a half hours or $100 for two hours. Yes, you have to bring in your own food or order takeout to the store, but the date comes with a complimentary beer or wine and a choice of a copy of one of the books Head and the Hand publishes. Reserve online.
In Fishtown, Kensington Quarters is the destination to take your pescatarian pal for a luxurious (and constantly changing) menu of delicately plated crudos, an array of oysters, and other special dishes sourced right from the sea. The dining room is beautiful and the bar is a special place to post up. Reservations can be made on Resy.
R&D Cocktail Bar
Jazzy cocktails themed around the season — this winter’s menu includes a hot Oaxacan penicillin with Reposado tequila, mezcal, ginger, and honey — are an excellent complement to the warm interior of R&D Cocktail Bar in Fishtown. Dimly lit and a little retro, it’s an excellent choice for a weeknight (or weekend) date night, especially on Wednesdays when the kitchen has smash burgers available. Expect smaller snacks throughout the rest of the week, but the cocktails are so nice you’d never even notice.
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Nothing says romance quite like jazz, which is why any intimate evening calls for a night out at South Jazz Kitchen on Broad Street. Delicious, warming soul food and a classy dining experience are paired with great music — tickets for specific shows can be purchased at this link, which guarantees you a table reservation.
For the six-course tasting menu at Jean-Georges — priced at $218 a person with unforgettable views of the whole city — diners get a menu that focuses on sustainability and seasonal, local ingredients from around Pennsylvania, designed by chef de cuisine Cornelia Sühr and chef Jean-Georges. Reservations for a date night you’ll never forget can be made online at OpenTable.
Fresh seafood, a generous happy hour, and well-made cocktails are all on the menu at The Wayward, the restaurant on the ground floor of the Canopy Hilton. The elegant art deco design is complemented by attentive servers and an overall cozy vibe. Don’t miss the corn beignets.
Vernick Food & Drink
Every Philadelphian has to go on a date at least once to Vernick Food & Drink on Walnut. There is an elegant six-course tasting menu, where you can try a rotating menu of Greg Vernick’s fine dining specialties with an optional add-on wine pairing. Try your luck for a seat at the first-come-first-serve bar, where the full menu is available, or make a reservation on Tock.
A stalwart of the Philly dining scene, a night out at Fork on Market is always bound to be special. That’s because the menu features highlights like seared octopus, striped bass, and coconut custard for dessert. It’s also just in general a really nice atmosphere, so a perfect spot for date night. Reservations can be made online.
Friday Saturday Sunday
Special occasion dinners were practically invented at Friday Saturday Sunday, the fine dining restaurant on S. 21st Street helmed by Chad and Hanna Williams. The tasting menu is constantly evolving (think barbecue veal cheek and crudo with yuzu, sunchoke, and bone marrow gelé) and the cocktails are cheekily named and lovely to boot. Reservations for the tasting menu can be made on Resy.
Drink a few glasses of wine and a charcuterie plate at Chloe Grigri’s bar à vins, Le Caveau, upstairs from her restaurant the Good King Tavern. The music is excellent, the wine is thoughtfully curated, and the dim lighting makes the spot a great place to sit and chat with a loved one.
Southwark restaurant on S. 4th Street in Queen Village is Chris D’Ambro and Marina De Oliveira’s tribute to romantic dining, with candlelit tables, a cozy old school bar, and dishes like lamb terrine, fluke crudo, and more. Reservations can be made on Resy. Looking for an even more intimate experience? Ambra, the pair’s fine dining restaurant, has reservations for a three-and-a-half hour tasting menu where diners can dine “in the kitchen.”
Messina Social Club
While you either have to be a member or come with a member to get a table at Messina Social Club, finding a way to eat dinner at the South Philly spot is worth the effort. The space itself is dark and cozy and feels extra special for date nights, and the menu — helmed by Top Chef contestant Eddie Konrad — is always meticulously planned. Not a member and want to be? You can stop by in person or email the club at email@example.com.
Eating at the bar is usually the best choice for any meal out (it’s just cooler), but nowhere more than at River Twice, where the chef’s counter experience is an extended 16-course tasting menu during which chef Randy Rucker and his team walks diners through the iterative menu-developing process. Reservations for both the chef’s counter and the rest of the restaurant are available on Resy.
Small plates and Italian-American fare are on the table at Irwin’s, the restaurant on the top floor of Bok Bar with Michael Vincent Ferreri as head chef. The scene is lively, the drinks and wine list are thoughtfully selected, and the swordfish is big enough to share. What’s not to love? Reservations can be made on Resy.