Whether it’s for date night, a job promotion, a birthday celebration, or really any other event worth breaking out the Champagne for, Philly has no shortage of restaurants where you can have a romantic dinner. When your neighborhood watering hole doesn’t feel quite special enough — no shade to Citywides, but sometimes you just need a nice wine list — there are more than enough low-lit, intimate, and moody 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
The Ultimate Restaurants for Date Night in Philly
Moody 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 cobblestoned Germantown Avenue, chef David Jansen’s namesake 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 and Fia Berisha’s Lark is a lovely space for date night, with art deco chandeliers, velvet banquettes, 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, perfect alongside a stellar list of cocktails and wine.
South Restaurant & Jazz Club
Nothing says romance quite like live jazz, which is why any intimate occasion calls for a night out at South Restaurant & Jazz Club on Broad Street. The restaurant pairs delicious, warming soul food — like shrimp and grits or vegan jambalaya — and a classy dining experience with great music; purchase tickets for specific shows to guarantee a table reservation.
An Old City favorite, this historic Italian BYOB is the perfect spot to dine romantically on a budget (most main course entrées are under $25). Try their delicious veal marsala, succulent shrimp laceno, and split ziti al telefono (ziti pasta, pieces of meatballs, tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese) with your date for the perfect dinner combo.
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Vernick Food & Drink
Every Philadelphian has to go on at least one date at Vernick Food & Drink on Walnut. Get a seasonal sampling of Greg Vernick’s fine-dining specialties, such as swordfish a la plancha and pork milanese, alongside an excellent wine selection, which you can also take home from the Vernick Wine Shop next door. Try your luck for a seat at the first-come-first-served bar or chef’s table, where you can still access the full menu, or make a reservation on Tock, where you could also opt for a tasting menu.
One of Rittenhouse’s beloved restaurants is called “The Love” for a reason. At night, the ambience is intimate with perfectly dimmed lights and cozy seating. If you date is a meat lover, recommend the tasty rigatoni and short rib. If they are into light fare, the ricotta ravioli is immaculate.
A stalwart of Philly’s farm-to-table dining scene, Fork on Market is always bound to make a night special. A lovely atmosphere in Old City makes menu highlights like farm beans, striped bass, and coconut custard for dessert taste extra sweet. You can make reservations online.
The ultimate dining destination to make a proposal or serious dating commitment, this grand steakhouse from Schulson Collective doesn’t disappoint. Be sure to come hungry — their divine 38 ounce tomahawk ribeye steak, savory lamb rack, beef wellington, and lobster linguine is nothing for the meek.
Friday Saturday Sunday
Friday Saturday Sunday, the fine-dining restaurant helmed by Chad and Hanna Williams on South 21st Street, practically invented special occasion dinners. Within the bright, cozy space, the tasting menu is constantly evolving (think barbecue veal cheek and crudo with yuzu, sunchoke, and bone marrow gelée) and the cocktails are cheekily named and lovely to boot. You can make reservations for the online.
One of the city’s original farm-to-fork restaurants, Talula’s is a beautiful place to eat outside with their perfectly lit garden and beautiful seating. Their tasty well-portioned entrées (such as their smoked pork belly, seared sea scallops and gulf shrimp, and black angus sliced strip steak) are perfect to share with your date.
The OG of date night continues to impress diners 25 years later with their expansive and inventive Italian menu. This exquisite dinner is pricy (tasting menu is $165 per person, additional wine pairing is $95 per person), but when you’re eating impeccable spaghetti and prawns, roasted lamb saddle with eggplant, and torta di rison with figs from the legendary chef/owner Marc Vetri — it’s worth every dollar.
Southwark restaurant 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 and fluke crudo. You can make reservations online. (If you’re looking for an even more intimate experience, you can try to reserve a table in the kitchen at Southwark’s nearby modern Italian sibling, Ambra.)
Eating at the bar is always a pro move (it’s just cooler), especially true at River Twice in Passyunk Square. Amanda and Randy Rucker’s fashionable restaurant prioritizes a four-course menu, available Thursday through Monday. The chef’s counter offers an extended experience during which Randy and his team walk diners through the process of menu development (a new one every two weeks) with small, detailed dishes like raw surf clam or dry-aged duck with rutabaga. Reservations for both the counter and the rest of the restaurant are available on Resy.
In the former Saté Kampar space in East Passyunk, chef Thanh Nguyen serves Vietnamese street food of the highest order, much of which is great for sharing. The bánh bèo quảng nam — open-faced dumplings served in small decorative bowls — are unreal, and the large format dishes, from the half-chicken platter to Vietnamese fried winter flounder, will not let you down. Make reservations online, and pick out drinks together in advance: This charming neighborhood restaurant is BYOB.
Sicilian small plates and natural wine are on the table at Irwin’s, the South Philly restaurant on the top floor of Bok Bar with Michael Vincent Ferreri as head chef. The scene is lively, the drinks are inspired, and the swordfish is big enough to share. What’s not to love? You can make reservations online.