clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A bar with teal walls and white subway tile, with bottles on the back bar, at Ambar in Washington DC, one of the city’s best bars for a first date. Ardent Vibe

The Best Restaurants in Washington DC for Valentine’s Day

View as Map
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Valentine’s Day, one of the most romantic days of the year. But the search for a V-Day-worthy restaurant? Not so romantic. When you’re trying to find the right restaurant ambiance (maybe you’re going for super casual or super chic), or the right cuisine (maybe your date likes seafood, or maybe they hate it), things can get stressful very quickly. So to make planning for your big romantic day a little less hectic, here are our picks for the best Valentine’s Day restaurants in the DC area. These 12 eateries will not only impress on February 14th, but on date-night any day of the year.

Find the perfect foodie to dine with on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, on Bumble.

Read More

Timber Pizza Company

Copy Link

If you’re looking for a chill Valentine’s Day option, nothing says “let’s just relax and enjoy each other’s company” like splitting a pizza. That said, you want to make sure it’s excellent pizza, and for that you need to head to Timber Pizza Company. The beloved food truck opened their first brick-and-mortar location in Petworth in 2016 so guests can hang at communal tables over wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, small bites, and salads. The pizza menu is divided by base (red, pesto, white) with gourmet toppings including cured chorizo, Peruvian sweet peppers, and slow-roasted pork.

The interior of Timber Pizza Company, one of Washington DC’s best restaurants for a first date. Tim Casey

Brothers and Sisters

Copy Link

A V-Day date in the lobby of a hotel may not seem all that romantic, but The Line isn’t your average hotel. Housed in a 110-year-old historic church, the lobby is a mix of warm lighting, herringbone wood floors, and soaring ceilings, with a fantastic all-day restaurant from chef Erik Bruner-Yang. Brothers and Sisters incorporates global flavors like mala spice, red curry, and sake burre blanc into its menu of small plates and entrees (the very spicy knife-cut noodle is a citywide favorite), while pastry chef Pichet Ong rounds out the menu with cakes named after destinations. 

A formal dining room with diners eating, plus a back bar, at the restaurant Brothers and Sisters. Courtesy of Brothers And Sisters

The Red Hen

Copy Link

It’s tough to find a cozier date night restaurant than the Red Hen. Located in Bloomingdale, the stacked firewood, wood-beamed ceilings, and exposed brick walls are all warmth and old-worldliness, while the stick-to-your-ribs pastas like mezzi rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu and Italian-inspired secondi plates like roasted Atlantic halibut with black truffle polenta invite diners to simply relax and enjoy the one they’re with. Although the Red Hen reserves room for walk-ins, reservations are strongly recommended and your best chance for seating on any given night is at the large bar where they serve the full dinner menu.

A table set with salad, grilled octopus, and a Negroni cocktail at the Red Hen restaurant in Washington DC. Courtesy of The Red Hen

Barrel Room Restaurant & Wine Bar at City Winery

Copy Link

Bask in some live music and wine on tap at City Winery, a music venue-meets-restaurant-meet-urban winery in Ivy City. Nightly performances range from local gogo legends the Junkyard Band to R&B superstar Musiq Soulchild, so you’re sure to find a show you both will like. There’s also Tuesday trivia nights and comedy shows, but if you’re just interested in sampling the vino, try the Classic City Winery wine flight to taste four options or peruse the 400+ bottle list. The dining menu offers suggested pairings for shared plates like braised duck tacos and crispy shrimp with succotash.

The interior of the Barrel Room Restaurant & Wine Bar at City Winery in Washington DC. Courtesy of City Winery DC

Le Diplomate

Copy Link

While there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from on the 14th Street corridor, Le Diplomate is a no-brainer for those looking to impress on the Feast of Saint Valentine. Arguably, there’s no city more romantic than Paris, and Le Diplomate pulled out all the stops to ensure their diners will feel transported to a chic Parisian brasserie the moment they walk through the restaurant’s bright blue entryway. A reservation is a must for dinner, but once you’re in, try to snag a table in the charming, glass-enclosed terrace to dine on French classics like trout amandine and duck a l’orange.

A lobster platter, surrounded by oysters with mignonettes, served at Le Diplomate in Washington DC. Jason Varney

Union Market

Copy Link

Sidestep the pressure of choosing the right V-Day restaurant at Union Market, where the Instagram-worthy market features 38 different vendors representing nearly every cuisine that you can think of. Best of all, most are DC-born artisans. Make the evening a food tour with Venezuelan arepas from Arepa Zone, Ethiopian small plates from Gorsha, soul food like gumbo and shrimp and grits from Puddin’, and fresh oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Company. And if you can’t snag a reservation at the restaurant of the moment Kith/Kin, head to the Philly Wing Fry stall, the fast-casual concept from chef Kwame Onwuachi. 

The Dabney

Copy Link

Your date will think you’ve brought them to a secret hot spot for a Valentine’s date at The Dabney. Tucked away in Blagden Alley, the restaurant is nearly unnoticeable unless you know where you’re headed, but once inside it’s clear this is one of the most popular restaurants in DC. The entire menu is sourced from farms and purveyors in the Mid-Atlantic, and the staff is filled with interesting knowledge about the history of these farms to help keep conversation flowing between you and your date. Stick with small plates to try more items like Chesapeake rockfish, Maryland blue crab, and charred squash, kale, and pecan with Virginia maple syrup. Reservations are hard to come by so book early.

Couples dining at The Dabney restaurant, with chefs cooking in an open-layout kitchen. Andrew Cebulka

Chaia Tacos Georgetown

Copy Link

For our vegetarian and vegan friends, finding a perfect date spot can be tricky. Enter Chaia Tacos, the DC-born vegetarian taco restaurant beloved by both omnivores and herbivores. Both Chinatown and Georgetown locations offer counter service so your casual lunch date won’t feel intense, but the gorgeous, seasonal veggie tacos like roasted butternut squash with goat cheese, caramelized onions, chipotle, yogurt, and mint or creamy kale and potato with pepper jack, poblano crema, salsa verde, and pickled red onion offer a fine dining vibe for a touch of formality. Each taco is customizable if cheese isn’t your thing, and the Chinatown location serves happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.

Brother-and-sister team chef Peter and Jeanine Prime did the nearly impossible by bringing a completely new concept to the DC restaurant scene: a restaurant inspired by the rum shops of Trinidad. The menu highlights the street food the siblings shared while growing up, like jerk wings and doubles, a snack of fry bread, curried chickpeas, and hot relish. Enjoy the appetizers over rum cocktails that’ll send your taste buds straight to Trinidad like the Cane Fever, made with Scarlet Ibis Trinidadian rum, pineapple-habanero shrub, lime, and ginger beer. Cane doesn’t take reservations, but a wait list is available during operation hours.

Daikaya Ramen Shop

Copy Link

If you’re willing to brave DC’s frigid winter temperatures in the middle of February, you both deserve to warm up over a hot bowl of ramen. Daikaya serves Sapporo-style ramen made with thick noodles, rich broth (fish, chicken, or pork) flavored with akamiso (red soybean paste) and topped with roast pork, chashu, bean sprouts, onions, garlic, ground pork, nori, and scallions. In addition to five ramen options on the menu, don’t skip the gyoza. Although it’s worth the wait, Daikaya doesn’t take reservations but the izakaya pub just upstairs does take them just in case. 

On a Valentine’s date, you should still feel free to be exactly who you are and there’s no better way to showcase that than with an all-you-can-eat menu. As the first modern Balkan cuisine restaurant in Washington in 2014, Ambar welcomed a new wave of diners with globally minded palates and they haven’t looked back. The menu was so popular they created one of the best dining deals in town with their Ambar Experience menu: unlimited small plates and select drinks for $49 per person. Don’t hold back over plates of stuffed sour cabbage, grilled calamari, and mushroom crepes.

A strawberry dessert served at Ambar restaurant in Washington DC. Ardent Vibe

Kith/Kin

Copy Link

If your date is similarly obsessed with food, you’ll want to take them to the most talked-about restaurant over the last two years. Nigerian-American chef Kwame Onwuachi delved into his Trinidadian, Nigerian, and Jamaican roots to craft the menu at his Afro-Caribbean restaurant Kith/Kin, where the bold and comforting flavors earned him a 2019 Best New Chef award from Food & Wine magazine and Rising Star Chef of the Year from the James Beard Foundation. The crab jollof rice with trout and jerk chicken served with tamarind jam, braised cabbage, and coconut rice are must-haves. 

Find the perfect foodie to dine with on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, on Bumble.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Timber Pizza Company

The interior of Timber Pizza Company, one of Washington DC’s best restaurants for a first date. Tim Casey

If you’re looking for a chill Valentine’s Day option, nothing says “let’s just relax and enjoy each other’s company” like splitting a pizza. That said, you want to make sure it’s excellent pizza, and for that you need to head to Timber Pizza Company. The beloved food truck opened their first brick-and-mortar location in Petworth in 2016 so guests can hang at communal tables over wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, small bites, and salads. The pizza menu is divided by base (red, pesto, white) with gourmet toppings including cured chorizo, Peruvian sweet peppers, and slow-roasted pork.

The interior of Timber Pizza Company, one of Washington DC’s best restaurants for a first date. Tim Casey

Brothers and Sisters

A formal dining room with diners eating, plus a back bar, at the restaurant Brothers and Sisters. Courtesy of Brothers And Sisters

A V-Day date in the lobby of a hotel may not seem all that romantic, but The Line isn’t your average hotel. Housed in a 110-year-old historic church, the lobby is a mix of warm lighting, herringbone wood floors, and soaring ceilings, with a fantastic all-day restaurant from chef Erik Bruner-Yang. Brothers and Sisters incorporates global flavors like mala spice, red curry, and sake burre blanc into its menu of small plates and entrees (the very spicy knife-cut noodle is a citywide favorite), while pastry chef Pichet Ong rounds out the menu with cakes named after destinations. 

A formal dining room with diners eating, plus a back bar, at the restaurant Brothers and Sisters. Courtesy of Brothers And Sisters

The Red Hen

A table set with salad, grilled octopus, and a Negroni cocktail at the Red Hen restaurant in Washington DC. Courtesy of The Red Hen

It’s tough to find a cozier date night restaurant than the Red Hen. Located in Bloomingdale, the stacked firewood, wood-beamed ceilings, and exposed brick walls are all warmth and old-worldliness, while the stick-to-your-ribs pastas like mezzi rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu and Italian-inspired secondi plates like roasted Atlantic halibut with black truffle polenta invite diners to simply relax and enjoy the one they’re with. Although the Red Hen reserves room for walk-ins, reservations are strongly recommended and your best chance for seating on any given night is at the large bar where they serve the full dinner menu.

A table set with salad, grilled octopus, and a Negroni cocktail at the Red Hen restaurant in Washington DC. Courtesy of The Red Hen

Barrel Room Restaurant & Wine Bar at City Winery

The interior of the Barrel Room Restaurant & Wine Bar at City Winery in Washington DC. Courtesy of City Winery DC

Bask in some live music and wine on tap at City Winery, a music venue-meets-restaurant-meet-urban winery in Ivy City. Nightly performances range from local gogo legends the Junkyard Band to R&B superstar Musiq Soulchild, so you’re sure to find a show you both will like. There’s also Tuesday trivia nights and comedy shows, but if you’re just interested in sampling the vino, try the Classic City Winery wine flight to taste four options or peruse the 400+ bottle list. The dining menu offers suggested pairings for shared plates like braised duck tacos and crispy shrimp with succotash.

The interior of the Barrel Room Restaurant & Wine Bar at City Winery in Washington DC. Courtesy of City Winery DC

Le Diplomate

A lobster platter, surrounded by oysters with mignonettes, served at Le Diplomate in Washington DC. Jason Varney

While there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from on the 14th Street corridor, Le Diplomate is a no-brainer for those looking to impress on the Feast of Saint Valentine. Arguably, there’s no city more romantic than Paris, and Le Diplomate pulled out all the stops to ensure their diners will feel transported to a chic Parisian brasserie the moment they walk through the restaurant’s bright blue entryway. A reservation is a must for dinner, but once you’re in, try to snag a table in the charming, glass-enclosed terrace to dine on French classics like trout amandine and duck a l’orange.

A lobster platter, surrounded by oysters with mignonettes, served at Le Diplomate in Washington DC. Jason Varney

Union Market

Sidestep the pressure of choosing the right V-Day restaurant at Union Market, where the Instagram-worthy market features 38 different vendors representing nearly every cuisine that you can think of. Best of all, most are DC-born artisans. Make the evening a food tour with Venezuelan arepas from Arepa Zone, Ethiopian small plates from Gorsha, soul food like gumbo and shrimp and grits from Puddin’, and fresh oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Company. And if you can’t snag a reservation at the restaurant of the moment Kith/Kin, head to the Philly Wing Fry stall, the fast-casual concept from chef Kwame Onwuachi. 

The Dabney

Couples dining at The Dabney restaurant, with chefs cooking in an open-layout kitchen. Andrew Cebulka

Your date will think you’ve brought them to a secret hot spot for a Valentine’s date at The Dabney. Tucked away in Blagden Alley, the restaurant is nearly unnoticeable unless you know where you’re headed, but once inside it’s clear this is one of the most popular restaurants in DC. The entire menu is sourced from farms and purveyors in the Mid-Atlantic, and the staff is filled with interesting knowledge about the history of these farms to help keep conversation flowing between you and your date. Stick with small plates to try more items like Chesapeake rockfish, Maryland blue crab, and charred squash, kale, and pecan with Virginia maple syrup. Reservations are hard to come by so book early.

Couples dining at The Dabney restaurant, with chefs cooking in an open-layout kitchen. Andrew Cebulka

Chaia Tacos Georgetown

For our vegetarian and vegan friends, finding a perfect date spot can be tricky. Enter Chaia Tacos, the DC-born vegetarian taco restaurant beloved by both omnivores and herbivores. Both Chinatown and Georgetown locations offer counter service so your casual lunch date won’t feel intense, but the gorgeous, seasonal veggie tacos like roasted butternut squash with goat cheese, caramelized onions, chipotle, yogurt, and mint or creamy kale and potato with pepper jack, poblano crema, salsa verde, and pickled red onion offer a fine dining vibe for a touch of formality. Each taco is customizable if cheese isn’t your thing, and the Chinatown location serves happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.

Cane

Brother-and-sister team chef Peter and Jeanine Prime did the nearly impossible by bringing a completely new concept to the DC restaurant scene: a restaurant inspired by the rum shops of Trinidad. The menu highlights the street food the siblings shared while growing up, like jerk wings and doubles, a snack of fry bread, curried chickpeas, and hot relish. Enjoy the appetizers over rum cocktails that’ll send your taste buds straight to Trinidad like the Cane Fever, made with Scarlet Ibis Trinidadian rum, pineapple-habanero shrub, lime, and ginger beer. Cane doesn’t take reservations, but a wait list is available during operation hours.

Daikaya Ramen Shop

If you’re willing to brave DC’s frigid winter temperatures in the middle of February, you both deserve to warm up over a hot bowl of ramen. Daikaya serves Sapporo-style ramen made with thick noodles, rich broth (fish, chicken, or pork) flavored with akamiso (red soybean paste) and topped with roast pork, chashu, bean sprouts, onions, garlic, ground pork, nori, and scallions. In addition to five ramen options on the menu, don’t skip the gyoza. Although it’s worth the wait, Daikaya doesn’t take reservations but the izakaya pub just upstairs does take them just in case. 

Ambar

A strawberry dessert served at Ambar restaurant in Washington DC. Ardent Vibe

On a Valentine’s date, you should still feel free to be exactly who you are and there’s no better way to showcase that than with an all-you-can-eat menu. As the first modern Balkan cuisine restaurant in Washington in 2014, Ambar welcomed a new wave of diners with globally minded palates and they haven’t looked back. The menu was so popular they created one of the best dining deals in town with their Ambar Experience menu: unlimited small plates and select drinks for $49 per person. Don’t hold back over plates of stuffed sour cabbage, grilled calamari, and mushroom crepes.

A strawberry dessert served at Ambar restaurant in Washington DC. Ardent Vibe

Kith/Kin

If your date is similarly obsessed with food, you’ll want to take them to the most talked-about restaurant over the last two years. Nigerian-American chef Kwame Onwuachi delved into his Trinidadian, Nigerian, and Jamaican roots to craft the menu at his Afro-Caribbean restaurant Kith/Kin, where the bold and comforting flavors earned him a 2019 Best New Chef award from Food & Wine magazine and Rising Star Chef of the Year from the James Beard Foundation. The crab jollof rice with trout and jerk chicken served with tamarind jam, braised cabbage, and coconut rice are must-haves. 

Find the perfect foodie to dine with on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, on Bumble.

Related Maps