Romantic restaurants are easy enough to come by in the French capital. But homing in on establishments that offer both the ideal ambiance and quality cuisine may be a challenge. Many eateries emphasize soft lighting and music, or go heavy on the flowers, candles, and starchy white tablecloths, but can end up disappointing with bland, mediocre food or bad service. In short: don't assume that it'll be a romantic experience just because it's advertised in those terms.
With that caveat in mind, we've put together a thematic list of some of our favorite places in the city for a romantic "tete a tete". These are tried and tested addresses that you can feel good about booking. Provided that you reserve well ahead and avoid overly noisy or crowded establishments, dinner for two is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Paris.
$$$ Cream-of-the-Crop Romantic Restaurants and Dining:
If you're on your honeymoon in Paris, or simply don't mind forking out a pretty penny for a special evening out with someone special, all of the restaurants mentioned in the lists below make excellent choices. Make sure to reserve well ahead at these city institutions to avoid disappointment.
- Top 10 Gourmet French Restaurants in Paris
- Eiffel Tower Restaurants
- Georges Restaurant Paris (enjoy sweeping panoramic views from the rooftop of the Centre Pompidou)
- La Tour d'Argent (offering great views over Notre-Dame and the Seine)
$-$$ Mid-Range to Budget Restaurants Ideal for Couples (Traditional French)
For most of us, spending hundreds of Euros on a single meal is simply not an option. Fret not: there are plenty of places in the city offering remarkable quality and romantic ambiance to boot.
- Best Budget French Restaurants in Paris (warning: avoid if you're noise or crowd-averse!)
- Lapérouse: dine in a sumptuous old 17th century mansion frequented by famous writers (you can even reserve a private "niche" room for two-- très romantique!)
- Brasserie Gallopin (a favorite traditional brasserie of mine)
- Brasseries Flo
- Macéo (this one is a great option if one or both of you is vegetarian)
Exotic or Unusual Romantic Restaurants:
Paris is a very cosmopolitan city with cuisines from all over the world, so there's no reason to assume that your evening out has to be at a French-themed establishment. Here are some of our favorite places for a memorable dinner "à deux" in categories of cuisine other than French:
- Blue Elephant Royal Thai Cuisine
- L'homme bleu (aromatic North African food)
- Addis Abeba Ethiopian Restaurant (sharing a large traditional plate can be unexpectedly romantic)
- Dans le Noir (dine with someone special in complete darkness-- Valentines Day specials available)
Booking a Table for Two During the Holidays:
If you're visiting the city during Christmas or other national holidays, it can be a bit of a challenge to book a table given that many restaurants close their doors-- but it's certainly not out of the question.
As always, I strongly recommend checking availability and making your reservation at least a month or two in advance, or risk disappointment.
Read related: Paris Restaurants Open For Christmas
To find out when restaurants are susceptible to closures, make sure to read up on annual bank holidays in France and Paris. Better yet, inquire directly with the restaurants that interest you and ensure you'll be able to book on your desired dates.