What is it, exactly, that proves a restaurant to be romantic? Is it dim lighting? Live music? A check in the triple digits? Perhaps it's a stunning view or sharable plates of new, exciting cuisines.
It's up to you to decide, but whichever element defines romance to you, one of these 10 Philly restaurants is sure to have it. (Just be sure to leave room for dessert!)
One of Philly's top fine dining destinations, Bibou brings a little taste of Paris to the City of Brotherly Love. This cash-only BYOB is perhaps best known for its Sunday prix fixe dinner, a culinary exploration of French fare in four flavor-packed courses. The vibe at Bibou is intimate and relaxed, but don't expect to be able to be seated without a reservation.
A verdant oasis awaits at the outdoor patio at Talula's Garden, a farm-to-table eatery and one of the city's best al fresco dining options. Climbing vines surround the space, while leafy plants peek down from their wall-mounted planters. Lanterns flicker on tabletops, adding to the soft glow of string lights overhead.
A meal at this buzz-worthy Italian restaurant will set you back a pretty penny, but critics and regular diners agree a meal at Vetri lives up to the hype. The prix fixe tasting menu invites you to sample a wealth of rustic, innovative Italian dishes, each best enjoyed with Vetri's expertly curated wine pairings.
Described by some as the perfect date night spot, Bistrot La Minette serves classic French comfort food in a space that's equally upscale and comfortable. This is where the sophisticated Francophile can enjoy an authentic representation of the French bistro experience, from the pressed tin ceiling all the way down to the open kitchen and the red banquette seating.
Housed within The Rittenhouse, one of Philly's most luxurious hotels, Lacroix serves stylish, contemporary American fare in posh, elegantly appointed dining room. Two insider's tips: 1) Request a table by the window overlooking Rittenhouse Square Park, and 2) Note that Sunday brunch here is reportedly out of this world.
Traditional Italian cuisine is served with a side of live opera at Victor Cafe, a longtime fixture of Dickinson Street in South Philly. Here, servers double as trained opera singers who, every 15 to 20 minutes, erupt into song that resounds through the cozy, candlelit space. Listen for the bell to signal that a performance is about to begin.
Plush upholstered booths, embroidered pillows in sumptuous fabrics, and ambient lighting from glass lanterns set the scene for a romantic dinner at Marrakesh. Explore the vibrant flavors of authentic Moroccan fare, pausing between courses to take in a hip-shaking performance from professional belly dancers.
Quirky couples with a penchant for irreverence will appreciate this charming, decades-old corner spot in Rittenhouse Square. Savvy diners know to request a seat in the tiny upstairs bar area, which sees little light besides the luminescent glow of the bar's saltwater fish tank and blacklight menu board.
The cramped quarters will force you to get a little closer to your date, a welcome problem when romance is the name of the game.
Lobster macaroni and cheese and handcrafted cocktails are stand-outs on the menu at R2L, but people don't really come to this New American eatery for the food: Visitors arrive for the stunning, sweeping panoramic view, as R2L's position within the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place promises an unparalleled peek at Philadelphia's glittering city lights. Arrive at sunset for the full experience.
There's a reason why the Water Works is a popular site for weddings and engagements: the landmark venue is perched on the edge of the Schuylkill River, overlooking Boathouse Row. Those simply in search of a romantic dinner can enjoy the same view from the restaurant's outdoor patio.