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. Whatever it is, Philadelphia offers at least a little bit of everything.
Philly is a pretty good place to take your sweetheart out for a date, whether it be to a cozy French bistro, a lively Moroccan restaurant, or the dining room of a fancy hotel.
Bibou is probably the classiest cash-only BYOB restaurant you'll ever see. It's one of Philadelphia's top fine dining destinations, offering a little taste of Paris in the City of Brotherly Love. Sunday prix fixe dinners are for culinary exploration packed into four flavorful courses. The vibe here is intimate and relaxed, but don't expect to be seated without a reservation.
A verdant oasis awaits on the outdoor patio at Talula's Garden, a farm-to-table eatery that takes the cake in terms of al fresco dining in this city. 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. You could hardly get more romantic than this.
A meal at this buzz-worthy Italian restaurant will set you back a pretty penny, but critics and regular diners would agree that 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. Dining with your honey here is an all-around experience.
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 quintessential Parisian bistro experience, from the pressed tin ceiling all the way down to the open kitchen and the red banquette seating. So, go ahead and make date night a little more interesting by going "abroad."
Housed within The Rittenhouse, one of Philly's most luxurious hotels, Lacroix serves stylish, contemporary American fare in a posh and elegantly-appointed dining room. Request a table by the window overlooking Rittenhouse Square Park for a little extra ambiance, and try out the Sunday brunch—it's 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, filling 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, your date-night escape to Morocco. Explore the vibrant flavors of authentic Moroccan fare (lamb tagine, couscous in the High Atlas, and more), 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.
There's a reason why 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.
Lobster macaroni and cheese and handcrafted cocktails are a couple standouts on R2L's menu, but people don't really come to this "New American" eatery for the food. Rather, visitors come for the stunning, sweeping panoramic view, as R2L's position on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place promises an unparalleled peek at Philadelphia's glittering city lights. Arrive at sunset for the full experience.