Planning a dinner date can be a challenge, but luckily plenty of restaurants in the Boston area make it easier. Here’s an assortment of standbys to cover any special-occasion need: places for casual and quiet conversation, swanky spots with two-person set menus, comfortable restaurants with affordable meals, and a few high-end classics.Read More
21 Date-Night Destinations Around Boston
Great places to dine with a date, whether you’re looking for cozy conversation or lively fun
It’s hard to misstep on date night with a nice plate of pasta in a comfortable restaurant. Giulia delivers both, with good wine and cocktails to boot. Make a reservation in advance; this is one of the toughest tables in town.
Celeste, Eater Boston’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year, is a lively little Somerville gem filled with upbeat music, pisco, and the tempting scent of lomo saltado being fired up in the open kitchen. Get a reservation, and get ready to eat lots of ceviche.
Sip excellent rum-based cocktails and eat snacks (try the queso frito with guava sauce) at the ground-level bar at Casa B, or descend downstairs to the intimate dining room for a full meal of Caribbean-rooted small plates and entrees that draw influence from the owners’ hometowns in Puerto Rico and Colombia.
The Longfellow Bar
A gorgeous space above older sibling Alden & Harlow, the Longfellow Bar has a little something for everyone, including great cocktails and some hearty finger-food-style snacks and meals. You can even order the famous burger from Alden & Harlow here, but don’t sleep on Longfellow’s own smashed onion burger.
A longtime standby in Cambridge, Oleana is another one you’ll most likely have to reserve well in advance — or, if weather permits, you can show up right at opening to try to snag a seat at one of the most romantic patios in town. Either way, it’s worth it to share some Mediterranean bites over a glass of wine here. Might as well stay for the world-famous baked Alaska while you’re at it.
This buzzy restaurant in Central Square has a globally influenced menu designed for sharing. The cocktails are great, too, and for dessert there’s cookie dough whimsically served on a batter beater. Make a reservation if you’re in a plan-ahead mood, or be prepared to wait a bit at the bar for a table if you just show up — it’s quite a popular spot.
A romantic fine-dining restaurant in the North End’s North Square, Mamma Maria serves all the Italian classics, including osso buco, Tuscan-style rabbit pappardelle, and lobster agnolotti. The menu rotates, so enjoy the flavors of the month with a glass of wine.
This is possibly the best option for a longer, multi-stop date night. Join the waiting list at Neptune Oyster (it’s always, always long) before wandering through the North End until your table is ready and you can try Boston’s most iconic lobster roll. Stop in for a drink at any number of nearby bars, including Parla, or sit along the Greenway. End the night with a cannoli (or two) from Mike’s or Modern.
Lone Star Taco Bar
How about a casual taco dinner at Lone Star Taco Bar in Allston? It’s especially welcoming if you’re in the mood for a late-night date or a stellar hidden patio. Get some margaritas, too. A second location in Cambridge has an identical menu.
Chef Tao Liu, who hails from Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu, is behind Sichuan newcomer Little Tao in Allston. The laid-back restaurant’s spicy noodle soups will leave your lips buzzing long after the last slurp, and you won’t soon forget the brothy Chengdu mini pots filled with beef and pork intestine, either.
This is one of those classic, pre-Tinder dating destinations for a dinner on the fancier side. Sportello shows off the fine-dining acumen of restaurateur Barbara Lynch — but at a slightly lower price point than some of her other restaurants, such as No. 9 Park or Menton. To make it a double feature, visit sibling and neighbor Drink for a subterranean cocktail show before or after dinner.
Lolita Fort Point
This intimate bar in Fenway is perfect for sharing a multi-dish meal over excellent glasses of wine. Nathálie is a comfortable spot for a date, with plenty of activities in the neighborhood if you want to extend the evening. (Try Fool’s Errand, an “adult snack bar” around the corner, for small bites and more booze.)
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Myers + Chang
Myers + Chang is a reliable destination for high-quality food and service, and there’s even a designated “great date night” menu at the self-described “Asian-ish” neighborhood restaurant, a South End favorite for over a decade. Go on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m. and choose from three multi-dish dinners for $60 to $70 — that’s the price for two diners, not per person.
A Boston-born portal to Spain, Tasca is the place to go for a seemingly never-ending menu of tapas, paellas, and bottles of wine for $50 or less. On Tuesdays, there’s a tapas happy hour of sorts with a selection of $5 plates from 4 to 6 p.m.
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Fox & the Knife
Go for the aperitivo flights, stay for the cheesy focaccia bread and the spaghetti with clams: Fox & the Knife, one of the best new restaurants in the country when it debuted in 2019, continues to impress with its excellent dishes, not to mention the delicious cocktails and friendly staff.
True to its name, Prairie Fire features wood-fired dishes, including crispy pizzas, maple-glazed honeynut squash, and oysters topped with bread crumbs and green garlic scampi butter. There’s a select list of cocktails, wine, and craft beer, as well.
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Sure, there are a lot of good Italian options out there, but don’t miss Mida. Its Monday night special, in particular, is perfect for a date: For $80 for two people, feast on five pastas of your choice (made in-house, of course), salad, and bread.
It’s hard to top a dinner date spent scooping up fiery portions of lentils and lamb and beef tibs with spongey, soft injera at Ethiopian Cafe. Meat and vegetarian combination platters are each under $40 for two people, and the restaurant is BYOB. (Walk over to Streetcar to grab beer or wine ahead of time.)
One of Boston’s best Dominican restaurants (and one of the only full-service ones), Merengue is a brightly colored stunner that has been around for 25 years. The spacious venue also plays host to many events in its function room.
There’s plenty of hospitality and hearty food at the Haven, Boston’s “Scottish headquarters,” which just moved into new, larger digs in Jamaica Plain. Drink your way through the extensive Scotch whisky list and order some Scotch eggs, shepherd’s pie, and a deep-fried Mars bar with your date.