Dating is hardly the easiest or most enjoyable thing people choose to do with their time, but luckily there are dozens of restaurants in the Boston area that make it easier. For anyone in the market for a dinner date, here’s an assortment of Boston-and-slightly-beyond standbys to cover any need: places for casual and quiet conversation, swanky spots with top-notch city views, comfortable restaurants with affordable meals, and a few high-end classics.Read More
22 Ideas for Great Dinner Dates Around Boston
Good places to dine with a date, whether you’re looking for cozy conversation or lively fun
Nothing more traditional for a date than 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.
3. Casa B
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-inspired small plates and entrees that draw influence from the owners’ hometowns in Puerto Rico and Colombia.
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4. The Longfellow Bar
A gorgeous space above its 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, including the famous burger from Alden & Harlow — as well as a burger of its own.
A longtime standby in Cambridge, Oleana is another one you’ll most likely have to pick ahead of time, but it’s well worth it (or — if weather permits — show up right at opening to try to snag a patio seat; it’s one of the most romantic patios in town.) Share some Mediterranean bites over a glass of wine. Might as well stay for the world-famous baked Alaska while you’re at it.
6. Little Donkey
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 at Little Donkey 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.
7. Mamma Maria
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. (There’s a designated vegetarian menu here, too.)
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8. Craigie on Main
A classic date-night destination, Craigie on Main has tasting menus available in the dining room — or try the bar (recently rebranded as COMB, for “Craigie on Main Bar”) for a bit more of a casual, a la carte experience.
9. Neptune Oyster
This is possibly the best option for a longer, multi-stop date night. Head to Neptune Oyster to get on the waiting list (it’ll be long, most likely) before wandering through the North End until your table is ready. 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.
10. Lone Star Taco Bar
How about a casual taco dinner at Lone Star in Allston? Get some margaritas, too.
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. For a double feature, visit sibling and neighbor Drink for a subterranean cocktail show before or after dinner.
12. Lolita Fort Point
13. The Glenville Stops
Quiet and comfortable with a good selection of beer and wine and delicious entrees, the Glenville Stops is a perfect spot for cozy conversation. It also recently expanded the dining room and now hosts live music weekly on Thursday nights. The bar is open “until whenever” if the date is going well and the conversation carries on, but if all else fails, chat with the staff: They’re warm and welcoming.
14. Island Creek Oyster Bar
Share some raw bar items and appreciate the bounty of seafood Boston has to offer at Island Creek Oyster Bar. It’s centrally located and has great beverages, too. (Still thirsty? Head to sister cocktail bar the Hawthorne next door — it’s one of the best in town.)
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15. Top of the Hub
Boston’s most stereotypical restaurant-with-a-view, Top of the Hub is located 52 floors up above Back Bay and is a good spot for a dressy date. The view comes with a price; try the lounge for small plates, cocktails, and live music if you don’t want to embark on the dining room’s tasting menus or $40 entrees.
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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 around the corner, a standing-room-only “adult snack bar,” for small bites and more booze.)
17. Myers + Chang
Myers + Chang is a reliable destination for consistent food and service, and there’s even a designated “cheap date night” menu at the self-described “Asian-ish” neighborhood restaurant, a South End favorite for over a decade. Go on Monday or Tuesday from 5 to 10 p.m. and choose from three $45 multi-dish dinners — and that’s $45 for the pair, not per person. Wine is also available by the half-carafe or bottle.
18. Fox & the Knife
Go for the aperitvo hour, stay for the cheesy focaccia bread and the pesto pasta. There’s care in every dish, as well as delicious cocktails and friendly staff, at Fox & the Knife, one of the best new restaurants in the country. Linger a while with a date to explore the delights of the amaro cart.
19. Prairie Fire
True to its name, Prairie Fire features wood-fired dishes, including crispy pizzas and luscious pasta dishes, including a squid ink campanelle with lobster arrabiata. There’s a select list of cocktails, wine, and craft beer, as well.
Sure, there are a lot of Italian options on this map, but don’t miss Mida. Its Monday night special, in particular, is perfect for a date: For $35 per person, feast on all-you-can-eat pasta (made in-house, of course), salad, and bread.
21. The Haven
There’s plenty of live music, hospitality, and hearty food at the Haven, Boston’s “Scottish headquarters.” Dig into the extensive Scotch whisky list and try some haggis and a deep-fried Mars bar with your date.
22. Merengue Restaurant
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.