Best of L.A.

10 Best Romantic Restaurants in L.A.

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Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM

click to enlarge taco love at El Pique - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • taco love at El Pique
Valentine's Day is fast approaching, thus it is time to book reservations at your favorite swank restaurant. Assuming you have a date for the evening. If you do not, well, check back later for our Best Dive Bars in L.A. list.

Of course your significant other may not be the white tablecloth sort, so where to take him or her isn't nearly as straightforward as Providence or Michael's or Rivera. All this depends on many variables, not the least being the status of your bank account. Other things to think about: If your date is your spouse of 25 years and co-parent of your five kids, the beloved you're wanting to propose to with the arrival of the mignardise, or just somebody you just met at a bar. So we've compiled a list of the 10 best romantic restaurants in L.A. that accounts for some of these variables.

It should go without saying that, if you can cook at all, staying home is a fine option. (No bouquet-carrying crowds! No valet parking!) You could also get Sichuan to-go, rent a stack of Fellini movies and lock the door, which is certainly cheaper -- and exactly as romantic as you make it. And, finally, there is the caveat that your local taco truck is possibly the best choice of all: close to home, with your car handy for making out, and you save the cash for that trip to Prague. But then, some of us are cheap dates. Turn the page.

click to enlarge interior of Canele - DAINA SOLOMON
  • Daina Solomon
  • interior of Canele
10. Canele:

Canele is the sort of restaurant that is many things to many people: a local hangout, a great weekend brunch spot, a place to sit at the bar and watch chef-owner Corina Weibel assemble her salt-roasted branzino. It is also a lovely date restaurant: no reservations taken, the menu scrawled in chalk on the wall. Canele is small and cozy, lit by candles and the occasional flambé. The governing principle is that of the neighborhood -- a small misshapen canele will be given to you on your way out: a token dessert, a parting gift -- and, as such, one feels at home dining here, in quiet conversation, the beautiful plates of food as familiar and intimate as the company. 3219 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 666-7133.>

click to enlarge Palate Food + Wine interior - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Palate Food + Wine interior
9. Palate Food + Wine:

Part of the enormous appeal of Octavio Beccera's restaurant is how incommensurate it is. You're in Glendale for starters, which is about as romantic as Peoria. You're in Car Dealership Land (honey, let's test-drive a Hyundai!), just south of the suburban dystopia of Americana at Brand. But enter Palate and you forget all that as soon as you're through the doors. The place is gorgeous but unintimidating, the white tablecloths more pragmatic than Michelin-oriented, the chefs working in the open kitchen nicely tattooed. (Becerra's ink predates the fashionable food chef crowd by decades.) Before the beautiful plates of house-cured this or grilled local that, order the porkfolio and a Mason jar of confit lamb and lots of wine. And then, beneath the giant glass grapes arranged in enormous urns -- the locavore food movement as interpreted by Nero -- your dinner will arrive and your date will be impressed and you will be happy. 933 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; (818) 662-9463.

click to enlarge fireplace at Lucques - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • fireplace at Lucques
8. Lucques:

There are few dining experiences more pastoral and lovely than sharing a meal of pancetta-wrapped snapper with parsnips, a bowl of perfectly constructed herb-laden soup and a single warm apple tart in the back patio of Suzanne Goin's West Hollywood restaurant. The house-baked rustic bread and the tiny bowls of the olives for which the place is named will appear and disappear, along with the servers and the bottles of wine. If it is cold, the heat lamps will warm you, as will a few minutes in front of the enormous fireplace that functions as both centerpiece and emblem for the comfortable restaurant, located in Harold Lloyd's old carriage house. One thinks, as one sits by the fire with a glass and one's companion, the crowds moving like water, the high wooden beams arching overhead, that Lucques would not only be a terrific place to return, but to live. 8474 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood; (323) 655-6277.

Turn the page for #7, etc...

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