San Diego might be known as a casual town, but our restaurants sure do know how to set the scene if you’re looking to make an impression on a first date or celebrate a relationship milestone. From dimly-lit bistros to splashy Michelin-starred venues, here are 20 spots ready to help you sweep that special someone off their feet as Valentine’s Day approaches.Read More
20 Romantic Restaurants in San Diego for Date Night
From a first date to an anniversary dinner, here’s where to find cozy corners and memorable meals
Jeune et Jolie
The blush-colored Jeune et Jolie in North County aims to redefine French cuisine through the “vibrant lens of our Southern California landscape”, offering a charming Michelin-starred dining experience in Carlsbad. A six-course prix fixe menu with cocktail and wine pairings can be expected on February 14th. Reservations can be made here.
VAGA Restaurant & Bar
A “love letter to the city of San Diego,” the oceanfront restaurant at Alila Marea Beach Resort paints a picturesque image of the coastline at Encinitas. With its unencumbered views, sunset dinners don’t get much better than this.
A romantic stop along the 101 in Leucadia, this intimate European-style bistro offers a seasonal three-course dinner with oysters, sea bass, pepper-crusted carpaccio, and lamb chop that can be paired with a glass of wine from one of the 120 bottles carried on site. Reservations are required and can be made online.
The three-Michelin-starred Addison exhibits the “beauty and allure of California gastronomy.” Set adjacent to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar’, Addison is the ultimate special occasion destination, offering a nine-course experience by chef William Bradley with caviar and other “seasonal luxuries” this Valentine’s Day.
The dining standout at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, A.R. Valentien is known for its farm-to-table dishes which will be included in this year’s seasonal menu by chef Kelli Crosson. A suitable and welcoming venue for a date night, the dining rooms and outdoor deck sitting areas guarantee impeccable views of the Torrey Pines Golf Course.
The Marine Room
Day or night, the panoramic ocean views at The Marine Room are unmatched at this La Jolla gem. Accompany that with chef Mike Minor’s special Valentine’s Day four-course dining experience featuring ora king salmon tataki, scallop crudo, seafood risotto and a chocolate lava cake, and you’ll be swept away by both the cuisine and the crashing high tide waves. The recently renovated dining rooms and more relaxed lounge make for a perfect upscale venue by the sea.
A newer addition to La Jolla, Marisi brings the Amalfi Coast to California with its handmade pastas, wood-fired meals and elevated Italian trattoria flair. A four-course experience is planned for the season’s special occasion including options like cacio e pepe gougere, black truffle cappelletti and a tuna crudo. Reservations can be made online.
A cozy absinthe bar and wine bistro, Wormwood is from the creative group behind Tahona and Botanica. French cheese, caviar, and wagyu tartare are some of the bistro’s standouts, which can be enjoyed inside the dining room or on the lush back patio that serves as a secret garden.
Wolf In The Woods
Inspired by “classic and modern New Mexican aesthetics,” the cuisine at Wolf in The Woods draws from Native American, European, and Hispanic cultures to create a style specific to the intimate and warm Mission Hills location. Tapas, tostas, wine options and cheeseboards are just a few of the eclectic yet decadent listings here.
A midwest chophouse meets an Italian trattoria with snug booth seating and an extensive list of wine options, this Trust Restaurant Group outpost is featuring V-Day specials including a cocktail with edible flowers. For a double date, consider the Tuscan Experience, an impromptu meal for three to four people consisting of four courses selected by chef Brad Wise.
Cori Pastificio Trattoria
Recently rated one of the top Italian restaurants in the world by Gambero Rosso, this pasta palace and neighborhood gem is doing a four-course tasting menu on Valentine’s Day with optional wine pairings and the opportunity for an all-vegan version.
Alexanders on 30th
A venue that’s romantic by default, the white-and-black-color-themed Alexander’s on 30th features an outdoor patio with twinkling lights perfect for an evening filled with bruschetta, pizza and other Italian favorites.
Sitting atop the Manchester Building, a prix fixe menu and 180-degree views of the city will be served at this local icon. Choose from a 15-page wine list or the cocktail menu for your drink of choice for washing down chef Stephane Voitzwinkler’s selection of blue pool oysters, Hudson Valley duck confit rillette, and other seasonal delicacies. Reservations can be made on OpenTable.
After a day at the museums, settle into the historic Prado restaurant with an open-air patio set with fountains and sparkling lights. With both land and sea dishes, this restaurant has a variety of Spanish-centered options for everyone.
Herb & Wood
The chic and atmospheric space will offer a special Mediterranean feast in honor of Valentine’s Day priced at $125 per person with the option to add a wine pairing for an additional $60. Chef Carlos Anthony will prepare dishes like bone marrow and rack of lamb, and to finish, a chocolate lava cake and raspberry tart. Reservations are required and can be booked online.
Born and Raised
Old school meets new wave at this retro-modern steakhouse with delightful table-side cart service. Decorated with olive green Italian marble and gold detailing, the venue boasts impressive features, among them a 40-square-foot dry-aging steak room and a rooftop bar with enviable views.
A Roman trattoria perched atop the InterContinental Hotel San Diego, Seneca has an aura similar to that of an antique ocean vessel navigating through the skyline above the San Diego harbor. Pastas, pizzas and porterhouse steaks prepared on a wood-burning hearth are served here, as are pours centered on the following categories: spritz, long, fix, gin down, whiskey, and agave.
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The Desmond Restaurant
Located at the Kimpton Alma San Diego hotel in the Gaslamp, the Desmond’s moody and mysterious interior features low lighting and a modern aesthetic. As far as the dishes go, a strawberry and champagne pate de fui, Kampachi crudo and Baja striped bass will all be featured in a Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu from chef Jason Neroni while the dessert lineup calls for items like cheesecake with pomegranate and sparkling rosè gelee. Reservations are available here.
For an ultraluxe dining experience, the art-deco Animae will provide a four-course experience featuring items like tuna crudo, Kabobucha squash arancini, a matcha mochi cake and other delectable dishes for $155 per person with the option to add caviar service price tagged at $100. Reservations can be booked here.
Lumi’s colorful array of Peruvian and Japanese-inspired dishes will be featured in a special Valentine’s Day six-course experience from Friday, Feb. 10 to Sunday, Feb 12 (the restaurant will be closed on Feb. 14). Included in the menu: a heart-shaped tuna pizza, lobster tempura, Chilean sea bass, eye of ribeye topped with rose petals, and a “decadent surprise dessert.” A pink-tinted Love Royale cocktail made with Giavi Prosecco Brut and La Pinta Pomegranate Liqueur decorated with edible flowers will also be available.