Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days in the restaurant industry for good reason: There’s something undeniably special about treating yourself and your partner to a relaxing night out. And while you could just go to a neighborhood favorite, we wanted something a little more special this year. So we asked Mimi Sheraton, author of 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die, for advice. Here are her picks for the most romantic restaurants in the United States.
5 Most Romantic Restaurants in the United States
Thomas Keller’s legendary Napa Valley restaurant has won every imaginable award. Set in an utterly serene, peaceful wine country landscape, the old stone house filled with the glow of many candles bears an instant, low-key mystique. But the food, of course, trumps the atmosphere. Dining at the French Laundry became a symbol of food connoisseurship, and Keller was among the first chefs to take charge of exactly where his ingredients came from—often growing his herbs and vegetables in the gardens adjoining his restaurant, or importing from as far away as necessary to get what he considered the best.
Get The French Laundry Cookbook here.
New York, NY
La Grenouille has been drawing in the world’s most glamorous crowd since it opened in 1962 (think Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Vreeland). It remains timelessly romantic, serving perfectly executed French delicacies amidst lavish floral bouquets and flattering rose-gold lighting.
A pioneer in American cuisine, chef Grant Achatz’s Michelin starred Alinea represents the best of the molecular gastronomy movement—brilliant fundamentals and exquisite taste paired with a groundbreaking approach to new techniques and equipment in a posh, intimate setting. If your date isn’t impressed, we don’t know what to tell you.
In her glowingly romantic but informal restaurant Oleana, Ana Sortun’s enticing food highlights the spices that have been her passion ever since her first experiences of Turkey and its cuisine. Just about all of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean herbs and spices are featured in her dishes—sometimes flavoring the fresh produce she and her husband grow on their farm—to captivating results.
New Orleans, LA
This internationally renowned institution has done more to influence New Orlean’s fine-dining scene than almost any other. Now over a century old, the classic French-Creole restaurant will give you a reason to dress to the nines (jackets required) and have an unforgettable night out. Ask for a table in the original street-level dining room for the quintessential Galatoire’s experience.
About the Book:
The ultimate gift for the food lover. In the same way that 1,000 Places to See Before You Die reinvented the travel book, 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die is a joyous, informative, dazzling, mouthwatering life list of the world’s best food. The long-awaited new book in the phenomenal 1,000 . . . Before You Die series, it’s the marriage of an irresistible subject with the perfect writer, Mimi Sheraton—award-winning cookbook author, grande dame of food journalism, and former restaurant critic for The New York Times.
1,000 Foods fully delivers on the promise of its title, selecting from the best cuisines around the world (French, Italian, Chinese, of course, but also Senegalese, Lebanese, Mongolian, Peruvian, and many more)—the tastes, ingredients, dishes, and restaurants that every reader should experience and dream about, whether it’s dinner at Chicago’s Alinea or the perfect empanada. In more than 1,000 pages and over 550 full-color photographs, it celebrates haute and snack, comforting and exotic, hyper-local and the universally enjoyed: a Tuscan plate of Fritto Misto. Saffron Buns for breakfast in downtown Stockholm. Bird’s Nest Soup. A frozen Milky Way. Black truffles from Le Périgord.
Mimi Sheraton is highly opinionated, and has a gift for supporting her recommendations with smart, sensuous descriptions—you can almost taste what she’s tasted. You’ll want to eat your way through the book (after searching first for what you have already tried, and comparing notes). Then, following the romance, the practical: where to taste the dish or find the ingredient, and where to go for the best recipes, websites included.