The First Date
With the popularization of dating apps that allow single Angelenos to make a decision to date in seconds, now more than ever first impressions are everything. The spots listed below are notable for their drinks, but all have some awesome bites of food if things are going well enough to warrant a larger tab. Below are some places to start off a new romance in style.
Harlowe, Mid-City/West Hollywood
It is hard to know what makes something a ‘haunt,’ but this cool, chic bar in West Hollywood would probably be considered one. It exudes a relaxed and dark nature that settles all of your first date jitters. The food by Eric Greenspan (of Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese) is very serviceable if the delicious drinks make you hungry.
Bar Stella, Silverlake
If you live here, you’ve been here. But for all others this is a must-try if you’re in the neighborhood on a first date. Perfectly relaxed, fun and young enough to turn a first date into romance (if things are going well). Drinks at Bar Stella are delicious and the French bistro food at the cafe is the definition of perfect date cuisine.
Bar Stella, 3932 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (323) 666-0265
The Second Date
Congratulations – you’ve beaten the odds and made it on a second date. Here is a list of ‘medium romantic atmosphere’ restaurants; romantic enough to convey that you care, but not enough to scare your companion off. There is a subtlety to second dates. It is time to get past the nerves and really get to know each other, and these places help achieve that.
Rustic Canyon, Westside
Rustic Canyon can be casual or upscale, depending on what vibe you want to chase. The food is seasonal Californian fare, and the setting is modern without feeling pretentious. There are plenty of places to walk around after for a nightcap, if you’re feeling up to it.
Rustic Canyon, 1119 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA, USA, (310) 393-7050
This Venice mainstay is way more manageable and fun during the day. Sit outside and enjoy the Mediterranean small plates and eggs, then venture outside for a walk along Abbot Kinney that could end at the beach.
Gjenlina, 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, CA, USA, (310) 450-1429
Laurel Hardware, Mid-City/Weho
It doesn’t get much more chic than when a farm-to-table, small plates joint shows up out of nowhere in a former hardware store space. Darkly lit and very hip, Laurel is a favorite in the neighborhood and for good reason. The flavors are as strong as the drinks, and Santa Monica Boulevard is optimal for a post-dinner stroll.
Fast, casual dining establishments are all the rage these days. Order at the counter, take a number and find a seat – it is simple, clean and fast. Sycamore Kitchen is one of the prettiest iterations of this idea, and comes complete with some of the best cafe food in LA. Get the salted caramel babka roll if you want to be your date’s hero or heroine. Finish an idyllic afternoon with a walk around La Brea and shopping.
A unique menu, a spectacular atrium and juicy cocktails turn Roy Choi’s Line Hotel cafe into a wonderful experience for both diners and daters. All of the plates are meant to be shared which makes the experience so much more engaging for everyone, and the spectacular service turns an unconventional concept into an easy and fun night out. Be sure to take a stroll down the street after dinner to Brass Monkey for some after-dinner karaoke.
Little Dom’s, Los Feliz
The epitome of a neighborhood gem – in fact it almost seems as if the neighborhood grew around this street-side cafe from another era. Little Dom’s the perfect way to begin the day in Los Feliz. Walking distance to Griffith Park makes it even more attractive.
Little Dom’s, 2128 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (323) 661-0055
The Third Date
Now it’s time to follow your own instincts. The most important thing, of course, is doing what you are comfortable with and making the most of your time. The places above are simply a guide to help you find what’s right for your date and yourself. Enjoy this incredibly tasty and remarkable city.
Friendly Suggestion: Little Door, West Hollywood
Little Door is probably the prettiest place to go out on a date that isn’t Nobu Malibu. It offers whimsical French-Moroccan fare in a magical garden setting. If things are getting serious, this romantic brasserie is the spot.
Little Door, 8164 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (323) 951-1210