Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Doesn’t matter if you’re a believer or if you’re in the “Valentine’s Day is just a commercial holiday made to sell more cards by Hallmark” camp. It’s always good to have a few go-to romantic spots in your back pocket…especially if you’ve just swiped right. Here’s a comprehensive list of the most romantic (independently owned) date night restaurants in Long Beach.
1. Café Piccolo
Easily the most romantic restaurant in Long Beach, with food to match. Unassumingly nestled between a nail salon and tanning studio along Broadway, sits Cafe Piccolo. The lights, indoor/outdoor patio and classic Italian fare won’t disappoint or break the bank. Time to break out that special bottle of wine you’ve been hoarding! Corkage is only $15/bottle.
You might be wondering what a chocolate shop is doing on this list. Well, Romeo Chocolates opened up late last year and recently launched their small savory plates menu. Now you can have your cheese board and Belgian sipping chocolate in the same place! All bon bons, truffles and chocolate bars are made in-house. They’re almost too pretty to eat. Be sure to pre-order your gifts online or in-store. They even sell wine, and have teamed up with local florist, Darlington Flowers, which makes Romeo Chocolates the perfect one-stop-Valentines-shop.
Romeo Chocolates is also the newest addition to our Downtown Long Beach Walking Tour! Think a food tour is the perfect day date? Enjoy 15% OFF all tours in February, on us. Just use promo code: LOVE15 at checkout. Still not convinced?? Check out Romeo’s feature in the LA Times!
Our list wouldn’t be complete without Long Beach’s most romantic, upscale steakhouse. Chianina (pronounced: key-a-nee-na), is the oldest, tallest and heaviest breed of Italian cattle. They’re known for their family-style Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan Porterhouse). Most cuts are meant to be shared, making them perfect for a date night. For a cool $115, you can score their Beef Tasting, which comes with a 4oz portion of Chianina, Prime Black Angus, and American Wagyu. Too rich for your blood? Pony up to the bar during Happy Hour. Enjoy 50% off the bar menu daily from 5-7pm and ALL NIGHT ON SUNDAYS!
If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, give Aji a shot. You can’t go wrong with Peruvian because there’s literally something for everyone. Peru shares culinary influences from Japan, China, Italy and Latin America. Want fried rice? Get the Arroz Chaufa. Want fish? Get the classic Ceviche Moderno. Want Steak & Fries? Get the Lomito Saltado. Still can’t decide? Try something new! It’s all good.
5. Open Sesame
Open Sesame has been a Belmont Shore staple for almost 20 years. Their authentic Lebanese cuisine and decor, complete with an eclectic blend of painted ceramic tiles and levantine furniture, will make you feel like you’ve just walked in to dinner in the heart of Beirut. Just be sure to get the spicy potatoes….and maybe lay off the garlic spread if you’re lookin’ to get a kiss later. You could always get some to-go for later.
Ellie’s is the newest welcome addition to Alamitos Beach. Owner, Jason Witzl, had an extensive history at some of Southern California’s top dining establishments, until he decided to open his Southern Italian inspired kitchen in the good old LBC. If you think his history has a price tag to match, you’re wrong. Chef Witzl is hell-bent on keeping Ellie’s accessible for the neighborhood, with a $25, 3-course prix-fixe menu. Just pick a house-made pasta, and the kitchen will design the rest of the menu around it. What’s more romantic than the element of surprise? Also…get the grilled bread with pork butter. You’re welcome.
If you find yourself in the neighborhood for brunch, you’ll be happy to know they now serve Downtown favorite (and tour partner), Recreational Coffee.
7. 4th & Olive
Long Beach’s only Alsatian restaurant will not disappoint. A blend of German and French flavors and white tablecloths set the stage for the perfect date night. Start by selecting a bottle of wine to share from their hyper-regional list. Be sure to split one of their warm, house baked, soft pretzels. Next, spring for the Choucroute Garnie: house made sausages, bacon and sauerkraut, meant to be shared. Since dessert isn’t their strong point, you can always continue the night with a trip to “Decadence Alley” (Pine Ave between 4th and 6th) for a sweet bite from The Pie Bar, Romeo Chocolates, Crepe Crafters or Saints and Sinners Bakeshop.
With the literal translation being “The Bad Language,” it might be surprising to see that La Parolaccia made the list. But if you’ve ever been there, you’ll get it. It’s the epitome of charming. Step in to find paintings of the Italian coastline, depictions of Roman ruins, and ceramic dish-ware adorning the walls. Split a bottle of Chianti and start the night off sharing one of their authentic Margherita pizzas. For a moment, you just might forget you’re not in Italy.
9. Panxa Cocina
Panxa (pronounced pan-zah), is the Catalan word for “belly.” Now we all know the quickest way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Clearly they got the memo. Panxa specializes in Southwestern Cuisine, with influences from New Mexico, and Oaxaca. The dimly lit dining room and bar set the stage for an intimate night out. Begin with one of their craft tequila cocktails and the Charred Queso Oaxaca (spicy!). From there…order the Stacked Enchiladas (1/2 hatch green chile, 1/2 Christmas salsa) and Pan Seared Scallops. Finish with the Biscochito Donuts with créme anglaise…..and maybe another cocktail or two.
Last but certainly not least, is our beloved Restauration. Chef Philip Pretty has developed quite the reputation as one of the city’s fine dining pioneers. Plus, have you seen the line for brunch?? They’re doing something right over there…besides the fact they serve the best sangria in the city. Make a reservation on their (dog friendly) back patio, next to the mini herb garden and under the bistro string lights. If that’s not convincing enough, we’ve got two words for you: Oxtail Donuts. YEP.
Bon appétit, love birds!