Inspired by the celebration of love that occurs annually on 14th February, we decided to compile a list of some of our favourite romantic restaurants around the globe. Some have been internationally recognised as firm members of this category, and others are sourced from personal experience. Alas, the subject is entirely subjective, but we can ensure a meal at any of the below listings will be special nonetheless.
Grotta Palazzese, Polignano a Mare
If you've ever dreamed of eating inside a cave overlooking the Adriatic Sea, this restaurant will seem to have fallen from heaven. Literally carved into a cave, this dining experience is extraordinary. Offering enough space between the tables for adequate privacy, it's quite easy to indulge in feelings of romance whilst dining here. Dating to 1700, the grotto has played host to parties aplenty, and the present iteration of a restaurant does not disappoint. Pricey but absolutely worth it, the local Italian menu is well-executed, and the wine list is excellent.
Inn of the Seventh Ray
Inn of the Seventh Ray, Topanga Canyon
Set within the hippie enclave of Topanga Canyon, this magical restaurant is reminiscent of a treehouse. Featuring different dining areas set within the trees, connected by winding brick paths, a meal here feels almost as if you're floating. Family-owned since the '70s, diners can expect excellent and warm service; the Californian cuisine – and wine list – is primarily organic, and many of the ingredients are sourced locally. A glass roof ensures accommodated dining year-round; rain is rare in this part of the world, however, so choose to sit on one of the terraces with just the sycamores as your ceiling.
Raoul's, New York City
Formerly a restaurant for in the know downtown New Yorkers, Raoul's has become increasingly popular in the past decade. This fact hasn't diminished its charm, however. Today, visitors can expect the same quintessentially New York atmosphere that has defined the restaurant since 1975: dark, bustling, somewhat loud – but still very intimate. They are famous for their Steak Frites and with good reason, but don't ignore the rest of the menu. Cocktails are perfect, too; this is the kind of place where it's practically a requirement that a romantic dinner turns into martinis and deep, sexy candle-lit conversation.
Maggie Jones, London
A Kensington favourite for over 40 years, the atmosphere of this neighbourhood restaurant imparts romance into even the most spur of the moment weeknight dinner. Serving a consistent menu of delicious French classics amongst a friendly and welcoming environment, the vibe brings the romance. Lit almost entirely by candlelight, the rustic interiors beckon lingering over a nice bottle of red; request a booth to up the ante and intensify the intimacy.
Limosneros, Mexico City
There are so many incredible restaurants in Mexico City that it takes a lot for one to stand out. Located in the city's historical centre, Limosneros is one of them. Low, soft lighting spotlights the stone-walled interiors; high ceilings impart a cavernous feel that encourages intimacy at the table. Buzzy but not overwhelming, dinner à deux here is perfect for holding hands across the table and long chats over mezcal. The food menu spans the country and tradition, offering some familiar favourites alongside more adventurous options; again, a meal here is about togetherness, so sharing is the best route for enjoyment of all kinds.
If dining in the Jardins des Tuileries, a stone's throw away from the Louvre, isn't enough in and of itself, throw some truffles into the mix to guarantee a sexy dining experience. Named after Yves Saint Laurent's muse, Loulou de la Falaise, this magical restaurant features the best of Paris in an impossibly chic and very French way. The food is Italian and best shared – everything is delicious, but the environs are the defining draw of the experience, so order a bunch, pick at it, and take your time. Nearly 20 champagnes by the bottle offer further opportunity for luxe indulgence.
The River Café
The River Café, Brooklyn
The River Café's location underneath the Brooklyn Bridge incites the feeling of being on a boat – you're literally at water's edge, and the views are breathtaking. The romantic sensibility of this restaurant is almost overwhelming, as the surrounding scenery and view – accompanied by nightly live piano – beckon love. The food is delicious, too; the restaurant holds a Michelin star, and the wine list is world-renowned. Complementing each other in equal measure, the combination of food and view has borne witness to many proposals, first loves, and more. Whether that's in the cards or not, relax and enjoy a Manhattan – by the time you leave, a betrothal may become more appealing.
For more information or recommendations, please contact your lifestyle manager.