10 Best Romantic Restaurants in L.A.
|a table near the Yamashiro garden|
You are not here for the food, plates of Asian fusion-y things like spicy tuna crispy rice with black tobiko and micro arugula and hamachi with white truffle-infused ponzu (more micro arugula!). You're not here for the drinks either, even though a few lychee martinis and infused pineapple sake-tinis may help your cause. You are here for the atmosphere of this Japanese-style restaurant -- the kanji for Yamashiro translates to "mountain palace" -- built in the 1920s in the Hollywood Hills, with impressive views of Hollywood below you, the famous Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory, the 600-year-old pagoda brought over from Japan to the property. You are here to sit by the interior garden as dusk falls, and to appreciate the various landscapes. You are here, particularly if you are of Korean parentage and such a thing appeals to you, to propose. But if marriage isn't your thing, there is always the farmers market, held in the spring on the Yamashiro grounds. 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 466-5125.
A. Scattergood a table at Babita's
Go down San Gabriel Boulevard, past the repeating strip malls of this part of the SGV, and you'll find, on a badly lit and oddly desolate corner, a tiny restaurant where one should not be. Open the doors to the place and you'll transition from utter doubt to instant pleasure. Here you will sit at a quiet table in a small room with few of them, in an unexpectedly formal atmosphere -- candlelight, tablecloths -- and find yourself being poured wine and served chef-owner Roberto Berrelleza's exquisite Sinaloa-influenced food on carefully orchestrated plates. Order the chef's refined version of barbacoa, or better yet, the shrimp Topolobampo, a happily incendiary dish that, if you're lucky, your dining partner will love as much as you do. Quick date compatibility check-list: politics, religion, habanero-laced wine sauce. 1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel; (626) 288-7265.
Anne Fishbein omakase at Kiyokawa
If you think about it, there are fewer places as utterly romantic as a very good sushi bar. You sit elbow-to-elbow with your beloved, the table an altar, the sushi chef ministering to your tastes and wishes. If you are there for the omakase, which you should be, chef-owner Satoshi Kiyokawa will ask you what you want in a serene call and response. And then the procession will begin -- grilled sanma, Spanish mackerel, abalone, whole Santa Barbara prawn -- like an ad hoc ceremony, which of course it is. 265 S. Robertson Blvd.; Beverly Hills; (310) 358-1900.
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