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Oysters and clams on ice at Found Oyster in LA.
Found Oyster
Wonho Frank Lee

16 First Date Restaurants in LA That Help Seal the Deal, Winter 2020

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Found Oyster
| Wonho Frank Lee

First dates. They’re exciting and stressful, and always come down to one essential question: where is the best place to go? Thankfully, Los Angeles is a city full of options that run the gamut of tastes, from fine-dining with tons of class and history, to casual dining rooms that steers the mood towards an effortless first date.

But before getting there, it’s best to check a few boxes. Fun cocktails in a cozy drinking den can rid of any jitters. If romantic vibes are key, selecting a muted, conversation-inducing environment is key. And to really keep things casual, a game-filled room might be the best way to keep it fun. To help with the process is a handy list of some of the best first date restaurants in LA.

Added: Antica, Arts District Brewing Company, Bar Ama, Barcade, Everson Royce Bar, Found Oyster, M. Georgina, Melody, Mirabelle Wine Bar, Tabula Rasa, Sosta, Sunset Restaurant

Removed: Faith & Flower, Petty Cash Taqueria, Cliff’s Edge, The Corner Door, MessHall Kitchen, Sotto, Cafe Stella, Little Beast, Hanjip (closed), The Garden Bar, Westbound (closed), Wilde Wine Bar & Restaurant (closed), Michael’s, Salazar, Norah, Suburbia (closed)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mirabelle Wine Bar

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12518 Burbank Blvd
Valley Village, CA 91607
(818) 927-4241
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Nestled in Valley Village is the cozy neighborhood Mirabelle Wine Bar, which feels like a fine French hideaway lit perfectly by warm light. The friendly bartenders will take the time to help order the best beer, wine, or menu which sports French onion soup, crispy bao buns, or vegetarian chili.

2. Barcade

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5684 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 274-4798
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It truly is all fun and games at Barcade in Highland Park. Aside from old-school games like Asteroids, Pac Man, and Joust. The staff produces a casual menu of tater tots, burgers, and a vegan poutine.

3. Highland Park Bowl

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5621 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 257-2695
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It’s always nice to have an activity as part of a first date to keep the pressure off and the good times rolling. The gorgeous Highland Park Bowl has everything for a good first date: fine drinks, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and a chance to dust off those bowling shoes.

4. Tabula Rasa Bar

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5125 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 290-6309
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East Hollywood’s Tabula Rasa keeps things simple with wine, beer, and food. That might be the perfect spot to launch a fist date. Its wine cellar keeps 150 bottles on site, eight rotating beer taps, and hot soft pretzels, a killer Cuban sandwich, and farro salad; wins all around.

Tabula Rasa bar in Hollywood, California
Tabula Rasa
Wonho Frank Lee

5. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

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1534 N McCadden Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 366-2408
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It’s bound to be a romantic date at the pizzeria best known from author Elizabeth Gilbert, who mentioned Antica Pizzeria in her bestselling novel, “Eat Pray Love.” Its notoriety rose when Julia Roberts starred in the movie adaptation in 2010. Antica opened in 2019 with a pretty patio, fireplace, and birds-eye view into the pizza-making den, and the dates haven’t stopped since.

6. Found Oyster

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4880 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 486-7920
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This East Hollywood spot takes a refreshing approach to shellfish. Nab a seat at the bar, and share something briney from the raw section, or share the incredible clam chowder with a glass of rose.

Bar at Found Oyster with black stools. Wonho Frank Lee

7. Melody

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751 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 922-6037
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Melody’s casual space changes from night to night, thanks to a rotating series of ongoing food pop-ups and tight list of always-changing natural wine. This wine bar has plenty of seating, including a gorgeous (heated) back patio. Check Melody’s Instagram page to see who is cooking up in the kitchen, and enjoy a date with minimal fuss.

8. Bar Amá

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118 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-8002
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Josef Centeno’s Downtown Tex Mex spot will please most diners with its green enchiladas, yellowtail ceviche, and carne guisada chalupa, but the dining room is just a pleasant place to sit and have an intimate chat without losing one’s voice.

Bar Ama Downtown LA Bar Ama

9. Arts District Brewing Company

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828 Traction Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 519-5887
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If conversation becomes awkward, the best pivot is to play a game. The Arts District Brewing Company produces some quality ale and keeps things lively, but the real draw is the many classic bar games like restored vintage skeeball, Buck Hunter, shuffle bowling, and more.

10. Everson Royce Bar

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1936 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 335-6166
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This understated (at least on the outside) Arts District bar can accommodate any type of date, whether stationed on the patio with a bocce ball court, or in the comfy interior. There’s something for every mood here, as the cocktails are inventive, and the food is delicious. For an easy pick, try the classic burger.

Everson Royce Bar in Downtown Los Angeles [Official Photo]

11. M.Georgina

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777 Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 334-4113
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Downtown’s M. Georgina is for those seeking a romantic and five star experience. Chef Melissa Perello’s menu shines at Row where the vibe is refined, yet relaxed. Try the wood-baked black cod, or share the duck for two.

12. Margot

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8820 Washington Blvd General Chemistry Lab
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 643-5853
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Culver City rooftop spot Margot does a bit of everything. The mostly outdoor restaurant keeps a loungey upbeat vibe, draws in fun weekend crowds, and is plush with outdoor seating that offers views of the city and the elevated train as it passes by. Add in some cocktails and small bites, and make a night of it at one of the cooler date spots in LA.

13. Fritto Misto

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620 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-2829
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When in doubt, go for Italian food. That’s the idea behind Fritto Misto, the Westside staple where slightly upscaled service and ambiance go a long way. There are lots of places to drink, play games, and get to know someone; how about a dinner to match a more adult mood?

14. The Sunset Restaurant

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6800 Westward Beach Rd
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 589-1007
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It’s hard to beat the views at the aptly-named Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. The year-round dining destination does require a bit of a trek for anyone living in LA proper, but what better way to end a date hiking or walking the beach than with a glass of wine, some seafood or pasta, and Instagram shots of the sun going down.

A charming sunset over a plate of spaghetti.
Sunset Restaurant
Sunset Restaurant

15. Chez Jay

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1657 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-1741
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It’s hard to think of a more fun first date spot than Chez Jay, the near-timeless beach-adjacent dive bar in Santa Monica. Every night is a Christmas Party paradise with inexpensive drinks, lots of things to do nearby, and now with the updated patio in the back, there’s more room than ever to relax and enjoy an evening out.

Inside the colorful, packed Chez Jay in Santa Monica.
Chez Jay
Elizabeth Daniels

16. Sosta

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439 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
(424) 391-5959
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For casual candle-lit ambiance not far from the beach, it’s hard to beat Sosta in Hermosa. The charming Italian cucina seems perfectly built for handmade pasta, glasses of red wine, and sunset conversation that spills into warm evening dinner.

A charming Italian restaurant with wooden table and candle in the middle.
Sosta
Sosta

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1. Mirabelle Wine Bar

12518 Burbank Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607

Nestled in Valley Village is the cozy neighborhood Mirabelle Wine Bar, which feels like a fine French hideaway lit perfectly by warm light. The friendly bartenders will take the time to help order the best beer, wine, or menu which sports French onion soup, crispy bao buns, or vegetarian chili.

12518 Burbank Blvd
Valley Village, CA 91607

2. Barcade

5684 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

It truly is all fun and games at Barcade in Highland Park. Aside from old-school games like Asteroids, Pac Man, and Joust. The staff produces a casual menu of tater tots, burgers, and a vegan poutine.

5684 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042

3. Highland Park Bowl

5621 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042

It’s always nice to have an activity as part of a first date to keep the pressure off and the good times rolling. The gorgeous Highland Park Bowl has everything for a good first date: fine drinks, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and a chance to dust off those bowling shoes.

5621 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90042

4. Tabula Rasa Bar

5125 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tabula Rasa bar in Hollywood, California
Tabula Rasa
Wonho Frank Lee

East Hollywood’s Tabula Rasa keeps things simple with wine, beer, and food. That might be the perfect spot to launch a fist date. Its wine cellar keeps 150 bottles on site, eight rotating beer taps, and hot soft pretzels, a killer Cuban sandwich, and farro salad; wins all around.

5125 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

5. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

1534 N McCadden Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90028

It’s bound to be a romantic date at the pizzeria best known from author Elizabeth Gilbert, who mentioned Antica Pizzeria in her bestselling novel, “Eat Pray Love.” Its notoriety rose when Julia Roberts starred in the movie adaptation in 2010. Antica opened in 2019 with a pretty patio, fireplace, and birds-eye view into the pizza-making den, and the dates haven’t stopped since.

1534 N McCadden Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90028

6. Found Oyster

4880 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Bar at Found Oyster with black stools. Wonho Frank Lee

This East Hollywood spot takes a refreshing approach to shellfish. Nab a seat at the bar, and share something briney from the raw section, or share the incredible clam chowder with a glass of rose.

4880 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

7. Melody

751 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Melody’s casual space changes from night to night, thanks to a rotating series of ongoing food pop-ups and tight list of always-changing natural wine. This wine bar has plenty of seating, including a gorgeous (heated) back patio. Check Melody’s Instagram page to see who is cooking up in the kitchen, and enjoy a date with minimal fuss.

751 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

8. Bar Amá

118 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Bar Ama Downtown LA Bar Ama

Josef Centeno’s Downtown Tex Mex spot will please most diners with its green enchiladas, yellowtail ceviche, and carne guisada chalupa, but the dining room is just a pleasant place to sit and have an intimate chat without losing one’s voice.

118 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

9. Arts District Brewing Company

828 Traction Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

If conversation becomes awkward, the best pivot is to play a game. The Arts District Brewing Company produces some quality ale and keeps things lively, but the real draw is the many classic bar games like restored vintage skeeball, Buck Hunter, shuffle bowling, and more.

828 Traction Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013

10. Everson Royce Bar

1936 E 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Everson Royce Bar in Downtown Los Angeles [Official Photo]

This understated (at least on the outside) Arts District bar can accommodate any type of date, whether stationed on the patio with a bocce ball court, or in the comfy interior. There’s something for every mood here, as the cocktails are inventive, and the food is delicious. For an easy pick, try the classic burger.

1936 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021

11. M.Georgina

777 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Downtown’s M. Georgina is for those seeking a romantic and five star experience. Chef Melissa Perello’s menu shines at Row where the vibe is refined, yet relaxed. Try the wood-baked black cod, or share the duck for two.

777 Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90021

12. Margot

8820 Washington Blvd General Chemistry Lab, Culver City, CA 90232

Culver City rooftop spot Margot does a bit of everything. The mostly outdoor restaurant keeps a loungey upbeat vibe, draws in fun weekend crowds, and is plush with outdoor seating that offers views of the city and the elevated train as it passes by. Add in some cocktails and small bites, and make a night of it at one of the cooler date spots in LA.

8820 Washington Blvd General Chemistry Lab
Culver City, CA 90232

13. Fritto Misto

620 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

When in doubt, go for Italian food. That’s the idea behind Fritto Misto, the Westside staple where slightly upscaled service and ambiance go a long way. There are lots of places to drink, play games, and get to know someone; how about a dinner to match a more adult mood?

620 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

14. The Sunset Restaurant

6800 Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265
A charming sunset over a plate of spaghetti.
Sunset Restaurant
Sunset Restaurant

It’s hard to beat the views at the aptly-named Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. The year-round dining destination does require a bit of a trek for anyone living in LA proper, but what better way to end a date hiking or walking the beach than with a glass of wine, some seafood or pasta, and Instagram shots of the sun going down.

6800 Westward Beach Rd
Malibu, CA 90265

15. Chez Jay

1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Inside the colorful, packed Chez Jay in Santa Monica.
Chez Jay
Elizabeth Daniels

It’s hard to think of a more fun first date spot than Chez Jay, the near-timeless beach-adjacent dive bar in Santa Monica. Every night is a Christmas Party paradise with inexpensive drinks, lots of things to do nearby, and now with the updated patio in the back, there’s more room than ever to relax and enjoy an evening out.

1657 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Related Maps

16. Sosta

439 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
A charming Italian restaurant with wooden table and candle in the middle.
Sosta
Sosta

For casual candle-lit ambiance not far from the beach, it’s hard to beat Sosta in Hermosa. The charming Italian cucina seems perfectly built for handmade pasta, glasses of red wine, and sunset conversation that spills into warm evening dinner.

439 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Related Maps