"Mi Amor, you look so beautiful tonight." Not to be a dream killer, but that statement whispered into your ear can sound a 1000 times more quixotic against the ultimate romantic backdrop. Los Angeles is home to an array of city views that can lure any couple into a lover's haven. With its selection of beachside activities to picturesque mountaintops, Los Angeles is enchanting to all romantic duos. From venues that embody the Zen ambiance to cafés that make you feel you're soaring through Vincent Van Gogh's Starry-Night, Los Angeles can leave you and your date asking, "Starry-eyed party for two, please?"
Mantee in Studio City grabs the number ten spot with its sexy and classy decor. Mantee offers an economically friendly Bring Your Own Beer (BYOB) policy without the corkage fee, a rare find. The charming cafe serves flavorful, rich Mediterranean mezzas such as hummus, sarma (grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables) and cheese turnovers, a few of many selections. It wouldn't be a true Mediterranean café if it didn't serve seven different types of Kebabs. Lastly, it is named after the famous Mantee dishes, among which are tortellini filled with meat and spinach for the vegetarian friendly. The family-owned restaurant swanks an intimate setting, providing indoor and outdoor patio seating lined with hanging lights. Such an ambiance invites cozy feelings and ensures an easy, warm first-date experience, or an intimate time with your long loved partner.
- Location: 10962 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA
- Phone: 818-761-6565
- Website: www.manteecafe.com
Old Town Pasadena
The number nine spot goes to an oldie but goodie. Strolling down Old Town Pasadena's 22 historic blocks, you will find a town rich in art, culture, and fashion. Every block offers a different experience from the ambiance of quaint sidewalk cafés to familiar restaurants, from affordable clothing stores to high-end fashion boutiques. You can wander the streets at dusk and into the evening and enjoy the romantic glow of the streetlights that reveal the town's historic roots. Once night falls, the town switches gears as clubs and bars open for your partying convenience.
On a simpler night, a drive down the famous Mulholland Drive, at the number eight spot, will suffice for a small getaway. After all, Tom Petty found it worthy of mention in his 'Free Fallin'' classic hit. This drive meanders through the hills of Los Angeles along Universal City, the Hollywood Sign, downtown Los Angeles and Burbank. Once you do find your favorite spot, park your car and watch the city lights flickering. This simple and low-key pastime could be either a great start or end to your evening.
- Related Guide Links
- Mulholland Drive
One amphitheater epitomizes Hollywood romance. At number seven is the famous Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl boasts a reputation of over 100 musical events each year. Prior to the show, you can dine at the Rooftop Grill's outdoor patio where a view of the Hollywood Hills complements your hearty, grilled entree. While the views do provide a spectacular backdrop, the eclectic music hosted at the Bowl, ranging from classical to rock, is what makes this venue so impressive. Whether you are sitting far up in the top bench seats or in the front box seats, the Bowl's shape promises you an entertaining show worth every penny.
Naples Island Gondola
So you want the Venice gondola experience but don't have the time or the money to go to Italy. I bear great news. Coming in at number six, Naples Island Gondola is your solution. With a short 40-45 minute drive down to Long Beach, you can board a gondola for a glorious excursion along the canals of Naples Island. Gondola Getaways Inc. will accommodate your needs so that only you and your partner are on the gondola experiencing the romantic retreat. Providing complimentary cups, ice buckets with ice, blankets, and music, Gondola Getaways allows you to bring the beverage of your liking, whether it is wine, beer or coffee.
- Make a reservation: 562-433-9595
- Website: www.gondolagetawayinc.com
Inn of the Seventh Ray
Making the fifth romantic spot on the list, Inn of the Seventh Ray is hidden in the canyons of Topanga for true romantics. Imagine walking into a forest and coming across a candle-lit table for two, precisely the feeling at the Inn of the Seventh Ray. Each table is nestled in a different area so that every couple has the sense of being the restaurant's sole inhabitants. The Inn serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Although a bit pricey, the entrees are well worth the cost, with entrees ranging from Pan Seared Halibut to duck to an Oven Roasted Filet Mignon. In addition, the restaurant also flaunts an award winning wine list. I recommend the Oven Roasted Wild Salmon accompanied with a glass of Pey-Marin Riesling.
Heading over the hill into Studio City, we arrive at the number four spot, the intimate and mysterious Firefly restaurant, hidden behind ivy-covered walls. Once inside, you're instantly submerged in a low-lit, worldly lounge lined with bookshelves where patrons relax and wind down for the day. It can get crowded inside, so if a more secluded dinner is preferred, continue on to the outdoor seating area where hanging string lights illuminate the scene. Inside or out, the seductive bars serve from a sophisticated wine list, or you might wish to try a super-stylish mixed drink.
- Location: 11720 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA
- Phone: 818-762-1833
Whether you choose to stay at Point Dume until its midnight closing or navigate farther down the coast for some tasty seafood or drinks, be sure to stop at the number three spot, Moonshadows. This restaurant and lounge not only serves the tastiest seafood in town, but also boasts a location that many competitors envy. As you dig your fork into its luscious Ahi Tuna Tartare, you can see the waves rolling right below you. If Ahi Tuna doesn't sound appealing, Moonshadows offers a variety of meats to keep you intrigued. Once you have gathered the will power to drag yourself away from the infinitely delectable menu, head over to the Blue Lounge where drinks are served in blue-lit booths overlooking the ocean.
Let's travel a bit northwest along the grandiose Pacific Coast Highway where we'll stumble upon the number two spot, Point Dume in Malibu. You can explore this vast, sandy and serene beach during the sunny day; however the serenity is amplified once sunset strikes. Succulent rosy reds, blood orange hues and golden yellows uniquely paint the skies every night, so you will never be disappointed when day ends. But don't run back to your car after the last trace of sun disappears, because the mood and atmosphere at night are perfect for some serious cuddling. Lay a blanket on the sand and fix your eyes on the sights above -- or maybe just the sight lying right next to you.
Earning the number one spot for its multifaceted nature, Griffith Park has plenty to offer. Aside from the ample number of activities and attractions, the true romance lies in the park's two largest attractions: the Greek Theater and the Griffith Observatory. The Greek Theater is the ultimate outdoor venue. Nestled amongst the trees of the Los Angeles hills, you can either be enveloped in a blanket with your lover listening to classical tune in the cool seasons, or dancing the night away to Latin beats on warm, summer nights. As for the Griffith Observatory, it is the absolute Mecca for star lovers. To gaze into the whimsical solar system with your date is a juncture in time you don't want to miss.