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Feb 11, 2002 03:38 PM

Romantic dining in MD/DC

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My wife and I have been to many great romantic restaurants and are always searching for something new. We have enjoyed the Inn at Little Washington, L'Auberge Chez Francois, Laboratorio Galileo, the Tabard Inn, the Iron Gate, Citronelle, Kinkead's and the Old Angler's Inn.
Would someone recommend a restaurant like those above which is uncrowded (very important) during the week and is in the Rockville/Bethesda/NW DC area? We enjoy all types of cuisine. Any dish recommendations would be appreciated.

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  1. Two Quail on Cpaitol Hill is very pretty, I like the (outdoor) patio dining at L'Auberge & that restaurant near Great Falls MD.

    If you're thinking of romantic dining for Valentine's Day time, it's a mistake to try for a quiet, slow, romantic meal on the busiest night of the restaurant year. That night the wait staffs want to turn over tables quickly, service is rushed & stressed, nice restaurants are packed & sometimes menu prices are increased. I would greatly encourage you to celebrate Valentine's Day somewhere nice 1-2 nights later instead...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lori S
      Always searching...

      Two Quail sounds intriguing and is relatively near my office. Might have to give it a go.
      I would not even think of venturing out on Valentine's Day. I used to work in the restaurant business and remember how insane it was. Better to stay home and cook a standing rib roast than attempt to tame the CROWDS.


      1. re: Always searching...

        I'll second Lori's recommendation of Two Quails as a romantic restaurant with good food at reasonable prices. One thing to try for is to get there early enough or know the greeter (the person in charge of seating, etc.) well enough to score a booth with curtains. It will further enhance the romantic setting and make you feel like you have your own private hide-away. As an added bonus, it's just a short walk to the Capital where the backside has a breathtaking view of the city overlooking the Mall. This was still closed to the public as of two weeks ago, but when they reopen it, I highly recommend it as a place to walk to after dinner at Two Quails.

    2. Here are two DC ideas:

      The Little Fountain Cafe on 18th St in Adams Morgan. Romantic, cozy, very good food. It never used to be crowded during the week but since a favorable review in the Washington Post magazine on 2/3, it's gotten much busier. You should probably wait until the hoopla dies down. On Sunday evening, the spinach salad, a veal chop special, and roast chicken were good. The kitchen had sold out of all the dishes favorably mentioned in the review, which you should check out for more ordering hints.

      Bistrot Lepic on Wisconsin Ave. in Glover Park. This place has fabulous French food at surprisingly reasonable prices. It may be a bit crowded for your taste. Maybe early in the week would work. I was last there on a Thursday night right before Xmas and it was pretty full, though still very pleasant. I hate to admit it but I can't remember what we ordered. I do remember that there were four of us and we all enjoyed everything we ate.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Louise
        Always searcing...

        Bistrot Lepic sounds great. I have heard good things and have always wanted to try it.

        Thanks for the recommendations!

      2. Some of my favorite restaurants that I think are romantic are below...these all run on the smaller, more intimate side of things, and can seem busy even on a week night, just to let you know.

        In DC, I love Cashion's Eat Place. The food is wonderful, and changes with the seasons. The decor is soothing which is conducive to talk. Great food and great conversation with the spouse is ALWAYS romantic in my book.

        I also love Jaleo. The small portions meant to share seem quite sensual to me. My husband and I are always holding our forks out for each other. The decor is exotic (I am thinking of their large mural), and the food makes me think I am on vacation. BUT! It's proximity to MCI center makes it busy busy busy on weeknights, so check the Caps/Wiz schedule before making your week night reservation.

        In Bethesda I really really really love Cesco Trattoria. Italian food is very romantic to me. And they have a wonderful, simple, Italian menu. It's owned by Francesco Ricchi (of many other DC Italian spots). The restaurant's Tagialtelle Bolognese is the most authentic I have ever had anywhere. The obligatory pre-meal bread basket is filled with tomato-topped foccacia that is the stuff of dreams (I once asked if I could have some to take home and was obliged). If the Tomato-Cucumber-Bread salad is on the menu, order it. It is so fresh and tastes so much like summer. They also have wonderful fish...I am thinking of their sea bass on a bed of pepper stew. (Holy crap...I am making myself so hungry typing this!)

        Farther out of your zone, but one that I really like and find romantic is Tersiguel's in historic Ellicott City. I like the way Fernand, the owner, is always hovering, making sure all is the way it should be. A lot of restaurants in historic homes concentrate on their "romantic" ambience and lose out on the food, but not here. They've got it both. And for romance, Crepes Suzette is prepared table side. It is an "occasion" restaurant that I could eat at on a regular basis. They also have terrific is one of my favorite places to order them. (oysters are an aphrodesiac, right? Now THAT's romantic). Nice wine list, too.

        If I think of anything else...I'll post again.


        1 Reply
        1. re: dstultz
          Always searching...

          Thank you for the recommendations. We have been to Cesco in Bethesda and had a great time. The osso bucco is the standard by which I judge all others. We both love a good bolognese and that alone sounds like a reason to go back. Recently we have been making it from scratch using the recipe in the book "Best Recipes." It is fantastic. The only drawback is that we will never be able to truly enjoy jarred sauces with ground beef again.
          Many thanks!