11 Romantic Restaurants and Bars in Paris for the Perfect Date

A dining room table and chairs in a library

Romance, lust, and love abound in the French capital: Paris is the city of love. For the day of love — Valentine’s Day — take your special someone, whether it’s your boyfriend, best friend, or self, someplace special. Here’s a roundup of 11 romantic restaurants and bars in Paris.

1. For a rustic hidden gem: Le Petit Châtelet

Exterior: Parisian restaurant
Instagram: @lepetitchatelet_officiel
At first glance, you’ll think it’s a tourist trap. Le Petit Châtelet is right next to Shakespeare & Co. in the 5th arrondissement, but this restaurant is as authentic as they come. Located in a very old building, Le Petit Châtelet is small, cozy, and warm. And when we say warm, we mean it: there’s a stone fireplace inside and they’ll cook your meat right over the flames. The food is excellent, and the price point is reasonable for such good fare and location. Reserve your spot and ask for a table on the second floor. Out the windows, you can see Notre-Dame perfectly. — 39 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Reservations: Call +33 01 46 33 53 40

2. For enjoying the modern food scene: Le Petit Cadet

Interior: Paris restaurant
Instagram: @lepetitcadet
The new Paris is about third culture food, trends, and upgrades to the old classics (including the French bistro decor). Enter Le Petit Cadet, a small brasserie in the 9th arrondissement with chic brass accents and a lofted area for a more intimate dining experience. The menu boasts unique creations and French classics, a mix of French and Italian cuisine. If the fact that the bar takes up an entire wall wasn’t sign enough, Le Petit Cadet offers an exceptional selection of drinks and a great happy hour. — 9 Rue Cadet, 75009 Reservations: Le Petit Cadet website

3. For an intimate drink: Bluebird

Clear cocktail with charred orange garnish
Instagram: @bluebird.paris
Yes, there is the very sexy Little Red Door bar, but is any location ever really that sexy when it’s crowded? Bluebird, a cocktail bar in the 11th arrondissement, offers the quiet intimacy you want for a night out at a bar with someone special. The decor is ultra 60s, with a fish tank, a big bar with vertical paneling, geometric carpet, and an overall orange glow. Between the bar, in front of towers of liquor bottles, bartenders banter as they concoct their exquisite cocktail creations. Snack on small bites like olives or hummus and chips. The majority of the seating is at the bar or on the wall, so the set-up is perfect for quiet corner talks and stealing a few kisses. — 12 Rue Saint-Bernard, 75011 Reservations: Bluebird does not take reservations

4. For heaping servings of Italian: Il Farniente

Pasta dish
Instagram: @confidencesdunebrunette
Paris is loaded with Italian restaurants. The main ones everyone knows are from the Big Mamma group, but it’s the little hole-in-the-wall spots where you’ll find the quiet, intimate atmosphere with personal service, and no wait time to get in. The two Il Farniente locations are charming and much-loved, with front windows that open to the street in summer. The portions are generous, the prices are fair, and the food is authentic Italian. This is the kind of underrated, romantic Italian restaurant you’ll go back to again and again. — 1 Rue Paul Fort, 75014; 59 Rue Jean de la Fontaine, 75016 Reservations: On the website for Il Farniente 14 or Il Farniente 16

5. For a classic brasserie experience: Bofinger

Restaurant interior with white tablecloths and stained glass ceilings
Credit: Brasserie Bofinger
Brasserie Bofinger is exactly what you expect from a restaurant founded in 1864: mirrored walls, banquettes, white tablecloths, brass accents and dark wood. The food, all the French classics, is quite good and the price isn’t nearly as bank-breaking as you’d expect for such a traditional Parisian establishment. A major draw: the location. Bofinger is located right near the Place des Vosges, perfect for a romantic after dinner stroll. — 5-7, rue de la Bastille, 75004 Reservations: Bofinger Brasserie website

6. For a (pricey) view: Ciel de Paris

Two glasses of champagne against Eiffel Tower backdrop
Instagram: @cieldeparis
The prix-fixe menu at Ciel de Paris is a none-too-shabby 145€ per person. But don’t lose hope at getting into this restaurant on the 57th floor of Tour Montparnasse with a panoramic view of Paris. The bar is open from 8:30am to 12:30am, so grab a seat and cheers your date with a 19€ cocktail. If you’re there from 2:30pm to 5:30pm or 7pm to 10:30pm, order one of the plates to share off the bar menu. Of course, the highlight really is the view. It’ll take your breath away. — Tour Montparnasse, 56 étage, 33 avenue du Maine, 75015 Reservations: Ciel de Paris website

7. For an unconventional evening: L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer

Tray of oysters and other snacks
Instagram: @parisbymouth

If your Stateside tradition is to spurn the prix-fixe menus and gifts for sushi and a movie, head to L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer. The attached restaurant, Le Comptoir, has a waiting list months long, but you can just walk right into this bar-restaurant. Once you find the entrance, that is. Through flaps of plastic curtains next to a seafood counter on the street, you’ll find a bar and a few high-top tables. Sitting (or standing) knee to knee at the counter with your date, order a glass of wine, dig into your basket of bread and mound of butter, and enjoy a tapas-style seafood dinner. Three dishes is about enough for each person (sharing is encouraged — and romantic) and with wine you can have a waiting-list worthy meal for less than 30€ each. — 3 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006

Reservations: L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer does not take reservations

8. For a romantic courtyard: Amour Restaurant

Restaurant interior full of plants, with glass ceilings
Instagram: @hotelsamourparis
Make your reservation quick. This restaurant, downstairs in the Hotel Amour, is about as romantic as they come, with a distinct West Coast carefree vibe. Amour Restaurant is warm and feels a bit like a living room turned restaurant. The cozy banquette-tables line walls of packed bookshelves and the private courtyard is jungle-like and jovial. The menu of French-Italian options will do just the trick. — 8 Rue de Navarin, 75009  Reservations: Amour Restaurant website

9. For a dark wine bar: Compagnie des vins surnaturels

Two people enjoying wine and dessert in front of a fireplace
Instagram: @compagniestgermain
Small plates, cheese boards, wine, cozy couches, dim lighting. These are the elements that together make Compagnie des vins surnaturels. It’s not cheap, but it’s certainly not expensive. You’ll be sipping on excellent wines served by waiters who actually know about wine. You’ll be dining on carefully curated products, elegantly served. — 7 rue Lobineau, 75006 Reservations: Zenchef

10. For an old-world throw-back: Le Coupe-chou

Interior with half-timbered walls and green armchairs
Instagram: @lecoupechou
Le Coupe-chou has been in existence since 1962, but it seems more like 1692. A 17th-century interior, with huge plush seating and low ceilings and historical decor, the restaurant is a time machine. The prices are too: most main courses are around 20€. Sit by the fire, in high-back chairs in narrow halls, or in the covered winter garden. A modern-day plus for this old-world restaurant: they take reservations. — 11 rue de Lanneau, 75005 Reservations: Zenchef

11. For a Lost Generation classic: La Closerie des Lilas

Exterior of restaurant swathed in greenery
It must be said that none of the Lost Generation bars — Le Dome, La Rotonde, La Coupole — are known for their food. It’s their history and stature that make them notable. La Closerie des Lilas, while not the best dining experience in Paris, is the best option of the Lost Generation locations. The food is good, the options largely classic French fare. It’s pricey, but that’s because you’re paying for the location. The restaurant is in what feels like a greenhouse, filled with leafy stalks and big red chairs around tables. The brasserie is indoors, with more red seating, dark wood, and everything tinted warm in the lighting. — 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Reservations: La Closerie des Lilas website
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