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The Most Romantic Restaurants in America

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From the tables overlooking crashing waves at the Marine Room in San Diego to the exceptional culinary experience at the White Barn Inn in Maine, outstanding and romantic dining choices are abundant from coast to coast. To make Valentine's Day a stand-out this year, go for the restaurants that offer not just a meal, but a truly romantic experience. We've tracked down the 20 most romantic restaurants in America.

Click Here to see The Complete List of America's 20 Most Romantic Restaurants

Think about a romantic dinner and the obvious conventions probably comes to mind: candles, roses, a fireplace, low lights, hushed tones, violins, sharing a single noodle like Lady and the Tramp... Perhaps omitting that last detail, any self-respecting romantic restaurant will offer at least a few of these qualities to convey privacy, luxury and mood-setting ambiance. When creating unforgettable moments, dramatic views, whether of water, cities, or sunsets are ideal, but cozy and exceptionally charming spaces are also very desirable.

While whispering sweet nothings, it's important to have enough table space so that you're not right on top of nearby tables... or able to hear their sweet nothings. Unobtrusive service can make all the difference in your romantic dinner for two; attentive is good, but you don't want a waiter cheerfully popping up the moment you pop the question. Lighting should be flatteringly low, but not so that you need a flashlight to read the menu. Candles, small silk-shaded lamps, or lanterns while dining al fresco all create the sense of your own private world. Then there is the food. Your wooing efforts may fall flat if half of the dinner conversation revolves around the disappointing food. The best times are those you never want to end, so it's memorable when you patronize a place that really understands and celebrates food.

It's true that if you're with the one you love, even a burrito from the nearest food truck can be fun. But sometimes -- especially Valentine's Day! -- you've got to up the game and go for the big romantic dinner: top-notch service, luxurious surroundings, sunset views or spots that make you feel as though you discovered them, and food that will make you dream of it for months afterward.

  • L'Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek, Sedona, Ariz.
    Click Here to see The Complete List of America’s 20 Most Romantic Restaurants Candlelight dining al fresco alongside a babbling creek lined with cottonwood and sycamore trees? Sounds romantic to us! The contemporary American menu at L’Auberge is seasonal; the Dungeness crab crepe appetizer is a popular choice, as are interesting entrees like Scottish salmon with squash and candied quinoa or ricotta tortellini with roasted shallot cream. Photo Credit: L’auberge Restaurant
  • Little Palm Island Resort, Little Torch Key, Fla.
    Starting with the boat ride to the island, this is a fully-immersive romantic experience, complete with swaying palm trees, Tiki torches, and sunsets. Whether dining indoors, on the veranda, or at a private table right on the beach, guests are treated royally by the attentive staff. The dinner menu changes nightly; an appetizer of coconut lobster bisque may be followed by entrees like yellow tail snapper with vegetable escabeche or sirloin steak with truffle chimichurri. Photo Credit: Little Palm Island Resort
  • The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA
    Click Here to see The Complete List of America’s 20 Most Romantic Restaurants This world-class establishment is an ideal spot for a luxurious rendezvous. Your table in the ornate dining room will be crowned with its own rose-colored silk lampshade, creating a sense of intimacy. The restaurant’s French-inspired menu changes daily, ranging from risotto with white truffles to Antarctic sea bass with lemon vodka sauce; vegetarian entrées, such as forest mushroom consommé with black garlic custard, are also available. The 14,000 bottle wine cellar means the perfect accompaniment for every dish. Photo Credit: Gordon Beall
  • Tree Room at Sundance Resort, Sundance, UT
    The recipient of Utah's ‘Best of State’ award for fine dining, the Tree Room gets not only the food just right but creates a relaxed, woodsy ambience. Native American art, high ceilings, and yes, a huge tree in the dining room create the setting for intimate tables. The well-reviewed Tree Room pepper steak with mango chutney is a staple here, as are the unique flavors found in other items like the scallop starter with avocado caramel and hearts of palm. Photo Credit: © Flickr /HighTechDad
  • The Little Door, Los Angeles, Calif.
    Click Here to see More of America’s 20 Most Romantic Restaurants "Charming" is a word often used to describe this super-romantic spot, the most romantic restaurant in America. Entering the little door to the storybook garden makes diners feel as if they've discovered their own special spot; indoors, eating by the fireplace is an inviting option. Outside or in, candlelight and greenery abound. Pistachio-covered scallops with lemon sauce and specials like farro risotto with baby kale keep the menu interesting; a French Moroccan prix fixe menu is available on Sundays. Photo Credit: The Little Door

-Rani Long, The Daily Meal

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