When it comes to the ritual of courtship and romance, the dinner date is a classic standard. Whether you’re celebrating your diamond anniversary or looking for a place to take your Valentine’s Day honey, here’s your guide to some of the most romantic restaurants in Orange County.
Great food, excellent service and a spectacular view of the O.C. skyline are this restaurant’s claim to fame. The contemporary decor and quiet atmosphere make Orange Hill an ideal setting for a romantic dinner for two, while the terrace offers a great option for outdoor weddings. With views all the way to the ocean -- and sometimes Catalina -- sunset is prime dining time at this restaurant nestled in the Anaheim hills.
With its delicious Italian Mediterranean cuisine, excellent service, private dining nooks and lush textiles, it’s no wonder Laguna Beach-based Ti Amo is an O.C. favorite. In fact, Ti Amo is rated among the top romantic restaurants in the O.C. Register “Best of O.C.” reader poll. The old style Italian decor, beautiful atrium and a name literally meaning “I love you” make Ti Amo a great location for special rendezvous for two.
This critic’s favorite located in Newport Beach may not offer the same level of privacy as some of the other restaurants on the list, but what it lacks in privacy, it makes up for with superb food, a great selection of wines and excellent service. The limited seating of only 24 tables creates an intimate setting, where the close quarters encourages leaning and shushed conversation between lovers.
If you’re looking for a great steak in an opulent and energetic atmosphere, check out Mastro’s Steakhouse in Costa Mesa. With locations in Chicago, Los Vegas and the flagship in Scottsdale, Ariz., Matro’s has earned national acclaim as one of the best steak houses in the country. Yelpers rave about the Fillet Mignon, the bone-in rib-eye and the mac n’ cheese. Be warned though, Mastro’s is a budget buster and has become a favorite the young and wealthy O.C. professionals.
This Fullerton-based favorite, has been voted the best French and nominated the best place to impress a date in the O.C. Hot List. Literally located underground, the Euro-Disney decor, lush textiles and quiet ambiance make The Cellar a popular dinner date spot. Reservations are strongly encouraged, especially during peek hours. And good luck getting a table on Valentine’s Day if you don’t make a reservation well in advance.
Located in the Costa Mesa-based shopping center -- The LAB Anti-Mall -- Habana serves up Cuban fusion and provides a dining alternative for the young and hip. The candlelight in the dining room and heated patio make for a warm, romantic atmosphere; the food is priced and seasoned to please. Recommended menu items include the mango roasted pork, the classic Mojito and the fried plantains.