1. La Sponda, Italy
One Michelin Star, MICHELIN Guide Italy 2019
Blessed with sweeping views of the Amalfi Coast, the ocean-front restaurant’s interiors are equally enchanting. The off-white walls are engulfed in vines that wrap around the walls and ceilings that are lit up with candles. The Mediterranean menu focuses on produce from Naples and the the Amalfi Coast. Expect to pay up to 175 Euros per person.
What our inspectors say: “A romantic atmosphere is guaranteed at this restaurant, thanks to the 400 candles lit every evening to the delight of guests. The simple cuisine is inspired by traditional Neapolitan recipes and prepared using the best local ingredients.”
La Sponda, Via Colombo 30, Positano
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2. The River Café, New York
One Michelin Star, MICHELIN Guide New York City 2019
Perched right next to the Brooklyn Bridge, this iconic 40-year-old restaurant also has views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty. For Valentine’s Day, indulge in Caviar egg, butter-poached lobster, apple-honey and spice crusted duck breast and a classic chocolate Marquise that is shaped like the Brooklyn Bridge. The price? US$195 per person.
What our inspectors say: “Some things in life are worth dressing up for, and a visit to the illustrious River Café is certainly one of them. It enjoys, without question, one of the greatest settings of any restaurant, lying as it does in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, the cityscape views are so spectacular, the ordering of a Manhattan as your pre-prandial cocktail seems the only obvious choice.
The entire place also oozes romance. A regiment of experienced, white-jacketed waitstaff keep the whole operation ticking along like the well-oiled machine it is — and they can probably spot an impending marriage proposal even before the potential groom has left his seat. However, don't come thinking that the food here will be playing second fiddle to the stellar views. In fact, it provides the perfect match for the setting.
The ingredients are top-notch and the kitchen team has an inherent understanding of what goes with what-imagine succulent pork belly with scallops for example, or even glistening duck breast with sweet potato spätzle. It also knows that good cooking is not about showing how clever it is but about creating dishes that are at once balanced, easy to eat and eminently satisfying.
3. Épicure, France
Three Michelin Stars, MICHELIN Guide France 2019
With plush plaid chairs, floral drapery and a visually-stunning golden chandelier, Épicure resembles a luxe dining room plucked from a countryside chateau. The menu is more comforting than avant-garde — large langoustines cooked in a light broth, Challans duck roasted with blackberry leaves, and black truffle ice cream with “gianduja” chocolate sauce. Look out for the dessert trolley that is loaded with homemade candy from nougat, marshmallows to caramels. A Valentine’s Day menu costs 680 Euros per person.
What our inspectors say: “The Bristol’s restaurant underwent a transformation in 2011. The bright dining room overlooking the garden boasts a restrained, distinguished elegance in which the glamour of the 18th century shines forth. The virtuosity of Éric Fréchon’s classic cuisine bears witness to his freedom of expression with regard to great tradition. He creates dishes that are fresh and endowed with the finest flavours."
Epicure, 112 R. Du Faubourg-St Honore, Paris
4. Le Meurice Alain Ducasse, Paris
Two Michelin Stars, MICHELIN Guide France 2019
Inspired by the Salon de la Paix in the Chateau de Versailles, Le Meurice Alain Ducasse screams dramatic luxury at its best with antique mirrors, crystal chandeliers and frescoes. The menu, which is helmed by renowned French chef Alain Ducasse, is produce-forward and artifice-free. Its Collection Menu costs 580 Euros per person.
What our inspectors say: “In the heart of the iconic luxury hotel, the restaurant is the epitome of a great French restaurant. Its lavish interior, inspired by the royal apartments of Versailles Palace, has been tastefully updated by Philippe Starck. Under the watchful eye of Alain Ducasse, executive chef Jocelyn Herland signs a menu that celebrates top quality produce. Stylish flair."
Le Meurice Alain Ducasse, 228 R. De Rivoli, Paris
5. Clos Maggiore, London
Michelin Plate, MICHELIN Guide UK & Ireland 2019
Clos Maggiore is a Michelin recommended establishment that has been consistently voted as ‘The Most Romantic Restaurant In The World’. Just look at the over-the-top forest of artificial white blossoms forest setting that is adorned with fairy lights. The food takes reference from those served in country inns in Provence and Tuscany. Seasonal tasting menu features pan roasted Les Landes duck Liver, poached fillet of organic Scottish sea trout with caviar, and Granny Smith apple parfait. The five-course menu costs 65 GBP per person.
What our inspectors say: “One of London's most romantic restaurants - but be sure to ask for the enchanting conservatory with its retractable roof. The sophisticated French cooking is joined by a wine list of great depth. Good value and very popular pre/post theatre menus.”
Clos Maggiore, 33 King Street, Convent Garden, London