Never having had to write about romantic dining before, I asked myself what makes a restaurant romantic. Granted, my task was to find one in Paris, but just being there isn’t enough. The city has plenty of fun restaurants with wonderful food that, even so, would not be the ideal place for an intimate dinner with someone special. Like any city, it also has some pretty bad restaurants. In fact, it’s hard to find a restaurant in Paris that doesn’t have at least one bad review — even the great ones have their off days.
So — what does make for a romantic restaurant? Most would say a quiet (but not dull) atmosphere, elegant or at least quaint surroundings, lighting that’s not overly bright, privacy, and above all, good cooking and good service that puts you both in your best mood and lets you pay attention to each other.
One restaurant in Paris that sounds like a good bet based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews is Le Rococo Boire & Manger (that’s The Rococo Drink and Eat — pretty straightforward).
Le Rococo is more on the quaint side, and the food is somewhat casual, but a couple who prefers that kind of atmosphere will probably enjoy it, while not having to worry about a huge tab. (If you’re looking for more of a splurge romantic dinner, try Epicure at the hotel Le Bristol, where they take customer service very seriously.)
The restaurant’s lower level is a very traditional-looking little bar, where you can wait for your table and/or eat tapas with your drinks. There’s a wide range of drinks, alcoholic and otherwise.
The dining room upstairs offers soft lighting, polished wood tables and floors, a brick chimney, and open railings that give diners a view down the stairs. The menu starts out with “tapas” such as shrimp tempura and chicken ravioli, costing from six to nine euros. Main dishes include burgers and fries (yes, they’re universal), lamb tagine, and crozets (pasta squares from Savoie). Prices range from 15 to 19 euros. There are also several dishes for two (or more, but that’s not what we’re looking at this time).
In keeping with French tradition, the cheese course is next, with all orders six euros — except the sample platter, which costs eight, but may be your best bet if you’re not familiar with French cheeses.
The desserts are full of gooey sweetness (this Passionatelyfood article warns that if you’re obsessed with your weight, this is the wrong place). Salted caramel French toast, profiterolles, and banoffee cake — banana plus toffee — are a few of them. All are six or seven euros.
Le Rococo Boire & Manger would be a good, low-key place for a couple to settle in, enjoy dinner and reconnect. It’s located at 2 rue Ramey in Montmartre.
Editor’s Note: For information on romantic spots in Paris for couples, click here to see our top choices.