So you finally asked out the cute kid in your econ class or made a move on your dreamy hallmate—now what? Wow your crush with an amazing first date restaurant, of course. Need inspiration? Here are some of Street’s top picks for a romantic dinner for two.

Barbuzzo 

Located on 13th St., Barbuzzo offers top–notch Mediterranean meals that you can easily eat with your hands. The food is fresh and, for the most part, first–date friendly (no difficulttoeat food that might get all over you). Plus, with a string of cute restaurants and shops dotting 13th Street, Barbuzzo's block is great for hanging out before your meal or for a perfect post–dinner stroll. Stop by Marcie Blaine for some artisanal chocolate for dessert or, if your first date went that well, Verde to look through jewelry and other gifts.

With plates like grilled Spanish octopus and porcini–crusted hanger steak, Barbuzzo offers an impressive range of Mediterranean food. Plus, they have charcuterie boards made in–house for cheese lovers to share. If you’re interested in taking your date to Barbuzzo, make sure to snag a reservation—this Center City hotspot fills up fast.

Location: 110 S 13th St 

Price: $$ 

Hours: Mondays through Sundays 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.



Loco Pez Taqueria 

If you and your date are looking for a fun and casual place to meet up for dinner, Loco Pez is your spot. With locations in West Philly, Grad Hospital, and Fishtown, this colorful and festive Mexican restaurant is sure to be a great time with some great food (and drinks). Not only does Loco Pez offer a variety of fun beverage flavors like the Chevelle, which features passion fruit puree, but their classic margarita is also refreshing and packs a major punch

Start with some chips and salsa to pair with some classic Mexican dishes. Or, venture to the "Menu Vaquero" (the cowboy menu) if you’re looking for burgers, chicken sandwiches, or fun variations on hot dogs. With tons of options for even the pickiest eaters and many ways to customize your meal, Loco Pez is a great casual first date spot to spark good conversation while eating some nachos and sipping on a marg.

Location: 4631 Baltimore Ave. (West Philly), 700 South 20th St. (Graduate Hospital), or 2401 E. Norris St. (Fishtown)

Price: $$

Hours: Mondays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.



Bleu Sushi 

Bleu Sushi is a BYO date night spot featuring high quality sushi and other Japanese favorites—did we mention they offer sushi boats? Okay, ordering an entire sushi boat might be a little extra for a party of two. But Bleu Sushi boasts tons of other options, ranging from sashimi and rolls to hot dishes like teriyaki and noodles. It’s dimly–lit with a romantic ambience, making it a great spot for sushi lovers hoping to bond over their shared affinity for fresh Japanese food.

The one downside? Bleu Sushi doesn’t offer complimentary water. So if paying for VOSS water doesn’t seem that appealing, fill up your water bottle before you head out. Or, if you’re really grasping for conversation topics, you can bond with your date by complaining about the policy together (but let’s hope this isn’t necessary). And if you’re looking for a reason to leave the date a bit early that isn’t a fake phone call ... go “get water” instead!

Location: 262 S 10th St

Price: $$

Hours: Mondays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 



Via Locusta

Via Locusta’s intimate atmosphere is perfect for getting to know that cute student from your study group over a plate of handmade pasta. Their excellent modern Italian cuisine is a sure crowd pleaser and their fresh ingredients are proudly sourced from around Philadelphia. We highly recommend their Happy Hour, with $8 spritz drinks, $5 beers, and $7 glasses of wine, not to mention their selection of small plates like tuna tartare or focaccia with whipped honey butter and bee pollen. 

Perfect for a low–stakes (but still classy) meetup for drinks at their sleek black and gold bar, Via Locusta is a great idea for people testing the waters—but is also a promising choice for those ready to commit to a full romantic dinner. Their Happy Hour is Monday to Thursday from 4–6 p.m., or Friday through Sunday from 3–6 p.m.

Location: 1723 Locust St.

Price: $$

Hours: Mondays through Sundays 4 p.m. to 11pm



Parc 

Parc is a classic Penn favorite, and for good reason. Paying homage to traditional Parisian bistros and evoking the romantic atmosphere of the city of love, the restaurant is a classy date spot for those who enjoy the finer things in life. With entrees like veal escalope and lobster frites, Parc has a wide range of both surf and turf. For people who love splitting dessert after dinner, the menu also includes iconic French classics like profiteroles, crème brûlée, and apple tarte tatin. 

While definitely on the pricier side, Parc’s central location also means you can go for a wholesome stroll around Rittenhouse Square to walk off your meal after dinner. Also a great spot for lunch, it's is the perfect place to peoplewatch with your date and enjoy the general bustle of the city. 

Location: 227 S 18th St.

Price: $$$

Hours: Mondays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 


Whether you decide on any of these restaurants or go for a quick date at a food truck nearby, just remember that the company is more important than the food. But, of course, choosing an amazing locale can definitely help get sparks flying. Good luck!


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