UPDATE: Check out our most recent list of the ten best romantic restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, and be a hero this Valentine's Day.
Whether it's planning for an anniversary, plotting a proposal, or trying to get out of the doghouse for botching an anniversary or proposal in a significant way, it's always wise to keep a supply of romantic dining options on hand in case of emergency. Mood lighting, cozy seating, good food, lots of wine: these are the things that will make your choice -- and you -- look good. After the jump, find Clean Plate Charlie's ten favorite romantic restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Don't see your favorite on the list? Let us know in the comments section.
10. Sefa Turkish Mediterranean Grill -- It's impossible to set the mood if the atmosphere in which you're attempting to lay the groundwork gives even a hint of inhospitality. In addition to a welcoming staff, Sefa boasts a dining room that's equal parts polished and funky, with a comfortable mix of traditional table setups and cushy furniture. Snuggle up on the loveseat with your dinner date and share a platter of Mediterranean fare (and a view of Pineapple Grove) and a bottle of red. Weekend nights bring the hip-popping undulations of a belly dancer, whose sultry presence infuses the room with just a hint of sexual tension.
9. Blue Moon Fish Co. -- With its killer view of the Intracoastal and laidback approach to white-tablecloth dining, Blue Moon has carved out a nice little niche as one of Fort Laudy's go-to date night destinations. In fact, it's even created a Monday "date night" program that offers special dinner and drink packages for couples. As the name would suggest, seafood is the restaurant's specialty, and a raw bar comes stocked with the typical favorites, including oysters. (And you know what they say about oysters.) The restaurant's popular Sunday brunch is a good bet for an afternoon date. Pay the set price and toast to your heart's content with unlimited champagne and sweet treats like strawberry shortcake and crème brûlée.
8. Casablanca Cafe -- Located in the thick of tourist territory, Casablanca Cafe offers a bit of respite for out-of-towners who, after a week of playing with the kids in the waves and sand, have finally found a sitter for the night and are getting around to a little "mom and dad" time. That said, the restaurant -- housed in a quaint Mediterranean-style building -- is also in many a local's date-night repertoire. Outdoor seating provides excellent views of the beach, but the indoor space -- with its dim lighting and cozy seating -- is just as good at setting the mood.
7. Eduardo De San Angel -- Classy. Intimate. Sophisticated. There's a mountain of adjectives one could heap on Eduardo Pria's celebrated Fort Lauderdale dining room. Certainly, the restaurant is no stranger to accolades courtesy of New Times, which has in years past named it the Best Mexican, Best Restaurant for a Power Lunch, and Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying. The dishes tend to be adventurous but refined, and the mood lighting and small tables signal that this is a place for grownups. Expect service that's friendly and attentive but not "stop by the table between every bite" intrusive.
6. Market 17 -- There are many ways one can go at Market 17. The restaurant -- named by New Times as the Best Broward County Restaurant in 2012 -- offers space for traditional face-to-face dinner dates at its indoor and outdoor tables. Or you can try something a bit off-the-wall with its "dine in the dark" feature. It's a concept that many have heard about but far fewer have actually tried. Who knows? Maybe it'll spice things up a bit for date night. Since wine is often a key component to setting the mood, it's worth noting that the farm-to-table restaurant offers a fairly extensive wine list and frequently hosts wine dinners and other tasting events.
5. Casa D' Angelo -- There's a reason New Times named Casa d'Angelo in Fort Lauderdale as the Best Restaurant to Close the Deal in 2009. Among them is the restaurant's massive wine list, which has consistently been recognized by Wine Spectator as one of the best in the country. (Hint: The list is online, so study it before your big date and impress your companion with your "highly developed" palate.) Of course, it also doesn't hurt that chef/owner Angelo Elia's flagship dining room prepares consistently good food in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
4. Sublime -- Whether you're a full-fledged vegetarian or are just attempting to woo an attractive veg-head you met in line at Whole Foods, it's hard to miss with the appropriately named Sublime. The dishes are completely meat-free but are hearty enough to sustain you through whatever activities the evening may entail. The dining room is filled with elements (like an indoor waterfall "wall," plants, and lots of wood) that draw from nature. And don't think for a moment that because they shun animal products that alcohol is off the table. On the contrary; you'll find a nice list of organic wines and creative fruit- and herb-infused cocktails.
3. Six Tables -- As the name implies, there's no danger in feeling lost in a cavernous space at this slip of a restaurant in Boca Raton. With just one seating offered each night and reservations required, there's also a hint of intrigue; after all, you can't just wander in off the street and plop down in a chair. You've got to work a bit to make dinner here happen. For your efforts, you and your date will be rewarded with a five-course meal served all fancy-like with real china, crystal, silver, and linens. From the champagne welcome toast to the last bite of dessert, it's one classy affair.
2. Carpe Diem (formerly Cafe De France) -- When Café de France last year morphed into Carpe Diem by Café de France, it thankfully retained the intimate charm that had initially drawn people to its Delray Beach address. With prices that are reasonable and good wines available by the glass, you can resist the urge to keep a running tally of the bill in your head. Instead, focus on the cuisine, a mix of traditional French and other European fare. Both seating and service are comfortable, setting the scene for diners to linger over the last few bites of crème brûlée and a bottle of wine.
1. Tapas 210 -- From the candlelit tables to the cozy wine room, this is a space designed for special occasions. A tasteful jungle of tropical greenery frames the entryway, and the brick patio invites a pleasant breeze. For many diners, the only culinary complaint is having to narrow down the choices on the seafood-heavy menu. A special occasion -- an anniversary, birthday, trying to smooth over a forgotten anniversary or birthday -- may call for paella, while the crowd-pleasing seafood medley is reason enough to celebrate. Winner of New Times' 2012 Best Romantic Restaurant, this family-owned gem gets high marks for service, ambiance, and helping happy couples to seal the deal.
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