10+ Ultimate Ideas for a First Date Restaurants in Santa Monica

You’ve got the first date locked in. Success! Now, the hard part. Where do you go? First dates can be nerve-wracking enough, so give yourself an edge by picking a top-tier restaurant to start things out on the right foot. We can’t promise that your date is the one, but these great first date Santa Monica restaurants sure could be!

Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.

Santa Monica Date Nights

top first date restaurants in santa monica CA

Massilia

  • Address: 1445 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Not sure what kind of food your date likes? Sure, maybe you should’ve gathered a bit more information, but Massilia can help you out. With French, Italian, and Moroccan dishes, you’re sure to find something that suits even the pickiest of eaters.

Plus, it’s easy to impress your date when you stop into this romantic spot, complete with craft cocktails and an extensive wine list.

Tar & Roses

  • Address: 602 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

You want something that looks like you’re trying, but not too hard. This new American-style restaurant is a winning Santa Monica date idea. A place complete with mood lighting and a casual upscale feel. You can opt to try a number of their small plates or go for a large plate signature like the duck breast.

If you really want to impress, choose a three-course T&R supper, but make sure you book at least a week in advance to confirm availability.

Calabra Rooftop Restaurant and Bar

  • Address: 700 Wilshire Blvd (Entrance on 7th St), Santa Monica, CA 90401

Another restaurant that also made it to our best Santa Monica restaurants list is Calabra. And yes, if you want something casual chic, this is your pick. Think early afternoon date where you sip wine in the sunshine. Your date will love the open air, especially in the spring, so you’re already halfway there.

With brunch served daily until 4:00 pm and one of the strongest beverage menus on this list, Calabra does a lot of the legwork for you.

Urth Caffee

  • Address: 2327 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

First dates don’t always have to be dinner and a show. Maybe you want something casual and relaxed, but you want to do more than just grab a coffee. Urth is the perfect happy medium where you can get coffee but pair it with something light to eat and maybe a walk around Santa Monica afterward.

Unlike many of the restaurants on this list, if the date doesn’t go well, it’s much easier to wrap up coffee than dinner. We’re sure it’ll be great, but just in case.

Manchego

  • Address: 2518 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Few places are more romantic than a Spanish restaurant. Be careful, though; if you take your date to Manchego, they may fall in love with you on the spot. With tapas and traditional Spanish dishes to pair with your wine, you’ll look worldly even if you’ve never stepped foot out of your hometown.

Make sure that whatever you pick will pair well with a Spanish wine, as that’s definitely what you want to order here.

Citrin

  • Address: 1104 Wilshire Blvd Suite A, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Whether you’re in the restaurant or at the bar, you can’t go wrong with Citrin. This is perfect if you’re looking for California classic with a twist.

The chef who runs Citrin (and the adjoining restaurant Mélisse) has two Michelin stars and a menu that makes you quickly understand how he earned them.

Pasjoli

  • Address: 2732 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

When looking for a date restauran in Santa Monica, don’t overlook Pasjoli. If you want to go all out and impress a date, Pasjoli is likely the best choice on this list.

This Michelin star French restaurant is sure to impress even the most discerning date. From the ambiance to the menu, everything here is done to the standard of French culinary perfection. If it wasn’t already obvious, you’ll need a reservation.

Elephante

  • Address: 1332 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Want your date to think you know the best spots in town, even if you don’t? Suggest heading to Elephante. This Italian restaurant is among the top rated restaurants in Santa Monica. Just casual enough to bridge the gap between trendy and established, you can’t go wrong with Elephante.

The rooftop ocean views themselves are immaculate, and the menu isn’t exactly a slouch either. Whether you want lunch or dinner, you’ll find Italian standards amongst California classics and a drink menu suited perfectly alongside it.

Forma Restaurant & Cheese Bar

  • Address: 1610 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

You’ve heard of cocktail bars and raw bars, but how about cheese bars? If your date is lactose tolerant in the grandest of ways, you can’t go wrong at Forma. This is an Italian spot at heart, though the cheese bar and cocktails do their best to be the stars of the show. The small plates are the way to go here, with a cheese or two to pair with your wine. If you’re looking for something more substantial, you always sound like you know what you’re doing when ordering a branzino.

Cassia

  • Address: 1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

One more choice when it comes to the best date restaurants in Santa Monica, this one has all the fares of a casual restaurant with the quality of a high-end spot. While it isn’t cheap, the cost-to-quality ratio here is impeccable.

Cassia has French and Asian meals on the menu, and the patio is the place to enjoy them if the weather is good. If you’re adventurous, go for the raw oysters. You’ll find they pair well with a number of the white wines and light liquor cocktails that Cassia offers.

Capo

  • Address: 1810 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

We saved the best for last when it comes to Capo. If you really want to impress and you’ve got the budget for it, this upscale Italian restaurant can’t be beaten. If you love classic Italian candlelight dining, then you will be in love with Capo.

Know that going to Capo can be a gamble because a good Italian dinner takes its time, and a bad first date can feel like an eternity already. If you’re confident in your choice, though, a dinner at Capo can be unforgettable.

Did that first date go well? Then check more date ideas in Santa Monica

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