Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where to go to Impress a Date

For some reason my guy friends are alwayyyyssss asking me for good date venue recommendations.  Maybe because they know about this blog?  Or because they know that I've gone on quite a few dates myself?  Either way, when I received yet another email from a guy friend last week asking for first date ideas, I thought it was time for a post dedicated to good date locales.

Thus, I present you with three places that I think are perfect for the first, second, or twentieth date.

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
223 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
(Capitol Hill)
Sonoma's upstairs lounge
I first fell in love with Sonoma when it opened in 2005.  Come to think of it, the first time I went was on a third date.  While I ended things with the guy a few months later (he turned into a stage three clinger), I did hold onto Sonoma as one of my favorite spots. 
Why?  It's romantic and cozy and intimate and neighborhoody all at the same time.  There's outdoor seating on Pennsylvania Avenue, a downstairs bar, an upstairs lounge, and a super cozy dining room.  So many options!

I must admit that part of the reason why I love Sonoma so much is because, despite the name which triggers images of northern California wine country, it reminds me of the types of restaurants in my hometown of Portland, Maine.  Wooden tables, clean lines, exposed brick.  Good quality, fresh, local food.  The menu is also designed to encourage sharing, which I think can instantly make a date more intimate and romantic.

Sonoma is a little off the beaten path, so it attracts a lot of the Capitol Hill locals and is the complete opposite of pretentious.  But trust me, give Sonoma a try and you will be making that trek up to Capitol Hill a lot more often.  And will probably score yourself a second date.

Still skeptical?  While doing a little research for this post, I discovered that the Washingtonian named Sonoma the "Best First-Date Spot" in 2007.  I went to Sonoma about two weeks ago and I think it still holds true to that review.

And want to take things up a notch?  The United States Capitol is about two blocks away, so take a romantic stroll over to the grounds after dinner.  Hold her hand.  Kiss her.  Because what is a more romantic way to end a date in D.C. than to kiss with the illuminated Capitol glowing behind you?

Perrys Restaurant
1811 Columbia Road, NW
(Adams Morgan)

I love sushi.  And I love eating sushi on a date.  I think it is romantic and intimate because it allows you to share food together.  Eat and nibble off the same plate.  Try new rolls.  And Perrys Restaurant in Adams Morgan is a great spot to do just that.  While the sushi is great, if it turns out your date prefers her food to be cooked, Perrys also has an extensive Asian inspired menu with everything from steak, to rockfish, to pasta.
Perrys rooftop terrace
Source: http://www.perrysadamsmorgan.com/

I think the rooftop is one of Perrys most unique aspects.  Which can only be described as kick ass.  It overlooks Columbia Road and has white lights and greenery decorating the perimeter.  
There is also a bar on the roof, which is nice to hang out at while waiting for a table to open. 

Perrys dining room
Source: http://www.perrysadamsmorgan.com/
Prefer to eat inside?

The dining room features an exposed kitchen where you can watch the sushi chefs create their masterpieces.  And the simple decor is elegant yet somewhat eclectic. 

Additionally, there is another bar and a separate lounge area with couches overlooking Columbia Road.

My suggestion?  Grab a drink at the rooftop bar, eat dinner on the roof, then head downstairs to split a dessert in the lounge.  Cozy up together.  Have another drink.  Then go make bad decisions together in Adams Morgan.  Because I think there is something wildly romantic and spontaneous about starting off the night with a fancy dinner and good conversation, and finishing the night with inappropriate and scandalous dancing.  Just sayin.

3311 Connecticut Avenue, NW
(Cleveland Park)

I dated a man this past fall who explained the idea of always having "a two-part date." (ironically there was no two-part date on the first date he planned for us, but I let that slide because he took me to Lyon Hall).
Ardeo+Bardeo's Connecticut Avenue Exterior
Source: Yelp.com

Well, with Ardeo/ Bardeo in Cleveland Park you can make it a three-part date. 

See, Ardeo+Bardeo is a two-part restaurant.  Bardeo is the wine bar, and Ardeo is the dining room.  Both are connected by a 24 seat island bar. 

So, you and your date can grab a glass of wine on the bar side, then mosey on over to Ardeo for your dinner reservations.

The food at Ardeo+Bardeo is modern American cuisine.  The food is simple yet delicious and was recently named among the top 100 D.C. restaurants by the Washingtonian.  Not surprising since it has the same owners as Rasika, Bibianna, and 701 Restaurant.

By now you are probably thinking..."but you said three-part, Kate.  You've only mentioned two-parts." 

Well, here's the third part.  Ardeo+Bardeo is located in the adorable Cleveland Park neighborhood.  And you know what Cleveland Park has?  Oh, only more than half a dozen bars within walking distance of each other, including Cleveland Park Bar and Grille, Dino, and Four Provinces.  So many options to continue the date.

There you go -- three great date spots.  You can thank me later.  Or better yet -- post some of your favorite date places in the comments section below!

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