Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where to Date: The Outdoor Seating Edition

Yesterday’s post from Thirsty Ivy perfectly articulated my own feelings about fall. I could write many a paragraph on how nice it is not to sweat on my commute to work and how much I love the leaves and how frequently I intend to work pumpkin into my consumption of baked goods, but I'll spare you. The point is, while I do love fall, like, love it so much I want to take it behind the school and get it pregnant, it's also problematic because it means I want to stay outside ALL THE TIME.

Fortunately, fall and dating go hand in hand. It's still warm enough to spend time outside, but cool enough to require a sweater and a hot date to cozy up to. There are so many great spots to dine outdoors in D.C. that it's hard to pick just a handful, but in putting this list together, I focused on 1) ambiance, because having that certain je nais se quois in the air can change the whole feel of a date, and 2) the likelihood that you can actually get a good seat outside. If a restaurant has two tables situated next to heavy traffic, it may be a decent spot to hang out, but it probably won’t do you any favors in the romance arena. 

So without further ado, here's Where to Date: The Outdoor Seating Edition

Kramers - 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW

The New York Times called Kramerbooks a “cultural landmark of sorts,” and if you’ve lived in D.C. for any length of time, you’ve likely popped into Kramers at some point to browse the books or grab a cappuccino. But I also love Kramers for its cozy sidewalk seating and scrumptious desserts.

One Lounge - 1606 20th Street NW

Though One Lounge did hook us up for our recent One at One party, they would have made the cut regardless. Even though One Lounge is in the heart of Dupont Circle, the patio doesn’t feel crowded or loud, and it’s a prime spot for people watching. That being said, I’d avoid going on a date here if you don’t want to be seen. So, those of you having torrid affairs with married coworkers or your exes- you’ve been warned.

Cafe Deluxe - 3228 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Appealing Kate wrote about her love of the brunch at Café Deluxe, a neighborhood favorite near the Cathedral. The patio out front is a great spot for both brunch and a dinner date, and the menu offers something for everyone, so it's an ideal spot when planning dates before the disclose-weird-dietary-habits stage of the relationship.     
                                                                                       Napoleon Bistro - 1847 Columbia Road NW 

Napoleon Bistro is a charming spot on Columbia Road that offers French cuisine and ample sidewalk seating. Though you're close to 18th Street, it feels worlds apart from the rowdy spots people typically associate Adams Morgan with.  Plus, can we talk about their dessert menu?  Crepes with nutella and dulce de leche, apple or no date, I want to go to there.

Lebanese Taverna (reopening early fall) - 2641 Connecticut Avenue NW

Lebanese Taverna is one of those spots that I absolutely love but sometimes forget about. The food is wonderful, the service is great, the inside of the restaurant is massive- and will likely be even more so when the current remodel is complete- but the patio outside is quaint and lovely. It’s also extremely convenient, located steps away from the Woodley Park metro.

Poste - 555 8th Street NW

I love the courtyard at Poste, and it’s my go-to happy hour spot on a nice fall day. But the patio, reserved for diners, is even better. If you want class and romance, this is the place to go. Plus, after you're done with dinner, you can lounge on the couches in the courtyard with a drink (but don't try to cop a feel; you're still in public).

Siam House - 3520 Connecticut Avenue NW

Siam House, a Thai restaurant in Cleveland Park (you know how much I love Cleveland Park), has a nice neighborhood feel that’s perfect for a date. Even better? The food is reasonably priced and the happy hour drinks are available on the patio.
Tabard Inn

Tabard Inn - 1739 N Street NW

If you’re looking to impress your date, trust me on this one and go to the Tabard Inn. Lounge by the fireplace with a drink before dining outside in the ivy-lined courtyard. It’s a perfect storm of cozy, fancy and romantic – it’s a bit on the pricey side, but it’s worth every penny.

Rosemary's Thyme - 1801 18th Street NW

Rosemary’s Thyme, on the other hand, is extremely affordable. But that doesn't mean it feels cheap. Their large patio is the perfect accompaniment for delicious Mediterranean food, and even more delicious happy hour drinks, offered every day from 4:00-7:00 PM.

Cafe Saint-Ex - 1847 14th Street NW 

 The New American cuisine featured at Saint-Ex relies on local produce and meats, which is exactly what you’d expect from the hipster-y U Street restaurant. The inside doesn't strike me as a particularly romantic place to dine, but the outside is nice blend of refinement and whimsy.  It's also the perfect location for a pre-concert dinner at the 9:30 Club or Black Cat.

                                                                                     Cafe La Ruche - 1039 31st Street NW
Cafe La Ruche

Thirsty Ivy adores the brunch at Café La Ruche, as do I- the Eggs Florentine are by far the best I’ve had in the District. But it’s also a great spot to grab dinner. Think about it: French café, lovely patio, charming side street of Georgetown. The makings of an intimate romantic date are all there.

Perry's - 1811 Columbia Road NW

The view from the roof of Perry’s is absolutely stunning. That alone makes it a great spot for a date, but it also has the advantage of being down the road from the bustling 18th Street. When you've finished dinner and it’s starting to get too chilly to sit outside, head to Tryst and sip on spiked cider as you listen to live music.

CIRCA at Foggy Bottom - 2221 I Street NW

I adore the food and atmosphere at CIRCA, and both the inside and outside dining are great choices for a date. The patio is large but cozy, and a great spot for spying on undergraduate drama, while the inside is upscale but not too stuffy. This is a good option for a night that could go either way- if your date shows up sans jacket, you’ll be just as happy to stay indoors.

Happy fall!  

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