Quarantine makes every facet of life more difficult, but finding and sustaining love? It’s basically impossible. Whether you’re quarantining alone, in an apartment full of roommates, or with your spouse and three screaming children, there’s no easy way to be romantic during self-isolation. That said, there are ways to rekindle the flame. In particular, ordering delivery/takeout from the right places. From high-end sushi bars to French bistros to neighborhood Italian restaurants, here are 22 spots we guarantee will at least help set the mood.
You’ve been quarantining with three children under the age of seven, and right now, true romance means eating with your spouse in complete silence until you both fall asleep on the couch. Consider Al-Noor. The family-run Indian restaurant in Lawndale (adjacent to LAX) makes our favorite Indian food in LA, including classic dishes like palak paneer and tikka masala that are so good you’ll continue eating far after the point of feeling full. Both takeout and delivery are available.
If you’re anything like us, sushi is always a go-to date night move. And while to-go fish admittedly loses a bit of its luster, one place where the quality never dips is Asanebo. The classic Studio City sushi spot is offering tremendous $45 sushi combinations, as well as $40 bento boxes. That’s an incredible value for a place where a regular dinner can set you back several hundreds of dollars. Of course, if you do want to go the splashy route, their omakase for two gets you 24 pieces of premium sushi for $120. Call (818) 760-3348 or place your order online. Takeout only.
We’re guessing your ground-floor apartment doesn’t have the festive bistro atmosphere of Belle Vie (ours sure doesn’t), but it’s still worth ordering from this Brentwood French restaurant, simply because the food is that good. From cheese plates to croque monsieurs to a pot de creme, this menu is stacked with well-constructed dishes that look fancy without being too expensive. And that’s the kind of economic model you can get behind right now. Both takeout and delivery are available Friday-Sunday, 12-8pm.
Let’s start with the bad news - the five-country vacation you and your significant other were planning to go on over the holidays clearly didn’t pan out. The good news? You can somewhat make up for it by ordering delivery or takeout from Black Market Liquor Bar. The Studio City spot has a wide-ranging, worldly menu that features everything from spicy Korean chicken wings to tagliatelle to chicken bao, and it’s all very good. Throw in a few cocktails to-go and you’ll be stamping your passports from home. Available for takeout and delivery through most apps, or call (818) 466-2533 to place an order.
The Brothers Sushi
Everybody knows that activity-based dates are the best kind of dates, but since no one is sky-diving in Santa Barbara at the moment, we recommend something DIY like Brothers Sushi. The high-end sushi restaurant in Woodland Hills has totally revamped their menu to include at-home hand roll kits (including kid-friendly versions) that start at just $10 (they go up to $700, btw). Call (818) 456-4509 or order through Tock.
Sure, it’s date night, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t in the mood for some hearty comfort. Call up Cassia. The upscale restaurant in Santa Monica has a fantastic menu that pulls influences from all over Southeast Asia. Think kaya toast, spicy wontons, beef rendang, and one of our favorite bowls of laksa in the city. Both takeout and delivery are available through most apps, Sunday-Thursday 4-8pm and Friday-Saturday 4-9pm.
Someday in the future we hope to have date night inside Chifa’s impossibly adorable space in Eagle Rock, but for now, takeout will more than suffice. This excellent Cantonese/Peruvian restaurant has a menu largely filled with old family recipes, but yet almost everything feels fresh and unlike anything you can really get in town right now. The si yao chicken and spicy beef noodle soup are standouts, but make sure the traditional zongi (sticky rice with chinese sausage, pork belly, and mushroom wrapped in bamboo leaf) is on your order as well. Pick-up only, call (323) 561-3084.
If good wine and cheese isn’t an easy way to get to your date’s heart, you need to stop quarantining with them immediately, because it’s never going to work out. If it is though, order from Esters. The Santa Monica wine bar is offering 25% off retail wine, plus cheese platters, charcuterie, and much more for both delivery and takeout. Open everyday from 12-7pm.
Say it with us now: Great wine and charcuterie always make a date night right. Fellow Traveler will certainly help you get there. The natural wine bar in West Hollywood is already one of our favorite places to pick up a bottle in the neighborhood, but it’s their food menu that deserves your complete attention. Aside from the aforementioned charcuterie, there are also fantastic snacks like chicken liver mousse and truffled porcini dip, plus a paprika aioli burger you’re going to fight for the last bite of. Available for pick-up and delivery through Doordash.
If you know one thing about your boyfriend, it’s that all he needs is pizza and some beer to be happy. You, on the other hand, just need a martini. Sounds like Jones Hollywood is your solution tonight. The classic Italian spot on Santa Monica Blvd. is that rare restaurant that’s figured out how to do everything well - good food, great drinks, and prices that won’t burn a hole through your wallet. They’re offering both takeout and delivery at the moment, but if you want one of their famous Dirty Sue martinis (which you do), you’ll need to do pick-up. Call (323) 850-1726 to order.
Madre is an upscale Oaxacan restaurant with locations in Torrance, Culver City, and West Hollywood, and a great way to say “I’m sorry” for tricking your wife into eating grocery store taquitos last week. The entire menu is available for both takeout and delivery, in addition to pre-made batched cocktails and mezcal by the bottle. Your wife already forgives you.
Marvin in Beverly Grove is basically the sexy version of Cheers. It’s the kind of spot you go to by yourself for a nightcap, then return the next night for a seal-the-deal date. But since you can’t actually go anywhere right now, ordering takeout from this restaurant/wine bar is the next best thing. Right now, nearly their entire regular menu is available for takeout and delivery, which means all the jamon toast and rigatoni Bolognese your romantic heart desires. Tip: Be sure to throw in one of their burgers as well, they’re excellent.
Ethiopian food might seem like a bold choice for date night, but so is attempting love in the time of quarantine, so just go with it. The classic spot in Little Ethiopia is offering their full menu for both takeout and delivery, and while you can get any dish a la carte, we recommend the Super Messob Exclusive. It’s a massive plate filled with nine dishes from all sections of the menu, ranging from collards to spicy lamb stew. At $33, it’s also a tremendous value.
You remembered to brush your teeth this morning and put on pants with a drawstring - that qualifies as a date in 2021. Reward your effort with takeout from Mírame. This upscale Mexican restaurant in Beverly Hills opened last summer and is already one of our favorite new restaurants in town. The food here is exciting, inventive, and delicious - like seafood pozole verde, octopus al pastor tacos, and lamb barbacoa quesadillas. Be sure to throw in some of their house-made cocktails as well. Available for takeout and delivery.
Ospi is an excellent Italian restaurant in Venice that comes from the same people behind another of our other favorite Italian restaurants on the Westside - Jame Enoteca. There’s a wide-ranging menu filled with antipasti, pizza, pasta, and big plates of meat (the lamb neck and pine nut cannelloni is a standout) - all things you want on the table when the mood trends romantic. Bonus: All wine bottles are 40% for takeout. Available for pick-up.
Ronan is one of our favorite pizza spots in LA, but don’t overlook the other items on their menu, either. From risotto to a French dip calzone to one of the best burrata plates in town, building a full meal around their pizza (get the margherita and the Sweet Cheeks) is a requirement, not a suggestion. Curbside pickup gets you 10% off your final bill, or you can always do delivery.
Healthy romance and being confined to a 900-square foot apartment might not be the best combination in the world, but do you know what is? Wine and Thai food. And that’s why you should order from Same Same when you’re planning an at-home date night. The Silver Lake Thai restaurant has excellent food across-the-board, plus good wine at reduced prices. Delivery is available, but if you call them at (213) 273-8424 and order takeout, you’ll get an additional 10% off your bill
Taking a page out of Garfield’s playbook, you want to surprise your date with lasagna tonight. We recommend Secret Lasagna. The legendary pop-up is now operating out of a new space in West Hollywood (inside the Target complex at Santa Monica and La Brea, to be exact), and is offering the same tremendous lasagna that made them famous. You can either order pieces individually or a whole tray for $55, but taking extracurriculars into consideration, we’ll let you choose which option is best. Available for both takeout and delivery.
Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village is a popular Chinese restaurant in San Gabriel, and though prices are a bit higher than what you’d find elsewhere in the neighborhood, the food is so good you don’t care. The menu is massive, so we recommend coming in with a tight game plan of ordering the Shanghai pork dumplings, any of their fried rice options, and braised pork in brown sauce. That said, if something else also catches your eye, it’s probably going to be good, too. Available for both takeout and delivery.
The Sherman Oaks sushi/wine bar is one of our favorite restaurants in the city, and they’re currently offering a takeout and delivery menu that’s still filled with all of their most iconic dishes. You can order sushi, rolls, and appetizers a la carte if you want, but our move is to go for the Half Note omakase (eight pieces of sushi, two appetizers, and a hand roll for $50 per person), and throw in a kinoko itame mushroom appetizer on top.
Blame Lady and the Tramp if you want, but the fact is pasta will always be the sexiest dish to order on a date. So lean into it and call Union. The Pasadena Italian restaurant makes some of our favorite pasta in the city (and maybe anywhere), and now, nearly the entire menu is available for takeout and delivery. We’re not saying you have to do the noodle kiss thing, but it’d be rewarding for everyone if you did.
West Hollywood Night Market
Not to be confused with the very famous Thai restaurant of a similar name, this West Hollywood Night Market is a weekend pop-up concept that takes over the parking lot next door to Employees Only on Santa Monica Blvd. It features different vendors selling everything from Filipino rice bowls to wood-fired pizza, but if you’re trying to pull off a quarantine date night, make it easy on yourself, and just get the Date Night Package. For $65, it comes with bottled cocktails for two, handmade bags of pasta and sauce from Orso, cookie dough from Gemini Bakehouse, and even a table plant. And let’s be honest, if a bonus succulent doesn’t get you in the mood, nothing will.