As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts turn to securing the ultimate date-night ambiance. We'll be the first to tell you there’s not a hard and fast rule to defining the perfect romantic restaurant — the most important element, of course, is the two of you. But the winning recipe seems to include a thoughtful combination of soft lighting, a bit of linen and silver, hushed tones and discreet service — all working in harmony to keep you focused on each other, leaving the rest of the world to melt away.
1. Bar Les Freres
7637 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton
Bar Les Freres was clearly designed for lovers. Its French-inspired décor includes handsome red walls, sparkling chandeliers and cool marble tables that invite lingering over a glass or two of bubbly. The romantic mystique also pairs with seamlessly with a refined French menu for an otherworldly dining experience.
1419 Carroll Street, Lafayette Square
Element’s striking top-floor lounge offers casual romance with a welcoming and cozy ambiance. The dramatically lit tile-faced and wood-topped bar takes center stage in a setting of exposed brick walls, reclaimed barn wood accents, comfortable couches, oversized wingback chairs and large windows overlooking the glittering cityscape of downtown St. Louis.
6679 Delmar Boulevard, University City
Taking a cue from its Latin-inspired menu, the atmosphere at Público is sultry. The space has a downright sexy vibe with a gorgeous central bar, modern globe lights and a wood-burning cooking hearth. An added bonus is an adventurous selection of small plates great for couples wanting to try something out of the ordinary.
4. Water Street
7268 Manchester Road, Maplewood
The welcoming storefront setting of Water Street casts a warm glow over people strolling along Manchester in downtown Maplewood. Last year alone this charming neighborhood restaurant saw a wedding and a proposal. It doesn't get any more romantic than that.
5. I Fratellini
7624 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton
Hailed as a romantic “jewel,” I Fratellini offers Old World Italian in a cozy space filled with candlelight and inviting architectural textures. At Bar Les Freres' sister restaurant, the service is unobtrusive, the Prosecco is crisp and the menu is squisito