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A top-down view of an oyster platter at Vinnie’s Raw Bar.
Vinnie’s Raw Bar in Belltown serves up seafood and natural wine.
Morgen Schuler for Eater

10 Low-Key Valentine’s Day Dining and Drinks Destinations in Seattle

Sweetness without all the sap

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Vinnie’s Raw Bar in Belltown serves up seafood and natural wine.
| Morgen Schuler for Eater

Going out to eat on February 14 is typically amateur hour. From expensive prix fixe menus to cheesy decorations to predictable chocolate desserts, many restaurants tend to cater to the Hallmark holiday’s biggest cliches. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to plan a romantic date under more mellow conditions. Here, a few suggestions that should be chill, fun, and sweet, while avoiding most of the schmaltz.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Gainsbourg

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8550 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 783-4004
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For those looking for French vibes without snobbiness, this low-lit gem in Greenwood is a good bet. There are plenty of cocktails to set the mood, such as the Edith Piaf (with vodka and creme de violette) and a whole list just for absinthe. Plus, the poutine is some of the best in the city, using gruyère instead of cheese curds, along with a rich, mushroom-based gravy.

The low-lit interior of Gainsbourg with red booths and clouds painted on the walls.
Gainsbourg is Greenwood’s laid-back French lounge.
Gainsbourg/Official

2. Add-A-Ball

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315 N 36th St #2b
Seattle, WA 98103

Couples who like a little old school arcade action may enjoy this divey Fremont spot, which claims to have Seattle’s largest collection of vintage coin operated arcade machines. There’s a whole 80s rec room vibe going on, which may make one nostalgic for those innocent days of yore, when Valentine’s Day meant letting one’s crush play that extra life at no charge. Game on.

Baby Pac-Man, along with another vintage arcade game at Add-A-Ball.
Vintage arcade games are all the rage at Add-A-Ball.
Add-A-Ball/Facebook

3. Lionhead

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618 Broadway Ave. East
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 922-3326
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For couples not afraid of a little spice, this Sichuan spot on East Broadway should fit the bill. The dining room is warm and cozy, and there are plenty of shareable plates, such as the smoky braised duck, a silky eggplant in aged vinegar, and lamb jiaozi. Don’t forget about the refreshing specialty cocktails, including the Intercontinental, with ginger washed baiju, roasted banana, passion fruit, and soda.

Dan Dan noodles in a bowl at Lionhead, with chopsticks to the left.
Dan Dan noodles.
Courtesy of Lionhead

4. District H

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101 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 708-1305
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A grocery store date? Absolutely, especially when this new fancy version of popular Korean shop H Mart in South Lake Union has so many delights. One of the main attractions is a fantastic steam station, serving up doughnut-shaped dumplings (kimchi, beef, and vegetable with glass noodles). But there is also an extensive selection of other great options in the small food court, along with a robust bakery. Plus, K-pop socks make a great Valentine’s gift.

An aisle at the grocery store District H in South Lake Union.
Korean snacks fill the aisles at District H.
Gabe Guarente

5. Black Bottle

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919 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 223-5143
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Always one of the more underrated date spots in the Seattle area, the wine and small plate-focused restaurant has a downtown Bellevue, as well as one in Belltown location. Among some of the more date-friendly plates are kolkata pepper-glazed cauliflower fritters and lamb meatballs with sumac hummus, which go well with Black Bottle’s carefully-curated drinks list, which includes a February special called Hot & Bothered with mulled wine, cranberry, brown sugar, and spices.

A Manhattan sitting on a bar at Black Bottle.
A Manhattan at Black Bottle.
Black Bottle Bellevue/Official

6. Vinnie's Raw Bar

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2505 2nd Ave #103
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 420-7043
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This sibling spot in Belltown to acclaimed Rob Roy and No Anchor pairs natural wine and seafood, including plenty of seasonal oysters on the half shell. It’s high concept, but low pretense, with colorful, homey décor, and an open kitchen where one can chat with the shucker on duty. Knowledgeable servers guide diners through a wine list with quite a few unconventional options, such as a peppery, handmade chenin noir and plenty of skin contact roses.

A top-down view of an oyster platter at Vinnie’s Raw Bar.
Vinnie’s Raw Bar serves up natural wine and seafood.
Morgen Schuler for Eater

7. Little Neon Taco

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1011 Boren Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-2026
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It can be easy to overlook this laid-back, but elegant Mexican restaurant on a quiet First Hill stretch, but it’s just the sort of spot that makes for a surprisingly intimate escape. The menu blends classic tacos like lengua and adobada with new twists, like the cueritos with soft pork rinds; all approachable dishes, without trying too hard. Plus, the short cocktail list is stellar, with margaritas, daiquiris, and mezcal old fashioneds that have some kick.

Two tacos on a plate at Little Neon Taco
Tacos are affordable and excellent at Little Neon Taco.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

8. Mioposto

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3601 S McClellan St
Seattle, WA 98144
(206) 760-3400
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This pizzeria, which has grown to four locations in the Seattle area, has an outpost on a quiet, leafy corner in Mount Baker. The thin-crust pizzas are excellent, the salads are surprisingly substantial, and the cocktails, such as the smoked orange margaritas, leave an impression. Though the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, it does have an online system where you can check ahead for the wait times for a table, which is handy.

9. Itto's Tapas

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4160 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 420-6676
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West Seattle’s Spanish and Moroccan tapas bar boasts a cozy space, in keeping with a compact menu. The tapas here are as artful as they are packed with flavor; classics like Spanish squid ink paella swim with freshly grilled prawns and scallops. Along with the Casablanca-inspired motif, potent cocktails, like A Kiss From Kenitra (with house-infused chamomile bourbon, chambord, and cava) help set the mood.

10. Deep Sea Sugar And Salt

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6601 Carleton Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 588-1186
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If there’s ever a time to start the night out with cake, Valentine’s Day would be it, and this Georgetown staple delivers the goods in a charming house on Carleton Avenue. Among the flavors served by the slice are longtime fan favorites, like the London Fog and 9LB Porter, along with seasonal flavors, such as cardamom raspberry rose. There are even a six-pack of cupcakes available for the big day, still available for pre-order.

A collection of cakes, from chocolate to caramel, and some cupcakes to the right.
Cakes by the slice and cupcakes whole at Deep Sea Sugar and Salt.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

1. Gainsbourg

8550 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
The low-lit interior of Gainsbourg with red booths and clouds painted on the walls.
Gainsbourg is Greenwood’s laid-back French lounge.
Gainsbourg/Official

For those looking for French vibes without snobbiness, this low-lit gem in Greenwood is a good bet. There are plenty of cocktails to set the mood, such as the Edith Piaf (with vodka and creme de violette) and a whole list just for absinthe. Plus, the poutine is some of the best in the city, using gruyère instead of cheese curds, along with a rich, mushroom-based gravy.

8550 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

2. Add-A-Ball

315 N 36th St #2b, Seattle, WA 98103
Baby Pac-Man, along with another vintage arcade game at Add-A-Ball.
Vintage arcade games are all the rage at Add-A-Ball.
Add-A-Ball/Facebook

Couples who like a little old school arcade action may enjoy this divey Fremont spot, which claims to have Seattle’s largest collection of vintage coin operated arcade machines. There’s a whole 80s rec room vibe going on, which may make one nostalgic for those innocent days of yore, when Valentine’s Day meant letting one’s crush play that extra life at no charge. Game on.

315 N 36th St #2b
Seattle, WA 98103

3. Lionhead

618 Broadway Ave. East, Seattle, WA 98102
Dan Dan noodles in a bowl at Lionhead, with chopsticks to the left.
Dan Dan noodles.
Courtesy of Lionhead

For couples not afraid of a little spice, this Sichuan spot on East Broadway should fit the bill. The dining room is warm and cozy, and there are plenty of shareable plates, such as the smoky braised duck, a silky eggplant in aged vinegar, and lamb jiaozi. Don’t forget about the refreshing specialty cocktails, including the Intercontinental, with ginger washed baiju, roasted banana, passion fruit, and soda.

618 Broadway Ave. East
Seattle, WA 98102

4. District H

101 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
An aisle at the grocery store District H in South Lake Union.
Korean snacks fill the aisles at District H.
Gabe Guarente

A grocery store date? Absolutely, especially when this new fancy version of popular Korean shop H Mart in South Lake Union has so many delights. One of the main attractions is a fantastic steam station, serving up doughnut-shaped dumplings (kimchi, beef, and vegetable with glass noodles). But there is also an extensive selection of other great options in the small food court, along with a robust bakery. Plus, K-pop socks make a great Valentine’s gift.

101 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

5. Black Bottle

919 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
A Manhattan sitting on a bar at Black Bottle.
A Manhattan at Black Bottle.
Black Bottle Bellevue/Official

Always one of the more underrated date spots in the Seattle area, the wine and small plate-focused restaurant has a downtown Bellevue, as well as one in Belltown location. Among some of the more date-friendly plates are kolkata pepper-glazed cauliflower fritters and lamb meatballs with sumac hummus, which go well with Black Bottle’s carefully-curated drinks list, which includes a February special called Hot & Bothered with mulled wine, cranberry, brown sugar, and spices.

919 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

6. Vinnie's Raw Bar

2505 2nd Ave #103, Seattle, WA 98121
A top-down view of an oyster platter at Vinnie’s Raw Bar.
Vinnie’s Raw Bar serves up natural wine and seafood.
Morgen Schuler for Eater

This sibling spot in Belltown to acclaimed Rob Roy and No Anchor pairs natural wine and seafood, including plenty of seasonal oysters on the half shell. It’s high concept, but low pretense, with colorful, homey décor, and an open kitchen where one can chat with the shucker on duty. Knowledgeable servers guide diners through a wine list with quite a few unconventional options, such as a peppery, handmade chenin noir and plenty of skin contact roses.

2505 2nd Ave #103
Seattle, WA 98121

7. Little Neon Taco

1011 Boren Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Two tacos on a plate at Little Neon Taco
Tacos are affordable and excellent at Little Neon Taco.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

It can be easy to overlook this laid-back, but elegant Mexican restaurant on a quiet First Hill stretch, but it’s just the sort of spot that makes for a surprisingly intimate escape. The menu blends classic tacos like lengua and adobada with new twists, like the cueritos with soft pork rinds; all approachable dishes, without trying too hard. Plus, the short cocktail list is stellar, with margaritas, daiquiris, and mezcal old fashioneds that have some kick.

1011 Boren Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

8. Mioposto

3601 S McClellan St, Seattle, WA 98144

This pizzeria, which has grown to four locations in the Seattle area, has an outpost on a quiet, leafy corner in Mount Baker. The thin-crust pizzas are excellent, the salads are surprisingly substantial, and the cocktails, such as the smoked orange margaritas, leave an impression. Though the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, it does have an online system where you can check ahead for the wait times for a table, which is handy.

3601 S McClellan St
Seattle, WA 98144

9. Itto's Tapas

4160 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

West Seattle’s Spanish and Moroccan tapas bar boasts a cozy space, in keeping with a compact menu. The tapas here are as artful as they are packed with flavor; classics like Spanish squid ink paella swim with freshly grilled prawns and scallops. Along with the Casablanca-inspired motif, potent cocktails, like A Kiss From Kenitra (with house-infused chamomile bourbon, chambord, and cava) help set the mood.

4160 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

10. Deep Sea Sugar And Salt

6601 Carleton Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
A collection of cakes, from chocolate to caramel, and some cupcakes to the right.
Cakes by the slice and cupcakes whole at Deep Sea Sugar and Salt.
Suzi Pratt for Eater

If there’s ever a time to start the night out with cake, Valentine’s Day would be it, and this Georgetown staple delivers the goods in a charming house on Carleton Avenue. Among the flavors served by the slice are longtime fan favorites, like the London Fog and 9LB Porter, along with seasonal flavors, such as cardamom raspberry rose. There are even a six-pack of cupcakes available for the big day, still available for pre-order.

6601 Carleton Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

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