Writer Monica Amore has lived in New Haven for 6 years, went to Quinnipiac and far prefers pools to the ocean for some reason (that is not true). Also, she is a big fan of Dad Bod (that is true).

The very first kiss I had in New Haven was in the old Rudy’s. The second was at the York Square Cinema on Broadway. The third was at Koffee II. All of these places have since vanished, but there are still plenty of others in this lovely city to help to get you in the mood.


3 Edwards St.

August has the three most important elements of romance – candles, darkness and (excellent) wine. I feel wanted just walking in. This cool little bar on Edwards St. in East Rock will have you taking your off clothes before you even get home. Honestly, it’s like a sauna in there.

Water, I need water!

This 350 square foot place fills up fast, but it is worth a visit. Get there early (they open at 5 PM) and wear a lot of layers.


806 State St.

Walk into the restaurant on State St. and walk out to a patio in Rome. It’s a hidden gem in New Haven, and while the patio is closed for winter, nothing says romance like Italian fare.

Lady and the poor, hungry, beggar dog

These handmade pastas will inspire you to quit life and move to Italy. just like Aziz Ansari did in Master of None. Best to make a reservation, and try the Gnocci ala Vodka ($16).

Edgerton Park

75 Cliff St.

The rolling hills, the flowers, the [sometimes running] fountain and puppies. Yes, puppies. My friend and her fiance had their first date there. They got engaged there, and their wedding is happening there! I mean, that is pretty romantic.

Oops. Wrong image.

Take a stroll through this picturesque park holding each other’s frozen hand. When it finally warms up pack a picnic, and find a nice spot in the shade; or if you’re like me, under a tree with pockets of sun that flash golden light across your face – nature’s Snapchat filter – leaves! After, you can check each other for ticks. (Seriously, Lyme disease is no joke.)

Heirloom at the Study at Yale

1157 Chapel St. 

I like to call this “Smart Casual” romance. Heirloom IS downtown New Haven, overlooking Chapel Street, and lined with large windows for excellent people watching. (Rule #1 for romance – pay attention to each other.)

Google image search for “Smart Casual Date”

Supporting farm to table and local business, the Food Network featured their warm local ricotta in their 50 States of Dip. Try this or the White Clam Risotto ($24).

Anaya Sushi

Shell and Bones

100 S Water St.

Something about the ocean that always brings out romance. The warm water, the cool breeze, the sound of the rolling waves as a seagull swoops down and yanks the sandwich right out of your hand.

The tears of my former lovers.

Aside from oysters – a known aphrodisiac – and a plethora of sea delicacies, this dock side restaurant is serving Xanadu for Two ($16) on Valentine’s Day. I can only guess this dessert is based on the 1980s romantic musical fantasy film starring Olivia Newton-John. Filled with a warm chocolate and peanut butter cookie, chocolate banana semi fredo [half frozen], chocolate strawberries and belgian chocolate gelato, you’ll only need one spoon for this one.


104 Audubon St.

Koffee after Dark can get crowded on a Friday night, but the lights are low, and it’s easy to cozy up on one of the couches with a good craft beer or glass of wine. Sidenote: This could be a blog post for the Best Gym in the New Haven and I will still find a way to put Koffee on my list.


1022 Chapel St.

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day, the most romantic holiday of the year (personally, I think that’s the 4th of July) without candy and chocolate. Bum a candy cigarette from your sweetheart, or pretend propose with a ring pop. Why not share a…lollipop? Um, actually, don’t.

But around the corner is the cutest alleyway adorned with bright white lights. Apparently, it’s called Sherman’s Alley, and you can probably get away with sharing it there…or, dare I say, a kiss.

Sweets for my sweetheart.

East Rock Summit

41 Cold Spring St.

Nothing like being on top of the world…or East Rock that inspires romance. If you like working out for romance (bleh), hike up to the summit of East Rock where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the greatest small city in america #gscia.

Look into my eyes.

Can someone please bring back the 2013 laser light installment because those, were like, the best.

Broadway (aka The Shops at Yale)

Um, Broadway

Why this popular shopping strip has not been featured in a Hallmark Channel romantic comedy where Clarissa Explains It All falls for Blossom’s brother is beyond me. Walking along this brick path makes me want to hold my own hand.


Worthy Mentions

Cave a Vin
That bridge over the Mill River
“The top of the Crown St. parking garage” – Josh (What, you can see a bunch of the city from there!)

While you’re here…

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  1. Great list. August is wonderful and I like that you’ve included more than just restaurants. I’ve got a couple more honorable mentions. I’d throw in Firehouse 12 for a nightcap. It’s a basement bar that’s cozy and modern. If you can score a booth you and your date can cuddle up close over that last drink. Also there’s that restaurant on top of the Omni hotel–John Davenport’s. It could be romantic to share a meal overlooking the Elm City. I mean, what’s more romantic than casually looking down on violent crime and drunk Yalies, right?

  2. New Haven is as romantic as a colonoscopy. And I’m not trolling here, I speak from experience. New Haven, with every toxic thing it does to women to make them abandon all better judgement, thought and reason, where the only constant is they “want an attitude, and want a challenge”, is where romance goes to die.

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