Some places are just made for an evening out; L’Opera (101 Pine Ave.), for example. This downtown landmark signaled the area’s revitalization with its 1990 opening, attended by the likes of Paul Newman and Mario Andretti. It’s become the go-to, fine dining destination for intimate dinners, special occasions, wedding rehearsals and just about any meal that people want to splurge on a night of top-notch food and service. It has an award-winning menu and an interior that’s been completely redone, making L’Opera even more romantic, if that’s possible.
Similarly, just a few blocks away, is another Italian heartthrob, La Traviata (301 N. Cedar Ave.). Located in the historic, French revival Willmore Building, La Traviata serves an award-winning Nuevo Italian menu in a cozy dining room featuring a rather stunning chandelier. Admittedly, not as well-known as L’Opera – few Long Beach restaurants are – it’s proud of being a cherished secret to devotees and those in the know, one with a friendly bar and terrific Social Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m.
If you’re not feeling Italian, one of the area’s most popular date night restaurants–located about half a mile from La Traviata–is Thai District (149 Linden Ave.). The two-story spot–it also has a large outdoor dining area–is known for creating an intimate atmosphere as well as delicious, traditional Thai cuisine. Though both the food and surroundings feel very upscale, prices are reasonable, which is likely one reason why it’s so popular for a night out.
Now, for a lot of people, a trip to any of these spots is enough, but if you’re looking to combine fine dining with fun activity, head to nearby Brushstrokes + Beverages (501 E. Broadway), where you’ll be guided, step-by-step, to create the evening’s featured painting, all the while enjoying a bit of the liquid inspiration you’re invited to bring with you.