Nothing inspires romance quite like an intimate dinner date. There's just something magical about it: the candlelight, the grazing of knees and elbows, a shared dessert. But sitting at any old table isn't going to cut it.

Nothing inspires romance quite like an intimate dinner date. There's just something magical about it: the candlelight, the grazing of knees and elbows, a shared dessert.

But sitting at any old table isn't going to cut it. The most romantic tables are far enough away from fellow diners to allow for clandestine conversation.

They're situated next to roaring fireplaces. They have curtains that can be drawn shut to allow for complete privacy.

Here are four of the city's best.

Hyde Park
1615 Old Henderson Rd., Upper Arlington

Of the three Hyde Park steakhouses in Columbus, the original in Upper Arlington is widely acknowledged to be the most romantic. The restaurant is divided up into several cozy dining rooms, each with its own fireplace. Everyone has their own favorite place to sit, says manager Jonathan Legato. "We have a lot of different nooks and crannies."

Make reservations to celebrate an anniversary and you'll be treated to rose petals and candles. Proposals are toasted with champagne. And on Fridays and Saturdays, a live jazz band provides a soundtrack for the evening.


McCormick & Schmick's
3695 New Bond St., Easton

Curtains that can be--and often are--drawn shut are what set these booths apart from the pack. The Easton seafood spot attracts four to five couples celebrating anniversaries every weekend night, says private dining coordinator Sarah Stout.
Menus are printed twice daily, and can be personalized to commemorate special occasions: "We'll put 'Happy Anniversary, Sherry and Jack.''

Kihachi
2667 Federated Blvd., Dublin

The magic of tatami dining is in the ritual. In these Japanese dining rooms steeped in tradition, couples sit on thick straw tatami mats at a low-set table as they feast on a leisurely multi-course meal. It's a peaceful and serene experience, thanks especially to the complete privacy afforded by rolling-shut doors. At Kihachi, it's best to order lots of dishes for sharing--each plate prepared by Kihachi's brilliant chef Mike Kimura is guaranteed to delight the senses.

DeepWood
511 N. High St., Short North

Round booths demand couples sit next to each other--perfect for hand-holding and seductive whispers. They help keep conversations private. And they trick you into believing you're the only two people in the world.

At DeepWood, owner Amber Herron says, couples celebrating anniversaries are treated to special flower arrangements, a hand-written note from the staff, and a tasting of housemade ice creams as a sweet ending to the meal.