The Girls Gotta Eat Guide To Date Night Restaurants

The hosts of the hit podcast think eating out is as much about the vibes as it is the food.
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When they're not podcasting about dating hot topics like booty calls, cheating, and weaponized incompetence (to name just a few) on Girls Gotta Eat, co-hosts and BFFs Rayna Greenberg and Ashley Hesseltine are usually plotting their respective date nights. "If there are two things we know best," they say, "it’s how to date and what to eat." For them, it's also about where to eat: restaurants that bring that date night energy, through a combination of design, energy, and, in some cases, fire dancers. Rayna and Ashley have assembled a list of their favorite spots for eating and romancing all over the country—because, in their words, "even if you hate your date, you should still love your meal."

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BBQ

South Congress

$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersLunchOutdoor/Patio SituationCasual Weeknight Dinner
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"If you’re in Austin, make BBQ your activity. L&L has a sprawling outdoor space, fire pits, and live music. Sit in their Adirondack chairs under the trees and string lights while you sip from their massive selection of beer. They serve traditional BBQ like pulled pork and sausage. But they’ve thrown some twists onto the menu, like cauliflower burnt ends and housemade kimchi. You can easily kill three or four hours lounging here. When you’re done, Congress Street is steps away, ready for all your buzzed shopping decisions."—Rayna Greenberg

$$$$Perfect For:Drinks & A Light Bite

"I know there's an endless supply of sexy date night spots on every block in New York but all I need is Bua. It checks all my boxes: dimly lit, brick walls, low ceilings, and candlelight. The bar seats are positioned so that you have to sit together extra close. The menu isn’t packed with frills, but they have everything your heart desires, like a perfect Manhattan, and cheese curds with ranch. Pro tip: the bathroom fits two people."—RG

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"My favorite date spot in my former hometown of Atlanta is the Clermont Lounge, a strip club/dive bar in the basement of a hotel with the most unique and inclusive roster of dancers you’ll ever see. Because it doesn’t pop off until late, you can make a whole night of it with drinks on the hotel’s rooftop bar, and a delicious meal at Tiny Lou’s, a sexy, dimly lit French-American brasserie with top-notch steak frites and smoked salmon rillettes."—Ashley Hesseltine

"Chicago's Aba will put you in the mood no matter where you find yourself. Take your pick between the swanky interior featuring lamps hanging from olive trees, or sit outside on their sexy rooftop balcony. The menu features updated Mediterranean classics such as hummus, kebabs and falafel—everything is meant to be shared and experienced together. Their natural wine selection will put you in the mood to take an evening stroll through the West Loop before heading home to have some fun."—RG

"I’m admittedly partial to Alice in New York, but even before I had my first official date with my partner at this Italian/seafood hot spot, I was talking up how sexual the energy was. It’s tucked away in a West Village brownstone with various atmospheres to choose from, including the cozy front room, the lively bar with a “locals only” energy, and its alluring dining room. And the food and drinks are fantastic. Don’t sleep on the agnolotti cacio e pepe."—AH

"The indoor-outdoor vibes here at this rooftop Santa Monica restaurant are beyond sexy. You can lounge on their big couches and watch a perfect, unobstructed view of the sunset over the ocean right from your dinner table. With views like this the food doesn’t even have to be good, but the menu fully delivers. They have all the Italian dishes ideal for sharing: spicy vodka pasta, cacio e pepe, Neapolitan pizza, and prosecco arancini (how sexy does that sound?). You and your date will never run out of things to talk about because the tables are packed, leading to some of the best people watching in LA."—RG

"You may not think a see-and-be-seen spot like Mila in Miami would be ideal for a date, but hear me out. The bohemian, indoor/outdoor atmosphere of this rooftop restaurant, complete with a pond, makes for an immediately flirty feel. The Asian and Mediterranean-inspired menu is wonderful, the inventive cocktails hit the spot, and the fire dancers turn up the heat and make for good conversation. It’s a prime place for drinks or dining before you go home and ignite your own spark."—AH

"You can’t go wrong with Ysabel in Los Angeles. The contemporary American menu is full of hits like their spicy tuna crispy rice, hand-cut rigatoni, and lobster risotto. And so is the playlist—'90s and 2000s R&B is my love language. The vibes are immaculate, from the two large bar areas, to the patio with twinkle-lit trees, to the cozy booths lining the perimeter of the restaurant. Even the waiting area with an illuminated, picturesque staircase, never lacking influencer girlies capturing their ‘fits, makes for a memorable evening."—AH

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