Solid Atlanta Date Night Restaurants To Redeem Your Last F*ck Up guide image


Solid Atlanta Date Night Restaurants To Redeem Your Last F*ck Up

12 go-to restaurants to make a date more memorable—in a good way.

Picking an occasional bad movie is redeemable. At least that leads to funny conversation about plot holes and overacting. Picking a bad restaurant, however, can be absolutely damning. Trash food and service can make an already awkward first or second date even more painful. And if you’re in a long-term relationship, please believe your partner will hold that failure over your head for the next few months. So set the record straight (and ramp up the brownie points) with one of these picks, where the mood and food are sure to impress.



A place named after a wailing female spirit doesn’t exactly “scream” romance. But innovative dishes, chic lighting, dark blue draperies that divide the dining area, and a bird wallpapered bar make Banshee the most upscale place in EAV. And menu items like the sweet potato agnolotti with tender lamb will make you forget you're in the super casual neighborhood. It all adds up to being the perfect spot if you’re planning a pull-out-all-the-stops date on that side of town. If their fry bread with pepperoni butter doesn’t make your date swoon, then they are most definitely not the one.

We’re not trying to be cliche, suggesting another seafood and steakhouse for your date night, but Marcel is thee Atlanta steakhouse. You’ll usually find couples on their anniversaries cuddled up in big corner leather booths, oohing and awing over tableside preparations, like the baked Alaska. Because of the blackout curtains and dim amber lighting, the space looks like midnight even at 5pm, making it a discreet outing for celebs, sneaky links, or for blowing your tax refund without being spotted by that relative who is always preaching about fiscal responsibility. And it’s hard to stay on budget here because every single menu item— from the cacio e pepe to the oysters Rockefeller—is very close to being the city’s best version.

Named after a tree known for its restorative properties, Palo Santo brings the flavors of wood-smoked cuisine to the Westside. We can’t promise that this Palo Santo will purge those low vibrational energies. But we can vouch for their creative Japanese and Mexican cuisine, which is perfectly represented in dishes like the hamachi tostada—a delicious mix of dry miso, uni, and yellowtail with burnt avocado and charred serrano yuzu mayo on top of a crunchy tostada. And when you really want to impress your date, hit the rooftop (one of our faves in the city) before or after dinner to sip on drinks like their P.S. Margarita.

We all know size matters, but rather than making us feel cramped, Kinjo Room in The Interlock makes us feel like we’re VIP’s fresh off a hot tip about an exclusive sushi spot. It’s just one small room with roughly ten tables and a bar. The dimly lit, intimate space is perfect if you want to enjoy dinner with someone you actually like. Electronic-pop and artsy cover music that seem like it would be played at a couture fashion show plays softly in the background as you sample small plates (we recommend the tender A5 Wagyu beef or lobster box rolls). So you can really feel like a VIP, make sure to grab a reservation for weekends and peak dinner times.

With its dark, sleek decor, big artsy photos, and a spacious interior that offers ample room between tables, Buckhead’s Americano feels like the place to impress your new boo over martinis and better-than-average steaks or spoil your old flame with wine and some of the best focaccia we’ve ever had. If you’re feeling extra frisky, order the fantastic rigatoni with marinara and see where the night takes you. If that destination looks like another round of pasta, well then consider it real love.

Steak Market’s over-the-tabletop experience starts with $40 valet parking, a step-and-repeat, and the quintessential clubstaurant bouncer. If your date isn’t moved by all the extraness at the Midtown hotspot, take them inside to see towering aquariums, a perfectly lit wall of liquor bottles, and glass showcases of beef. The juicy Wagyu striploin, dramatically sliced tableside, goes wonderfully with the shareable broccolini and lobster mac. Just about everything here comes with big flavor and bigger price tags—including that ridiculous order of cotton candy ($85) sitting on top of a mannequin's head like Marge Simpson.

As one of the go-to date night destinations in Emory Village, Double Zero also has all the components for a special occasion meal—a chic, modern aesthetic, mood lighting, fun cocktails and a long wine list, and multiple courses that help you make the most of paying the babysitter for three hours. Before digging into all the homemade pastas and other Italian entrees, we strongly advise first putting a pizza on your table. With fresh fior di latte mozzarella on every pie and dough made from heirloom yeast starter and (you guessed it) Double Zero flour, no one will judge if the pillowy soft pizza is your only course—even on your fancy date night.

The Cascade Heights restaurant occasionally has a performing jazz musician, in which case you can pretend you’re in some romance movie where all the characters coincidentally have an expert-level knowledge of music theory. But even when no one is playing, Oreatha’s just feels jazzy. From the gray abstract floor tiles and the cool blue glass drinkware to the creative riffs on soul food classics, the place just sings to you. Start with the panzanella salad, which is a fun Southern spin on the traditional bread salad that uses cornbread croutons and shredded collards. Then share the smoked duck pot pie or the fried Thai-seasoned catfish and grits.

If you really want to reclaim your title as the best date planner, make a reservation at Lazy Betty in Candler Park. The award-winning restaurant offers a six- and eight-course tasting menu, and they even throw in a few additional plates like their warm cheesy biscuit that’s basically a cuddle in your mouth. Everything here is fun, creative, and full of tasty surprises that make you say things like, “Wow, I never thought beef fat in my bourbon cocktail could be so good.” Even when you think you’re ready to tap out, you’ll have a hard time putting down your fork when unexpected desserts like the corn mousse arrive at the table. Yes, that’s right, it’s ca-orn, but plated with sweet and syrupy Peruvian corn tea, fluffy popcorn, and charred corn ribs.

Bastone in West Midtown gives you an easy alley-oop to kick off your meal and conversation with a mozzarella tasting. You can offer your take on your favorite cheeses on the tasting board (maybe you liked the smoothness and salt content of the housemade fatt' a mano) and discuss the potential pairings—the Italian-imported stracciatella is a nice fit, with a little sweetness from the honeycomb and crunch from the taralli crackers. More cheesy goodness makes its way into some of the other dishes, like the handmade pasta, which Bastone switches up pretty frequently. But we hope the fresh peach salad, which sits in a creamy yogurt bath and is truly more soup than salad, is a keeper—it’s pure happiness.  

For years, One Flew South at Hartsfield-Jackson airport was the only reason we showed up hours ahead of our departure time. Now, their first restaurant that doesn’t require TSA pat downs has opened on the Eastside BeltLine (not far from the Krog Street Tunnel), and it delivers their signature first class service, sushi rolls, cold noodle salad, and other favorites from the  Asian-fusion restaurant. Start with the DIY deviled egg appetizer, which you can assemble with a sticky bacon jam, crunchy radishes, and even caviar or the shishito peppers with a sweet soy-ginger glaze. And we highly suggest ending things with their rice pudding dessert, made with black forbidden rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with chewy coconut flakes and sticky mango cubes. 

We wish that order by phone table service was a thing on all dates. At Bartaco, you can avoid those moments of interruption when you’re already in deep conversation about the evolution of boy bands. Just order when you’re ready and when you do, make sure you place a few orders for the crispy fried oyster taco and the street corn on the cob, which has a little cayenne kick. This Vinings location gives off the same signature resort restaurant energy as the other Bartacos, but on nice days, they open the garage door that serves as a wall so that the al fresco vibes extend throughout the restaurant.

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Solid Atlanta Date Night Restaurants To Redeem Your Last F*ck Up guide image