ATLGuide

The 12 Best Date Night Restaurants In Atlanta

12 go-to restaurants to make a date more memorable—in a good way.
The 12 Best Date Night Restaurants In Atlanta image

photo credit: Courtesy of Steak Market

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 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.

THE SPOTS

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Vegan

Reynoldstown

$$$$Perfect For:VegansVegetariansOutdoor/Patio SituationCasual Weeknight DinnerDrinking Good Cocktails
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When white tablecloths feel too formal but a burger joint seems too casual, La Semilla in Reynoldstown provides a nice middle ground. And while your steak-loving significant other may balk at the idea of dinner at a plant-based spot, they’ll change their mind after a bite of the incredible vegan Crunchwrap—a hexagonal-shaped, grilled tortilla wrap that’s stuffed to the brim with seitan beef, lettuce, tomato, plant-based sour cream, and cheese. But it’s not just fast food gimmicks at this casual, relaxed, foliage-heavy oasis. Share some chips and queso and chochoyotes doused in a creamy coconut-corn broth, which are standouts on this exciting Latin menu. Just prepare for your previously stable relationship to be tested as y’all fight over the last bite.

If that Lady and The Tramp spaghetti scene still shapes your view of romantic dining, make your way to Gigi’s, a very tiny Italian spot in Candler Park. Red gingham tablecloths, colored Christmas lights, wax-covered candelabras, and randomly incorporated plastic green vines feel playfully cliche. Chefs pan-toss pasta while couples lock eyes with each other (because the tables are so tightly packed a glance elsewhere risks uncomfortable eye contact with strangers). Don’t expect to find kid-friendly spaghetti and meatballs here—but rather a small menu of great, upscale dishes like flaky poached snapper and fried, chewy polenta strips topped with cream and caviar.

In the early stages of dating (when we’re high-key looking for red flags), a casual spot helps keep pressure low. Hit up a combo that has soul-mate level chemistry with Wild Heaven beers and El Tesoro tacos in the West End’s Lee + White complex. Grab the Emergency Beer and settle on the comfy couches in the back. It's not a candle-lit dinner, but sitting shoulder-to-shoulder is far more intimate than table-top dining. Snacky foods like queso, salsas, and guac served with their homemade chips work if you’re pacing for a longer night. Then, return to the counter to snag the meaty carne asada taco or a fat barbacoa burro stuffed with rice, beans, and onions. If love isn’t in the cards, at least the food is good enough for a second date.

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.

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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.

When you need to rack up cool points, run up the score at BoccaLupo, an Italian-American restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere, chill music, and great food. It sits at the beginning of Inman Park, slightly hidden behind foliage. The restaurant’s sign, featuring a swirling noodle as part of the logo, doesn’t necessarily translate that this restaurant is in the top-tier of Atlanta dining, but the food is incredible. The hot Calabrese sausage with red shrimp and scallions adds nuance to the black spaghetti. Then, impress your date with an order of the rum-based Broken Figurine, which is served in a literal figurine head. And just when you think you've amassed all the cool points, the staff-curated playlist starts bumping OutKast B-sides and nu jazz.

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Suggested Reading

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The 10 Great Pizza Spots For A Bougie Date Night

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7.8

This Midtown spot is the area’s most upscale pasta place, so you can get all dressed up in your finest threads and dine on squid ink noodles and duck lasagna before or after a show.

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In our experience, hidden dark rooms are usually something we'd avoid, but it's different when there's high-priced omakase.

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