The Most Romantic Restaurants In Austin guide image


The Most Romantic Restaurants In Austin

Get dressed up a little and show that special someone how much they mean to you.

Maybe you’ve been together for a while and want a step up from one of our casual date night spots. Or maybe you just really want to impress someone you met on an app earlier this week. Either way, you’re looking for the most romantic spots in Austin. That’s where this guide comes in. Walking into any of these spots feels like dimming the lights a little, while Sexy Sax Man plays softly in the background. 


DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya

The team that brought you Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, and Tiki Tatsu-Ya certainly know how to build a vibe, and DipDipDip is no exception, with its dimly-lit atmosphere, close quarters, custom woodwork, and immersive experience. Unlike most hot pot places we’ve been to, everyone here is given their own bowl, so you and your date can each pick a different broth and share (if you want to). Order the “baller omakase,” where you’ll be treated to oysters before diving into some more premium meats and veggies. It’s fun, it’s intimate, and it’s everything we like on a date.

It’s hard not to be taken aback by the space at Comedor, a decidedly upscale modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin. Inside, there are long wooden tables and cozy booths, with giant light fixtures overhead that look as if Alexander Calder had decided to design chandeliers instead of mobiles. Giant garage doors open to an outdoor patio that's reminiscent of something you'd find in Mexico City. Grab an order of the bone marrow tacos, and when you’re done, save the bone and see who can take down a shot of mezcal via bone luge without spilling. 

You’ll have to choose between two great options for an experience at Lenoir. There’s the cozy, renovated old bungalow with a handful of tables, plus some bar seating. And there’s the large outdoor wine garden shaded by oak trees, where you can usually grab a table without planning ahead. Either way, you’ll find yourself working through a menu made up of “hot weather foods” (translation: light, fresh, and often quite spicy), offered a la carte or as a 5-course “chef’s choice” tasting if you want to remove the guesswork. Between the unpredictable menu, the intimate space, and the well-curated wine list, there’s a lot to love about Lenoir. 

An Uchi reservation is like a golden ticket to a great date. Sure, it’s pricey—too bad that golden ticket isn’t made of precious metal—but this is the kind of place you come to celebrate. The dining room is in an old remodeled house, giving it an atmosphere that feels both cozy and cool, with a dimly-lit interior that will hide the fact that you forgot to iron your shirt before heading out. And if you don’t have a reservation (bold move for an Uchi date night), they reserve a handful of spots at the sushi bar for walk-ins, so you might just get lucky after all.

Hestia is one of the few spots in town where a suit doesn’t feel out of place. Pair that with local ingredients cooked on a live fire hearth, an excellent wine list, and a dining room that feels like it was plucked out of a much bigger city, and you get Hestia, one of our favorite spots downtown for a fancy night out. It’s not cheap—expect to drop a few bills on the experience—but for celebrations, anniversaries, or impressing that special someone, it’s a hard spot to beat.

An intimate date night dinner spot, Justine’s hits the mark with its brasserie menu—is there anything more French than escargots cooked in garlic-herb butter? Where Justine’s really shines is the multiple dining options: there’s the romantic bar with vinyl records spinning, there are the semi-private tented cabanas with chandeliers, and then the chill and relaxed winter tent with the oyster bar. If you really want to make a big night of it, there’s the caviar service with the smoked heirloom potato gaufrettes.

When you haven’t reached the point where you’re traveling together, but you want to test the waters, go on a date to Fonda San Miguel in Allandale. It’s a colorful place that will make you feel like you took a mini vacation to Mexico. The chile rellenos, mole enchiladas, and ceviches are some of the best in the city, and after a few tequila and mezcal cocktails, you’ll probably be ready to get on a plane with this person.

Just north of the Capitol, Olamaie looks a little bit like it was plucked off the cover of Southern Living magazine. The renovated 1930s bungalow is complete with well-manicured hedges, white wood paneling, and a cute patio where you can sit and sip on sweet tea from a mason jar while chatting about the weather. Or if you want to get a little deeper, try ordering a couple cocktails and start talking about what the future holds for you and your date. The menu is made up of modern and fine dining takes on Southern comfort food, including what just might be the best pork chop in town. 

If you have dinner at Lutie’s, you’ll technically find yourself at the Commodore Perry Estate—a swanky resort in a restored old mansion across the street from one of the most grackle-laden HEBs in Austin. But once you’ve entered the grounds, you’ll feel more like you’re eating outside the gardens of Versailles. If there were ever an occasion to wear lots of bright linen and perhaps even a large floppy hat, this is it. But despite, at times, feeling like a proper garden party, Lutie’s doesn’t rely purely on theme as its primary draw—the service is great, and the food, excellent. The menu changes often, but you can expect dishes like scallop crudos, confit pork, and the kouign amann ice cream, that’s basically like a Dairy Queen blizzard that went to culinary school.  

A meal at Barley Swine isn’t short (it’s tasting menu-only here), but somehow manages to feel even longer than it is. And maybe that’s because you don’t want to leave. The dining room is warm and inviting, like a cozy lodge in a much colder city. It’s a place where you can peek into the open kitchen and see exactly what the team is working on at any point. And most importantly, it’s a meal you and your date won’t stop talking about until the next time you visit. 

The first thing you’ll notice about the dining room at Jeffrey’s is that it feels remarkably cozy. A wood-paneled hallway leads to an open but intimate dining room filled with long rows of red leather booths, decorated with dark green walls and stacks of old books. Start with some truffled deviled eggs and fried gulf oysters, order a dry-aged steak to share, then finish with a chocolate soufflé. They take about 20 minutes, which will give you plenty of time to treat yourself to a digestif or one last drink off the martini cart—a by request, tableside cocktail experience with definite James Bond vibes. 

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photo credit: Richard Casteel

The Most Romantic Restaurants In Austin guide image