The Most Romantic Restaurants For Date Night In Houston

Whether it’s the first or the 101st date, this guide to romantic date nights has you covered.
The Most Romantic Restaurants For Date Night In Houston image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

What makes a restaurant romantic? Is it flickering candlelight and white tablecloths? A place with soft lighting that makes you look perpetually well-rested? The absence of shrieking children? Romantic restaurants can take many forms (though not having shrieking children is non-negotiable), whether it’s a dark place to stare into someone’s eyes while swirling a wine glass and chuckling huskily, or a cute bistro that inadvertently charms you into booking that ill-fated trip to Paris. Houston’s got plenty, but this guide has the 13 best ones.


photo credit: Vivian Leba


East Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDrinks & A Light BiteEating At The BarSmall Plates
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Even at the coziest table at Nancy’s Hustle, the staff will keep dinner running smoothly so that you, your date, and your Nancy cakes have as much elbow room as possible. And the food is as impressive as the service. This charming EaDo joint serves creative, bistro-y dishes like lamb tartare on a crisp sesame flatbread, pastas you can share, or a juicy cheeseburger served on an english muffin. As cool and lighthearted as Nancy’s Hustle is, an available table is as likely as new Beyoncé visuals, so make a reservation unless you want to try your luck at the bar (which is also a pretty dreamy spot for a date night).

photo credit: Richard Casteel



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Eating at this tasting menu restaurant in Spring Branch feels like dining at a new-age, minimalist resort spa—one focused on Mexican food and heirloom corn varieties. Tatemó’s dining room is small, lit by a few candles, and you can barely see anything, except your date across the table, and the small plates in front of you. Everyone working here seems focused on you and maintaining a cocoon of calm. Plus, paying in advance when making a reservation ensures you never have to do something as unsexy as fiddle with your credit cards. They’re only open for dinner on Friday and Saturday, so plan ahead.

Romance may be a construct, but delicious dry-aged beef is a reality. At Pappas Bros, a classic Houston steakhouse in Downtown (as well as the original Galleria area location), you’ll certainly be able to find one of those things. The dining room is pleasantly dim, the wine list is dubiously long, the staff is diligent, and the prices run high (as you might expect). Stay long enough and the private-club atmosphere will lull you into a state of beefy bliss.

For a classic, celebratory dinner, you should head to Hugo’s, a Mexican restaurant in Montrose. Everything at Hugo’s feels upscale—the building is from 1925, and the historic space is stunning, with chandeliers that look like they were shipped in from a local castle. It’s the kind of place you visit to celebrate a milestone anniversary over pulpo al carbón, slow-roasted lamb barbacoa, and margaritas that get shaken tableside. The staff here seems prepared for just about anything, so you can expect a date to go pretty seamlessly, save for maybe a heated debate about which one of you gets the last handmade blue corn tortilla.

Dining at Nobie’s is always fun. Maybe it’s because the casual American small plates spot has as killer of a record collection as they do cocktails. Or maybe, because like a great house party, it’s in a bungalow in Montrose. Everyone here seems a bit loose as they slosh drinks, laugh, and attempt to chat over the blaring music, so just go along with it. Break in a first date over buttery pull-apart milk bread, snacks like spinach dip with focaccia, and some pasta from their rotating dinner menu. Or, change from the sharing tiny dishes route and veer into the HOV lane with a whole fried crispy chicken in truffle jus, priced at a cheeky $69.

If you’re in the mood for romance with a show, the people-watching at Brasserie 19, a classic French bistro in River Oaks, never disappoints. Most folks here are either showing off a recently acquired giant diamond ring, divorce papers, or some new Loubs from Neiman’s. Share a plateaux de fruits de mer (or at least some oysters), a delicate beef tartare, and maybe some boeuf bourguignon with a date while Houston’s version of a Bravo TV syndication plays out before you. If you are lucky enough to snag a patio table facing Brasserie 19’s front door, you’ll get to enjoy the scene from the first row.

Early-in-the-game date jitters get the best of everyone, but if you want a spot that feels easy, try Ostia, the Italian and Mediterranean restaurant in Montrose. Book a table on the airy patio, or even better, in the dreamy greenhouse room, with rustic brick walls, enormous skylights, and enough plants to make you forget that you’re indoors. Share the mortadella paté, split some homemade pastas, and grab a bottle of Lambrusco. If the conversation stalls, you can use the romantic view as built-in small talk.

photo credit: Michael Anthony



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From the second you walk up to Bungalow, an upscale steak and seafood restaurant in Downtown, you sense the romantic fantasy. Hosts in matching dresses hand you complimentary champagne and lead you to a plush booth in a dimly lit, high-ceiling room. Everything here is decadent, from steak heaped in hickory butter to giant whole-fried snapper. Bungalow is the kind of place that inspires you to playfully feed your date a forkful of lobster macaroni and cheese. For dessert, crack open the chocolate dome dessert, hands clasped obnoxiously in perfect harmony, because nothing says date night like making everyone else jealous.

The Warwick is one of our favorite date night spots near the Galleria. Every person in the Cajun-Creole restaurant is dressed like you've stumbled into a fashion show, and that's just the sort of energy this spot requires. The dining room all but shimmers in the mood lighting, and the meals are made for sharing. So bring your date, snuggle close in one of the booths, and split a rack of ribs over a tequila-based drink and the sounds of every 90s R&B singer you can imagine.

The Acadian and Cajun restaurant Prey in the Galleria area is the sort of cool and romantic place that inspires you to sit on the same side of the booth as your date. During the day there’s plenty of natural light, but at night the lamps give off just enough light for you to see your date and the spicy seafood gumbo when it hits your table. So canoodle over creamy crawfish fondue and watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. On weekends you can stay late for “Prey After Dark,'' where you can listen to live jazz and have a nightcap.

Rosie Cannonball, the Italian restaurant in Montrose, is a beautifully designed Italian restaurant that’s great for a first date. The warm, inset lighting around the ceiling makes everything look ravishing and beautiful, including you, your date, and the many plants throughout the dining room. This is a place where you go to feel alluring and drink wine and not pay much attention to the food, which is occasionally great. Also, there are fabulous and frankly kind of sexy bathrooms you should very much check out.

Nearly everyone at 13 Celsius is on a date, so you probably should be, too. This Midtown wine bar is great not only for its seasonally curated wine list, but also for the moody space. It’s in a renovated old dry cleaners building, and in a city that loves to bulldoze, cuddling on leather couches next to old stuff feels positively European. Whether you sit at the bar, a table, or the patio, service is always attentive and discreet. Trade glances over charcuterie, slowly snack on baked brie, duck rillettes, and order the toast-your-own s’mores with someone you want to get closer to.

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