When it comes to impressing a date, Atlantans prioritize southern hospitality. And they know that romantic restaurants keep a flame good and hot.
A critically acclaimed New American spot in Poncey-Highland draws couples for attentive service and a whimsical, four-course tasting menu. In Buckhead, a decades-old steakhouse is lined with curtained alcoves for the ultimate privacy. A sexy Mexican supper club in West Midtown is one of the hottest date night venues in town thanks to inventive, fire-roasted entrees.
Whether you’re after a laid-back or life-changing night, these places are ready for you. Read on for a guide to 12 Atlanta restaurants, ripe for all kinds of romance.
For a first date
Trader Vic’s (Downtown)
There are only a handful of Trader Vic’s left in the world, and one of them lies in the basement of the Hilton Atlanta. If you’re looking to impress your date with an off-the-beaten-path spot, this kitschy tiki haven, in business since 1976, is the place. Grab a seat at the bar, order a round of renowned mai tais, and graze on tropically inspired bites such as Polynesian fried chicken and crispy wontons stuffed with spiced crab and cream cheese. If things are going well, graduate to the dining area where heartier dishes, such as honey-ginger glazed mahi mahi and a signature kimchi burger, await.
For a second date
La Tavola Trattoria (Virginia Highlands)
This charming trattoria stands at the end of a small, village-like strip of VaHi. La Tavola’s narrow and intimate dining room makes it easy to focus on your date. Get to know each other over housemade pasta, including mushroom tagliolini and squid ink spaghetti, which you can order in appetizer portions for a tasting-like approach. Then make way for seasonal entrees such as pork blade steak with Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Bonus points for the covered and heated back patio, made for hushed conversations.
For a cozy and intimate evening
Feedel Bistro (Sagamore Hills)
Despite its strip mall setting, Feedel’s is the kind of place that adds magic to any weeknight outing. The chic Ethiopian and Eritrean spot is known for stellar vegan and vegetarian dishes. Expect your fingers to brush against each as you dig into shareable platters of savory lentils and cubed mushrooms, sauteed with tomatoes and jalapeños—and don’t forget to order extra portions of injera, or fermented flatbread, used to scoop up your entrees.
Southern Belle (Poncey-Highland)
The tasting menu at this cozy New American spot changes more often than the seasons, making it a joy to revisit with your special someone. Expect a whimsical culinary journey that could include chef Joey Ward’s version of an egg-in-a-basket, featuring beef tartare, truffles, and the option to add caviar. The dessert menu wows with unexpected textures such as pumpkin cheesecake with coffee and ice cream and salted pumpkin seed pralines. Enjoy it all in a sophisticated space that once belonged to a flower shop—all exposed brick, art gallery-like walls, and tufted furniture.
For an anniversary or romantic milestone
Atlas was made for dialing up the wow factor. The prestigious American spot at the St. Regis Hotel boasts an exquisite chef’s menu that sees cameos from traveling gourmands, in addition to stunning wall art from the Lewis collection (one of the largest private collections in the world). As if that’s not enough, Atlas is also home to one of Atlanta’s most exclusive wine lists. The drinks menu features a dedicated Madeira cart, ideal for stretching your special night with a post-dinner glass.
Palo Santo (West Midtown)
This sexy newcomer quickly became a sought-after special occasions spot after opening in August 2022. Chef Santiago Gomez turns up the heat with wood- and charcoal-cooked Mexican fare. Don’t miss the show-stopping miso caramel cauliflower, roasted on wires above open flames. Even the cocktails here are a spectacle: the Santo Carajillo, an espresso drink, is combined in a moka pot and ceremoniously poured tableside. You can start—or end—your night at the rooftop bar, where a creative sushi menu inspired by the chef’s experience at Nobu and unobstructed city views create date-night magic.
For group dates
Saints + Council (Midtown)
The shareable menu at this seasonally driven spot makes it especially good for groups. Catch up with your crew over imaginative small plates such as pork belly with pepper jelly and braised collard greens, and spicy PEI mussels with arbol chile, roasted tomato, cream, and toasted baguette. Leave room for desserts including cast-iron strawberry shortcake or go all out with the s’mores chocolate fondue experience. The unique peninsulas at Saints + Council make it especially well-suited for deep conversations—the creative seating options allow you and your date to face each other instead of the bar.
For an evening of eatertainment
Battle & Brew (Sandy Springs)
Skip the chance for any lulls in conversation at this lively video game restaurant. Whether you’re participating in a trivia challenge or ordering one of Battle & Brew’s signature cocktails (the rum-forward Phoenix is especially striking, decked with a flaming cinnamon stick) there’s always something to talk about at this Sandy Springs staple. Interiors evoke laid-back living rooms and basements, while the menu is filled with elevated takes on comfort foods such as a grown-up grilled cheese, chicken parm tots, and three-meat nachos. The result is a low-pressure date, just as suited for an early-in-the-game hang as it is for a carefree parents’ night out.
For an adventurous and transportive date
Anis Cafe (Garden Hills)
It’s easy to forget you’re in Buckhead when you’re at Anis. The romantic French restaurant in a former residence was modeled after a casual bistro in Provence. The menu follows suit, with dishes including salad Niçoise, mussels in a white wine sauce, and escargot. For an exceptionally leisurely dinner date, start with a charcuterie or cheese board and a bread basket, paired with glasses from Anis’ excellent wine list. Enjoy it all in the elegant dining room or the lush, covered patio.
The Betty (Buckhead)
Shuttle back to the 1950s at this vintage-glam gem in the Kimpton Sylvan hotel. The menu is a love letter to mid-century American classics such as crab bisque and wedge salad, though there are plenty of cosmopolitan choices, including the spiced magret duck with orange yuzu jam. You’re also here for the luscious interiors: a blend of dark woods, leather, and marble. The handsome setting is livened up with a sophisticated soundtrack of American jazz and soul, featuring dinnertime music from artists such as Duke Ellington,
Diana Ross, and Sam Cooke.
WIN – a Taste of Bali (Buckhead)
A trip to Bali would be great, but a dinner at elegant WIN is the next best thing. The transportive Buckhead restaurant serves up hard-to-find Indonesian fare such as kambing guling, a bone-in roasted lamb dish with a sweet soy, red pepper, shallot, and lime sauce. For something truly extraordinary, you and your date can order WIN’s culinary adventures: a tasting of nine small dishes and fried rice. When presented on the table, the kaleidoscopic spread makes a photogenic display.
For a proposal-worthy place
Bones has been the site of many proposals since opening in 1979, luring couples with succulent steaks and plush digs. Come hungry and order a parade of fixings to go with your dry-aged, bone-in ribeye, including shrimp cocktail, corn pudding, and truffle butter mashed potatoes. If you’re here to pop the big question, book one of Bones’ curtained alcove rooms for the ultimate privacy—and VIP factor.
Su-Jit Lin is an Atlanta-based writer specializing in travel, food—including groceries, cooking, and reference guides—and their impact on bringing people together in shared joy and experience.
Lia Picard contributed to this guide.
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