12 quintessential date-night restaurants in Dallas

A tagine dish, preserved lemon chicken, and a plate of pita and various dips at Baboush in Dallas
Baboush is a dreamy spot in uptown Dallas that channels a marketplace in Marrakesh. | Credit: Baboush

Dallas’s most romantic restaurants have all the green flags for love. A stylish Southern bar serves killer cocktails and peak first-date vibes. Couples dreaming of beach getaways can hit up a Mayan Riviera-inspired spot in the Park Cities. And take your relationship to the next level at a sky-high Italian American stunner downtown. 

This guide pairs Dallas restaurants with romantic occasions from first dates all the way to milestone anniversaries. These are Dallas’s 12 best date-night restaurants.

For a first date

Haywire (Plano and Uptown)

Haywire is a solid early-in-the-game date option if you want a buzzy atmosphere and dressed-up pub grub (double-cut pork chop, blackened catfish and shrimp, steaks). To that, add any cocktail you can imagine, and you’ll see why it’s the kind of place that calms any first-date nerves. At the Uptown location, you can book a spot on the outdoor patio, complete with a roaring fireplace and retractable roof.

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Book Haywire Uptown

 

For a second date

Miriam Cocina (Arts District)

Get to know each other better at this sophisticated south-of-the-border spot, where chef Miriam Jimenez cooks traditional Mexican dishes, a little Tex-Mex, and some recipes from the Dominican Republic, too. Wash dinner down with a michelada, or the restaurant’s signature habanero-juice and fresh fruit mimosa. Bonus points for the art on the walls—a shout-out to the restaurant’s Arts District backdrop—which brings a sleek, gallery-like vibe to your date. 

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For an anniversary or romantic milestone

Monarch (East Dallas)

The black leather bar at Monarch in Dallas, surrounded by glass walls
Glass walls and a sweeping city view add to the wow factor at Monarch. | Credit: Monarch

A celebration dinner at Monarch starts with an elevator ride to the forty-ninth floor of the National skyscraper. Award-winning chef Danny Grant’s dishes are as impressive as the view—don’t miss the black truffle risotto—and make Monarch one of the most special-occasion worthy restaurants in Dallas. Patterned wallpapers, a spiral staircase, and arguably the most drop-dead gorgeous restroom in the city all add to the restaurant’s one-of-a-kind wow factor.

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Pangea Restaurant and Bar (Garland)

For a more understated celebration, head to this cozy suburban restaurant. Chef Kevin Ashade blends recipes from around the world, but prioritizes African and Jamaican cooking as a tribute to his roots. Celebrate over shareable dishes like the coq au vin that led Ashade to a victory on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. And don’t end your special night out without the crowd-favorite sopapilla cheesecake topped with buttery cinnamon sugar.

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For a proposal-worthy place

Dea (Park Cities)

At this cozy coastal European restaurant from the team behind Shinsei and Lovers Seafood, one of the most romantic times to pop the question is at weekend brunch, which is soundtracked by a live classical guitarist. The menu is just as sweet, featuring a knockout lemon ricotta French toast with vanilla maple syrup and Italian berry jelly. But with its jewel-toned decor, intimate ambience, and classic cocktails, any hour is romantic at Dea. 

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Fearing’s (Uptown)

One of the swankiest restaurants in Dallas—fittingly, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel—is a go-to for marriage proposals. Share local celebrity chef Dean Fearing’s riff on surf-and-turf, like barbecue-spiced beef filet and chicken-fried Maine lobster. The open kitchen, three dining rooms, and carefully curated art create a stunning proposal backdrop. If the weather permits, get down on one knee on the outdoor patio in front of the brick fireplace.

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For a group date

Reata (Fort Worth)

A painting of a cowboy on horseback on a wall at Reata in Fort Worth
Wrangle a crew and head to this ranch-themed restaurant in Fort Worth. | Credit: Reata

For a quintessentially Texan cowboy meal, wrangle your crew and head to one of Fort Worth’s most iconic restaurants. Catch up over hearty plates like chicken-fried steak with cracked-pepper cream gravy and jalapeño- and cilantro-crusted Texas redfish. Even the desserts here are peak Tex-Mex, including tacos stuffed with caramelized bananas and chocolate “gravy.” Try the orange vodka-forward Cowboy Cosmo or an aged-tequila margarita, and take in the ranch-like vibes with your friends.

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For an adventurous and transportive date

Baboush (Uptown)

With its hanging lanterns and brightly colored poufs, Baboush brings a Marrakesh marketplace to Dallas. It’s a dreamy setting for digging into hummus, kebabs, and tagines while sipping on blackberry cocktails. Go all out with the baklava bowl for dessert—it comes with Turkish cotton candy and whipped mascarpone cheese—and keep your faux getaway going with a hookah on the patio when the weather permits.

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Tulum (Park Cities)

If a weekend trip to Mexico isn’t in the cards, Tulum is as sexy as its tropical namesake. Oversized white flower chandeliers bloom over the bar, and jungle wallpaper and tequila cocktails channel a night on the Mayan Riviera. In a city full of casual Tex-Mex options, Tulum offers a chic take on southern Mexican food, including lesser-known recipes like sikil pak (a pumpkin-seed dip) and fun, fusion dishes like seared-scallop Mexican risotto.

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For a cozy and intimate evening

Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge (Downtown)

A massive, colorful art piece takes up almost an entire wall at Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge in Dallas.
Dallasites love Ellie’s for its rotating local art collection—a nod to its trendy surroundings. | Credit: Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge

Ellie’s California-accented menu and live piano performances give it an irresistible charm. The HALL Arts Hotel restaurant is also loved for its rotating local art collection and excellent reds from the owners’ winery in Napa. It’s dinner and an art show, and the kind of place you want to turn into your special spot—if you’re a couple that lives in the neighborhood, chances are you already have. 

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Uchi Dallas (Downtown)

Five pieces of nigiri sushi on a wooden board at Uchi in Dallas
Uchi serves the kind of exquisite sushi only James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole could dream up. | Credit: Uchi Dallas

With its cozy booths, wooden tables, and low ceilings, Uchi nails the vibe check as an ideal setting for an intimate date. The Japanese-inspired menu features recipes only James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole could dream up: Thinly sliced flounder with candied quinoa and olive oil, fatty bluefin tuna with charred Welsh onion, and other unlikely but beautiful pairings, plus a seasonal omakase experience that promises no two meals at this eclectic seafood shrine will be exactly the same. 

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For an evening of eatertainment

The Monarch Stag (Frisco)

If you’re craving more than just dinner and drinks, make your way to this sexy Frisco hideaway. The Monarch Stag is where you go to share scotch flights, get cozy by a crackling fireplace, and be wowed by aerial performers and live guitarists. Even though whiskey is the star of the show, the rich steakhouse-inspired menu is top-notch and includes wagyu, bao buns, and wild mushroom gnocchi. Consider stretching your big night at the cigar lounge next door.

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Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Diana Spechler is a novelist and essayist whose work appears in The New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, Harper’s, and elsewhere.

 

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