Whether you’re prepping for Valentine’s Day or just gearing up for a romantic night on your calendar, it helps to have a go-to list of places to try around town. Looking for something casual? A little fancier? Appropriate for a first date? Celebratory of a long relationship? We’ve got you covered.
The CharlotteFive editors got together to come up with this list of the 10 best restaurants for date night:
Best restaurant for an anniversary
The Fig Tree. There’s a fire in cold months, and porch dining in warmer months, plus it’s got one of the city’s best wine lists and awesome food. 1601 E. 7th St.
Best restaurant for the vegetarian’s soul
Fern. The new location in Dilworth features an intimate dining room with live ferns and tables made from barn wood. Organic libations are an option, not to mention plenty of starters fit for two forks. 1419 East Blvd., Suite A.
Best restaurant for a special occasion
Beef ‘N Bottle. The old-school steakhouse is a classic. Go wine shopping beforehand and bring your own bottle. 4538 South Blvd.
Best restaurant for a casual date
Bakersfield. Sip on a sweet margarita while you crunch on the salty chips. The atmosphere is a nice blend of mood lighting and laid-back bar style. Guac is a must. 1301 East Blvd.
Best restaurant for a takeout date
Thai Taste. Something spicy for snuggling up on the couch. Every dish from the curry to the pad Thai is steamy, authentic and spiced to perfection. Pop a bottle of wine at home and split the summer rolls. 324 East Blvd. and other locations.
Best restaurant for a first date
Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub. It’s loud, it’s bustling, it’s fun. Ideal for grabbing a drink and hanging at the bar (or at Growlers Pourhouse next door) before your table is ready. 3116 N. Davidson St.
Best spot for dinner and a movie
Cinemark Movie Bistro. Really, this is for dinner and a movie on steroids. And we’re not talking popcorn and soda — more like flatbreads and local brews like Birdsong Higher Ground. Then take your food to a comfy recliner in the theater — or maybe one of the love seats if you’re trying to get your cuddle on. 9630 Monroe Road.
Best restaurant to add a little romance
Fork! This is a cozy space in a house in Cornelius with a farm-to-fork menu that changes daily, and a cocktail program that will make you want to Uber to the lake. 20517 N Main St.
Best restaurant for the adventurers
Soul Gastrolounge. What’s more adventurous than planning a date at a spot that doesn’t take reservations? While you wait for a table, peruse gallery 22 (on the floor below) with a beverage, and then order sashimi everything. 1500-B Central Ave.
Best restaurant for a date with your dogs
Rivers Edge Bar & Grill at the US National Whitewater Center. Dogs are welcome on the patio, then you can walk them around the center after. The view is everything. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
Photo: Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer