Austin's 8 Best Date-Night Restaurants

Austin's restaurant scene offers everything from Hill Country barbecue to world-class Japanese cuisine worthy of the Top Chef title. But for those nights when you want to get the night started on a romantic note (or after you've enjoyed one of the city's most romantic activities), any of the following restaurants should set the right mood.

  • 01 of 08
    ••• Eastside Cafe

    This little old house on the east side is an ideal choice for first dates. The atmosphere is intimate but not obnoxiously romantic. The organic garden out back adds a burst of freshness to everything from the Asian chicken salad to the pork tenderloin with rosemary. Stellar vegetarian options include the veggie enchiladas and the garden burger. 2113 Manor Road; (512) 476-5858 

  • 02 of 08

    The flirty name may seem a little too obvious for some, but really, why be mysterious? The space is small, intimate and not too fancy. The service and the food are the stars here. If your date isn’t a vegetarian, get the night started with foie gras. Standout entrees include the duck breast and smoked sashimi. The dessert menu changes daily, but it often includes crème brulee and an excellent chocolate cake. 1014 North Lamar Boulevard; (512) 482-8868

  • 03 of 08
    ••• Fabi + Rosi

    While schnitzel and escargot may not sound like romance-inspiring dishes, Fabi + Rosi somehow pulls it off. Housed in a Craftsman-style bungalow, the small German/French restaurant earns bonus points for interior design. The mostly white interior is lit with lovely little chandeliers. Produce and meats all come from right here in central Texas. 509 Hearn Street; (512) 236-0642

  • 04 of 08
    ••• Justine's

    Hipster alert. While Justine’s is as much of a scene as a restaurant, the little French eatery has earned a loyal following primarily because of the expertly prepared cuisine. The loyalty of Justine’s clientele is even more amazing given the restaurant’s location -- in far east Austin. The scallops and mussels are the most popular entrees. Try the chocolate pear tart for dessert. Choose outdoor seating if the weather allows. The interior dining room sometimes gets raucous. 4710 East 5th Street; (512) 385-2900.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    ••• Fonda San Miguel

    It’s not a trendy choice, but Fonda San Miguel has been serving up fantastic interior Mexican cuisine since 1975. The ranchero-style building and colorful decor set a relaxed, cheerful mood. Start with a fresh margarita and ceviche and don’t look back. The pork dishes -- particularly cochinita pibil -- are consistent crowd pleasers. Want a little more spice? Try the carne asada or the chipotle lamb kabobs. 2330 W. North Loop; (512) 459-4121

  • 06 of 08

    This beautifully designed multi-level restaurant will put you at ease as soon as you sit down. Need even more comfort? Start with the gooey, house-made mozzarella appetizer. The Farm Egg is a hearty starter that can make up for the smallness of the plates to come. If you’re a pasta fan, you’ll love the Mezzelune with butter squash and white raisin mostarda. When the weather’s nice, ask to sit on the patio, which is built around a large tree. 3411 Glenview; (512) 467-9898 

  • 07 of 08
    ••• Lenoir

    With an ever-evolving seasonal menu, Lenoir buys its produce and meat from central Texas purveyors whenever possible. Popular dishes include the chickpea panisse, buttermilk rabbit and grilled quail. When available, the coho salmon ceviche -- with melon and avocado puree -- is a must-have. Located in a little old house, Lenoir is an excellent choice for a first date or special occasion. 1807 South 1st; (512) 215-9778

  • 08 of 08
    Botticelli's Italian restaurant
    ••• Botticelli's on South Congress. Robert Macias

    A small Italian restaurant on South Congress, Botticelli's is only a few steps away from the Continental Club, one of the best music venues in Austin. So it's the perfect starting point for a dinner-plus-music type of evening. When the weather's nice, you can also take a stroll along Congress and window shop at the antique stores and vintage boutiques. The restaurant's northern Italian cuisine is uncomplicated but immensely satisfying. The ravioli with mushrooms is always a solid choice. 1321 South Congress Avenue; (512) 916-1315