Charlotte has a huge variety of fine-dining establishments, but not all have romance on the agenda. This often leaves couples wondering where to go on a romantic date night in the city—whether it's a quiet anniversary dinner or a celebratory Valentine's Day meal.
Fortunately, there are a few restaurants in Charlotte that are quite romantic and make for the perfect destination for couples young and old, whatever the occasion may be. Afterward, you can even check out some specialty chocolate shops for a sweet end to your date.
The McNinch House was the residence of Charlotte's McNinch family from 1891 until 1978, when Mattie McNinch, who never married, passed away. Ellen Davis then purchased the home, helping to fund the ongoing restoration as part of the Fourth Ward revitalization project.
The McNinch House Restaurant features richly molded woodwork and tin-tiled fireplaces, and visitors can feast on seven courses in this Victorian setting all year long. You should also look out for special celebratory dinners and brunches hosted at the restaurant throughout the year, including events on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
Nestled in the Fox Croft East Shopping Center in South Park, this intimate restaurant serves up upscale American cuisine courtesy of Chef Bruce Moffett. Originally opened in 2000, Barrington's earned multiple accolades throughout the years, establishing itself as a Charlotte staple to this day.
The cozy yet open environment creates an intimate setting for a romantic meal or a small dinner party. However, Barrington's is only open Monday through Saturday for dinner, so reservations are recommended as space is limited to 45 people at a time.
Ambiance and good food are about all Bonterra Restaurant needs to make it on this list. Owner John Duncan opened Bonterra Dining and Wine room in 1999 in the former Dilworth Methodist Episcopal Church South and much of the original architecture remains. This year marks the 20th year of being one of Charlotte's most romantic - and most delicious - restaurants.
Bonterra Dining and Wine Room hosts a number of special events throughout the year that range from romantic to celebratory. Wine dinners are a great way to enjoy a delicious meal with expert wine pairings, and Bonterra regularly welcomes in the best vineyards for these popular events. Chef Blake Hartwick presents a special menu for holidays throughout the year, like Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve, and his regular menu changes often with what is in season and what local farmers are growing.
Located in the Mayer House of Southend, Copper puts a modern, upscale twist on classic Indian cuisine surrounded by a neighborhood rich in local and national history. The interior is intimate, with contemporary Indian art and music throughout several dining areas. If there's a trend that resonates in reviews of Copper, it is " beautiful decor, fanciful plating and superior service," making it an excellent choice for a romantic dinner that will impress your date.
Copper Restaurant is open daily starting at 11:30 a.m. for brunch services but will close from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Check the website for a full list of seasonal events and special dinner reservations.
Sisters Tricia Maddrey and Bonnie Warford first opened Carpe Diem in 1989, and while the restaurant is currently in its third Charlotte location, the quality, food and atmosphere remain the same.
Now located in the historic Elizabeth neighborhood near downtown Charlotte and lead by executive chef John Blumreich, Carpe Diem offers guests delectable New American cuisine in an elegant atmosphere complete with mahogany doors, copper lighting fixtures and marble floors.
For a unique dining experience, you can head to Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, where the meats are served by a staff of circling waiters, who will offer guests plate after plate of different meats—from grilled chicken to bacon-wrapped filet mignon and parmesan-infused sirloins.
Chima Steakhouse also offers a full salad bar, which is known to some reviewers as a "salad paradise," complete with every leafy green imaginable as well as a huge amount of meats and cheeses as complimentary toppings. While the ambiance is a little more boisterous than some others on this list (due to the circling service), it's no less romantic due to its small tables and limited availability.
Owner Sara Scheidler and Chef Greg Zanitsch opened The Fig Tree in 2005, providing seasonal Continental Cuisine with French and Italian influences in one of Charlotte's Registered Historic Landmark homes, the Lucas Home, in the charming Elizabeth neighborhood.
The Fig Tree also hosts special events throughout the year including wine dinners, seasonal prix fixe meals and some other holiday celebrations; you can even rent out a private room for special occasions. Be sure to check out the website for a full list of events—wine tasting as well as winemaker meet and greet events pop up randomly throughout the year.
Billed as "authentic" Italian cuisine, Luce doesn't disappoint: the gnocchi is excellent, the decor opulent and the ambiance intimate. Luce's website bills the restaurant as "Charlotte’s premier Italian restaurant" and they offer guests an inviting atmosphere complete with fine Italian marble, Venetian plaster, and sandstone balusters accented by art from the esteemed painter Ben Long.
Luce Restaurant also offers fine northern Italian fare with house-made pasta, prime meats and fresh seafood as well as an extensive wine list featuring those bottles in Tuscany and Piedmont (and all over Italy).