Taking your sweetie out for a romantic dinner in the Detroit area doesn't always have to cost a fortune. There are stunning views to be offered by many a budget restaurant, not to mention the opportunity to dine in an actual 19th-century mansion. Whether you want to keep your Valentine's Day casual or you're looking for a fancy way to celebrate an anniversary, Detroit's diverse and eclectic offering of restaurants has you covered.
Singing waiters and flaming desserts are what make Moro's Dining an especially fun date night spot. You can expect your spaghetti to be served to you by an Italian in a tuxedo at this beloved Allen Park staple. Don't let the formality of it all fool you, though: If veal and filet mignon aren't your thing, you can order fish and chips just the same.
Whisk your date away to France or Italy this Valentine's Day—well, sort of. The Earle is the second best thing. Although housed in the basement of an office building, this European-inspired eatery has the feel of a wine cellar, with its tiered, brick-walled dining room. The Earle's expansive wine list and live jazz Tuesday through Saturday add to the ambiance.
This Ann Arbor favorite has more to offer than prime rib, steaks, seafood, and sandwiches served in a sleek and modern setting. Rather, it offers live music and dancing every night in The Habitat Ultralounge, a terrace for warm evenings and a well-stocked wine cellar.
Ask for a table by the big windows to impress your date with an unmatched view of the Detroit River. This sophisticated restaurant inside Renaissance Center serves Northern Italian and contemporary American cuisine, including homemade pastas, seafood, veal, and steak.
You'll hardly notice how simple the dining room is when you see The Rattlesnake Club's million-dollar view of the Detroit RiverWalk and the international skyline. As for the food, this fine-dining restaurant emphasizes locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, which means the flavors of its seafood, lamb, duck, and chicken are ever-changing depending on what time of year you visit. Reserve a table on the Garden Terrace when the weather is nice.
The Whitney Mansion, built in 1894 by a wealthy lumber baron, is an impressive Romanesque Revival building that would cost about $9.5 million today. Its formal aesthetic exudes an Old World mood, if that's what your sweetheart is into. Dinner is along the lines of beef, seafood, lamb, and veal dishes, but you can also come for brunch, afternoon tea, or a casual drink.
Northern Italian cuisine made with deliciously fresh ingredients has earned Cafe Cortina the reputation of a foodie destination. The menu is so authentic you might even need a server's help to decode it (with names like tagliatelle con battuto toscano di vitello and quaglie ripiena ai mattone, which, in short, means "quails"). If it's not the sophisticated menu that lures you in, it most definitely will be the large, brick fireplace.
Here's a slightly more casual option whose menu items are no less impressive than those you'd see at Detroit's fanciest restaurant. Jumps is a farm-to-table bistro where everything is made from scratch. Bring your honey here for a romantic breakfast of quiche and crepes or for lobster mac during lunch. Romantic dining certainly isn't limited to nighttime in this cozy restaurant.
Marais—with its refined French cuisine and handsome setting—epitomizes fine dining. The Scottish salmon and Alaskan halibut here are served with such flair and beauty, not to mention the gorgeous displays of French macarons and warm decor, making for one certifiably romantic night.
A local favorite since 1953, Luigi's is an old-style Italian spot complete with those signature red-and-white-checked tablecloths. Its large wine cellar and nostalgic feel make it a great casual neighborhood spot for any old night of the week. Add a bottle of Chianti and a plate of spaghetti and you have yourself a romantic evening.
Toasted Oak Grill is a casual-yet-upscale restaurant that contains a bar and retail wine market. It has a cozy and warm atmosphere and serves creative dishes with a focus on local ingredients, sustainability, and comfort. The restaurant is romantic in a relaxed sort of way (centered also around a large fireplace). Patio seating is available during the warm months.
5ive Steakhouse is in the lobby of the Inn at St. John's, which is surrounded by a golf course and lots of greenery. The location of the restaurant makes a meal feel like a special occasion, and the menu is eclectic with a focus on steaks. If the weather permits, request a seat on the romantic patio, complete with terrace fire pit.
Mr. Paul's has that cozy, family-owned atmosphere going for it with the addition of live piano music. While its facade might be slightly underwhelming, the dining room is downright adorable with its plant-adorned brick walls. The dishes of lamb, lobster, and pasta are pretty but robust (no small plates here). Order the Chateaubriand for two served table-side.
Portofino: even the name of this restaurant is romantic, don't you think? While the food is pure Italian, the ambiance is more boathouse than anything. It offers beautiful river views and an airy dining space (with an even better river view). If you really want to impress your date, book a table on one of the supper cruises.