In a city where a dozen chefs made it on the James Beard semifinalist list in 2015, you know the restaurants are going to be world-class. So as you’re planning that perfect, memorable date night, remember: food is the ultimate way to one’s heart. To wit, we’ve scouted the city for the most romantic restaurants, complete with impressive wine lists, chef-driven menus, and intimate atmospheres (from live music to breathtaking views and dancing) guaranteed to spice up your romantic evening, whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day, an anniversary or special occasion, or you just want a quiet corner to cozy up with that special someone. Even better: our list includes affordable restaurants for every budget and fine-dining options sure to impress your date.
Tucked away in a hidden corner of Zonolite Park, Floataway Café is one of Atlanta’s most romantic hidden gems. A renovated warehouse dishing up rustic, country French, Italian, and Mediterranean plates (think oven-roasted fish, handmade pastas, and farm fresh produce), Floataway is the ultimate farm-to-table restaurant, sourcing 90 percent of its ingredients from family-owned farms (including the owner’s personal farm, Summerland). For the most intimate experience, make sure to cozy up at a table in their courtyard that doubles as a romantic garden-style cafe with a starry canopy at night. We recommend their steak tartare and burrata with chimichurri, best when paired with a crisp Rosé, for an unforgettable meal.
Renowned chef and restaurateur Anne Quatrano (also of Floataway Café) put Atlanta on the national culinary map when she opened Bacchanalia, one of the only high-end restaurants in Atlanta offering multi-course tasting menus made from local, seasonal ingredients (many from Quatrano’s own farm). Impress your date by ordering their four-course menu (three savory courses plus dessert for $95), best when coupled with their carefully selected wine pairings (ranging from an additional $8 to $24 per plate depending on the wine). Though the menu is updated weekly, some of our favorites include the legendary Gulf crab fitter, Kumamoto oysters, and their irresistible Georgia peach beignet.
With over 15 years experience serving some of the best contemporary American dishes in Atlanta, Aria continuously tops nearly every “hot” restaurant list in the city. A glam atmosphere (the restaurant is dotted with modern art, metallic curtains, and striking chandeliers) in the heart of ritzy Buckhead, Aria is perfect for special occasions and amorous evenings. To up the romance factor, sit downstairs in their cozy, candlelit wine cellar. Be sure to order their time-perfected butter braised lobster.
Italians know that food is the language of love, and chef-owner Bruce Logue has weaved this attitude in his own restaurant, BoccaLupo, home to Atlanta’s best Italian-American soul food. With made-from-scratch pasta, BoccaLupo offers incredible classic Italian dishes, like luxurious tagliatelle (made with 20 egg yolks!) or vibrant squid-ink spaghetti, alongside dimly lit tables and a warm atmosphere. On their patio sits a private, lush L-shaped couch, known by regulars as “table 800”, which is arguably the best spot in the house for an ultra-intimate meal separated from the rest of the crowd. Though BoccaLupo serves impeccable dishes in a cozy ambiance, no plate is over $19, making it an extremely affordable option for a romantic meal.
Looking for a restaurant that feels both intimate and lively? Head to Cakes & Ale, where chef-owner Billy Allin has been changing the way people eat for almost a decade. The farm-to-table restaurant gets into your soul—no surprise considering the thought and attention Allin puts into every plate—every dish is made-to-order from sustainably sourced, organic, Georgia-grown ingredients resulting in honest plates like sweet and sour butternut squash and rib eye cap with stuffed tomato, potatoes, and zucchini with horseradish cream. The sophisticated, yet convivial feel is the perfect place to gather for a date or special occasion. Cakes & Ale is intimate without being too serious and is timelessly delicious.
Since 1995, Canoe has epitomized the true southern experience—exceptional service, great food and a picturesque view—the restaurant is nestled on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, with a postcard-worthy garden and terrace to boot. With a menu modern American cuisine composed of fresh, seasonal ingredients, there’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a meat-and-potatoes diner (get the “duck n’ beef” burger topped with a sunny side egg, spinach and pickled cabbage, served with truffle pommes frites) or an adventurous eater (go for the slow-roasted Georgia rabbit with mushroom ravioli, house bacon, and candied garlic sauce). With a relaxed, welcoming ambiance, there’s not a bad seat in the house for a romantic, memorable evening, though we recommend a cocktail at their River Bar before dinner, where you'll find over 300 quality wine selections, 40 of which are available by the glass.
Midtown’s Euro-chic Ecco is a great romantic meal option, particularly before or after a show at nearby Fox Theatre. With more than 95 percent of its products recycled or composed, Ecco is impressively eco-friendly without skimping on taste. Ecco is known for blending exotic flavors of Europe with unique dishes such as fried goat cheese drizzled with honey. Perhaps most impressive is their extensive wine list (featuring many European wine selections exclusive to Ecco like Domaine Denis Tardieu, native to Cotes du Rhone, France).
Ford Fry's Italian-inspired No 246’s food speaks for itself. Chef Drew Belline blends high-quality and locally grown ingredients, letting in-season vegetables call the shots. A great way to start (or end) the night is with the beverage manger’s special house-made limoncello flight in fun flavors, like watermelon, peach, and cucumber—an authentic Italian tradition. For something truly special, pull up a chair at their “chef’s counter.” Guests get a private view of the kitchen, interacting with the chefs with behind-the-scenes glimpses of them in action.
Arguably Atlanta’s best sushi restaurant, Umi flies in over two dozen varieties of fish from around the world, primarily Japan’s Tsukiji market, daily. Though a table in their swanky dining room may be more private, the best seat in the house is at Umi’s impressive 23-foot custom white oak sushi bar, where chef Fuyuhiko Ito entertains and nourishes diners with his sashimi, nigiri, and modern Japanese small plates. Really wow your date by ordering the omakase menu, which means chef’s choice (starts at $75 a person). Though the quality fish is unparalleled in Atlanta, Umi has other comforts not normally found in sushi restaurants, such as craft coffee service, a full bar and an incredible dessert menu (don’t miss chef Lisa Ito’s legendary green tea soufflé—the perfect ending to any romantic evening).
Housed on the top floor of the Westin Hotel Peachtree Plaza (rotating 723 feet above Peachtree Street!), The Sun Dial is a stunning choice for a romantic dinner with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Atlanta skyline. Between tantalizing plates and live jazz, the restaurant carries a soothing, sophisticated ambiance. For an extra special occasion request a flower delivery service through Chelsea Floral Designs to have a beautiful assortment delivered directly to your reserved table (make sure to specify reservation name and time in comments). Featuring a top-notch menu, our favorite items are their seared sea scallops with butternut squash risotto and the olive oil poached fish of the moment with soybeans, Japanese mushrooms, and Provençal sauce.
Steps away from the Atlanta Beltline, dinner at Kevin Rathbun Steak is truly a five-star dining experience. Boasting an exceptional wine list of over 200 labels and a big-flavor menu including, perhaps, the best steaks in town. Cozy up in one of their plush booths and choose from their seasonal menu, including dishes like house-cured, grilled, thick-cut bacon with Sriracha-molasses, lobster fritters with lemon zest honey mustard or the always-popular dry-aged Cowboy ribeye for two. For a more private dinner, cozy up in their wine cellar, where you can play your own music.
Chef Linton Hopkins was one of Atlanta’s fine dining pioneers when he opened Restaurant Eugene back in 2004. Still today, Eugene tops every “best of” list thanks in large part to the locally-grown and chef-driven dishes, like warm vegetables à la grecque with cheddar and crisp ham. For a special occasion, try their extravagant Siberian Sturgeon Caviar, served with potato chips, capers, clabber, and chives. Their five-course tasting and wine pairing menu allow you to sample some of the chef’s best plates, and scores some bonus point your date. Restaurant Eugene is many locals’ favorite spot to spend special occasions, known for its luxurious, intimate atmosphere and unparalleled service.
The sexy, sophisticated 10 Degrees South is one of Atlanta’s best-kept secrets, specializing in bold South African flavor. With white tablecloths, wood floors, dim lighting and beautiful wooden chairs, the indoor patio at 10 Degrees South exudes the romantic, intimate feel of a South African bungalow. The exotic menu fuses together French, Portuguese, Dutch, German and Malaysian tastes in dishes like chicken curry with traditional South African spices and herbs and giant prawns butterflied and grilled in the shells and bathed in lemon butter sauce. Make sure to order a glass of wine from their extensive South African wine list to complete your romantic meal.
Nikolai’s Roof, home to one of best skyline views of Atlanta, is an upscale restaurant specializing French-Russian cuisine. Housed on the 30th floor of the Hilton Atlanta hotel, floor-to-ceiling windows surround the lush booths and tables decked in white tablecloths. Diners can choose a window-facing table for the most breathtaking views to accompany their decadent seasonal tasting menu (starting at $65 per person for three courses). Sip on a glass of wine from their award-winning wine selection and cozy up to celebrate any special occasion in impeccable fashion.
Discretely located behind Smokebelly, Blind Pig Parlor is an exclusive speakeasy—you need a password to enter—perfect for craft cocktails and shared small plates. Open only from Thursday to Saturday, make sure to snag a reservation early. Once you’ve arrived, head to the cushioned booths near the fireplace for a cozy, intimate date where you can order several small plates such as a cured salmon plate with pickled okra, julienne onion and horseradish cream and pickled shrimp with shaved celery, pickled julienne vegetables, and crackers, alongside a live jazz trio. Pair it with their “find thing to say” cocktail—whiskey, black tea, aquavit, crème de cacao and lemon—to warm up your evening even more.