Whether you’re looking for a good first date night idea to impress your cute Bumble date you've been chatting with, or you want a tried-and-true restaurant to celebrate a wedding anniversary, we’ve got you covered. There are lots of fun date ideas in Austin, but if you want a truly sexy, romantic restaurant in Austin, here are 12 great ideas. (Map included below.)
Ok, so what makes a restaurant a good candidate for a romantic date night? It's obviously pretty subjective - you might prefer a dark and loud low-ceilinged restaurant while your friend wants a bright, quiet, open-air space. But typically, romantic restaurants are places where you can hear your date well (aka not a club/dance environment), a place with absolutely perfect food, and something memorable, like a unique menu, location, or service.
Criteria for a romantic restaurants in Austin:
- Not too loud…yelling at your date kind of ruins the calm, romantic vibe..
- Phenomenal food. The best of the best of the best because if you’re going out on a date, you want to truly indulge on a memorable, perfectly prepared feast.
- Consistently friendly, helpful service.
- Low lighting (because duh..) Most of these places have low lighting but a few are bright, outdoor spaces for those of you who prefer that ambiance on a romantic date night.
- Beautiful ambiance, both indoors (in that lovely low lighting) and outdoors (for those gorgeous spring evenings that we get here in Austin.)
12 Romantic Date Night Restaurants In Austin
A new one in the Austin restaurant scene, Birdie’s is an adorable wine bar in east Austin. It’s great for date night because it’s small and chic and the perfect ambiance for a great conversation. (The food alone will give you lots to talk about on your date!) They have a wonderful wine list, and you'll definitely want to split a bottle or two.
This is a counter service, seat yourself restaurant. (So if you’re looking for reservations and a server, this isn't it.) But that kind of makes Birdie's a fun, interactive date experience! You’ll probably have to wait in line with the rest of the guests on the sidewalk for about 30 minutes, which kind of sounds awful until you’re there, sipping on a glass of wine on the sidewalk, cozied up with your date and enjoying the Austin evening.
They have a small menu of locally sourced items, and it’s always evolving. Whether you’ve been to Birdie’s once or 20 times, it’s still a charmer.
2. Dip Dip Dip Tatsu-ya
Ever had shobu on a date? It’s really fun and makes for a memorable and romantic date experience. You’ll choose the broth, and it’s brought to you all hot and steamy. You select a few types of meat and veggies for dipping (their omakase is a fun way to try a wide variety) and you cook it yourself in the hot broth.
If you’ve been to lots of Austin restaurants and you want to try something totally different, book a reservation here. They also have a fun cocktail list, great wine, and sake, and the most phenomenal ice cream..save room!
As far as romantic restaurants in downtown Austin go, Hestia is at the top of the list. A live-fire restaurant, Hestia prepares your food on an open flame that makes the whole place smell so smoky and yummy. This is a very upscale restaurant, so plan to splurge here.
The ambiance is just about as romantic as it gets, with simple modern decor and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that give you a view of downtown Austin. Also, in order to enter this restaurant, you have to walk through their Basque-style tapas bar. (Ever enjoyed wine out of a Spanish porron? It's pretty fun - and funny - date activity.)
Hestia is a perfect place to enjoy a few different aspects of date night (wine bar, dinner, view) all in the same location.
4-5. Uchi or Uchiko
Either one of these award-winning sushi restaurants in Austin is worthy of your romantic date night. What’s the difference between Uchi and Uchiko? Well, Uchi is a bit more romantic (dark, sultry, low ceilings, slightly more sophisticated/expensive) and Uchiko is a little brighter, faster-paced, and more of a farmhouse/Asian fusion menu (larger dishes).
Depending on the vibe you’re looking for on your date night, either one can be a great fit! Since this list is all about romance, though, Uchi is the sexier restaurant of the two.
6. Fonda San Miguel
You’ll be wowed by this place even before you walk inside…that front door alone is a show stopper! (As is the foyer… and the artwork … and the cocktails…) Fonda San Miguel is one of the preeminent interior Mexican cuisine restaurants in the United States and has been wowing its guests for decades.
If you want a romantic spot to impress your partner, bring him to Fonda and indulge in margaritas with top-shelf tequila, teeny pastor tacos on homemade corn tortillas, a chocolatey-rich mole on moist chicken, and the best tres leches cake in town.
Olamaie is a modern southern restaurant near downtown that’s racked up several awards. It’s near downtown in a small, renovated bungalow, so it has short ceilings, low lighting, and modern decor. The wine list is amazing, the food menu is evolving based on what’s available, and the service is stellar. If you want a romantic date night experience in Austin, book a table at Olamaie.
8. Barley Swine
Have you ever considered a tasting menu for your romantic date dinner in Austin? It’s a fun concept because course after course after course is brought to you. You get to taste and discuss and evaluate each tiny plate, and it makes for such a fun time with your significant other.
Barley Swine is owned by the same team who started the popular Odd Duck restaurant in south Austin. It’s a beautifully rustic farm-to-table restaurant in north Austin with simple decor, a romantic atmosphere, and some of the most phenomenal food in the Austin dining scene.
For a more traditional steak + red wine + cheesecake date night, you need to book a table at Jeffrey’s. It’s known as Austin’s original fine dining restaurant, dating back several decades. This tiny Clarksville steak house is the place to go when you reeeeaally want to go all out and splurge on a phenomenal strip steak and a really great bottle of cab.
Whether you want an indoor or outdoor date night spot, Lenoir is one of the best places in Austin for a romantic dinner. The “hot weather menu” means that they use food that can be grown in this climate, so the food has lots of Mediterranean/Spanish influences.
The small bungalow only has a handful of tables (book early!) but the outdoor wine garden is a bit more spacious. Both are absolutely lovely.
11. Lutie's Garden Restaurant
If you can manage to snag a reservation here, get it! Lutie’s has been winning awards since it opened in Austin, and the small, sensual space is a favorite for romantic date night spots in Austin.
Our top pick for romantic restaurants in Austin, Justine’s is seriously the sexiest restaurant in Austin. For starters, they serve French food, and there’s nothing more romantic than that! The entire vibe is dark and red and low lights, the patio all moody with string lights. The inside is super sexy with bright red walls and a dark wooden bar.
If you love Pommes frites and steak and mussels and cream, definitely pick Justine’s for your next special occasion date night.
A Few More Bonus Ideas...
Sammie's Italian | Italian food always makes for an incredibly romantic date night spot in Austin, and Sammie's is a beautiful spot to check out. It's small (make reservations or plan on getting there early and snagging a seat at the bar), but they have amazing Italian cocktails, a great list of Italian wine, and the best old school Italian red sauce in the city. WEBSITE | 807 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
Aviary Wine Bar | If you forgot to make reservations for a significant event and you want a BEAUTIFUL, romantic, unforgettable restaurant in Austin, here's one that's a little bit under the radar: Aviary Wine Bar. They source natural wines, but have a lot of options that aren't too funky, in case you're a bit more traditional in your wine preference. Oh, and they make sure to source from 50% male and 50% female wine producers, which is very cool. The bar is intimate, fun, lively, and cozy all at the same time, and the tiny patio on South Lamar is wonderful in the cooler months. The food menu rotates, but it's always exceptional. They have subtle Mediterranean influences, but you can also get some classics here like their *amazing* burger. WEBSITE | 2110 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704