Food & Drink

The ATL's 9 Most Romantic Restaurants

Published On 02/04/2015 Published On 02/04/2015
RAFTERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Unless you want to be the wrong kind of screwed on Valentine's Day, you'd better take your special someone out for dinner... preferably at one of the places on our list of the A's most romantic restaurants, which should help you avoid making a bad decision on the big day:

Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall

Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall

Old Fourth Ward
This warm and cozy camp site on the BeltLine has plenty to offer in the way of getting you intimate with your date, from gooey bar snacks to sexy craft cocktails and even a picnic basket stuffed with meats, cheeses, and a rotating selection of seasonal items.
 

The Sun Dial

Downtown
A spectacular rotating rooftop view through the floor-to-ceiling windows is more than enough to sweep your date off of his or her feet. If you’re a little naughtier, that elevator goes straight up 72 floors -- no stopping. That gives the friskier of you plenty of time to get creative.

Aria Restaurant

Aria

Buckhead
Ask for a look into the insane vino cellar in this converted Buckhead house if you need help picking a bottle to go with the octopus, pork belly, and short ribs, etc., but save room for dessert because the menu is legendary in Atlanta and filled with things that will melt in your mouth, which'll hopefully make other things melt too.
 

Veni Vidi Vici

Midtown
Crafted by Chef Jamie Adams -- who spends a lot of time in Italia learning how to make the best pasta, seafood, and a ridiculous coniglio that will set a new standard for how amazing meat can be -- the ambiance of the shining white-tiled decor and charcuterie station will set fire in your heart, and that of your fellow meat-lover.

Courtesy of Ecco

Ecco

Midtown
It’s not cheating if you’re eating the fried goat cheese with honey and black pepper together with your honey. The meats and cheeses warm your cockles, while the gin, elderflower, peach, and mint cocktail warm you all over.
 

Bacchanalia

Westside
The crown jewel of Atlanta’s deep Westside dining options, Bacchanalia will make you fall in love with food. Anyone else in close proximity will get the benefit of those good vibes. The lamb, duck, and Kobe ribeye are going to cost, so make sure your lucky date is worth it, or at least cool with going Dutch.

Sebastian Davis/Thrillist

Polaris

Downtown
The city’s newly reopened blue spaceship enchants you with its '60s-vibe and delicious retro cocktails. As you slowly pan around the city, take the time to appreciate Stone Mountain, the beautiful skyline, and the bacon popcorn.

Nikolai's Roof

Nikolai’s Roof

Downtown
The spectacular view from top of the Downtown Hilton has been the spot for Atlanta canoodlers for almost 40 years. Chef Stephanie Alderete handles all the crispy pork belly, duck confit, and scallops, while Daniel Rudiger manages the more than 900 wines. All you have to do is manage your romantic impulses. No making out at the table, please.

Miso Izakaya

Miso Izakaya

Old Fourth Ward
It gets dark and sexy off Edgewood as the expert bartender slings perfect sake (and loads of other craft swill-based) cocktails, and the kitchen turns out seriously sweet sushi, steamed duck buns, and even shoyu tamago (soy sauce eggs), all of which are very sharable with your significant other. If you’re really smooth, you’ll pull off the Lady and the Tramp noodle trick with a bowl of the ramen.

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1. Sun Dial Restaurant and Bar 210 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

Scope out views of the ATL from the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza where you can get locally sourced American vittles like saffron corn cream shrimp & grits plus entrees including crab-/spinach-stuffed prawns w/ Hollandaise, and roasted lamb, all from Chef Jason Starnes.

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2. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

Named after Lady Bird Johnson --a First Lady known for her fondness for the outdoors -- Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall is a modern, outdoor-themed bar and restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward. Enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner in one of five aptly-named “mess halls,” including the outdoor "Grove" space sporting Adirondack chairs and ping pong tables to match the restaurant’s campfire motif. Ladybird’s menu has decidedly Southern bent, with dishes ranging from "trail snacks" like Navajo fry bread and pimento cheese fritters, to the shared camaraderie of large format "basecamp" dining with dishes like the Butcher’s Board (smoked ribs, grilled steak, beef cracklin, and sides). Pair your large-format feast with wine... by the jug. An outpost for sophisticated summer camp dining (upscale s’more included) in a cavernous, laid back atmosphere, Ladybird is a frontrunner on the BeltLine.

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3. Aria 490 E Paces Ferry Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305 (Buckhead)

A chic yet comfortable Buckhead establishment, Aria offers a menu featuring modern American fare that changes seasonally. In the summer months, you can't go wrong with the butter-braised lobster, black truffle potatoes, and broccoli mousseline, especially when you pair it with one of their craft cocktails, like the Ten Too Late (gin, tea, honey, lemon). Aria has a much more casual feel than its first decade and a half (swapping all white everything for warmer hues), but it's retained the elegance that makes it a prime date spot.

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4. Veni Vidi Vici 41 14th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 (Midtown)

The upscale Italian fare the chef here makes is setting a new standard in Midtown, including pasta, seafood and a ridiculously good coniglio.

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5. Ecco 40 7th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

This Midtown Mediterranean spot is a guaranteed go-to for date nights. Boasting an outdoor patio littered with white-marble tabletops, a dramatically-lit dark-wooded dining room, and an expansive, artfully-ordered bar, the well-designed resto is simple and sultry in scheme. The award wining seasonal food menu offers dishes like hand-pulled rigatoni with Brussels sprouts in pancetta-mushroom cream, and grilled pork chops with a smoked kale-sweet potato-date melange, in addition to an army of small plate and charcuterie options, and a full gluten-free dinner menu. Markedly original cocktails like the "I Know You Are But What Am I?" with dry gin, alpine liqueur, Luxardo and sage syrup, help maintain the bar's public notoriety when it comes to inventive craft cocktails.

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6. Bacchanalia 1198 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 (Midtown)

An award-winning and highly acclaimed American joint in Midtown from chefs/owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, Bacchanalia plates organic and seasonal eats from an a la carte menu, or choose their delectable five-course prix fixe option.

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7. Polaris 265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Polaris is a rotating restaurant on top of a Downtown hotel. Expect apps like brandy rabbit boudin with fried pork belly cracklings and caramelized Benton’s bacon popcorn, or entrees like cold-smoked Kurobuta pork tenderloin, or slow-stewed red chile chicken? It's THE place for proposals and graduations -- especially after the one-million-dollar renovation -- and rotates every 45 minutes.

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8. Nikolai's Roof 255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

With dishes like crispy pork belly, duck confit, and scallops, plus more than 900 wines, this is the perfect spot to bring a date.

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9. Miso Izakaya 619 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

If you want to taste their signature ramen, go there often and get there early (i.e. it tends to sell out quickly). But if you're willing to forgo that staple, there are plenty other delicious Japanese meals to masticate.

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