Food & Drink

The ATL's 9 Most Romantic Restaurants

Published On 02/04/2015 Published On 02/04/2015
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall
Aria Restaurant
Courtesy of Ecco
Sebastian Davis/Thrillist
Nikolai's Roof
Miso Izakaya
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1. Sun Dial Restaurant and Bar 210 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.