The 15 Most Romantic Restaurants in Austin
From first dates to anniversaries, here’s where to make magic happen.
Romance in Austin can be a tad too relaxed. Dates often take place on a trail with a dip in the creek, or on a patio where spouts of water come out of a fan (gross!). So, chances to get, and stay, glammed up can be rather sparse, especially outside of winter. Sometimes, it’s nice for boo to see us in our best light, and therefore, getting dressed up to be wined and dined is totally a necessity. Good news—it’s not all taco trucks and dusty parks in ATX. There are plenty of digs where lovebirds can scrub up all pretty, wear closed-toe shoes (or sexy sandals), and toast with flutes of bubbles. Some of these places will serenade you with live music, some might surprise you on tasting menus, and some are all-around fun experiences that don’t involve the outdoors, dogs, or sports games at all. Whether you’re on a first date with the Tinder match you’ve been talking to forever, celebrating an anniversary with the other half, or you just work darn hard and deserve weekly romancing, here are the sexiest spots in Austin to do it.
Recently reopened for dinner and ready to sweep you away, The Carillon is a campus side institution that’s been delighting guests under vintage chandeliers since 2008. Chef Kyle Barham’s new menu features classic dishes, prepared in seasonal ways using local ingredients. Start with the Texas Farms Board with local veg, hummus, pecans, and cheese; choose from mains such as the big and tender Texas Lamb Shank or Marfa Meats NY Strip. For dessert, we recommend the ultra-rich Chocolate on Chocolate, with hints of cherry and raspberry to balance. The cocktail menu has historic campus themes, and the surprisingly affordable wine list is extensive.
Sushi | Bar ATX
Once a pop-up, Sushi|Bar ATX became so popular that it now permanently resides behind Bento Picnic, with a wait list always and forever strong. When you do get a prized seat, expect to be wowed on a 17-course omakase experience, guided by supremely talented Chef Ambrely Ouimette. Items from the rotating menu have included roasted bone marrow and toro nigiri, but you won’t know what you’re getting till you arrive. Go for sake pairings at this sultry venue, and when the staff offer additions at the end, say “yes.”
How to book: Reserve in advance via Tock and follow on Instagram for last-minute openings.
Ever tried Shabu Shabu? If not, the Japanese hotpot dining experience may be a fun thing to bond over. The Tatsu-Ya crew has put a new spin on the traditional shared style by giving each guest a personal cast iron pot (how fitting for the COVID-era) on a cooker. Choose a broth, get your sauces and rice, and then get lost in a meat, seafood, or vegetable dipping adventure. There’s an omakase option, too, if you need help with combinations and a wide selection of alcoholic beverages available to experiment with. Don’t forget to check out its pretty ice cream stand out front.
Devil May Care
Devil May Care has the perfect recipe for love: live jazz music, candlelit lounge seating, and Mediterranean cuisine complemented by a host of fine Greek wines. The underground boudoir will absolutely set a seductive mood, no matter how stressful it is above ground. Call ahead and snag the prized birdcage chairs, loosen up with some Espresso Martinis, then dive into a journey of mezze platters, Tomahawk beef ribeye, and baklava. For singles looking to mingle, look out for happy hours and events throughout the year, such as the Surrealist Ball, for social interaction.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.
In Asia, pink flowers signal Cherry Blossom—and in Austin, pink flowers at a Japanese restaurant signal flirty, flirty fun. Lucky Robot is the ideal spot for young love to blossom, and if not, hey, at least you’ll get some great new photos for your dating app profile. And the sustainable sushi restaurant offers more than just fish. There's ramen, seaweed salad, pork buns, Chicken Karaage, and a whole lot more, not to mention an awesome liquor cabinet that includes a ton of sake.
How to order: Order takeout and delivery via Toast.
Group Therapy’s the kind of spot where you can impress a date at any time of day. When the weather’s nice, snag a table by the rooftop pool and enjoy a romantic brunch with cocktails, and come evening, get a table under the chandeliers to be serenaded by guitar strings (there’s a live music program most nights of the week). The menu features a variety of options from superfood salads to spicy fried chicken to pizza, but it’s really all about the wine, which happens to be very generously poured (Texas-sized if we’re being all technical).
When a trip to the Four Seasons is on the agenda, you know there’s serious romance in the cards. Talented chefs cook up modern Texan cuisine infused with Latin flavors, served either indoors by candlelight or at your outdoor table overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Every dish is a visual masterpiece, from the flambeed Texas Wagyu Tomahawk (spoiler—an open flame is involved) down to the shiny, puffy Parker House bread rolls. And, of course, a sommelier does the rounds to ensure each table has the perfect wine pairing. Finish on a sweet note with the Vanilla and Cacao Nib Bon Bons—made with Amy’s beloved Mexican vanilla ice cream. Looking for a daytime date? Ciclo’s also got the best brunch in Austin.
The Chicago-based import from Top Chef alum CJ Jacobson opened here in 2020, and has since become a lovers’ go-to thanks to its scenic location on Music Lane, Cali-cool vibe, and mezze-style shareables. The Mediterranean-led menu offers inventive takes on Israeli, Lebanese, Greek, and Turkish dishes like Crispy Short Rib Hummus, Muhammara (roasted pepper, chili, walnut, and pomegranate molasses), and Grilled Halloumi Kebab. Meanwhile, drinks experiment with similarly regional ingredients, like a Mediterranean Mule with herb-infused vodka, almond, Galliano, ginger, and lime. Booze-free “zero proof” cocktails are also available for those abstaining from liquid courage.
How to book: Reserve via Tock or order takeout delivery via Caviar.
Garrison transports you out of Austin and into a swanky Manhattan date spot, minus the commute. You’ll dine fine within gorgeous dark wood interiors, either facing the mastery in the open kitchen or the shutter-framed windows overlooking the Fairmont Austin’s pretty indoor courtyard. Menu highlights include Grilled Sakura Pork Tomahawk and the perfect Barbecue Grouper, which raises the bar for seafood in Austin (add the Garrison Reserve Caviar, if you’re going all-out). In the Austin Fields section, you’ll find a collection of sides spanning the rich Tomato Tart and the now-famous Black Truffle Tater Tots. In a nutshell, anything Chef Jakub Czyszczon touches is ATX bucket list gold.
For a true Lady and the Tramp experience, it has to be Italian, right? Intero is the best of the bunch, with saucy handmade pastas for you to slurp until you “accidentally” kiss and end up with sauce allover your faces. They also have pizza and meat-focused dishes like Wagyu Beef Shoulder and Risotto with smoked rabbit, though ingredients may vary due to seasonal availability. Local chocolatier Krystal Craig is in charge of dessert—don’t miss her famous chocolate truffles in daring flavors like Earl Gray Tea and Peanut Butter and Honey.
How to order: Order takeout via Toast.
James Beard-nominated chef Iliana De la Vega leads culinary expeditions to Mexico City via her incredible culinary chops. The homemade tortillas use heirloom corn imported from different regions of Mexico, the bread is baked daily, and the vegetables and herbs are selected fresh locally. Start with a selection of weekly ceviche, before getting right into it with duck or sauteed shrimp doused in multilayered mole negro. A street food menu is also available if tacos are calling your name.
How to order: Order takeout via ChowNow.
One of the things that make Justine’s so appealing is its sheer versatility. Yes, it’s French, but it’s also not just French. It's a place where old soul songs are played on vinyl, where they put up a yearly "Winter Tent" and throw a party in its honor, and where you can enjoy sazerac cocktails on a light-strung patio for hours on end. Order some Steak Frites (with a side of extra frites), and allow yourselves to soak up the ambiance and each others’ company in equal measure.
How to order: Order takeout via Toast.
Fonda San Miguel
Between the Saltillo tiles, the soaring ceilings, and the vividly colorful artwork, Fonda San Miguel has all the trappings of a memorable date night. Sip a few top-shelf margaritas at the bar before slipping over to a corner table. Crowd favorites include Angels on Horseback (bacon-wrapped shrimp) and the ever-popular Ancho Chile Relleno San Miguel, but make sure you leave room for coffee and dessert (a.k.a. crepes sauced with rich goat milk caramel and toasted almonds).
How to order: Order takeout via Toast.
This massive residential home-turned-restaurant is about as opulent it gets, thanks in no small part to the peacocks that routinely roam the grounds. Date night is a genteel affair, whether you’re seated comfortably inside or parked under the sweeping trees, while the Southern-leaning menu is peppered with decadent items like Andouille and Duck Gumbo, Tender Belly Grilled Pork Ribs, and the unmissable Buttermilk Biscuits slathered with seasonal butter and Texas honey. Mattie’s also does brunch and has an impressive wine list.
The menu may change all the time, but rest assured Lenoir's ambiance remains the same. It’s a classic Austin spot where friends can laugh over a shared bottle and some snacks, while leisurely lovers can spend hours sampling the five-course daily prix-fixe with optional wine pairings. Every plate is a profusion of flavors, with seasonal additions spanning Texas Stone Crab with Fazzoletti Pasta, Vindaloo Lamb Ribs, and Roasted Eggplant Lasagna laced with ripe summer squash and tomato dashi.