The Most Romantic Restaurants in Nashville
You'll at least fall in love with the ambiance.
When it comes to romance, few things add a quicker spark to a relationship than an intimate dinner in a great restaurant with your beloved. Restaurants can create romance in many ways, sensuous food, elegant surroundings, cozy seating, or stellar service. Here are some Nashville restaurants that excel in the ways of amour.
In addition to serving some of the best seafood in town, Henrietta Red exudes a playful sense of fun that puts smiles on the faces of their diners. From jello shot specials to an excellent Franco-centric wine list to all sorts of regional oyster choices to get the juices flowing, it’s the perfect kickstart to an evening of canoodling. Women run the kitchen at Henrietta Red, so there’s none of that aggro attitude that can spoil a dinner because you had to listen to a chef on a Gordon Ramsey-esque rant.
Nashville’s oldest Italian restaurant is also its coziest, with small tables where you can sit knee-to-knee with your sweetie and maybe even sneak a roll out of your neighboring table’s breadbasket. The menu leans toward old-school red sauce pasta which pairs delightfully with a nice bottle of chianti.
Margot Cafe & Bar
Don’t worry if you’re not a regular patron at this East Nashville French bistro-inspired neighborhood favorite. Although many fans make regular weekly reservations, the staff treats everyone like family, and the constantly changing menu of fresh local ingredients cooked using classical techniques is the epitome of upscale comfort food.
Once Upon A Time In France
The penny tile floors and tin ceiling panels will instantly transport visitors to a quaint Parisian cafe, and that’s exactly the vibe they’re going for at Once Upon a Time in France. The menu extends the illusion with classic Gallic options ranging from escargot to bœuf bourguignon to steak frites. Be sure to save room for something from the talented pastry kitchen.
This West Nashville fixture has been a date night destination since 2008. Miel’s dedication to hospitality includes one of the most thoughtful wine lists in town as well as impeccable service. The pandemic addition of more outdoor dining has actually been one of the best things to come out of all this mess, and an al fresco meal of Meil’s internationally inspired cuisine made with fresh and sustainable ingredients is a rare treat.
While people throw around the oxymoronic term “casual fine dining” way too often, at Midtown Cafe, that descriptive term really fits. They’re used to catering to tourists, politicians, actors, and music stars on a daily basis, and the experienced staff treats all their patrons like the most important customer in the room. National food magazines have begged for the secret recipe to their lemon artichoke soup for years, but they ain’t getting it. You, however, should definitely get it as a starter to kick off a meal of approachable elevated cuisine.
The 404 Kitchen
Start your date with a brown butter-washed Old Fashioned at Gertie’s, the downstairs whiskey bar to get ready for the epic experience that awaits above at The 404 Kitchen. Grab a table out on their outdoor patio to watch the craziness of The Gulch down below, or ask for a more intimate spot in the dining room as you peruse a menu of inventive takes on classic continental cuisine made extraordinary through the use of down-home Southern ingredients and techniques. Steak au poivre with bourbon cream sauce? Yes, please.
This unpretentious little eatery doesn’t obsess over having a thematic menu. Dishes range from Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried pickles to global favorites like pizzas, pastas, hummus, or hoisin-marinated barbecue pork chops. All they care about is offering delicious food to their guests who enjoy the cozy ambiance, especially on the preferred outdoor patio.
Take a trip back to the middle of the past century, to the days when elegant hotel dining was the peak of sophistication. A romantic trip through history at The Continental in the Grand Hyatt should include classic cocktails, prime rib carved tableside from a rolling cart, artfully plated dishes with intricate garnishes prepared by a masterful staff and some of the most decadent desserts in town. For a unique experience that feels like you’re not dining in Nashville or hell, even in the 21st century, The Continental is an essential destination.
Chef Deb Paquette is known for being full of surprises. Reading one of her menus at Etch is like taking a master course in international cuisine, with unexpected global flavors layered on top of each other to create taste sensations that are delightfully unfamiliar to most palates. The fun of the experience is discovering upscale cuisine without feeling any hint of pretentiousness coming from the obviously extremely talented kitchen staff. Pay the ticket, go for the ride and revel in the experimentation for an entertaining date night in the heart of downtown.
The view from Bourbon Steak on the 34th story of the JW Marriott downtown is so breathtaking that you’ll need to concentrate to keep your attention on your date. Fortunately, the high-end steakhouse fare on your plate will draw your gaze downward at least occasionally so that you don’t get completely lost in the vistas. In addition to luxury steaks, their signature lobster pot pie served tableside is definitely something you can share with your sweetie to make up for your wandering eyes.
Rolf & Daughters
Sometimes, dates enjoy a little challenge. Rather than heading to something exhausting like a ropes course to strengthen your relationship through trust falls, why not expand your palate’s horizons instead? Rolf & Daughters continues to stretch the limits of expected Italianesque cuisine by experimenting with fermentations and exotic ingredients to create truly unique food. While the sweet corn agnolotti and pasta with pork ragu are absolute musts when they are in season, don’t be afraid to stretch your boundaries by ordering something unfamiliar. You will undoubtedly be rewarded.
For such a small restaurant, Josephine offers a lot of choices of what sort of dining experience you’re looking for. The convivial bar is a fantastic spot to meet your love for a quick happy hour before dining in clubby banquette booths, cozy tables or the coveted outdoor patio seating. The menu is a fascinating hybrid of Southern and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine prepared using classical European cooking techniques. It’s like encountering Betty Groff and Julia Child at a tractor pull.
Renowned as a shrine to Southern food, a romantic dinner at Husk can feel like dining in a friend’s house. That makes sense because the building was actually built as the home of a 19th-century Nashville mayor, and it’s been carefully designed to maintain that homey feel, even with its lovely elegant decor scheme. The kitchen is maniacally committed to local and seasonal ingredients, and the menu changes daily based on what comes through the back door of the kitchen every morning.
The husband and husband team that run this whimsical globally influenced modern diner started out throwing dinner parties in their Chicago home, and they’re still all about making sure that their guests have fun. Date night at The Mockingbird can start with bagged cocktails like adult Capri Suns and small plates at the bar with playful names like Rice, Rice, Baby arancinis or a pork-ginger bratwurst named Love Me at my Wurst. Follow that with Pasta La Vista or Seoul Purpose bulgogi, and if you’re not smiling at the end of the meal, maybe you just don’t know how to have fun.