14 great date-night spots in Dallas

Let’s say it’s time to make plans for date night, but the pandemic has you feeling frozen in time: Where do couples go for a romantic evening in Dallas these days?

Here are date-night options in two categories: flashy and new restaurants that just opened; and tried and true restaurants that continue to be great.

Flashy and new date-night restaurants in Dallas

If you’re looking to eat at a new restaurant in town, start here.

Don't miss the cocktails at Âme.

(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Âme tops my list for new date-night spots. Executive chef and co-owner Afifa Nayeb makes beautiful, upscale Indian food that’s sure to spark conversation over the dinner table. If you want to make a night of it, get a reservation at the Elephant Bar, a Parisian-themed cocktail lounge at the back of the restaurant. Or, take a short walk through the Bishop Arts District to the new Mermaid Raw Bar and Champagne Room, located inside a restaurant named Paradiso. It just opened on July 14, 2021.

  • Âme is at 418 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.
  • Mermaid Raw Bar & Champagne Room is at 308 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas. First come, first served, no reservations.

Chef Nilton 'Junior' Borges puts the final touches on a grilled octopus dish at Meridian.Chef Nilton 'Junior' Borges puts the final touches on a grilled octopus dish at Meridian.

(Allison Slomowitz / Special Contributor)

Meridian is a Brazilian restaurant in The Village, near Greenville Avenue and Lovers Lane (ish) in Dallas, created by executive chef Nilton “Junior” Borges. It has a romantic feel with a thoughtful menu inspired by Borges’ 20 years in Brazil and 20 years in the United States. Only here can you find Borges’ careful attention to dishes like an appetizer of tapioca cheese fritters; a Brazilian fish stew called moqueca; and a whole octopus main course. Grab a seat on the patio if the weather’s nice.

  • Meridian is at 5650 Village Glen Drive, Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.

At Shoyo, founder and chef Jimmy Park makes each dish in front of diners, who sit at a sushi...At Shoyo, founder and chef Jimmy Park makes each dish in front of diners, who sit at a sushi counter.

(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

Shoyo is a tiny restaurant on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, where chefs Jimmy Park and Shinichiro Kondo are making the most inventive Japanese dishes I’ve ever seen in Dallas. Here, there’s no menu, which means diners will be treated to whatever the chefs are inspired to make that evening, using the fish that was just flown in — and that might mean as many as 17 courses of small, brilliantly prepared bites. Go with an adventurous eater.

Before or after dinner, walk a few doors down for a cocktail at Apothecary. The drinks have major wow factor.

  • Shoyo is at 1916 Greenville Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.
  • Apothecary is at 1922 Greenville Ave., Dallas. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations can be made online between 5 and 6:30 p.m. only. After that, it’s first come, first served until midnight.

Carte Blanche, another Greenville Avenue newcomer, serves a tasting menu of four or 12 courses. One fun date idea would be for one person to get the wine pairing and for the other to get the tea pairing. It’ll be entertaining to compare and contrast which drinks work best with each dish.

  • Carte Blanche is at 2114 Greenville Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on Tock.

Haywire in Uptown Dallas is a decidedly masculine restaurant. Choose it for date night if you’re interested in rustic menu items like elk tacos, meat loaf, chicken-fried steak and blackened catfish. Take a romantic stroll in Klyde Warren Park after dinner; it’s right down the street.

  • Haywire is at 1920 McKinney Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on OpenTable.

A popular starter at Monarch is prosciutto and Buffalo mozzarella served with crispy...A popular starter at Monarch is prosciutto and Buffalo mozzarella served with crispy rosemary tigelle, pictured at the top.

(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Monarch is the hottest restaurant in Dallas right now. It’s tough to get a seat in the next month or two, so make reservations way in advance. If you can get in, you’ll find the best views in Dallas and delicious Italian food. Grab a drink at Catbird or at Kessaku, two restaurants in the same downtown Dallas development.

  • Monarch is inside The National, at 1401 Elm St., Dallas, on the 49th floor. Kessaku is above it, on the 50th floor. Catbird is at the same address but on the 10th floor of the Thompson Hotel. Make Monarch and Kessaku reservations on sevenrooms.com. Make Catbird reservations on Resy.

Tried and true date-night restaurants in Dallas

Dining in Dallas needn’t be all about the hottest, newest restaurants. Slip back into an eatery where you’ve already made some memories, and you’ll likely find the same great atmosphere today.

Sachet is beautifully decorated.Sachet is beautifully decorated.

(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Sachet is still one of the most thrilling restaurants in Dallas, to me, because it’s one of the only high-end restaurants in town that offers an adventure with Mediterranean food. These dishes were made for sharing, so sidle up next to your date and grab a fork. At the beginning of dinner, don’t miss the burrata with roasted figs, pistachio pesto and vincotto (which is kind of like a grape molasses); or the fatteh, a pretty plate of chickpeas, eggplant, okra and yogurt.

  • Sachet is at 4270 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.

Sloane’s Corner in downtown Dallas opened in late 2019, just a few months before pandemic shutdowns. If you haven’t made it there, now’s the time. My favorite spot is on the covered patio, where there’s often live music in the evenings. Sloane’s Corner would be a great spot to join another couple or two for a group dinner. I especially like the ricotta cavatelli and the hangar steak with polenta.

  • Sloane’s Corner is at 2001 Ross Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on OpenTable.

Uchi’s menu of Japanese-inspired creations almost never disappoints. It’s easy to spend a lot of money here, like on the cold hama chili (yellowtail and ponzu) or akame te (tuna and watermelon) starters, each priced at $18.50. But spring for a few low-cost pieces of sushi, like the simple but exceptional slice of avocado, painted with yuzu kosho, or the nasu (Japanese eggplant), each $3. And then dig into more filling hot dishes, like a mushroom-and-rice dish named kinoko nabe, which I’m thrilled with every time I eat it. The best part about Uchi is that you can order a few items, enjoy them, and then see if you’re hungry for more. A slow, thoughtful dinner can be oh so satisfying.

  • Uchi is at 2817 Maple Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on OpenTable.

Il Bracco is an Italian restaurant in Preston Center.Il Bracco is an Italian restaurant in Preston Center.

(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Il Bracco might be the most sought-after restaurant in the Park Cities right now. The service and food are consistently good, and it feels like the kind of approachable date-night spot where you don’t need to think too much before you get there. I like sitting at the bar: It’s quick and you get to watch the bustle in the room from up high. If you want to extend your date night before or after eating Il Bracco’s salads and pastas, walk to Trova Wine + Market a few hundred feet away. Michelle Bonds opened this wine bar almost exactly a year ago, and it’s a fun spot for one more drink. Note that it closes at 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Il Bracco is at 8416 Preston Center Plaza, Dallas. Make Il Bracco reservations on Resy.
  • Trova is at 4004 Villanova St., Dallas. Reservations for Trova are not required — but they’re available at OpenTable.

Las Palmas achieves something not all Tex-Mex restaurants do: It feels like a destination restaurant fit for a special occasion. The handsome dining room would be a great option for a date-night that starts with queso and ends with sopapilla cheesecake. In the middle, go for the fajitas, which one (unaffiliated) restaurateur says are the best in Dallas. The bar is making lots of unexpected cocktails, like a rum drink with watermelon and jalapeño and a Pimms Cup. Or, order a martini, which feels like the sexiest date-night option out there.

  • Las Palmas is at 2708 Routh St., Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.

Steak frites are a popular order at Beverley's.Steak frites are a popular order at Beverley's.

(Brandon Wade / Special Contributor)

Beverley’s Bistro & Bar is a friendly restaurant with a menu of dishes you know and love. There’s oysters, meatballs, lamb chops, steak frites and the like. There’s a pretty patio out front and on the side and a gregarious dining room indoors. If date night leads to brunch the next day, Beverley’s is also a good weekend-morning spot.

By the end of the year, owner Greg Katz plans to open a neighborhood lounge a short walk away. Here’s more about Clifton Club.

  • Beverley’s Bistro & Bar is at 3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.

Fact: Soufflé is romantic.Fact: Soufflé is romantic.

(EVANS CAGLAGE / 129124)

Rise No. 1 sells savory and sweet soufflés, and you should get both. Because date night calls for dessert. Just know there’ll be a wait at this French restaurant: The restaurant’s tagline is “you will wait on your soufflé, but your soufflé will not wait on you.” Stop into Shinsei for a before-dinner cocktail. The bar is turning out lots of fun drinks, but I like the simple Lynae’s Weekend Drink: Ketel One vodka and grapefruit juice, shaken until very cold.

  • Rise No. 1 is at 5360 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas. Reservations not available unless you have a party of five or more. For larger parties, call 214-366-9900.

  • Shinsei is at 7713 Inwood Road, Dallas. Make reservations on OpenTable, though they’re not necessary if you’re drinking at the bar.

Homewood is one of those restaurants Dallasites keep coming back to, and for good reason: Executive chef and co-founder Matt McCallister and his team change their menu frequently, and it doesn’t really matter what they’re cooking up next, because it’ll be intricate yet approachable, and it’s bound to taste great. A seat at the bar is always fun.

  • Homewood is at 4002 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas. Make reservations on Resy.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.