It’s always the right time for a romantic dinner out with your SO/partner/spouse or co-doggy-parent. So, whether you’re planning for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, or simply seeking a great spot for a casual or upscale date, check out this array of Buffalo area places. And don’t forget the roses.
The Kitchens at Hotel Henry Corner of Rockwell Road & Cleveland Circle
Buffalo, NY 14213
100 Acres is located within the Hotel Henry, a recent $100 million renovation project of a National Historic Landmark building. The restaurant utilizes much of the hotel’s first floor interior space, winding through its broad halls, sprawling windowed spaces and nooks. Ask for a seat in the Burgundy Room for a more secluded and intimate evening. The cozy and comfortable bar makes for a great place to snuggle up with your sweetie, either to start or wind down the evening. If you want to really go for it, book one of the hotel’s overnight packages, and revel in the entire experience.
56 W. Chippewa St.
Buffalo, NY 14202
Chef and owner Brian Mietus’ menu offers classic, wonderfully prepared dishes, from small plates to full dinners, served to perfection by a well-trained staff. Daily features source locally grown ingredients. Wine Spectator magazine recognizes Bacchus year after year for its selection of nearly 375 wines and an inventory of over 4,000 bottles. The roomy restaurant, with lovely dark-wood themed décor, is an equally easy walk from most downtown hotels and to Buffalo’s theatre and entertainment district. There’s plenty of parking lots in the area and valet parking is also offered.
228 Allen St.
Buffalo, NY 14201
A small hotspot tucked in a central block of the popular Allen Street bar scene, Billy Club’s modern, minimalist décor, attention to detail and delicious cocktails will earn you bragging rights for booking and dining here. A tastefully spare menu offers small plates, with an emphasis, of course, on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Flat #12 mushrooms—grown locally and indoors—are always available and always delicious as a small plate, with “seasonal accompaniments.” From the menu, a vegan or vegetarian could put together a fine dinner. The handful of entrees offers something for most palate or dietary requirement, generally featuring a poultry, one or two beef (burger + steak), plus fish and pasta options.
5493 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, NY 14221
With their casually elegant contemporary setting, beautifully executed and personalized service, and high-quality meat and fish preparations, it’s the perfect environment to enjoy an intimate date. Once alerted to an anniversary or special occasion, they’ll never forget. With their impressive wine cellar enclosed in an ingenious “wall” in the middle of the restaurant accessed by a metal iron staircase, they’ve justly earned the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence.” Enjoy their signature molten chocolate bomb cake and a glass of champagne to finish off your evening. The host may even send over the champagne with compliments.
888 Main St.
Buffalo, NY 14202
Buffalo restaurateur Maura Crawford has created this charming French-influenced spot, where you have a choice of spaces to dine à deux. The emphasis on French food is subtle, with plenty of other options. For those seeking a Francophile-like mouthful, trout, and mussels and frites (each with a variety of sauce choices) have earned permanent spots on the menu, and there’s usually a pâté on the starter list. The menu includes house-made, thin-crust pizzas, several luscious pastas, and, recently, Korean BBQ pork tenderloin. The wine list is brief and well-curated, and the cocktails are always worth it.
1472 Hertel Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14216
Creative cocktails, a wine list focused on organic and biodynamic products, beers from local breweries—an attention to detail is CRaVing’s stock in trade. Chef Adam Goetz, with a long list of impressive credentials and awards, prizes his ability to feed everyone, and keep you coming back for more. The chef’s philosophy includes presenting “vegetarian and gluten-free friendly” options, as well as plenty of choices for the carni- or omnivore. It’s a tiny space, where you can be romantic while also checking out what the folks at the next table are having. The better to get a feel for the Hertel Avenue area, we say.
1375 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14209
Hutch’s, run by serial Buffalo restaurant guy Mark Hutchinson, has earned a rightful place in the hearts and stomachs of Buffalo eaters. It’s a welcoming place, where the faithful have their favorites, and the newly anointed will quickly find theirs. The bar, usually packed on the weekend, is a lovely and intimate space during the week, where you and yours may enjoy a romantic cocktail and fine service, if you so desire. While you can enter the restaurant the regular way, from the Delaware Avenue front door, the speakeasy-like atmosphere of the bar is bolstered by a semi-hidden side door off the narrow driveway. It’s a nice place for a rendezvous.
6461 Transit Road
Buffalo, NY 14043
Known for years, and to most Buffalonians still, as Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, a visit to this Las Vegas-style hospitality house is a rite of passage for Western New Yorkers. After decades under the stewardship of the most high-profiled of its owners, Russell Salvatore, the restaurant is now guided by progeny. With an update to the name and menu offerings, 17 chefs and their huge kitchen staff are at the ready to crank out their famously huge portions of items that include hot and cold appetizers, Italian specialties, a few vegetarian options (Tofu Milanese?), as well as a full steak menu, including filet mignon, prime rib and Wagyu cuts. The wine list is famously deep. This is the place where excess is meant to impress, from the dark, low ceiling rooms and the richly adorned walls, carpets, chandeliers, and display cases.
385 Rhode Island St.
Buffalo, NY 14213
For a unique Buffalo experience, try Chef-owner Victor Parra Gonzalez, and his seasonal tasting menus inspired by different regions of Mexico. It’s as much theater as dining. Chef Parra Gonzalez, a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist, personally presides over every seating and course. The restaurant is small enough for his watchful eye to make sure each diner is being properly attended to. He also comes around to each table, and discusses the dishes, preparations, happily answering any questions you may have; the evening is made more special for that attention. If you go for the beverage pairings option, it’ll add exponential enjoyment to the experience.
112 Genesee St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
With so many tables for two, this relative newcomer has a hip vibe in an unpretentious and unstuffy environment. With menu options from burgers to full plated dinners, you can create your own romantic evening without any pretense. Chef Mike Dimmer’s emphasis is on farm-to-table creativity, and the small restaurant equally values flawless and friendly service. A lively bar scene and cocktail menu is deservedly recommended. The shelves are heavy on specialty whiskey and the list of craft cocktails is seasonally changing and ever-inventive. And you can always count on several lovingly prepared sweet treats for sharing après-entrées.
2095 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14216
Another historic Buffalo institution, Oliver’s is an old-school white tablecloth restaurant. While it has changed hands a few times, and (barely) updated its décor, you can still find the classic mains here, from filet and duck breast to salmon and chicken Milanese. Start with their decadent house spinach loaf, as generations before you have. Order a martini, ditto. The large oval bar, surrounded by cushy booths, is a nice place to hang out and sip and nibble with a sweetie.
95 Main St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
As its name suggests, the seventh-floor restaurant and cocktail lounge offers exquisite views of Buffalo, Lake Erie and Canalside. Panorama on Seven is a casual restaurant within the Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter. Start the evening with one of their prohibition-style cocktails, and conclude the experience with a sweet treat prepared by the in-house pastry chef, all the while gazing over the glowing shores and gleaming lights of the Queen City.
1198 Hertel Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14216
Buffalo’s gold standard for Italian fine dining. Even if it’s your first visit, you’ll be greeted at the door like an old friend. This sets the stage for a traditional dining experience with well-trained servers who never fail to meet your needs. Whether you’re seated in the cozier bar-adjacent dining area, or the more open dining room towards the front of the space, you and your date will be treated well, and fed beautifully. Choose from pizzas and small plates, or go all in and try the veal chop, the roasted chicken or filet mignon. Take advantage of the old-school tableside-preparation of the Caesar salad for two. After dinner, pop over to The Little Club for a nightcap—the younger Lombardo generation’s recently opened wine bar across the street.
307 Bryant Street
Buffalo, NY 14222
At this upscale neighborhood bar and restaurant, there’s a nice row of cocktail tables along the side wall, and also plenty of intimate booths and tables in the comfortable dining area for casual local dining. The wine list is all Italian all the time, and the bartenders and servers are happy to answer questions and offer suggestions and tastes. Warm light and friendly staff give this Elmwood area favorite its enduring reputation for pleasant dining and delicious food, including seafood, pizza, and pastas along with a full dinner menu. You can’t go wrong.
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