Food and Drink

The 19 Most Romantic Restaurants in Dallas

Parisian-inspired Oak Lawn elegance, craft cocktails in Uptown, and so much more.

Bowen House Dallas
Bowen House Dallas
Bowen House Dallas

If you’re waiting until Valentine’s Day rolls around to treat your beloved to a romantic dinner, you’re missing out on the year-round joy of displaying your affection publicly over oysters and Champagne. (Or queso and margaritas, aphrodisiacs aren’t really scientifically proven.) Throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, certain restaurants make date night even better, whether you’re looking for a traditional fine dining atmosphere or some place where you can disappear into each other’s eyes without the server checking in on you every three minutes.

Love is in the air at each of the following places, from intimate candlelit dining rooms to subterranean steakhouses. Just don’t forget to make a reservation ahead of time, because nothing kills the mood more than an unexpected two-hour wait for a table.

Ame
Ame
Ame

Ă‚me

Bishop Arts District
White tablecloths, candles, and exotic aromas set the scene for an internationally inspired affair. Traditional Indian cuisine meets French techniques for a unique evening of culinary adventure and sophistication. Seafood, lamb, chicken, and vegetarian options make it easy to create your own sampling of flavours that you can feed each other while staring deeply into each other’s eyes (if you’re that kind of couple).
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Parigi Restaurant
Parigi Restaurant
Parigi Restaurant

Parigi

Oak Lawn
French-influenced restaurants always have a slight advantage over other eateries when it comes to setting a romantic scene, and Parigi is no exception. The intimate bistro features a new menu twice a month with a focus on seasonality and local sourcing to create masterful dishes that delight with elevation and impeccable flavours. Ask for a cozy two-top in the dining room or out front to recreate a Parisian sidewalk cafe experience in the heart of Dallas.
How to book: Call 214-521-0295 to reserve.

Dakota's Steakhouse
Dakota’s Steakhouse
Dakota’s Steakhouse

Dakota’s

Downtown Dallas
After shuttering for good during the height of the pandemic in 2020, it came as a welcome surprise when Meredith McEneny decided to resurrect this (literal) underground steakhouse. Request one of the cozy nook tables and slowly work your way through the menu of exquisite seafood, chops, and steaks along with a nice bottle of wine (two if you arrived via ride-share service).
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Photo by Kathy Tran
Photo by Kathy Tran
Photo by Kathy Tran

Encina

Bishop Arts District
For a casual date night where you can get lost in conversation (not to mention creamy chocolate peanut butter pie), this cozy spot at the edge of the Bishop Arts District has a coolness factor that rivals more traditionally romantic settings. Ask for a table tucked away in the main dining room or on the covered patio and let the world around you fade away.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Bowen House Dallas
Bowen House Dallas
Bowen House Dallas

Bowen House

Uptown
Known primarily for creative craft cocktails, this historic old home also has a kitchen doling out shareables ranging from chicken tenders to escargot, depending on how hard you’re trying to impress. Snuggle up by the fireplace to sip Yolko Onos and Bowen House G&Ts, or escape to the front patio to incorporate a little fresh air and moonlight into your evening.
How to book: Call 214-484-1385 to reserve.

Café Pacific
Café Pacific
Café Pacific

Café Pacific

Highland Park
Expect to go on a proper date in proper attire at this quaint steak and seafood spot that’s been catering to the Highland Park set for nearly four decades. Even though you’ll find white tablecloths and fresh flowers at every table, you won’t find any pretense here-unless you decide to eat your Oysters Rockefeller with your pinky out.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Nobu Dallas
Nobu Dallas
Nobu Dallas

Nobu Dallas

Uptown
Despite being a rather large space, you’ll find plenty of dimly lit corners in which to gaze lovingly at the person seated across from you. The world-class sushi here makes for a nice interactive meal for two, but don’t overlook the ponzu-soaked Oyster Shooters-after which you might also want to take advantage of the luxury hotel upstairs. Just sayin’.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via Postmates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.

Fachini
Fachini
Fachini

Fachini

Highland Park
Nestled on the white and black penny-tiled second floor above Yo! Lobster, you’ll find this retro red-sauce Italian spot, complete with crisp white tablecloths and dark wood accents. Get a free show with your dinner when you order the tableside Caesar Salad, then dig into the 100-layer Lasagna or one of the much-praised veal dishes. Whether or not you go full Lady and the Tramp on the linguini is up to you.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Gorji
Gorji
Gorji

Gorji

North Dallas
If ever there was a restaurant specifically designed for romance, it would be the cozy, seven-table Gorji. With zero televisions, no children allowed, and a dedicated server to wait on you all night long, it may be hard to go on a date anywhere else after this experience. Better still, the gratuity is already included, so at the end of the meal you can focus on the person opposite you instead of a calculator.
How to book: Call 972-503-7080 to reserve.

HĂ´tel St Germain
HĂ´tel St Germain
HĂ´tel St Germain

HĂ´tel St. Germain

Uptown
Majestic chandeliers, flowing curtains, flickering candles, and floor-length tablecloths set the stage for food-lovers (and lovers in general) to feel transported to another place and time. With advance reservations, you can enjoy an elegant prix-fixe supper with a view of the ivy-covered courtyard. It probably goes without saying, but guys are required to wear jackets here.
How to book: Call 214-871-2516 to reserve.

Town Hearth
Town Hearth
Town Hearth

Town Hearth

Design District
The restaurant is loud and the crowds are lively, but despite the boisterous vibe there’s something magical about dining beneath the warm electric glow of 64 chandeliers-not to mention the silver 1961 MGA convertible parked near the kitchen, or the gigantic aquarium housing its own yellow submarine. The whole experience is Dallas at its most over-the-top best, so why not plan a date night to match?
How to book: Call 214-761-1617 to reserve.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

The Mansion Restaurant

Turtle Creek
Back in the day, men were required to wear a coat and tie to enter this see-and-be-seen space, and though the dress code has relaxed slightly (a blazer would still be appropriate), the seasonal menu and atmosphere are still some of the most coveted in the city. Tables for two can be found tucked away throughout the dining rooms, but you can also snag a seat on the terrace by the roaring fireplace-the perfect setting for popping a bottle of Champagne.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Sachet

Highland Park
Have a vegan or vegetarian in your life you wish to impress? They’ll have plenty to love here (and so will meat-eaters), as the entire mezze selection consists of colorful, fresh, vegetarian-friendly options that, along with a few orders of hot ciabatta or pita and a bottle of wine, make for one helluva fun meal without ever venturing into the menu’s entrĂ©e section.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out online.

Lounge Here
Lounge Here
Lounge Here

The Lounge Here

Little Forest Hills
Sure, there’s a small sign and a tiny neon “here” lighting up the window, but amid a strip mall cluttered with wig shops, tattoo parlours, and vape stores, the restraint of this neighbourhood gem’s exterior can be easy to overlook. Once inside the shotgun-style space, you’ll be treated to an ambiance that’s a little bit Palm Springs and a whole lot 1970s, yet somehow perfectly timeless. Booths offer the most privacy of the limited seating options, ideal for binging on a Chicken Fried Steak big enough to share.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out online.

Tulum

Oak Lawn
The dining room at Tulum is romantic enough, but insiders know that the bar and lounge are where the majority of sweet nothings are whispered here. With comfy couches, dim lighting, and a sense of being far away from the main action, you can enjoy a full meal or come during happy hour for half-off tacos, enchiladas, wine, and cocktails. After all, a hot date doesn’t have to be an expensive one.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Toulouse Cafe & Bar
Toulouse Cafe & Bar
Toulouse Cafe & Bar

Toulouse Cafe and Bar

Knox District & Plano
There’s something about a restaurant that pays such painstaking homage to Paris that romance practically envelops the place, whether via the food, ambiance, or a combination of the two. This outpost of the popular Texas mini-chain feels like an Epcot-worthy recreation of a Parisian sidewalk cafe that makes one want to write poetry while waiting for appetizers or draw a sultry portrait over dessert.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable (Dallas, Plano) or order take-out via Chownow (Dallas, Plano).

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

North Dallas
It’s not difficult to find a quiet spot in one of the multiple dining rooms at Pappas Bros., but ask for a table in the fireplace room for an added bit of ambiance. As you’d expect from a Texas steakhouse, portions run on the huge side, so consider splitting a main course and several sides so you have room for a slab of Chocolate Midnight Cake-even if it’s only 10pm.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out online.

Rise Soufflé
Rise Soufflé
Rise Soufflé

Rise No. 1

Park Cities & Fort Worth
One soufflĂ©, two spoons-that’s the general experience at this charming spot dedicated to the fine French art of the fluffy soufflĂ©. Start with the famous marshmallow soup, then choose a savoury soufflĂ© to share with options ranging from Smoked Salmon to Cauliflower and Brie. Save room for a dessert version, with Pecan Praline and Grand Marnier serving as can’t-miss options.
How to book: Call 214-366-9900 (Dallas) or 817-737-7473 (Fort Worth) to reserve.

Alice

Old East Dallas
Everything’s small at this quaint East Dallas spot, from the 50-seat dining room to the limited menu of pan-Asian specialties-and that’s what makes it so fantastic. Grab a table by the window and bask in the seductive red glow of the neon sign out front, then dive into crab dips, lettuce wraps, steamed buns, and sushi rolls, all perfect for sharing.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out online.

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Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor.

Food and Drink

The Best Ways to Dress Up Your Summer Beers

From micheladas to shandies to fruit infusions, the power is in your hands-and kitchen.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Today, just about any flavored beer a person could dream up already exists in a can, from micheladas to shandies to, yes, pickle beers. But there’s still much to be said for the DIY versions of these dressed-up beers.

For one, they’re fresher (you could squeeze your own lemonade for a shandy right this instant). For another, they’re customizable: spiciness, fruit choice, how strong you’d like the final drink to be-all those are in your hands. And perhaps more importantly, they’re fun. Whether you want to spend two minutes constructing a beer-lemonade shandy or spend an hour infusing your IPA with real chunks of pineapple, there are plenty of ways to get creative in gussying up your beer this summer.

Embrace red beer

A brunch staple across the western half of the U.S., “red beer” is essentially a stripped-down michelada: just your preferred light lager of choice, plus tomato juice. But the devil’s in the details-folks can get mighty particular about their red beer specifications.

My preference is Coors Light with just a splash of Campbell’s tomato juice. It’s a pet peeve of mine when bartenders go too heavy on the tomato juice; it’s called red beer after all, not tomato juice. To make this yourself, start with your light lager of choice, then add just a splash of tomato juice so that the beer has a strong orange hue. Sip, taste, and add more if necessary.

Upgrade your salt rim

Another component of some micheladas, salt rims are more versatile than they might seem-and they complement several styles of beer. Just coat the rim of a beer glass with lime juice or water, then dunk the glass in a shallow dish of salt. Try the following combos:

• Mexican lager with a Tajin rim: Try substituting Tajin seasoning for straight salt for a bit of a chilli-lime kick. Pair this with a red beer for a michelada-like vibe.
• Gose with a herbal-salt rim: Goses are a beer style with a light salinity already, so pouring them in a glass rimmed with a rosemary salt or basil salt can add an additional flavour that doesn’t clash. Try mixing and matching fruited goses with herbal salts-how about a watermelon gose with a basil-salt rim?
• Dark lager with a smoked salt rim: Smoked salt is a surprisingly versatile ingredient because it’s way less powerful than liquid smoke. Try a dark lager (like Modelo Negro or a bock) in a glass rimmed with smoked salt for a subtle campfire vibe.

Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images

No shame in a shandy

Radlers and shandies are often used interchangeably to refer to a light-coloured beer blended with fruit juice (typically lemonade or grapefruit). Packaged versions exist, but with so many fruit-flavoured non-alcoholic beverages on the market, it’s worth playing around with some creative combos in your own kitchen. A good rule of thumb is to start light with the base beer, either a pale lager, cream ale, blonde ale, or (if you’re really a hop head) a pale ale. From there, most people blend in a splash of their favourite juice.

But here’s my preference: Use a fruit-flavoured soda. I find that adding straight fruit juice to beer often makes it too sweet and a bit flat. A high-quality fruit-flavoured soda, like the ones from Sanpellegrino, adds carbonation and fruit flavour with too much sweetness. Also, go easy on the ratio of soda to beer to start, because you can always add more soda. I find a ratio of about one part soda to three parts beer is ideal.

Infuse your beer with fruit

Your French press isn’t only for coffee-it can also act as a device for infusing fruit or other flavours into beer. If you end up with a bumper crop of strawberries or melons from the farmer’s market, this is a great way to use them.

1. Start with a new or perfectly clean French press to avoid coffee flavour leaching into your beer (unless that’s what you’re after).
2. Pour in your beer of choice. Almost any style could work here: light lagers, blonde ales, saisons, IPAs, even porters and stouts. Pour the beer into the French press, leaving a couple inches empty at the top.
3. Add some cut-up fruit. The possibilities are limitless: porter and raspberry, IPA and pineapple, blonde ale and mango, wheat beer and oranges, saison and cherries…
4. Allow the fruit to infuse. How long to leave the beer in contact with the fruit is up to you, knowing that the longer the mixture sits, the more pronounced the flavours will be. Start with 10 minutes, push the plunger down slightly, pour and taste some of the beer, and wait longer for a more intense flavour.
5. Push the plunger down all the way. Pour your infused beer into a glass and enjoy!

Make a mighty michelada shrub

Micheladas are typically a mixture of Mexican lager, lime juice, tomato juice, and salt. But recently, premixed michelada shrubs (like those from Pacific Pickle Works and Real de Oaxaca) have popped up, adding some vinegar tartness and other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and spices to the mix.

A shrub combines vinegar with fruit or, sometimes, vegetables, and they’re easy to experiment with at home. Michael Dietsch, author of Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, suggests that if you’re creating a shrub to mix with beer and tomatoes, beginning with a base of apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar (to match the malt in beer) plus lime is a smart start. From there, savoury additions like soy sauce will lend a Bloody Mary feel-just be sure to use a light hand with those umami-packed additions. Because vinegar and soy or Worcestershire sauce are tangy and savoury, Dietsch notes that you may want to add just a pinch of sugar to your shrub for balance.

From there, the sky’s the limit. Swap apple cider for white balsamic if you’re feeling bold, or add orange juice as well as lime. But regardless of what ingredients you use, Dietsch says it’s important to let a shrub sit and mellow for a couple days before using it. That time will let the intensity of the vinegar mellow and will ensure all the flavours meld together in perfect harmony. Once the shrub has sat a few days, give it a taste, then add a few splashes of it to your favourite Mexican lager.

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Kate Bernot is a certified BJCP judge and freelance reporter whose work regularly appears in Craft Beer & Brewing, Thrillist, and Good Beer Hunting. Follow her at @kbernot.

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