Austin romantic restaurants
A meal at Jeffrey’s, a fine dining institution in historic Clarksville, is worthy of any Austin bucket list. The restaurant—which was reinvigorated in 2013 by restaurateur Larry McGuire—doesn’t overlook any detail, from the servers’ crisp uniforms to the warm, elegant atmosphere and unrivaled service. Treat yourself to the full Jeffrey’s experience by ordering a martini or old-fashioned made tableside followed by the deviled eggs topped with precious shaved truffle. Opt for the all-natural certified Angus beef, a 14oz rib-eye topped with any number of fancy toppings (think foie gras butter or a single slice of funky Roquefort cheese). Mimic the sweetness of your love by splitting Jeffrey’s chocolate soufflé with orange saffron ice cream and grand Marnier crème anglaise.
Lenoir is the ultimate romantic restaurant in Austin—the walls are draped in heirloom lace, the space is intimate and never loud and the white-washed furniture provides a soft backdrop for the exquisite offerings. Serving self-proclaimed “hot weather food,” Lenoir’s menu consists of flavors that lean towards spicy and acidic. The three-course, prix-fixe menu has four sections: field, land, sea and dream, and each plate’s description solely includes a list of ingredients—how about the olive oil-cured fish/citrus ponzu/chili aioli/fried shallot? Lenoir is also known for an expertly curated wine list and knowledgeable staff whose suggestions will have you enjoying a glass of red or white from the best regions in France, Italy, Spain and more.
There is nothing quite like French brasserie Justine’s. It possesses a level of chic so unattainable by most that it almost feels like performance art. Artists, musicians, movers and shakers all flock to Justine’s, where a new culture of cool has taken residence. Let’s start with the wine: the venue’s list is full of picks described with flowery adjectives like sanguine, midnight and electric. While basking in the crisp, warm sound of actual vinyl playing in the background, order the famous steak frites—a heavily-seasoned, fatty rib-eye, topped with herbed butter and served with a mountain of perfectly herbed fries. A classic creme brûlée makes for an ideal ending—just make sure to show you care by allowing your date to break the caramelized sugar.
The recently revamped Mattie's, located in Green Pastures' picturesque 1800s home, is the epitome of dreamy dining. Stroll among the peacocks (the birds roam freely throughout the property) and towering oak trees with your dinner date before stopping fora drink in the robin's-egg-blue parlor. If that doesn't leave you smitten, the Southern fare will: fried chicken with Yukon potato purée, BBQ gulf shrimp and grits and the best buttermilk biscuits in town. No visit is complete without an after-meal toast of the boozy bourbon-based milk punch that Green Pastrues has served since 1965. Swoon.
Eden East—located in the heart of Springdale Farm—is about as romantic as rustic dining gets in Austin. An ancient elm tree strung with twinkling lights serves both as the farm’s cornerstone and as Eden East’s communal dining area. Chef Sonya Cote’s talented team creates inspired new menus every month with ingredients that bring farm-to-table to another level. Each dinner service starts with complimentary cocktails from Deep Eddy, or wine/beer/spirits you can bring yourself. This will be a culinary experience to remember: over two-to-three hours, you will be served five to six courses that include local meats, herbed vegetables and much more.
Stepping into Grizzelda’s is like stepping into every woman’s #goals Pinterest board. From rose-colored glassware to strategically mismatched seating and Ellie Cashman’s cult favorite floral/black wallpaper, every detail within the space has been thoughtfully designed by co-owners Kris Swift and Adam Jacoby. You won’t find sickly-sweet desserts or restrictive prix fixe menus here. Instead, you and your date will delight in playful cocktails like the Bad Girl Ri Ri (pisco, mezcal, lime, passionfruit), crave-worthy queso (queso oaxaca and chihuahua, pickled peppers) and dry-aged steak sourced from Jacoby’s ranch. Grizzelda’s relaxed, beachy vibe guarantees your date night will be muy romantico.
At modern Southern restaurant Olamaie, you can enjoy an elegant, multi-course dinner or opt for a more casual dining experience on the porch. Either way, you and your loved one will be beaming. Known for Chef Michael Fojtasek’s inventive spin on Southern classics served on Keith Kreeger’s neutral dishware, Olamaie offers excellent dinner service seven nights a week. Make sure to include the buttery, flaky biscuit served with honey butter in your order.
Bryce Gilmore’s Barley Swine, long renowned as a top restaurant in Austin, offers both a chef’s tasting menu and à la carte options for a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience. The eatery’s inventive dishes—like spicy pig skin noodles and butternut cake with comb honey and lavender—are pure love fuel. The cocktails are amazing as well: the Yellow Rose of Texas (Meyer lemon vodka, yellow Chartreuse, honey) is bright and tantalizing while the Rock n’ Roots (Diplomatico anejo rum, sunchoke, coffee liqueur, chocolate bitters) provides sumptuous depth. All of this paired with impeccable service and attention to detail from the staff help you keep your focus where it belongs: on your date.
Offering Texas-influenced Italian cuisine in sophisticated digs, Juniper is a great way to say: “I really like you.” The dramatic architecture, plush cobalt seating and open kitchen are immediately impressive. Cocktails are variations on Italian classics like the self portrait (gin, Amaro Meletti, Cocchi Americano, citrus bitters) and the small plate menu means lots of room for sharing and exploring. Expect artful plating and a very modern interpretation of classics, like the gnocchi with smoked shrimp, horseradish and dill, or the warm ricotta with tangerine marmalade and honey garlic.
Prove to your date that you have great taste (and that you are the bon vivant you claimed to be on your Tinder profile) by treating them to an evening at Péché. Located in Austin’s Warehouse District, Péché serves classic French fare with a nod to 19th-century New Orleans via a dim chandelier-lit space and a pre-Prohibition-inspired cocktail menu that includes an exciting selection of absinthe. Forget tiny plates: Péché’s generous portions mean everything is shareable. We personally love the pommes frites, Prince Edward Island mussels in a habanero coconut broth and the butternut squash ravioli in an aromatic sage cream sauce.