After living in the Austin area for over 20 years, some of my favorite restaurants are in Central Texas. I’m always looking for a table in a space with a thoughtful ambience that transports me to a new place or time. With a varied menu that pairs classics with a modern approach and local ingredients, I am in heaven. Add a relaxed yet knowledgeable waitstaff that brings it all together makes for a memorable evening. So I’m sharing some of the best restaurants for date night in Austin, Texas.
New Tables in Austin
Located at 607 W. 3rd St. Suite 105. Open Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Recently declared one of the top new restaurants in the U.S. by Esquire magazine, this open hearth eatery blends old world methods into some of the most inventive bites in Texas. The seasonal menu inclines diners to sharing from the one bite smoked tomato tart to shingled wagyu NY strip.
Inside the muted dining room, sit back for a meal to be enjoyed plate by plate (at times the time elapsed between courses stretched). Each selection offers a layered take balancing elements of taste: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory. Vegetable selections concentrate its unique flavors and add a dimension with the addition of herbs or a savory foam. Don’t miss dessert and their coffee drinks are the perfect to cap off a remarkable meal.
To dine at Hestia, grab reservations months in advance. This is your Austin dining destination for the foodie in your life.
Located at 4100 Red River inside of the Commodore Perry Estate. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A free-standing restaurant in the Commodore Perry Estate, an Auberge Resort, Lutie’s is another highly sought table in Austin. Overlooking the terraced and balustraded rose gardens, the alabaster and onyx check board floor invites the gardens inside with greenery hanging from lattice on the ceiling.
Its menu blends best-of-season vegetables with entrees from noted purveyors, using subtle flavorings and herbs. The house bread is a stand out, so order it in addition to another small plate to share. For everything the cocktail and wine list was, the desert were ho-hum at best and didn’t include a decadent chocolate option so order a glass of sparkling rosé instead.
To dine at Lutie’s, reservation are booked months in advance with a waitlist. This is your romantic dining destination in Austin.
The Peacock Mediterranean Grill
Located in Austin’s Proper Hotel at 600 W 2nd St. Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
On the ground floor of the Proper Hotel and along the shores of the Shoal Creek, enjoy a new world vision of an old world cuisine. The dining room uses texture to exude an understated opulence and if the weather is good, eat on the patio. The wait staff is attentive and knowledgeable without being too much of either.
Find the traditional Mediterranean favorites on the menu though Peacock’s version puts subtle flavors on edge, at times heavy-handed with garlic. Missed a creamy tzatziki on the meze menu. The cocktail menu is varied and nice selection of wine.
Sammy’s Italian Restaurant
Located at 807 W 6th St. Open from 5 p.m. to 10 p,.m. Sunday and Monday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 p.m. to midnight on Thursday to Saturday and noon to midnight on Friday.
Enjoy a night persuing a menu that takes Italian supper club classics up a notch. Drawing design cues from East Coast supper clubs, enjoy good wine, great bread and a plate overflowing with pasta. Start with the house made mozzarella sticks for a bespoke take of the classic appetizer. Pasta dishes are delicately flavored.
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French Bistro Dining
Located at 4710 E 5th St. Open daily from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., closed Tuesday.
I’m a romantic so French cuisine holds a chunk of my heart. Marble-topped tables with market umbrellas in a treed outdoor space make me swoon. Add free-flowing baskets of crusty bread and butter and I’ll forget about the carbs. Pour me a glass of hearty red wine and I might wear a beret.
Justine’s Brasserie is all of that in East Austin. Go when the weather is at Austin’s peak or late night to dine outside. Find lights sparkling overhead, and a congenial crowd settling for a dose of France.
The menu features French classics in French with English translations. Start the evening with a Kir Royale or French 75 paired with the escargots à la Bourgainnoone. Then savor the Steak Frites, a ribeye with beurre maître d’ and perfection fries.
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Peche Sinful Cocktails & Cuisine
Located at 208 W. 4th St. Open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to late, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to late. Reservations Accepted.
Come for a cocktail, come for dinner. Find a moody pre-prohibition bar that spans the length of the building. Serving up classic cocktails to satisfy a time traveler, including an impressive list of absinthe.
Make it an evening with a menu of French brasserie musts using Texas products. Standouts include the Haricot Vert Salad, a concoction of pickled cauliflower and local tomatoes with lardons mixed with feta and almonds all dressed with a creamy Dijon. Or samples the Prince Edward Island mussels or escargot for a bit of traditional fare.
Attentive staff, and the owner even works the dining room on busy nights offering drink recommendations.
June’s All Day
Located at 1722 S. Congress. Open Monday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
June’s All Day is many things to many people and it all depends when you walk into the door. Grab breakfast and coffee on a work day. Or stop by for a vibrant happy hour.
The All Day menu features French bistro classics, like the PEI Mussels with a creamy fennel and Pernod broth. Or sample the steak au poivre with confit garlic and parmesan fries for a French-inspired date night.
The cocktail menu favors rum and whisky. Sunday night is pub night with a Indian twist so find curries and naan. Sample the Doughnut Porfiteroles for dessert.
The French don’t have a monopoly on romance or date night in Austin. So sample some sushi and Japanese faves. Or take it a bit casual for some of the freshest seafood straight from the coast.
Located at 4200 N. Lamar Blvd. Open Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The sister restaurant to Uchi, enjoy Japanese farmhouse dining in a lively yet understated dining room. For the best of the daily and regular menu, order the omakase, or chef’s tasting menu. It features 10 different courses, perfectly prepared and presented.
The tasting menu might feature shishito tempera, or tempera peppers. The hama chili featuring yellowtail is another jewel. And the hana with fried cauliflower and curried raisins fuses flavors of the Asian continent. End your meal with Ruby Red Grapefruit with aloe air and olive oil.
Located at 1303 South Congress Ave. Open Monday to Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If your love loves sushi, then head to the first sustainable sushi restaurant in Austin. Start with the Brussels sprouts or the spicy edamame to liven up the taste buds. Follow with screaming fresh sashimi, inventive dumplings or try the tasting menu for host of new flavors.
A few tables along South Congress with more tables inside.
Monger’s Market + Kitchen
Located at 2401 E. Cesar Chavez. Open Tuesday to Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday
Seafood is so fresh it dances across the plate at this happy East Austin outlet. Find a fresh seafood market and raw bar, or head to a handful of tables for the freshest of seafood. With a menu featuring the Gulf of Mexico’s bounty, sample a buttermilk-fried Gulf shrimp. Or sink a fork into a blue crab cake. And taco Tuesday is celebrated with fish tacos.
This is really great! My husband and I just moved to Austin a few months ago so this will be useful! We are huge foodies and love going out on a “date night” at least once a week!
Welcome to the Austin area! Hope you enjoy your time here and sample the great food we have to offer.