15 Romantic Dinner-Date Hotspots
Visit one of these delicious dining hotspots in St. Pete/Clearwater – they're filled with special touches, perfect for wooing your boo.
Sure, you could Google the most expensive restaurant in town and simply spend your entire paycheck on an overpriced meal in a predictable setting… but, is that what’s really going to impress your special someone? NOPE. Of course, the food has to be amazing, but the ambiance is what’s going to give your sweetie the feels. Head to one of these favorite romantic restaurants, and let the good times roll.
Small-town Dunedin has more than its fair share of wonderful dining experiences, and Caracara proves the point. Looking for something flavorful, bold and bright for date night? You’ll find it on the Asian-inspired menu crafted by chef Traci Bryant Ferguson. Start with the beef chili curry queso or the chana masala hummus, then move on to the whole roasted snapper or the short rib quesadilla. Is your sweetie a picky eater? He or she can customize a Sugar + Spice + Everything Rice Bowl. Everyone – meat lover, vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free – will find something to fall in love with here.
The Living Room on Main, Dunedin
Romantic, fine dining doesn’t need to be pretentious. At The Living Room, you can unwind and indulge with your honey over shareables inspired by world cuisine. Take a culinary adventure with molasses braised pork ossobuco, smoked salmon flatbread, vegan stir fry or a few of their small plates, but be sure to leave room for their signature creme brulee. Also, live music is a regular affair, so practice your sway just in case.
The Restorative, Dunedin
Your special someone will fall in love with you all over again at this foodie haven, which was named among Creative Loafing's Top 50 Restaurants for 2021. At The Restorative, husband and wife chef-owners deliver a small menu that changes two to three times each week. Expect elevated dishes such as pork tenderloin with bacon-braised cabbage and butternut squash with ham hock jus; or scallops, mussels, shrimp and halibut with roasted garlic polenta agnolotti and spicy lobster broth. Desserts might include pistachio bread pudding.
Parts of Paris, Safety Harbor
Parts of Paris Bistro & Bar has the delicious French fare your amour desires without the stuffiness that usually comes along with it. Snuggled inside a bungalow-style house, this bistro serves up highly acclaimed cuisine and friendly service that create smiles brighter than its white linen tablecloths. Start your date night off at the POP Bar with signature cocktails, champagne or wine from a modest but diverse list. Forgot to make a reservation and can’t get a table? You can still save date night – the POP Bar offers the full menu.
Pizzeria Gregario, Safety Harbor
This pizzeria in Safety Harbor is the perfect place for foodies who care about where and how their meals are sourced and created. We know what you’re thinking. Pizza? For date night? Ah, but these aren’t ordinary pies. Pizza Gregario owner Gregory Seymour starts by crafting his own “biodynamic” dough, which includes stone-milled ancient and heritage grains. He sources produce from farms within 100 miles. He buys meat from vendors who use humane, sustainable methods. The result? Fresh, wood-fired pizzas that have diners raving and accolades flowing in. Plus, the place is date-night cute. Currently, the restaurant is open Friday and Saturday evenings for patio dining or takeout. Cash only.
Baba on Central, St. Pete
With evil eyes as a decorative element throughout, Baba on Central is sure to ward off any "bad juju" during your date. The menu at this Greek and Lebanese restaurant is equally as impressive as its romantic atmosphere. If you're out and about with your honey on the weekend, there's no need to wait until dinner for a romantic meal, either. Here, you'll feel like you’ve traveled to Santorini or Beirut as you savor souvlaki skewers, spanakopita and falafel, or visit the bakery for a traditional Greek coffee and baklava to share.
Brick & Mortar, St. Pete
Looking for a low-key, but still stellar gourmet experience to charm your babe? Wine and dine your date at Brick & Mortar, an award-winning rustic-chic restaurant on Central Ave. in downtown St. Pete. Savor their New American fare, unique wine and craft beer menu – and the cozy vibe.
Ceviche, St. Pete
Date night is the perfect opportunity to escape the everyday – and Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant on chic Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete is the perfect spot to transport you and your honey to a more relaxed, tuned-in place. Get into the carefree vibe by ordering a "Getting Chile With It" cocktail made with Mezcal, watermelon slush and lime, or ask for a refreshing sangria to accompany a beautiful cheese and charcuterie board. Ceviche’s tapas menu offers a great excuse to cozy up and share small plates (try the Patatas Bravas in spicy aioli or the Manchego Croquetas). Whatever you do, be sure to save room for the decadent Espresso Chocolate Tres Leche. Most of the menu is gluten free, and vegetarians will find options, too. Outdoor seating is available.
Dirty Laundry, St. Pete
If you can get past the name (which doesn’t exactly shout “Date Night!"), you’re in for a treat at Dirty Laundry, a fresh dining and nightlife concept in St. Pete’s Grand Central District. Whether you’re a newbie couple hoping to move past that early awkwardness or a long-paired duo looking for a fun evening, Dirty Laundry provides plenty to talk about. Enter the “laundromat” and café, then head to the old pay phone with the “Talk Dirty to Me” sign just above it. In no time at all, you’ll enter a speakeasy with Havana-themed cocktails, tasty Cuban fare and live music and DJs. There’s a great outdoor patio, too. The laundromat/café is open every day; the speakeasy is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The Library, St. Pete
In love with a booklover? At The Library, you’ve found a can’t-miss dining experience to share with your special someone. Whether inside in the “library,” where comfy chairs and full bookshelves provide a one-of-a-kind ambiance, or outside in the fresh air, the setting is perfect for date night or “date day” (weekend brunch here is legendary). For brunch, don’t miss the French toast with warm Nutella, fresh berries and clotted cream, or the Benedict with rosemary glazed ham, tomato, biscuit, poached egg and citrus shallot cream. At dinner, the filet mignon or crispy snapper with lemongrass dashi are both standouts. The menu is labeled for diners who are vegan, vegetarian or GF. Reservations are a good idea.
Teak, St. Pete
One of the city's newer restaurants, Teak can certainly lay claim to the most impressive views in downtown St. Pete. Featuring a menu of familiar dishes with unique twists, such as a Scottish salmon in peanut cream sauce or the Corkscrew – Florida bay scallops with jalapeño-spiced mac and cheese (with baked gouda cream, herbs and breadcrumbs) – Teak serves up savory meals and views of the downtown skyline from the top of the St. Pete Pier, ideal for a truly memorable date.
Sea Worthy Fish + Bar, Tierra Verde
Slightly off the beaten path in peaceful Tierra Verde lies one of the area’s best new restaurants. At Sea Worthy, chefs Hope Montgomery and Jason Ruhe (of St. Pete’s acclaimed Brick & Mortar) have created a nautical-casual place where the cuisine is unforgettable. Order the squid ink-infused bucatini and lobster served in a turmeric cream sauce, or the daily whole fish special (the crispy fried whole fish with coconut rice is a favorite). If you’ve saved room, share dessert with your sweetie – the glazed doughnut bread pudding is divine. Try to time your visit during sunset, and dine on the outdoor deck with a view of the water.
The Dewey Beach Restaurant, Pass-a-Grille Beach
On a romantic brick street in Pass-a-Grille Beach, The Dewey features sidewalk and interior dining, but the romance starts with a sunset view on The Rooftop. The fried Brussels sprouts with apples and shaved parmesan in a brown butter sherry vinaigrette are mouthwatering, and the rest of the menu only gets better. Savor the short rib burger on a brioche bun or the cornmeal crusted soft shell crab. Pass-a-Grille is a perfect location for a weekend retreat. The Dewey is part of the Berkeley Beach Club, which was designed by architect Stephen Smith, blending a romantic seaside location with New Orleans flair.
Pia's Trattoria, Gulfport
Gulfport is a relaxed little town that invites a romantic outing any day of the week. At Pia's Trattoria, a little wine, fresh pasta and authentic Italian music paired with the most adorable outdoor patio under twinkling lights will make your sugarplum feel like you’re dining in the Tuscan countryside. Pia's menu items are affordably priced, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are on the menu. Dinner is served daily, and lunch is available Friday through Sunday.