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Sam Angel/Eater Nashville

21 Excellent Date Night Restaurants in Nashville

New ideas for a romantic evening out on the town

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Pastaria.
| Sam Angel/Eater Nashville

Finding a perfect match might not be the easiest thing to do in Nashville, but at least the city is packed with plenty of restaurants that can serve as a solid setting for anything from a one-drink-test-date to the perfect proposal.

There’s certainly no shortage of fun date night options in Nashville. From a night spent honky-tonkin’ on Lower Broadway to an elegant evening at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, this city certainly shines with live music options every night of the week. Beyond the activity side of things, bookmark this list for the next time a date night dinner destination needs to be decided. Whether it’s feeling out a first date or reconnecting long-time lovebirds, these spots are for all types of couples.

As always, let us know if we forgot to swipe right on one of your date night destinations in the comments.

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Once Upon A Time In France

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Father and son Laurent Champonnois and Melvil Arnt opened the no-reservations-accepted chic 1920s-inspired French bistro on Gallatin Avenue back in late 2019, and the 45-seat restaurant was a fast favorite for date nights among Nashville locals. Whether the night calls for escargot, foie gras, or beef bourguignon, Once Upon a Time in France serves up romantic vibes and a wallet-friendly wine list as an added bonus.

The Optimist

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Make a reservation or belly up to the bar at the dimly lit luxe seafood spot in Germantown to share a seafood-heavy meal of everything from lobster rolls to red grouper en papillote and whole roasted flounder with pecan meuniere. For those who desire more, step outside to Jacqueline, the expansive patio bar that transports guests beachside with shaved ice cocktails, lawn games, and an unforgettable frozen hurricane.

The Optimist [Official Photo]

5th & Taylor

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Chattanooga-based, James Beard Award-nominated chef Daniel Lindley became known in Nashville with this Germantown warehouse-turned-restaurant. While the space is massive with very high ceilings, warm lighting and romantic vibes make it a great date night destination. Current menu highlights include the bacon-wrapped quail, chicken liver mousse, and sausage-cheddar biscuits to start, and standout mains like beef cheek pot roast and beer can chicken.

5th & Taylor 5th & Taylor/Official

Margot Cafe & Bar

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Make it a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner date at chef Margot McCormack’s East Nashville institution. Open since 2001, look for an ever-changing menu touched by rustic French and Italian influences — with everything from chicken liver bruschetta to Bear Creek Farms ribeye, fried soft shell crab, or vegetarian-friendly dishes featuring Mr. Aaron’s pasta.

Tempered Café & Chocolate

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If a daytime date is the plan, Germantown’s Tempered makes their own truffles (and drinking chocolate) and pairs them with wine or whiskey. At night on Thursday through Saturday, the space transforms into an absinthe bar — the Green Hour, another good choice for cocktails and conversation (and of course, more chocolate).

Skull's Rainbow Room

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Located in Printer’s Alley with live music most nights, locals count on this old-school venue for an unpretentious scene filled with solid tunes and stiff drinks, like their eponymous cocktail “the Skull #4” made with Appleton Estate signature rum, coconut, cardamom, and lime. To eat — musts include the lobster bisque, cheese plate, duck empanadas, and the grilled 14-ounce pork chop with rosemary, bacon, and garlic honey glaze.

The River House

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New to the downtown dining scene from the owners of Nashville staple BrickTop’s, the expansive River House sets an excellent scene for a date with soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and white linen-clad tables topped with luxurious seafood towers, clams casino, Parmesan souffle, and chicken piccata for sharing. Note, there is a business casual dress code so dress accordingly.

The Continental Nashville

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Plan ahead by booking a reservation or walk in early to snag a seat at the bar, then impress your date at Sean Brock’s newest restaurant by ordering up California white sturgeon caviar-crowned oysters, Gruetli cheese fondue, or Hawaiian ahi tuna to share. Next, be sure and order whatever dining cart is on offer from Brock and CDC Colin Shane — be it pate en route or prime rib, to add to the full dining experience. And definitely save room for some of the best desserts in Nashville, stunning and delicious works of art from pastry co-directors Michael Werrell and Keaton Vasek.

Emily Dorio/The Continental Nashville

The Joseph Hotel opened in late August, and with it came James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano’s downstairs Italian stunner Yolan, complete with a cheese cave, the city’s most impressive wine list, and to-die-for fresh pasta aplenty. And don’t miss pastry chef Noelle Gogg’s stunning desserts. 

Haas & Haas Photography | Yolan

Marsh House

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Find seafood and Southern fare in stunning digs at Marsh House, on the bottom level of the Thompson Nashville Hotel. Seafood-heavy menu highlights include mussels and fries, roasted grouper, and garlic clove shrimp, alongside hearty bowls of gumbo, and, of course, oysters.

Midtown Cafe

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Charming long-time Music Row destination Midtown Cafe is a Nashville staple from Randy Rayburn. Open for over 30 years, the cozy little cafe known for its lemon artichoke soup transports diners back to the Nashville before the influx of bro-country and bachelorettes. Midtown Cafe offers a free shuttle service for travelers to downtown hotels, and for locals who need transportation to downtown performances after dinner (must reserve ahead of time).

lemon artichoke soup at midtown cafe in nashville Midtown Cafe Instagram

The 404 Kitchen

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Previously housed across the street in a small re-purposed storage container, executive chef Matt Bolus’ Gulch restaurant upgraded to a much larger space with an expanded menu a few years back, and the vibe and menu are vastly different. Scallop toast and pimento cheese are standout summertime starters — then move on to a green salad with burnt thyme vinaigrette, and/or a duo of notable pastas. Main highlights include the whole smoked fried chicken, steak set-up, or daily catch with étouffée sauce, crawfish, and Carolina gold rice. Post dinner, head downstairs to Gertie’s Bar to check out the city’s largest whiskey selection, and a seriously good old-fashioned.

The 404 Kitchen pork t-bone
Andrea Behrends

Pastaria

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For a casual but elegant date night flush with carbs, Pastaria serves up some seriously craveable Italian eats from its bright and airy outpost in the OneC1ty complex. Cozy up at the 16-seat bar or chef’s counter and watch as dishes like cacio e pepe, garganelli, and pistachio ravioli pile out fresh from Zane Dearien’s open kitchen.

Sam Angel/Eater Nashville

Otaku Ramen

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Ramen and hot chicken bao buns are a solid date night move in Nashville. Sarah Gavigan’s Gulch restaurant’s Tennessee tonkotsu is an iconic Nashville dish — prime for slurping side-by-side at the counter with your mate over a container of sake to share.

Otaku Ramen

Since taking the helm as chef de cuisine of the Kimpton Aertson Hotel and its brasserie and standout bar in 2021, Kristin Beringson has made the Southern-leaning seasonal menu her own, churning out stellar plates featuring ingredients from the Nashville region. Fast favorites include the country fried brie, beef and beet tartare, braised brisket reginetti, crispy pork belly with smoked peaches, and the scallops and grits with popcorn butter and XO sauce.

Sam Angel

Answer is exactly the comfortable neighborhood restaurant that could easily become a weekly date night destination. There’s a solid happy hour for those who don’t mind dining at the bar, but the small patio is also a nice spot to enjoy Chef Raucci’s eclectic menu of chile-glazed tofu, dry-aged beef albondigas, and more. A stroll around idyllic Sylvan Park, post-dinner makes a fine finish.

Barcelona Wine Bar Edgehill

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An interesting wine list and tapas food situation make Barcelona a fun choice for a night out in Nashville. The roomy, dimly lit restaurant is always rather lively, so perhaps make this a spot for weeknight dining.

Urban Grub

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Urban Grub, which opened in 2012 in a renovated car wash, remains a neighborhood favorite today. During dinner, a selection of oysters and charcuterie share the menu with Southern specialties and steaks. A seat on the patio beer garden is nice during warmer weather, while the dimly lit rustic interior also sets a romantic scene for date night.

Urban Grub

Always playing at the historic Melrose theatre-turned-restaurant on 8th: impressive food and fun cocktails in one of the most romantic settings in Nashville. Chef Kyle Patterson continues to shine since his promotion to executive chef in 2016. Must-tries? A captivating cheese and charcuterie board, the ricotta agnolotti with fried capers, and the scallops with spinach orzotto.

The Yellow Porch Restaurant

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At Yellow Porch, the service is friendly, drinks are strong, and the food is impressive — try the crab cake or the sorghum-infused duck breast. The namesake porch has long been a refreshing place to spend a date sipping cocktails.

Plaza Mariachi

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Dates don’t have to break the bank to be fun, and Nolensville Pike’s Plaza Mariachi helps prove that point. Affordable dinner options, shopping, plus free entertainment (everything from bands to fire dancing to aerial performances) every night of the week makes a date at Plaza Mariachi a unique, memorable occasion. A nice move is to grab a café Cubano from Madera Cafe, then stroll around the plaza with elotes or sit down for juicy steak from Tres Gauchos.

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Once Upon A Time In France

Father and son Laurent Champonnois and Melvil Arnt opened the no-reservations-accepted chic 1920s-inspired French bistro on Gallatin Avenue back in late 2019, and the 45-seat restaurant was a fast favorite for date nights among Nashville locals. Whether the night calls for escargot, foie gras, or beef bourguignon, Once Upon a Time in France serves up romantic vibes and a wallet-friendly wine list as an added bonus.

The Optimist

Make a reservation or belly up to the bar at the dimly lit luxe seafood spot in Germantown to share a seafood-heavy meal of everything from lobster rolls to red grouper en papillote and whole roasted flounder with pecan meuniere. For those who desire more, step outside to Jacqueline, the expansive patio bar that transports guests beachside with shaved ice cocktails, lawn games, and an unforgettable frozen hurricane.

The Optimist [Official Photo]

5th & Taylor

Chattanooga-based, James Beard Award-nominated chef Daniel Lindley became known in Nashville with this Germantown warehouse-turned-restaurant. While the space is massive with very high ceilings, warm lighting and romantic vibes make it a great date night destination. Current menu highlights include the bacon-wrapped quail, chicken liver mousse, and sausage-cheddar biscuits to start, and standout mains like beef cheek pot roast and beer can chicken.

5th & Taylor 5th & Taylor/Official

Margot Cafe & Bar

Make it a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner date at chef Margot McCormack’s East Nashville institution. Open since 2001, look for an ever-changing menu touched by rustic French and Italian influences — with everything from chicken liver bruschetta to Bear Creek Farms ribeye, fried soft shell crab, or vegetarian-friendly dishes featuring Mr. Aaron’s pasta.

Tempered Café & Chocolate

If a daytime date is the plan, Germantown’s Tempered makes their own truffles (and drinking chocolate) and pairs them with wine or whiskey. At night on Thursday through Saturday, the space transforms into an absinthe bar — the Green Hour, another good choice for cocktails and conversation (and of course, more chocolate).

Skull's Rainbow Room

Located in Printer’s Alley with live music most nights, locals count on this old-school venue for an unpretentious scene filled with solid tunes and stiff drinks, like their eponymous cocktail “the Skull #4” made with Appleton Estate signature rum, coconut, cardamom, and lime. To eat — musts include the lobster bisque, cheese plate, duck empanadas, and the grilled 14-ounce pork chop with rosemary, bacon, and garlic honey glaze.

The River House

New to the downtown dining scene from the owners of Nashville staple BrickTop’s, the expansive River House sets an excellent scene for a date with soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and white linen-clad tables topped with luxurious seafood towers, clams casino, Parmesan souffle, and chicken piccata for sharing. Note, there is a business casual dress code so dress accordingly.

The Continental Nashville

Plan ahead by booking a reservation or walk in early to snag a seat at the bar, then impress your date at Sean Brock’s newest restaurant by ordering up California white sturgeon caviar-crowned oysters, Gruetli cheese fondue, or Hawaiian ahi tuna to share. Next, be sure and order whatever dining cart is on offer from Brock and CDC Colin Shane — be it pate en route or prime rib, to add to the full dining experience. And definitely save room for some of the best desserts in Nashville, stunning and delicious works of art from pastry co-directors Michael Werrell and Keaton Vasek.

Emily Dorio/The Continental Nashville

Yolan

The Joseph Hotel opened in late August, and with it came James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano’s downstairs Italian stunner Yolan, complete with a cheese cave, the city’s most impressive wine list, and to-die-for fresh pasta aplenty. And don’t miss pastry chef Noelle Gogg’s stunning desserts. 

Haas & Haas Photography | Yolan

Marsh House

Find seafood and Southern fare in stunning digs at Marsh House, on the bottom level of the Thompson Nashville Hotel. Seafood-heavy menu highlights include mussels and fries, roasted grouper, and garlic clove shrimp, alongside hearty bowls of gumbo, and, of course, oysters.

Midtown Cafe

Charming long-time Music Row destination Midtown Cafe is a Nashville staple from Randy Rayburn. Open for over 30 years, the cozy little cafe known for its lemon artichoke soup transports diners back to the Nashville before the influx of bro-country and bachelorettes. Midtown Cafe offers a free shuttle service for travelers to downtown hotels, and for locals who need transportation to downtown performances after dinner (must reserve ahead of time).

lemon artichoke soup at midtown cafe in nashville Midtown Cafe Instagram

The 404 Kitchen

Previously housed across the street in a small re-purposed storage container, executive chef Matt Bolus’ Gulch restaurant upgraded to a much larger space with an expanded menu a few years back, and the vibe and menu are vastly different. Scallop toast and pimento cheese are standout summertime starters — then move on to a green salad with burnt thyme vinaigrette, and/or a duo of notable pastas. Main highlights include the whole smoked fried chicken, steak set-up, or daily catch with étouffée sauce, crawfish, and Carolina gold rice. Post dinner, head downstairs to Gertie’s Bar to check out the city’s largest whiskey selection, and a seriously good old-fashioned.

The 404 Kitchen pork t-bone
Andrea Behrends

Pastaria

For a casual but elegant date night flush with carbs, Pastaria serves up some seriously craveable Italian eats from its bright and airy outpost in the OneC1ty complex. Cozy up at the 16-seat bar or chef’s counter and watch as dishes like cacio e pepe, garganelli, and pistachio ravioli pile out fresh from Zane Dearien’s open kitchen.

Sam Angel/Eater Nashville

Otaku Ramen

Ramen and hot chicken bao buns are a solid date night move in Nashville. Sarah Gavigan’s Gulch restaurant’s Tennessee tonkotsu is an iconic Nashville dish — prime for slurping side-by-side at the counter with your mate over a container of sake to share.

Otaku Ramen

Henley

Since taking the helm as chef de cuisine of the Kimpton Aertson Hotel and its brasserie and standout bar in 2021, Kristin Beringson has made the Southern-leaning seasonal menu her own, churning out stellar plates featuring ingredients from the Nashville region. Fast favorites include the country fried brie, beef and beet tartare, braised brisket reginetti, crispy pork belly with smoked peaches, and the scallops and grits with popcorn butter and XO sauce.