Date and dine: Austin eateries that whip up the perfect evening

Hillside Farmacy is one of Austin's many spot that serve dishes sure to spice up your date. 

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez


With Valentines Day comingup, couples all over are looking for the perfect spot to spend their night.

Austin has too many good places to choose from, so I have the perfect guide for picking the best place, depending on how you see this Valentine’s Day (or any date night after) going.


If you’re looking for a place with romantic lighting and a more intimate feel, there are a number of places to choose from. Hillside Farmacy on the east side is in an old pharmacy with an array of classic items on their menu and fantastic nightly fish specials.

Winflo on West Sixth has a similar atmosphere but with a bit more bustling feel and a great outdoor patio that’s perfect no matter the weather condition.

First Dates

For some, Valentine’s Day is also their first date. The best places for these instances are ones with an exciting and fun atmosphere. Searsucker on Colorado and Fifth has rustic décor with vintage marquee signs on the walls. The place is huge with a more casual feel in the front and a more formal ambience in the back. I recommend starting at the bar with some of their specialty cocktails and a few of their best appetizers. When you’re ready to sit down for a meal, depending on how the night is going, you all can sit at a table near the bar for a more relaxed setting or you can take it to a table near the back for a more intimate evening.

Perla’s on South Congress is another great choice and, with its amazing seafood, offers something different from the typical American-style dinner. The food is a bit pricier, but this spot is a very fun place to go and is accompanied with a nice patio out front.

Bufalina is another option, and one of the best pizza places in Austin. With a fancier scene than most pizzerias, but still with the casual feel, this has great first-date vibes. This eatery has long shared tables, so some couples may be on the other end celebrating an anniversary.


Anniversaries should be special and therefore should be celebrated at a special restaurant. Some nice, but relatively pricey, places to go to include Olive and June, LaV and Jeffery’s. All are intimate restaurants with fantastic food.

Changes of Pace

If you’re looking to try something new and different, Clarke’s Oyster Bar is perfect for that. On West Sixth, and with a small, East Coast feeling, this place has some of the best seafood and drinks. If you want to spice things up, there are plenty of places perfect for just that. Clay Pit is a casual Indian food place and Elizabeth St. is a cozy French and Vietnamese place. Ranch 616 has great drinks, including the Ranch Water, a margarita-style cocktail, and offers blankets to wrap around you and your date if you decide to sit outside. Odd Duck on Lamar is small dish style, perfect for sharing a number of different dishes that they offer.


If looking for something casual and/or cheap, I recommend Foreign and Domestic, Frescas or Licha’s Cantina. All are fantastic places to eat, and different in their own ways. Fresca’s actually has a pick up window, and would be a great place to grab food and take home for a casual night in.

No matter what you choose to do on your date, any of these places I’ve listed above will make it a night to remember.