Restaurants / Lists

Houston’s 10 Most Romantic Restaurants

From Longtime Classics to Emerging Hotspots

BY // 07.26.19

When it comes to love, it can be ineffable, or expressed in any number of ways. Adages and expressions abound. People fall head over heels for each other every day. Love at first sight sends tremors through them. But there’s one phrase that truly captures the spirit of love, inelegant as it may sound:

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

We’d wager that’s true for women, as well. The principle, presented poorly, is that delicious dishes can inspire the utmost affection. Dining out is a pleasure in and of itself. But when you dine with the one you love the most, you’re sure to see the sparks fly.

Luckily, Houston has more than its share of dreamy restaurants to help cupid along. These are Houston’s 10 Most Romantic Restaurants.

The Dunlavy

3422 Allen Parkway

This literally sparkling gem of a restaurant is renowned for its beauty, from a dazzling array of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Buffalo Bayou Park to its gleaming chandeliers. The former private events venue will be completely transformed into a full-blown public restaurant byJanuary.

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If you don’t take our word for it, just ask any of the brides who’ve tied the knot in the glittering space — or CNN Travel. CNN dubbed the sophisticated Clark Cooper Concepts spot one of the most romantic restaurants in the entire world.

Da Marco Cucina E Vino

1520 Westheimer

Few things conjure up romance as much as the thought of classic Italy, from elegant ambience to sophisticated dishes straight from Tuscany. This date-night go-to is as close to the Italy as it gets in the Lone Star State.

Plush red and gold walls and accented curtains, white tablecloths, classic light fixtures and low lighting make for an intimate night out.

Brennan’s

3300 Smith Street

Brennan’s might be the perfect romantic destination for soul mates —but then again, bring anyone here and they might fall in love with you. The delightful Houston outpost of this New Orleans legends exudes old-school charm. And it should, since it dates back 43 years.

Every detail is impeccably thought out, from the initial greeting to the attentive service to the complimentary mouth-watering praline as you leave, wishing you could linger in the cozy dining room all night long.

Kitchen Table Brennan's
The Kitchen Table at Brennan’s is a special retreat.

Rainbow Lodge

2011 Ella Boulevard 

This upscale restaurant is tucked into a historic cabin. The charming dining room, with its rustic feel thanks to exposed wooden beams and many wood accents and deer antler chandelier, speaks to a certain type of romance.

If that doesn’t do the trick, take a stroll on the green grounds. Rainbow Lodge is your own private retreat, any time you want one. More than 75 marriage proposals are said to take place beneath the canopy of trees every year.

Brenner’s on the Bayou

1 Birdsall Street

If all you need is love, you can’t help but feel it at Brenner’s on the Bayou. The secret’s long been out, so it’s not so much of a hidden gem anymore, but it certainly is a worthy jewel.

The elegant steakhouse and bar wows in both of its dining rooms, spread across two stories overlooking lush foliage and a peaceful waterfall. It’s an escape from the everyday, one best enjoyed with your beloved.

Artisans Restaurant

3201 Louisiana Street

L’amour permeates Artisans restaurant in Midtown, a sultry haven for high-end French cuisine. The decor is stylish, a complementary contrast to the authentic French meals you’ll find.

It’s no wonder the Houston Ballet has chosen Artisans as the host of its Raising the Barre fundraiser yet again this year. Is the twinkling lights? The delicate fleur de lis on the walls? The plush banquettes, the glorious wraparound bar? Whatever it is, it’s sure to leave stars in your eyes.

Backstreet Cafe

1103 South Shepherd Drive

There’s nothing chef Hugo Ortega does better than whip up and dream up stunning dishes, but one thing comes close — creating an irresistible ambience. That’s definitely the case at Backstreet Cafe, one of Houston’s foodie mainstays.

Take a trip back through time in this converted home that dates back to the 1930s. Exceptional service makes any meal one to remember, especially if you dine out on the pristine patio.

Tony’s

3755 Richmond Avenue

This high-end restaurant has glam down to an art, from its cultivated Italian dishes to its walls lined with exceptional wine bottles, and its actual artwork. Tony’s has long been synonymous with “special occasion” in Houston — and it’s no mystery why. This is a Houston classic for a reason.

High ceilings, white tablecloths and rooms that are somehow spacious and intimate at the same time make Tony’s what it is. Throw in a flue of Champagne and call it the best date ever.

Tony Vallone at his namesake Houston restaurant. (Photo by Jay Tovar)

Américas River Oaks

2040 West Gray

Spend an evening dining at Américas, and your date is sure to be red-hot — as hot as the rich, deep red interior sprinkled with eye-catching abstract sculptures. Lounge against the leather seats in the low lighting, and your night is sure to take off.

The restaurant is expansive, but each dining area feels like a world of its own, especially in the high-backed seats. Enjoy your mini vacation from the real world, and take your loved one with you.

Emmaline

3210 West Dallas

This chic neighborhood restaurant is the destination for delighting in contemporary American and European food, plus expertly handcrafted cocktails. And you can’t go wrong, no matter where you choose to dine.

Imagine sitting in a banquette beneath an arrangement of gorgeous paintings, or in  a sprightly space with pops of colorful cushions and vibrant greenery adorning the walls. The second-story patio is all crisp white bricks and umbrellas, making for a romantic evening outdoors.

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