I am often asked for advice on romantic restaurants in Atlanta. While I can think of a number of places, and ways to be romantic on any budget, here are my top choices for a nice (and possibly splurge worthy) night out.
Canoe- Located in Vinings is a great choice for brunch or for dinner. If the weather is nice, ask for a patio seat. You can sit right on the Chattahoochee River and enjoy a candlelight dinner. If they still have the selection of three styles of creme brulee, it's well worth the calories. At brunch, you cannot go wrong with the cinnamon rolls!
Restaurant Eugene- Linton Hopkins, as in winner of the James Beard Award for Best Southern Chef, does southern food in gourmet style. The feature 5 and 7 course tasting menus, as well as a la carte ordering. The pork belly, snapper and trout are among my favorite dishes. They are also known for the amazing cocktails. This place is smaller and romantically quiet.
Floataway Cafe- Is actually owned by the same folks who own Bacchanalia but allows a little more room in your wallet. It leans toward Italian, Mediterranean and French style preparations and flavors. It is smaller, well designed and quiet. This is great for a celebration or a first date. Sit outside on the patio for an upscale casual meal.
Kevin Rathbun Steak- I think this place has better steaks than any I have eaten in Chicago, NYC, Atlanta or SF. The fillet or NY strip with black truffle butter can't be beat. They have a wine list to match the quality f the aged meat. It is dark and candle-lit and therefore romantic. Also can be a little noisy. You can ask for a corner table or booth here that I think helps with the sound.
Rathbun's located in Inman Park is a staple now for great food, good atmosphere. It can be on the loud side since it is located in a converted warehouse, you can ask for a great booth that lines the wall and muffles the sound. The food here is ever changing and eclectic. Even after several years, it still tends to book up on the weekends, so always get a reservation, or plan to wait it out at the Krog Bar outside.
Aria located in Buckhead is an Atlanta standard. This place has great food. Chef Kalaskla is famous in Atlanta for doing food well and not being gimmicky. He is an adventurous chef with a good sense of what Atlantans want to eat.
Horseradish Grill in Buckhead is an easy way to have a nice dinner without the pretence of many Buckhead or Midtown restaurants. If you go ask for a window seat, or sit on the patio if the weather is nice! They have great southern food, large portions. It can be dressy or casual. If you go here, save room for the Kentucky Derby Pie for dessert. This is also a great place for groups.
Atmosphere-While unassuming on the outside, this tiny house delivers a great atmosphere and traditional French cuisine. The often offer live music and feature wine tastings on Wednesday nights. Recently they are offering a $25 3 course meal on Tues-Thurs. nights.
Baccanailia-This is the powerhouse of Atlanta dining. I think many people who have never been are intimidated by this restaurant's image and assume that either it is too expensive, or too snooty to be worth your time. I feel they earn their name for the quality of the food, the presentation, and the attention to detail. You will see couples out for an anniversary date and folks in nicer jeans who wanted a nice meal out on the town. The menu changes constantly. I recommend trying the wine parings with the 5 course meal for the whole experience. If you want to get your feet wet, you can order a la carte at the bar! This place is anything but stuffy and well worth the price you pay for your meal.
Violette is not a newcomer to Atlanta, but recently came on my radar. It is located just off I-85 at the Clairmont exit. It sits in an unassuming building near the street, but once inside you are welcomed into a cozy space filled with the smells of great French food. The waiters are of true French quality and the food is a great way to bring back memories of trips to France!