When it comes to romance, restaurants are essential, doing what they do best by providing a meal in the setting that you and your sweetheart would remember fondly.
Ranging from intimate, low-key evenings to once-in-a-lifetime occasions, the Phoenix restaurants on this list create an ideal romantic setting, whether it be for a first date, Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, or a place to ask for your love’s hand in marriage. Here are 11 Phoenix restaurants ripe for romance.
Star chef Stephen Jones’s farm-to-table “new Southern” cuisine focuses heavily on vegetables and seasonality. Jones injects history into his food and tells the story of the South through Arizona produce; since slaves had access to vegetables rather than meats in the Old South, he focuses on different preparation of vegetables in dishes such as buffalo cauliflower and black eyed pea croquettes. There is still meat on the menu, like in a smoked chicken gumbo and a smothered pork chop.
Dining at the restaurant: Petite, hip, and happy define the vibe at the larder + the delta. Patio seating is available. Look for prix fixe menus on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.
Takeout: larder + delta offers pickup and delivery through third-party apps.
Winner of Devour Phoenix’s double-gold award, FLINT by Baltaire’s menu is created by chef Travis Strickland. Mid-century modern-inspired décor, an open kitchen, and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors define FLINT, located at the Biltmore. The menu changes seasonally and includes mezze, a variety of small plates, wood-grilled entrées, and wood-fired pizzas.
Dining at the restaurant: The rooftop cocktail lounge, Upstairs at FLINT, offers gorgeous views of the Camelback Mountain — it’s an excellent spot to cozy up with a date. Then, descend to the dining room for delicious and intriguing bites (smoked bone marrow, short rib hummus). FLINT is buzzing and books quickly, so be sure to make a reservation.
Takeout: Those who prefer to have a romantic evening at home can order online for pickup or through third-party apps for delivery.
Kai is Arizona’s only restaurant with a AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Five-star Award (for 12 years). Old-world décor gives way to dishes made with foraged or Indigenous-grown ingredients such as Pima blue corn- and sumac-crusted quail or grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo. The service here is like no other. Kai, which means “seed” in Pima, honors the culture and food of Pima and Maricopa.
Dining at the restaurant: Dress up and be ready to be cared for by Kai’s impeccable service while experiencing creative interpretations of Native American fare. Start with a drink by the bar’s fireplace and then take in the stunning view of the sunset from the Kai patio. Select from the a la carte or tasting menus.
Takeout: This restaurant does not offer delivery or takeout.
Voted one of the nation’s top 50 restaurants by the New York Times, Tratto prepares richly flavored Italian dishes. It’s the brainchild of James Beard Award winner Chris Bianco, who uses local and regional ingredients (Arizona wheat for pasta and bread) in dishes such as ricotta ravioli with first-of-season fava beans and lemon or smoked and braised pork shank with breadcrumbs Milanese.
Dining at the restaurant: The rustic-chic setting comes together with white brick walls that are decked with gilded mirrors and candelabra sconces, while high ceilings and two walls of windows make the room feel airy. Seating is available inside and out and the tables are socially distanced.
Takeout: If you prefer to feed each other in the privacy of your own home, call the restaurant for takeout.
One cannot walk into Café Monarch and not gasp. White Louis XVI chairs, gilt mirrors, candelabras, and glittering chandeliers set the scene. This family-owned restaurant has wowed the locals and visitors as the most romantic restaurant in Phoenix for many years. Chef Gus Lewkowicz provides four- and eight-course American menus with add-on options — with dishes such as Chilean sea bass with a bacon crust and truffles, maple-glazed pork belly with honey nut squash, and chesnut date soup with duck confit — while diners are in good hands with the attentive staff. Be sure to get some wine — master sommeliers assist with pairings.
Dining at the restaurant: Wherever you sit (inside or out) is the most romantic spot. The restaurant’s regal elegance makes it a perfect spot for a proposal. No matter what stage of a relationship you are in, this is a setting and dinner you will remember for years to come.
Take out: Takeout is not available.
Elements, located at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort in Paradise Valley, brings forth the culinary prowess of twice-James-Beard-nominated chef de cuisine Samantha Sanz. American and Asian cuisines come together here in dishes such as barbecue eggplant, kimchi bacon and Brussels sprouts, and shishito peppers with soy caramel. Contemporary decor with Asian accents and earthy tones impart a calm feeling and allow the attention to fall on the company and food.
Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant often designs tasting menus for holidays (New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day). Aside from the creative menu, Elements has standout service, which is especially noticeable on busy nights. Those closer to the window might even catch a glimpse of the Mummy or Camelback Mountain. What better spot to pop the question than in the majestic view of the mountain?
Takeout: Elements does not offer takeout.
Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day menu. Book the Experience here.
Located inside the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the recently renovated Renata’s Hearth is art deco and luxurious with a cozy touch. The name pays homage to a woman who discovered the power of Arizona chiltepin peppers. Smoke is another essential ingredient, appearing in both food and drinks such as charred and smoked steelhead trout with jicama and herb salad or roasted Chilean seabass with mole verde.
Dining at the restaurant: Renata’s is a festival of senses. Photos of women representing Renata adorn two walls. The smell of smoke rises as the glass cloches are lifted. Snuggle with your special someone by the hearth on the patio for a sweet conversation. Inside, chunky chairs and sofas with blankets and throw pillows, invite you to relax. Let Chef Victor Davila dazzle you with a feast of foods from Central and South America. The restaurant offers prix fixe menus for special occasions.
Takeout: Takeout is not available.
Highly acclaimed, The Mission is located next to the iconic Old Adobe Mission Church, one of the oldest buildings in Scottsdale. Interspersed among the modern and chic decor are homages to the church with candles and crosses. The menu, created by chef and owner Matt Carter, consists of elevated Latin dishes such as duck carnitas empanadas, mahi mahi house-made tacos, and marinated free-range chicken with Oaxacan cheesy rice. Attentive staff members guide diners through any dietary restrictions.
Dining at the restaurant: Make a reservation as the restaurant often gets booked. Whether you sit on the patio or inside, Mission’s energy wraps you and your date in a cocoon so you could focus on each other. The chef creates features for special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, announced on the website.
Takeout: A limited menu is available for takeout. Call to place an order.
Owned by husband-and-wife team Robert and Robin Trick, this charming Tempe restaurant is a renovated 1920s bungalow serving eclectic global fare. Patio tables with white tablecloths, candles, and flowers sit amid trees, annuals, and perennials. String lights hang above. The menu similarly delights as it changes through the seasons, with dishes ranging from Caesar salad with garlicky dressing and smoked Korean-style baby back ribs to maple-peach glazed duck breast and seafood cioppino.
Dining at the restaurant: House of Tricks is known for its patio. With a fire pit, heaters and blankets, you can enjoy the patio year-round. The indoor space is also intimate.
Takeout: Order through the website for pickup and have a candlelit dinner at home with rich, delicious food.
Chef Cat Bunnag opened Glai Baan with co-owner Dan Robinson in Midtown to bring flavors of her homeland, Thailand, to Phoenix. The duo converted an old house into an inviting medley of lights, color, and wood. Glai Baan translates to “far from home,” and yet, it magically makes you feel at home. String lights hanging inside and out impart a warm hue. The patio, a city favorite, is green with trees, plants, and vines wrapped around a wrought iron door. The majority of the dishes — such as salted crab papaya salad, mackerel fried rice, and braised beef Panang curry — are from the northeast Isan region of Thailand.
Dining at the restaurant: The lovely patio is quiet, a terrific place for a first date (when you are learning about each other), an anniversary (as you reminisce about your favorite moments), or to pop the question without feeling a lot of stress. Call to reserve.
Takeout: Glai Baan offers delivery through third-party apps.
Owned by husband-and-wife team Matt Cooley and Olivia Laux, Cloth & Flame is a one-of-a-kind experience. The duo creates four-course community dinners in unusual locations, such as the Sonoran Desert, Roosevelt Row Art District, or Superstition Mountain to name a few. The cuisine varies based on the chefs invited to prepare the dinner. Cooley and Laux hope that people set aside ideological differences and connect to each other and the land through a meal. The majesty of the setting alone makes these dinners perfect for a date, anniversary, and of course, a proposal.
Dining at the restaurant: Due to the changing nature of Covid, Cloth & Flame has separated tables for the community events. However, parties who know each other can request to be seated together.
Takeout: Takeout is not available.