Celebrate Good Times: 11 Top Special Occasion Restaurants

Memories are often made around the dinner table. The act of sharing a meal with family or that special someone can be remembered for the rest of your life, especially if it’s a good one. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, graduation, anniversary, or popping the question, these 11 special occasion restaurants are the place to do it.

Charlie Palmer Steak, Reno, Nevada
A combination of surf and turf, the menu has something for literally everyone. If it’s a special occasion, let the restaurant know and they’ll arrange champagne on arrival. If you’d prefer a private dining room or chef’s table, they’ve got that, too. Make a reservation at Charlie Palmer Steak.

special occasion restaurants

360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
Located 1,000 feet above Toronto, this revolving restaurant has panoramic views of the city and the lake. It’s the ultimate romantic setting to pop the question and enjoy a bottle from the world’s highest wine cellar. Alert the staff to your plans and they’ll prepare a special table and dessert on request to finish off a memorable evening. Make a reservation at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower.

special occasion restaurants

Jaleo-The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Inside the Cosmopolitan resort is celebrity chef José Andrés’s Spanish eatery. Tapas is the perfect food to share with family, and paella from the largest indoor paella pit in the country is a must. “I believe our group dining experiences bond people together, sometimes leaving guests feeling more connected than they were before they were seated,” said J.R. Hinson, event sales manager. Make a reservation at Jaleo-The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

special occasion restaurants

Smith & Wollensky, New York, New York
This year marks the restaurant’s 40th anniversary, so you know they’re doing something right. Celebrate your next anniversary at this quintessential steakhouse with a dry-aged sirloin and some fresh oysters for two. Request a table overlooking the kitchen or a custom dessert for that extra special touch. Make a reservation at Smith & Wollensky.

special occasion restaurants

Campton Place, San Francisco, California
This Michelin-star restaurant specializes in Cal-Indian cuisine. It blends locally grown California ingredients with Indian flavors for a uniquely delicious experience. Plus, this team also knows how to pull off a surprise. “We have had many proposals take place here. The artistic presentation of our food allows lots of creative ways to present these, and we’ve done everything from hiding a ring amongst a floral dessert, to revealing it behind dry ice,” said executive chef, Sri Gopinathan. Make a reservation at Campton Place.

special occasion restaurants

Italienne, New York, New York
This cozy Flatiron restaurant serves northern Italian and southern French food perfect to share with friends or a table of two. For special moments, they offer private dining and secluded booths. “We’ve had a couple proposals here so far; the best was when we delivered the ring in a dessert as a surprise and the whole dining room clapped when it happened. We did a sparkling toast as well,” said general manager and proprietor James King. Make a reservation at Italienne.

special occasion restaurants

Zentan, Washington D.C.
Inside the Kimpton Donovan Hotel, is a hidden gem of an izakaya Start your special night off right with a flight of sake and be sure to book a Kuidaore, a relaxed Osaka tasting menu. You can also order any number of Japanese items including a sushi boat full of fresh sashimi and rolls. Alert the restaurant to a special occasion and enjoy a complimentary Champagne or sparkling sake toast. Make a reservation at Zentan.

special occasion restaurants

Formento’s, Chicago, Illinois
This West Loop restaurant is a classic red-sauce Italian joint with a twist. Their large banquettes mean there’s enough room for the whole family to join. “We host a lot of birthdays, anniversaries, and business celebrations. We have also helped in a myriad of surprise proposals, too. We always offer them a special corner table by the window that has the perfect balance of being cozy and private but enough space to propose,” said general manager Henry Mizhquiri. Make a reservation at Formento’s.

special occasion restaurants

The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island
Inside the historic Agassiz Mansion, this elegant restaurant has been the home to hundreds of memorable moments over the past century. You can choose between a three-, four-, or six-course tasting menu and a wine pairing. Castle Hill Inn has been awarded the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator for ten years running, so trust us, you’ll want to go with the wine pairing. Make a reservation at The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn.

special occasion restaurants

Cleo, Los Angeles, California
A Mediterranean feast for the entire family. Cleo centers around specialty shared plates including baba ganoush and spanakopita. The elegant dining room includes eclectic and colorful decor with room for 200. They also offer a special menu for bachelor/bachelorette parties, Thanksgiving, and even Friendsgiving. Make a reservation at Cleo.

special occasion restaurants

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Denver, Colorado
Known throughout the country for their 45-day, dry-aged ribeye, this elevated steakhouse is the ideal special occasion spot. With countless proposals and special birthday desserts, they know how to impress. “One thing that our service team does do for special occasion reservations is to write a handwritten thank-you note to the guests following their visit, thanking them for choosing to spend their special evening at Del Frisco’s,” said Washington D.C. general manager Kyle Gaffney. Make a reservation at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse.

special occasion restaurants

What are your picks for top special occasion restaurants? Let us know here or over on FacebookG+InstagramPinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.

Katie Lockhart is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer. When she’s not writing, she’s eating her way around the world and posting it all on her Instagram @findyourhappyplate and blog findyourhappyplate.co.

Photo credits: Jill Paider (Jaleo); Joan Michel (Italienne).