The firepit on the beautiful Merchant & Trade Rooftop in Charlotte, North Carolina

Although Valentine’s Day is coming up, you don’t need a special holiday to have a special date night out. Charlotte and the surrounding areas of the city are home to some amazing spots to dine. Food is my passion, and I seek out fun, cool places to try. So, I decided to do some digging and put together a list of 15 best date night restaurants in and around the Charlotte North Carolina area. Now, these are by no means a complete list of everything you might love about dining out in Charlotte. I could make that list for days! But, this is a quick reference of tried and tested spots I think you will enjoy. I combed through suggestions from Yelp that immediately popped up with great reviews. And, I pulled spots from that list that I have personally tried and loved. Plus, I added a couple my 21 year old son and his friends give the stamp of approval. I tried to make sure there was variety. And, by variety, I mean both in cuisine and atmosphere. Some on the list are typical upscale fancy date night restaurants. And, others are more casual with an upbeat social vibe. After all, date nights don’t have to be super expensive. Sometimes, it’s more about feeling comfortable and getting to know each other. So, whatever you choose, I hope this list of 15 best date night restaurants in and around Charlotte, North Carolina helps guide you.  These are in no particular order.

  • Capital Grille

    I start with The Capital Grille on N. Tryon St. because we just celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary with a special date night. There are many high end steak restaurants around Charlotte. But, this one keeps us coming back. The atmosphere is elegant and refined, yet friendly and approachable. The decor is warm and cozy. And, the staff delivers on service from the minute you walk in the door. They add special touches to help make any celebration unique. They gave us a special celebratory card and yummy dessert. The Capital Grille has great cocktails and wine. And, we had a delicious appetizer of thick cut bacon in a Korean sweet and tangy glaze. My chef’s suggestion sliced filet with Cippolini onions and fig reduction was outstanding. And, in steakhouse fashion, the shareable sides are amazing. Try the lobster mac and cheese for sure.

    What Yelpers say:  This is an upscale place to go where the ambiance, food and service do meet the hype.

  • Steak 48

    This upscale steakhouse chain is a bit newer to the Charlotte scene.  However, in a short time Steak 48 has gotten a lot of attention. Once again, service was first and foremost from the minute we arrived.  Steaks were great!  And, in keeping with most steakhouses of its kind, the sides are big enough for the table.  I remember some pretty amazing cocktails, too.  And, everyone raves about the seafood tower.  I recommend the Deviled Eggs Topped with Crispy Shrimp as an appetizer! Find Steak 48 on Sharon Road near South Park Mall.

    What Yelpers say:  10 out of 10!  I always recommend!  The service here is always top notch and the good is consistently good.

  • Merchant & Trade

    We visited Merchant & Trade on Church St. in Charlotte for the first time recently.  This spot is a fun 21 and over rooftop bar and restaurant with beautiful views of the city.  They serve modern American food and drinks with four distinct “zones” to enjoy.  There’s the indoor bar, outdoor terrace, private terrace and lawn.  It’s a great place for a group or a special night out for two.  And, of course the photos will be stunning and Instagram worthy!  And, if it’s chilly you can snuggle under a blanket by the firepit!

    What Yelpers say:  Merchant & Trade was giving vibes on vibes.  This is the place to be!

  • Church & Union

    We recently had a fabulous brunch for New Year’s at Church & Union.  And, if the name is familiar, it is the same restaurant you may have visited in Charleston.  It opened last year as a rebranding of 5 Church in Charlotte at the corner of 5th and Church Streets.  The place has an upbeat vibe that’s perfect for an ice-breaker date situation.  And, it works for a special date for the already established couple too!  The cocktails are inventive and delicious.  The food goes from amazing pancakes for brunch to yummy sandwiches and burgers for lunch.  And, at dinner you have a wide selection of steaks and seafood and modern appeal sides and desserts. It’s a must try!

    What Yelpers say:  The ambience is warm and cozy, and the service is excellent.

  • STIR Charlotte

    We also visited Stir Charlotte for brunch.  However, I can see this place would be great for a date night.  The cocktails are plentiful and tasty, with “artisanal ice.”  The menu is fresh and scratch-made.  STIR features an extensive oyster and raw bar and plenty of seafood.  For the meat eaters, choose from Steakhouse burgers, steak bowls and chicken dishes.  And, the cast iron desserts are a must try.  The atmosphere is fun and upbeat and perfect for socializing.

    What Yelpers say:  The drinks were creative and tasted great.  Worth it!

  • The Melting Pot

    I am a huge fan of fondue.  I love to have a fun experience in addition to great food when I go out.  The Melting Pot chain has been around forever.  And, in fact, I even had fondue following my wedding 29 years ago.  We didn’t really have time to eat at the wedding, so we were starved.  And, there just so happened to be a fondue restaurant near our hotel.  So, it’s a fun date night or wedding night spot I suppose.  Anyway, The Melting Pot on S. Kings Dr. offers several courses of delicious cook your own food options including scrumptious desserts.  I think the interactive meal is a good way for couples to share an experience, good food and great conversation.

    What Yelpers say:  The lighting and table was perfect for the whole dining experience and will definitely suggest this location.

  • Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

    Since we’re talking about interactive cook your own meal experiences, I have to mention Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ. I have not personally tried this one yet. However, my son and one of his best friends girl friends love this place. I think the best way to describe it is picture having a little grill built into your table. And, you choose from a variety of courses to prepare at your table. So, instead of the typical hibachi restaurant with a chef cooking your meal table side, you’re the chef. It looks and sounds amazing and fun! Plus, they have some special Valentine’s meals planned.  It’s downtown Charlotte, and they offer complimentary parking in front of the building or in the deck just behind.

    What Yelpers say:  This place was so delicious.  We came here after our engagement photoshoot.  Yummy!!  Can’t wait to go back.

  • Hawkers

    In keeping with the Asian vibe, I mention another pick from my son.  He loves Hawkers on Camden in the South End area of Charlotte.  It’s a popular Asian street food spot featuring Dim Sum, various Baos, Dumplings, rolls, skewers, meats and wings.  The place is always filled with customers and seems to have an upbeat and fun vibe.  From what I understand, planning ahead is a must to avoid a wait.  But, they do have an online waitlist you can join.

    What Yelpers say:  This place is THE BOMB.COM!!!  It’s tapas style so order several things and enjoy!  It’s rare when you thoroughly enjoy everything  you eat but WE SURE DID HERE!

  • RuRu's Tacos + Tequila

    Of course, I have to mention a fun spot for tacos and tequila.  And, that’s exactly what RuRu’s delivers.  After all, it’s in the name!  It’s on Providence Rd. near Meyers Park on the outskirts of Uptown.  And, even though they don’t take reservations, they have a large outdoor area with a great bar and super fun vibe.  We typically haven’t had issue grabbing a seat rather quickly.  It tends to be a gathering spot for pre-gaming on Charlotte Football Club days so keep that in mind.  But, the food is on point, and the drinks amazing.  I also love the clever names of the dishes based on movie quotes and titles.  I think it would be a great place for a date, and it’s not crazy expensive.  Plus, it’s casual and relaxed.  Give it a try!

    What Yelpers say:  RuRu’s is my favorite taco spot in Charlotte because of the variety of options.  I come here on self-dates and with others and everyone usually loves it!

  • RH Rooftop

    This place came onto the scene a few years ago in Phillips Place near South Park Mall in Charlotte. RH Rooftop is a unique and elegant space that sits atop the third floor of Restoration Hardware design studio. The atmosphere is elegant and special. The views are wonderful. It is definitely picturesque. And, it’s great for a date night or special occasion. One of the menu highlights is the lobster roll. It tends to be a little more expensive. But they do serve lunch as well. So, that’s also a good less expensive date option. And, they do take reservations, making it convenient for planning that special date.

    What Yelpers say:  A chandelier for every table and you sit on comfy couch style chairs.  Absolutely amazing service.

  • Dogwood A Southern Table

    Dogwood has been around for a while and most locals know all about it. I recently discovered this gem during the holidays. The food is fresh and locally sourced with an innovative take on each dish. I pick this South Park area spot as a good date night because of the delicious food and the chef’s experience option. This would take some planning and willingness to have a date night when the option is available, typically Mondays-Thursdays. But, it’s worth it. You can make a reservation, which is nice. And, diners get to see the food being prepared. Each dish is a delightful surprise, and for an additional charge you can add a cocktail pairing. Plus, it’s surprisingly affordable. And, it’s a lot of food. It’s one of our faves!

    What Yelpers say:  Always a good time here.  One of my fave places. Food 10+

  • Juniper Grill

    Juniper Grill in Ballantyne has quickly become one of our favorite spots.  The food is always amazing, and the service is tops.  It does fill up, so I suggest making reservation.  It’s convenient to I-485 and easy to get to.  It’s located in a shopping center, so parking is a breeze. The dishes are everything from American to Southern Californian inspired.  So, you find steaks, seafood, pork, fresh vegetable dishes and even enchiladas and smokehouse ribs!  And, we recently enjoyed a phenomenal dessert of sweet cornbread rounds used as a base for berries and vanilla bean ice cream. It’s another of our absolute favorite spots!

    What Yelpers say:  Not my first time here, and certainly not my last.  Everything I have tried here has been excellent.

  • 131 Main

    This spot has been a solid choice for years.  131 Main in the Blakeney Shopping Center is just good wide appeal food.  With multiple Charlotte area locations including South Park and Lake Norman, it’s sure to be convenient.  Diners love the variety of dishes from soups, entree salads, steaks, seafood, burgers and more.  Plus, the cast iron cornbread appetizer for the table is a must.  And, reservations are available, making it a great date night option.

    What Yelpers say:  Always a great time at 131 Main.  Great service and delicious food.

  • Webb Custom Kitchen

    My dear friend Catherine introduced me to this spot a few years ago.  Webb Custom Kitchen is such a unique place in Gastonia North Carolina.  It was formerly Webb Theatre, and it still has the bones and character of that original space.  It even has the movie screen with classic scenes playing out while you dine.  Webb was voted “Best Ambience” in Charlotte by Open Table.  And, I certainly see why.  Any date is off to a great start visiting this spot.  I definitely recommend the Angry Lobster, flash fried lobster tails with jalapeno honey mustard dipping sauce.  The 3×3 onion soup is amazing.  And, dishes offered are everything from steaks to seafood and everything in between.  Webb Custom Kitchen is a must!

    What Yelpers say:  I absolutely LOVE Webb’s.  From their food to their cocktails and overall atmosphere…it’s one of my favorite spots!! I highly recommend it!!

  • The Pump House

    For my final recommendation, we move to Rock Hill, South Carolina.  The Pump House is a unique spot that would impress any date.  It’s on Herron’s Ferry Rd. on the Catawba River.  Make a reservation and ask for the top where you have a spectacular view and atmosphere.  The service is outstanding.  The food is amazing.  They offer upscale dishes with everything from delicious soups and salads, to unbelievable steaks, seafood and more.  It is a bit more pricey, but definitely worth it.  We love this place, and I think you will, too!

    What Yelpers say:  We have had many great memories at The Pump House, but the food never fails to be amazing!

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