Treat your sweetheart (and yourself) to a night at one of these five romantic restaurants in the Charlotte area:
The Fig Tree
Table-top votives and deep-purple walls are just a few romantic touches adding to the warm atmosphere at the Fig Tree's Craftsman-style bungalow in historic Elizabeth. Husband-and-wife duo Chef Greg and Sara Zanitsch run the Charlotte mainstay using local ingredients whenever possible.
Share a few small treats to start—tender sliced octopus or escargots with cremini mushrooms in a Gorgonzola sauce are among the options. Entrées are not only distinctive, but portions are generous, so consider splitting a dish with your sweetheart. The popular elk chop, cooked to a chef-suggested medium rare, is served atop German spätzle and pickled cabbage. The restaurant's full menu will be available Valentine's Day, along with such special touches as oysters and chocolate; please specify when making a reservation whether you'd like further special accommodations, such as Champagne or flowers upon arrival or a certain dessert. To cap off this special occasion, we suggest sharing the signature beignets—they’re served with a refreshing coffee gelato. 1601 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC, 704.332.3322
A romantic sister restaurant to other local favorites Stagioni and Good Food on Montford, Barrington’s caters to the Southern seasons with flair from chef Bruce Moffett’s hometown of Barrington, Rhode Island.
This Charlotte mainstay, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2015, serves up seasonal, local dishes like a cornmeal-encrusted North Carolina flounder with local Anson Mills Creamy grits, pickled shrimp, chilled pea salad and a red pepper broth. Though the small, 45-seat restaurant is typically closed on Sundays, it will be open for a special, chef-inspired, five-course, prix-fixe menu on Valentine’s Day. The $75 meal begins with a Champagne toast to the special evening. Call for reservations. 7822 Fairview Road, Charlotte, NC, 704.364.5755
Bonterra Dining & Wine Room
Housed in a renovated, late-19th-century church in the popular Dilworth neighborhood, Bonterra offers a refined menu and a classic interior that make it a first pick for an intimate meal.
Start from the “sharing for the table” menu, which features innovative spreads and pâtés, olives and charcuterie. Bonterra’s signature dish is fried lobster tail, served with smashed fingerling potatoes, seasonal vegetables, sweet-and-sour aioli, and a wildflower honey-and-soy reduction. You can’t go wrong ordering it, though steaks, chops and more inventive additions to the menu, like North Carolina bison rib eye, are available. Don’t skip dessert. Dig into the Mandarin orange cheesecake, and perhaps end the evening with wines or port. 1829 Cleveland Ave., Charlotte, NC, 704.333.9463
The McNinch House
For a rare treat, to celebrate only the most romantic occasions, splurge on a night at the historic McNinch House. Indulgences abound at this circa-1892 restored Victorian house, once home to Charlotte mayor Sam McNinch.
William Parham—executive chef and a Charlotte native—presents elegant, multi-course meals that integrate Southern influences and sourcing, such as a North Carolina grouper and Georgia quail. No detail is overlooked, including formalities from palate-cleansing between dishes and chilled salad forks. Wine pairings complement each course, so the restaurant makes all the tough decisions, allowing you to relax and enjoy a leisurely romantic meal. 511 N. Church St., Charlotte, NC, 704.332.6159
Italian for “seasons,” Stagioni focuses on fresh, seasonal dishes served in a homey, elegant setting. Located in the historic Reynolds-Gourmajenko House, a 1920s villa with a simple yet cozy interior, this Myers Park go-to should be of consideration for any romantic evening out.
Wooden-accented ceilings and warm lighting add to the romantic atmosphere, while other accents—a large reprint of a family wedding photo on the dining-room ceiling—nod to the villa’s original owner, Mrs. Blanch Reynolds-Gourmajenko. Share a few samplings from the snacks menu, dig into hearty pastas and innovative pizzas, order some Italian wine, and enjoy. 715 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC, 704.372.8110