Romance and dining often share a strong personal bond, sometimes as powerful as the couple involved. Sometimes places are just special because of what it means to you and your sweetheart. Maybe it’s the café where you went for a first date or the place where you looked into each other’s eyes and fell in love.
Other times you just want to surprise your loved one with something new. Here’s a little inspiration for some special dining options in Tallahassee with just the right ambience for a night out.
A La Provence: White tablecloths? Check. Candles? Check. Menu items with names like bouef and bisque? Check. This classic restaurant offers a refined atmosphere for its menu of French and Mediterranean fare complemented with an extensive wine list and full bar. 1415 Timberlane Rd., (850) 329-6870
Clusters & Hops: This petite shop, packed with fine wines, cheeses and other gourmet goodies, features a cozy café with nine tables tucked behind the market. The European-inspired, eclectic menu offers cheese boards, dishes like truffled mac-n-cheese, duck, seafood and pate of the day, with wine and beer. One option: Pick a wine off the shelf and pay the retail price with $8.50 corkage fee. 707 N. Monroe St., (850) 222-2669
Cypress Restaurant: Popular for special occasions, it offers Southern-style regional cuisine in a sophisticated space decorated with work by local artists. Known for its oyster and biscuits, shrimp and grits, creative salads and daily specials, with a thoughtful wine list and full bar. 320 East Tennessee St., (850) 513-1100
The Edison: This former electric plant, which provided power in the 1920s, has become one of the trendiest dining spaces in Tallahassee with an enviable setting in Cascades Park <link to: >. On a balmy night, sit under the stars with a view of illuminated waterfalls. For a more exclusive experience, reserve the chef’s table in the kitchen. Chef John Minas, former chef for the Governor, presents a varied menu that includes steaks, salads and seafood, with a full bar. 470 Suwannee St., (850) 765-9771
Food Glorious Food: The contemporary restaurant, adorned with artwork, offers indoor and patio seating. The cuisine includes favorites like petite filet mignon, peppered tuna, spicy oyster shooters and decadent house-made potato chips with béchamel sauce. FGF is also known for its lavish dessert menu and specialty drinks like the Cucumber Collins. 1950 Thomasville Rd., (850) 224-7279
Nefetari’s Fine Cuisine and Spirits: The exotic setting, decorated with Egyptian and African artwork, offers an eclectic menu that trots the globe including an Ethiopian stew platter, Greek red snapper and forbidden fried rice (with veggies and choice of protein). 812 S. Macomb St., (850) 210-0548
Sage: The charming space has an intimate atmosphere with vibrant local art work adorning the walls. Co-owner and chef Terry White, who was named “King of American Seafood” in New Orleans in 2014 at Great American Seafood Cook-Off, presents a New American menu with lamb, stews, pork belly and an array of seafood and a full bar. Dine inside or on the outdoor patio. 3534 Maclay Blvd. South, (850) 270-9396
Shula’s 347 Grill: Get comfy in big leather booths and dive into a menu of chops, steaks and seafood at this classic steakhouse, tucked away in the Hotel Duval. The restaurant gets warmth from dim lighting and dark woods. Shula’s has a full bar or head upstairs to the city’s only rooftop lounge, Level 8, for a cocktail and view of downtown Tallahassee. 415 North Monroe St., (850) 224-6005
Z Bardhi's Italian Cuisine: Who does romance better than the Italians? Z. Bardhi’s has been a popular choice for nearly 20 years, offering generous portions of classic dishes like linguine with mussels, the seafood feast frutti di'mare and chicken marsala plus daily specials and a full bar. There’s dining inside and out, with elegant accents like white tablecloths and candlelight. 3596 Kinhega Dr., (850) 894-991
Backwoods Crossing: For a true farm-to-table experience, Backwood Crossing targets customers that value locally grown ingredients in their food. The restaurant sits on a 2-acre farm that gives all guests a special experience. Known for serving unique vegatables and fruits that you can't find at grocery stores, like dragon carrots, experience something different here.
TIP: Don’t wing it. Waiting can ruin the magic, so be sure to make reservations if possible.
Photo Credit: Z. Bardhi's