Ten Favorite First Date Restaurants
Cibo's Patio = Perfect First Date Spot
So you convinced that special someone -- or maybe that special someone that you've never actually met but you have a really strong connection with via instant messenger -- to actually go out to dinner with you. Where are going to take them? Chili's? Applebee's? or even worse -- McDonald's? Okay, we don't actually think that you will commit first date suicide by treating your date to the Big Mac meal deal but just in case we put together this handy list of our favorite first date restaurant picks.
10. Coup des Tartes - This tiny BYOB French Bistro off 16th Street and Camelback is the perfect setting for a first date that has a 98 percent chance of going somewhere. For example - you met the girl/boy at a party and super connected and talked till the wee hours of the morning. In other words, this place may not be the best idea for a first internet date, since it's a bit on the pricey side. But you'll totally impress that lucky lady (or dude) by first off knowing this place exists, second by showing up with a carefully selected bottle of wine (it's BYOB only), and third by making reservations in advance (really, don't show up without them). And if all those things don't work in your favor, at least your date will be impressed with the food. We suggest the Three Onion Tart and the Moroccan style Lamb Shank.
9. Barrio Queen - Want to take your date to a nice Scottsdale restaurant without breaking the bank? Barrio Queen is the perfect spot. Not only is the Queen Scottsdale's most talked about new restaurant, the atmosphere is chill, the artwork is interesting, the menu is huge and perfect for sharing, and the margaritas will surely take the edge off things. You can't go wrong with the nopal tacos, the tostatidos, or the guacamole. Our advice: try everything, even if it sounds weird. Sometimes bizarre food makes for the best conversations.
8. Rokerij - Dragging your date into the depths of a dark basement is normally frowned upon but it's totally cool if it's the basement of the Rokerji - especially during the sweltering summer months. Delicious cocktails, savory roasted elephant garlic, amazing chili rellenos, and a tasty selection of small plates all await you and your date in the dimly lit basement - and there's a T.V. just in case a certain someone starts droning on about their most recent ex. If hanging out in a basement with a stranger sounds a bit scary, hightail it upstairs to the brighter but still awesome upstairs restaurant.
7. FnB - Atmosphere, great food, fantastic wines - everything you need to make a great first impression. FnB manages to pull off classy, laid back and fun all at the same time. Impress you date with your knowledge of fancy ingredients by checking out the menu ahead of time and looking up all the things you don't know, like Chanterelles (delicious mushrooms), socca (it's a chickpea crepe), or urfa (a type of pepper from Turkey) and terms like "en papillote" (how the French say "in parchment). When you go, be sure to sit at the bar for optimum food porn viewing.
6. Pizza A Metro - Quaint is an understatement for this teensy-tiny Italian food joint that sits quietly in a strip mall off Thomas and 23rd Ave. Yes, we said strip mall and 23rd Ave, but don't let the location fool you, this is a true gem. This little pizza place pumps out some amazing pizzas topped with super fresh mozzarella, salty prosciutto, and tangy house made sauces all on chewy, slightly charred wood fired crust. If your date is from another planet and doesn't like pizza, the huge salads and al dente pastas won't disappoint.
5. Windsor/Churn - Sometimes it's much easier to commit to drinks and ice cream than a full sit-down meal which is why Windsor is perfect for those blind dates that may (fingers crossed) or may not go so well. The dark interior is normally buzzing with conversation to save you from an awkward silence and the cocktail menu has something for everyone at reasonable prices (we're big fans of the #63 - bourbon and grapefruit juice). If you make it past first date cocktails, take your date next door to Churn for an ice cream sandwich. Pick out your ice cream and cookies and the super sweet Churn folks will squish them together for you. Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chip ice cream might just score you a second date.
4. Waffle House - Sometimes a first date doesn't start at 7 on a Friday night. Sometimes they start at 2:30 in the morning after you meet someone really cool at a party and you want to show them how much you like them by treating them to a plate of smothered and covered hash browns and maybe a waffle or an order of raisin toast because early morning burritos screams drunk hook up and waffles mean you actually care. Bonus - 3 a.m. Waffle House people watching is unbeatable.
3. Cibo - It's not just another pizza place - it's the most romantic pizza place in downtown Phoenix. Your date will be more than impressed by the ambiance of this cute little restaurant located in a renovated 1920's bungalow with one of the best patios Phoenix has to offer. Oh and their pizza is pretty amazing, too. Swing by on Tuesday or Wednesday nights for pasta night or make a lunch date and try their award winning sandwiches.
2. Santan Brewery - For a more relaxed first date, hit up Chandler's SanTan Brewery for great beers and great food. The brewery cooks up giant plates of nachos and tangy wings which go great with a pint of their handcrafted Devil's Ale or their Gordo Stout. Monday nights are movie night so it's easy to kill two birds with one stone and keep more money in your pocket for beer.
1. Cornish Pasty Mesa - You couldn't ask for a better first date night spot than the dark candle lit interior of the Mesa location of this local mini-chain. Church pews line long tables and the outside booths are inviting and cozy. Plus nothing says "I really want to get to know you" like a gourmet hot pocket - which is essentially what a pasty resembles. Warm homemade pastry surrounds savory meats and potatoes, vegetarian "chicken" with brie and rosemary, or balsamic marinated portabella mushrooms and fresh mozzarella are sure to be hit. The beer list is outstanding and the jukebox is free. Need we say more?
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.