Going on a date — whether it be a first date or a night without the kids — can be stressful. Everything has to be perfect, but hardly anything goes exactly to plan. So while the arrangements, outfits, and transportation options are up to you, picking a date-night-worthy restaurant can at least be narrowed down a bit.
From wine bars with good food to seafood places with good cocktails, here are 10 restaurants in town ideal for a date night.
The Farish House Bistro & Wine Bar
816 North Third Street
An upscale bistro now resides in the 1899 brick house on the corner of Garfield and Third streets in downtown Phoenix just south of Roosevelt Row. The Farish House offers a selection of wine and classic cocktails like the Farish Cup, and an array of shareable dishes. Dinner plates like Angus rib-eye with port reduction cream sauces and Chianti short rib beef stew are listed on the menu. It also offers a petite patio with all the romantic fixings. Final thought: Do split the buratta cheese ball if it's available.
713 East Palo Verde Drive
The only potentially bad thing about Fuego Bistro for a first date — or a date that hasn't happened in a while — is that they give you a lot of food. However, that's also one of the best things about it, but some people aren't looking to chow down on a plate full of amazing Mexican food the first time they're dining with a new partner or donning a new outfit. Other than that, Fuego Bistro provides a small romantic atmosphere (indoor and outdoor) and a wide variety of luxurious dishes for you and your date.
3717 East Indian School Road
There are two reasons Beckett's Table makes a good first date spot. One, it's a nice modern American spot that compliments the Arcadia area, and is surrounded by many spots for an afterward drink. The other reason is the serving of bacon cheddar biscuits that are probably better than Red Lobster's. While you're there, try the famous Fig & Pecan Pie — one of the best desserts in town.
5455 East High Street, #115
There's nothing wrong with a fancy steakhouse, but some have a tendency to feel outdated and stale. Ocean Prime serves up steakhouse-quality meats (and, obviously, seafood) with a more modern setting and menu. It's not inexpensive, but don't feel like you need to wear fancy heels or a tie. Start by splitting a plate of Point Judith calamari, and be sure to get the lobster bisque — it could end up being the best part of the date.
Cornish Pasty Co.
As one of the most affordable options on our list, Cornish Pasty Co. should be the top option for the slightly alternative crowd. If you met this person at a neighborhood bar or a concert, odds are pretty good the two of you will enjoy conversation over a couple of giant stuffed pasties and well-made cocktails. Or a PBR tall can, no judgment. Cornish also carries fresh salads, wings, and killer appetizers if you don't want anything too heavy.
7277 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
If you're looking to shell out for date-night sushi, a go-to spot is Scottsdale's Sushi Roku. When you combine darn good sushi with the upscale atmosphere of the W Hotel Scottsdale, it makes for a pretty impressive first date or date night option. It's expensive, yes, but sometimes you have to dig into your wallet a little bit the first time you're dining with a new companion, or showing someone you love a night on the town.
In the event your date likes pizza and has never been to Phoenix's most iconic pizza place, Pizzeria Bianco should be moved to the top of the list. Between the cozy setting at downtown's Heritage Square or Town & Country and the award-winning food, it's tough to think of a better spot for a pizza date — first or otherwise. Sure, waiting for a table can be a pain, but that just means you'll have more time to get to know each other (even all over again) while hanging out in the wine bar next door.
6560 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
This Scottsdale fusion restaurant is not just delicious, it's also one of the most fun eating experiences in town. Almost everything on the menu, from the king crab guacamole to the crispy pork belly roll to the bacon-wrapped medjool dates is made to split, so there are plenty of chances to interact, share, and look thoughtful. Atmospherically, SumoMaya is a relatively high-energy restaurant providing a very different dining experience than a classic steakhouse or fancy Italian restaurant.
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Postino has long been a favorite of the Phoenix area. The bruschetta plates, fresh sandwiches, and lengthy wine list means everyone gets what they want whether it's a full meal, light snack, or glasses of vino or beer. If you get lucky enough to snag some of the armchairs or couch space instead of the regular dining tables, it's tough to pick a more classic setup for a new or established relationship.
This isn't the place to take your date if she or he is a little ... let's go with fastidious, but if you're looking for delicious barbecue without the styrofoam plates, Bootleggers is a good bet. You may want to stay away from the turkey leg (though it's a cult favorite) or the ribs due to messiness, but if you're lucky enough to get that date who's looking for a modern take on good ol' barbecue, she or he will probably forgive your saucy hands — and might even join you. Sounds like a keeper.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on October 3, 2014. It was updated on June 1, 2019. Josh Chesler contributed to this article.