Date night. Everything has to be perfect, but hardly anything goes exactly to plan. While the arrangements, outfits, and transportation options are up to you, picking a date-night-worthy restaurant or bar can at least be narrowed down a bit by us.
French restaurants, game bars, and spots for a nice seafood dinner — here are 11 restaurants in town ideal for date night.
The Farish House Bistro & Wine Bar816 North Third Street
Just off of Roosevelt Row, the 1899 brick house on the corner of Garfield and Third streets in downtown Phoenix is known for cocktails, an impressive wine list, shareable dishes, a city-lit patio, and an adorable interior. Guests of The Farish House should first try the Farish Cup, and you'll definitely want to split the burrata cheese ball if it's available. Entrees are not to be overlooked, including the candied date pork belly and the cherry lavender duck.
Fuego at the Clarendon401 West Clarendon Avenue
The only potentially bad thing about Fuego at the Clarendon 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 provides quality cocktails and a dim, romantic atmosphere (indoor and outdoor). And hey, you're also at a hotel in case things ... progress.
Beckett's Table3717 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.
Stardust Pinbar401 West Van Buren Street, Suite C
Stardust Pinbar and Ziggy's Magic Pizza Shop, found next to The Van Buren, are big on fun. Mixing David Bowie-esque glam with geek chic, the lounge has nine pinball machines, an illuminated disco dance floor, a fuzzy DJ booth, and gig posters. But it's also big on adventurous romance. A speakeasy-like secret entrance is rigged up like a walk-up freezer in the pizza parlor next door. Inside, there are cocktails inspired by songs like “Moonage Daydream” and “Diamond Dogs,” and stools covered in glittering silver vinyl. Order some slices, some wings, or split some garlic knots.
Ocean Prime5455 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.Multiple Locations
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. And if you go to the Tempe location, snag a seat in The Beast — the hidden bar on the north side of the building — where it's extra dark and moody.
Sushi Roku7277 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.
Pizzeria BiancoMultiple Locations
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.
SumoMaya6560 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 are 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.
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 5, 2021.
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